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GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar

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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2018, 00:34
The Olympic Games helped to keep peace among the pugnacious states of the Greek world in that a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival???s month.
(A) world in that a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival???s month
(B) world, proclaiming a sacred truce during the festival???s month
(C) world when they proclaimed a sacred truce for the festival month
(D) world, for a sacred truce was proclaimed during the month of the festival
(E) world by proclamation of a sacred truce that was for the month of the festival

Hi, Ninja, I have seen all the posts about this question, but I still have to ask about the use of "in that". What does it mean? Can you give me a few examples about "in that' ? Thank you so much!!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2018, 20:46
Rebekah wrote:
The Olympic Games helped to keep peace among the pugnacious states of the Greek world in that a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival's month.
(A) world in that a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival's month
(B) world, proclaiming a sacred truce during the festival's month
(C) world when they proclaimed a sacred truce for the festival month
(D) world, for a sacred truce was proclaimed during the month of the festival
(E) world by proclamation of a sacred truce that was for the month of the festival

Hi, Ninja, I have seen all the posts about this question, but I still have to ask about the use of "in that". What does it mean? Can you give me a few examples about "in that' ? Thank you so much!!

The phrase "in that" doesn't appear on the GMAT too often... and now that I'm thinking about it, the phrase doesn't appear very often in modern English in general. So don't lose too much sleep over it, but it's basically a goofy way of saying "because."

And I guess that's fine: "The Olympic Games helped to keep peace among the pugnacious states of the Greek world [because] a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival's month." I can live with that, I guess.

The bigger issue in (A) is that it doesn't really make sense to say "the festival's month." That's a misuse of the possessive. I can't understand how the festival can possess the month.

I hope this helps a bit!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2018, 20:53
ashijain wrote:
Hi GMAT Ninja,

Please explain the difference in usage of WHICH and THAT. I am really struggling with it.

So this is heresy in the GMAT world, but... well, I don't think that the difference between "which" and "that" matters much on the GMAT. There are very, very few official GMAT SC questions that use the difference between "that" and "which" as a deciding factor.

For whatever it's worth, yuenhsu 's explanation above is basically on the right track: "that" is an essential modifier, meaning that you wouldn't really understand the full meaning of the sentence without the modifier. "Which", on the other hand, is a non-essential modifier, and would just indicate some additional information that isn't strictly necessary if you want to understand the heart of the sentence.

The trouble is, it's really hard for the GMAT to test such a subtle distinction between "which" and "that." Consider, for example, the following two sentences:

    1. The GMAT book that is on the table is useless.
    2. The GMAT book, which is on the table, is useless.

These two sentences are saying fundamentally different things. In the first sentence, we presumably wouldn't know the identity of the useless GMAT book without the phrase "that is on the table." The phrase implies that there are other GMAT books in the room -- maybe there's a useful GMAT book in the refrigerator or something (conveniently located next to the beer, maybe?). The second sentence is just giving us extra information: there's presumably only one GMAT book around -- and it just happens to be on the table.

But how do we know which one is correct? We have no idea, because both are perfectly logical. So you can't really choose between the two.

So don't lose too much sleep over the difference. The GMAT definitely cares a lot about "that" and "which", but only because those two words often introduce modifiers, and if a modifier is misplaced in some way, it will warp the meaning of the sentence. And that's a different issue entirely.

I hope this helps!
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GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2018, 21:03
High school students are often encouraged by their parents to study diligently for AP exams, which allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs.

(A) which allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs

(B) which allow the students to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition

(C) which, if the score is high, allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on tuition costs

(D) as high scores allow the students to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition

(E) as high scores allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs


Hi GMATNinja

I have the following query for this question, can you please help.

In option E, "them" can theoretically refer to "parents" or "students". But when we put parents in place of them the sentence doesn't make sense as parents cannot skip courses. So, logically them should refer to "students".

Can you please advise as to where I am going wrong.
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New post 23 Nov 2018, 01:56
I'm confused about how to recognize a noun for singular/plural, countable/uncountable

I've seen a lot like 'citrus' 'dioxins', the words I do not know, and I have to decide singular/plural, countable/uncountable..

Can I say that
If countable --> you will see Noun + "s",
If uncountable --> NO "s", e.g.

if Noun + "s", use plural(at most of time)?
If not, refer to some hint(for example see whether the parallel structure uses plural verb or singular verb.)

Oh, i've also seen waters, can i say that waters are countable in this circumstance??I know usually water should be referred as uncountable noun.
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New post 26 Nov 2018, 04:43
17. A patient accusing a doctor of malpractice will find it difficult to prove damage if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify about proper medical procedures.

(A) if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify
(B) unless there will be another doctor to testify
(C) without another doctor’s testimony
(D) should there be no testimony from some other doctor
(E) lacking another doctor to testify

Please could you help me understand the error in this question and tell me why option C is the correct choice?

As per my understanding, the above is a "outcome, If condition" format. And as per this the If clause uses a present tense while the condition clause uses a simple future tense. Since the use of tense is correct I chose Option A
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 09:49
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rahul16singh28 wrote:
High school students are often encouraged by their parents to study diligently for AP exams, which allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs.

(A) which allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs

(B) which allow the students to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition

(C) which, if the score is high, allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on tuition costs

(D) as high scores allow the students to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition

(E) as high scores allow them to skip certain required college courses and save substantially on overall tuition costs


Hi GMATNinja

I have the following query for this question, can you please help.

In option E, "them" can theoretically refer to "parents" or "students". But when we put parents in place of them the sentence doesn't make sense as parents cannot skip courses. So, logically them should refer to "students".

Can you please advise as to where I am going wrong.

This is a non-official question, so don't worry about this specific case. In general, I think it's best to avoid non-official verbal questions as much as you possibly can.

But your question is absolutely legit, and it addresses a sticky issue: if a pronoun could have several potential referents, and only one of them makes any logical sense, then is there really a problem? If you just apply some common sense, you know exactly what the pronoun refers to, right?

This is admittedly a little bit of a grey area on the GMAT. The GMAT definitely tests pronoun ambiguity, but it isn't an absolute rule (more on that in this video).

But here's how I would think about it: start by being completely literal with the pronoun. (Which is exactly what you did, @rahul16singh28.) You're correct that the word "them" in (E) can refer to "parents" or "students" or even "exams." That's exactly the definition of pronoun ambiguity: the pronoun could refer to any of three referents, only one of which makes sense.

You don't want to overreact to that, though. Don't eliminate it immediately, just on that basis alone. But if you have a better option that removes the pronoun ambiguity -- and that doesn't have more serious problems -- go ahead and select the option that removes the ambiguity.

And again, don't worry too much about this particular example, because it's not an official question. But the bottom line is that you should notice the pronoun ambiguity and see if you can find a better alternative -- but it isn't an absolute rule.

I hope this helps!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 11:10
GMATNinja wrote:
This is a non-official question, so don't worry about this specific case. In general, I think it's best to avoid non-official verbal questions as much as you possibly can.

But your question is absolutely legit, and it addresses a sticky issue: if a pronoun could have several potential referents, and only one of them makes any logical sense, then is there really a problem? If you just apply some common sense, you know exactly what the pronoun refers to, right?

This is admittedly a little bit of a grey area on the GMAT. The GMAT definitely tests pronoun ambiguity, but it isn't an absolute rule (more on that in this video).

But here's how I would think about it: start by being completely literal with the pronoun. (Which is exactly what you did, @rahul16singh28.) You're correct that the word "them" in (E) can refer to "parents" or "students" or even "exams." That's exactly the definition of pronoun ambiguity: the pronoun could refer to any of three referents, only one of which makes sense.

You don't want to overreact to that, though. Don't eliminate it immediately, just on that basis alone. But if you have a better option that removes the pronoun ambiguity -- and that doesn't have more serious problems -- go ahead and select the option that removes the ambiguity.

And again, don't worry too much about this particular example, because it's not an official question. But the bottom line is that you should notice the pronoun ambiguity and see if you can find a better alternative -- but it isn't an absolute rule.

I hope this helps!


Hi GMATNinja

Thanks a lot for your reply. I used to visit this page everyday anticipating your reply. Have always been troubled by "Pronoun Ambiguity", but now I think most of my doubts are clear.
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2018, 11:59
Rebekah wrote:
I'm confused about how to recognize a noun for singular/plural, countable/uncountable

I've seen a lot like 'citrus' 'dioxins', the words I do not know, and I have to decide singular/plural, countable/uncountable..

Can I say that
If countable --> you will see Noun + "s",
If uncountable --> NO "s", e.g.

if Noun + "s", use plural(at most of time)?
If not, refer to some hint(for example see whether the parallel structure uses plural verb or singular verb.)


This can be a surprisingly messy topic. By now, most of you have heard the "simple" technique for these situations: if you try actually counting something, you can usually figure out whether it's countable or non-countable.

For example:

  • Cupcakes: "one cupcake, two cupcakes, three cupcakes..." --> makes sense, so it's countable
  • Bread: "one bread, two breads, three breads..." --> you would never say "three breads", so the noun must be non-countable

The trouble is, there are a ton of nouns that normal people never try to count. For example, who has ever wondered if you can count dioxins? So what do you do about more "unusual" nouns that you never really think about?

Sadly, there's no perfect answer to that. One rule of thumb: if you KNOW that the noun is plural, then by definition, it has to be countable, right? Check out this post for an example of this on a legendary official SC question.

Unfortunately, if an unfamiliar noun is singular, then you can't automatically know whether it's countable or non-countable. After all, "cupcake" is still a countable noun, even if it's singular.

And sure, most plural nouns end in "s" and most singular nouns do not, but there are tons of exceptions. For example, "news" and "octopus" are both singular nouns, even though they end in "s". "Mice" and "children" are plural nouns, but do not end in "s". And "media" and "species" and "starfish" can be either singular or plural.

Sorry, English is a mess, and there aren't any universal, exception-free rules for plurals. :?

But keep reading -- I have some good news about how often this stuff ACTUALLY causes trouble on the GMAT.

Rebekah wrote:
Oh, i've also seen waters, can i say that waters are countable in this circumstance??I know usually water should be referred as uncountable noun.

You don't want to go TOO far into obsessing over the properties of every strange noun in English. Other than the dioxin question, we don't have many examples of official GMAT SC questions that test whether obscure nouns are countable or non-countable. So it's a waste of your time to worry about every single wacky noun in English -- and there are literally thousands of wacky nouns in English.

For whatever it's worth, "water" (like, the stuff we drink) is non-countable. But "waters" (as a plural noun) means "bodies of water" (rivers, ponds, lakes, etc.), and since it's plural, it's definitely countable.

Bottom line: when you encounter a situation with countable vs. non-countable nouns, try the basic "counting" technique first ("one bread, two breads, three breads...") to determine whether the noun is countable or non-countable. If that doesn't work, then you can assume that a noun is countable if it's clearly plural. And if THAT doesn't work... well, I can't identify any official GMAT questions that would still leave you stumped after using those two techniques. So don't worry too much about any exceptions that you encounter.

I hope this helps!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2018, 08:54
Sir please solve my doubts regarding this question
https://gmatclub.com/forum/thai-village ... l#p2179086

Thanks a lot :)
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New post 28 Nov 2018, 09:33
I recently worked on a Sentence Correction practice question from the GMAT Official Prep, which essentially said that the following sentence is ungrammatical:

The Coast Guard is conducting tests that see whether pigeons can be trained to help find survivors of wrecks at sea.

When the correct answer is:

The Coast Guard is conducting tests to see whether pigeons can be trained to help find survivors of wrecks at sea.

Why is that see ungrammatical? Is there a grammar rule that I can learn about?

Thanks Charles!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2018, 09:16
1
2
almazovniko wrote:
Around 10% of the GMAT test takers score V40+ and about 1% score V45+. That could be a major boost for someone's total GMAT score. For Quant we can practice and practice until we eventually see so many problems that on the exam we immediately recognize what is being asked. The Verbal Reasoning is a different animal, with less practice questions available (Gmatninja recommends only OG questions). What are some key things that you notice candidates that score above V45 do? What are V40-42 candidates are not doing enough of?

Personally, I know that for SC I have been not reading for meaning enough. This is something that I have been working on.

Appreciate your insights.

Best,
Niko

(almazovniko, I felt a little bit weird responding on the thread where you originally posted this, so I moved it over here. I hope that's cool.)

Your question is a really good one, and also a really tricky one.

On one hand, there isn't necessarily a huge difference between a V42 and a V45 -- that's just a few questions, so there's some luck involved once you're already that high on the score scale. It's actually one of the things that drives me nuts about MBA admissions: the difference between a 42V and a 45V is very often the difference between rejection and admission to top MBA programs, but those three points don't mean much in terms of your actual skill. Somebody with 45V-level skills could score a 42V just because of bad luck, and somebody with 42V-level skills might score a 45V because of good luck. :idontknow:

So that's a long-winded way of saying that the GMAT arms race is out of control, and nobody should care AT ALL about the difference between a 40-42V and a 45V. But in reality... yeah, a lot of test-takers need a 45V to accomplish their MBA goals. It stinks, but that's the world we live in now.

Rant over. On to your question, finally!

I do think that 45V scorers are fundamentally different from 40-42V scorers in one key way: the high-scorers are generally more precise readers. That's not a sexy answer, but it's definitely the dominant factor.

When I use the term "precise reader", I mean the difference between getting the general meaning of a passage (or paragraph, or sentence, or phrase), and grasping the EXACT meaning. Somebody who is in the 40-42V range will pretty much always understand the essence of an RC/CR passage or an SC sentence, but they won't always pick up on EVERY little nuance of the passage or sentence.

For example, on a really hard SC question, the difference between the right and wrong answer is usually just some subtle distinction of meaning (more on that in this article and this video). The same is true on RC and CR: once you're above a 40V, you probably always understand the essence of the passage, but missing or misinterpreting a tiny tweak of language can cause you to miss a few of the tougher questions.

I know: that's not exciting. And there's no real formula for improvement from 40-42V to 45V, other than getting exposure to good, hard questions, and trying to focus more intensely on those differences in meaning. LSATs are a nice tool if you're trying to break through to a super-elite score, but they aren't magical, either.

I hope this helps a bit!
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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2018, 09:50
1
gmatman1031 wrote:
I recently worked on a Sentence Correction practice question from the GMAT Official Prep, which essentially said that the following sentence is ungrammatical:

The Coast Guard is conducting tests that see whether pigeons can be trained to help find survivors of wrecks at sea.

When the correct answer is:

The Coast Guard is conducting tests to see whether pigeons can be trained to help find survivors of wrecks at sea.

Why is that see ungrammatical? Is there a grammar rule that I can learn about?

Thanks Charles!

The difference between "that see" and "to see" isn't really grammatical, and there isn't really a rule that you need to learn here. We could shrug and call it an idiom issue (more on idioms here), but we could also argue that there's meaning difference between the two phrases in this context:

    1. "The Coast Guard is conducting tests to see whether pigeons can be trained..." --> In this case, "to" means "in order to", and that makes sense: the Coast Guard is conducting tests in order to see ("see" basically means "learn" or "determine" in this context) whether pigeons can be trained. Fair enough.
    2. "The Coast Guard is conducting tests that see whether pigeons can be trained..." --> The phrase "that see whether pigeons can be trained" modifies the noun "tests." Literally, this suggests that the tests themselves see whether pigeons can be trained -- i.e., that the ability to see whether pigeons can be trained is an inherent quality of the tests themselves.

I would argue that version #1 is a little bit better than version #2. I don't think that #2 is WRONG, exactly, but it arguably misses the point, since it's emphasizing that the tests themselves determine whether pigeons can be trained. That's OK, I guess, but the first version makes a little bit more sense, because it clarifies that the Coast Guard conducts the tests in order to accomplish its goal. And that seems a little bit more reasonable.

But notice that you never have to choose ONLY between "to see" and "that see"! There are all sorts of other issues going on in the answer choices. So even if you don't think that the phrase "that see" is wrong in this context, you can still get to the right answer by examining other factors. The full question is below (or here) for anybody who wants to take a look.

Quote:
The Coast Guard is conducting tests to see whether pigeons can be trained to help find survivors of wrecks at sea.

(A) to see whether pigeons can be trained to help find
(B) to see whether pigeons can be trained as help to find
(C) to see if pigeons can be trained for helping to find
(D) that see if pigeons are able to be trained in helping to find
(E) that see whether pigeons are able to be trained for help in finding

I hope this helps!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2018, 10:04
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GMATNinja wrote:
almazovniko wrote:
Around 10% of the GMAT test takers score V40+ and about 1% score V45+. That could be a major boost for someone's total GMAT score. For Quant we can practice and practice until we eventually see so many problems that on the exam we immediately recognize what is being asked. The Verbal Reasoning is a different animal, with less practice questions available (Gmatninja recommends only OG questions). What are some key things that you notice candidates that score above V45 do? What are V40-42 candidates are not doing enough of?

Personally, I know that for SC I have been not reading for meaning enough. This is something that I have been working on.

Appreciate your insights.

Best,
Niko

(almazovniko, I felt a little bit weird responding on the thread where you originally posted this, so I moved it over here. I hope that's cool.)

Your question is a really good one, and also a really tricky one.

On one hand, there isn't necessarily a huge difference between a V42 and a V45 -- that's just a few questions, so there's some luck involved once you're already that high on the score scale. It's actually one of the things that drives me nuts about MBA admissions: the difference between a 42V and a 45V is very often the difference between rejection and admission to top MBA programs, but those three points don't mean much in terms of your actual skill. Somebody with 45V-level skills could score a 42V just because of bad luck, and somebody with 42V-level skills might score a 45V because of good luck. :idontknow:

So that's a long-winded way of saying that the GMAT arms race is out of control, and nobody should care AT ALL about the difference between a 40-42V and a 45V. But in reality... yeah, a lot of test-takers need a 45V to accomplish their MBA goals. It stinks, but that's the world we live in now.

Rant over. On to your question, finally!

I do think that 45V scorers are fundamentally different from 40-42V scorers in one key way: the high-scorers are generally more precise readers. That's not a sexy answer, but it's definitely the dominant factor.

When I use the term "precise reader", I mean the difference between getting the general meaning of a passage (or paragraph, or sentence, or phrase), and grasping the EXACT meaning. Somebody who is in the 40-42V range will pretty much always understand the essence of an RC/CR passage or an SC sentence, but they won't always pick up on EVERY little nuance of the passage or sentence.

For example, on a really hard SC question, the difference between the right and wrong answer is usually just some subtle distinction of meaning (more on that in this article and this video). The same is true on RC and CR: once you're above a 40V, you probably always understand the essence of the passage, but missing or misinterpreting a tiny tweak of language can cause you to miss a few of the tougher questions.

I know: that's not exciting. And there's no real formula for improvement from 40-42V to 45V, other than getting exposure to good, hard questions, and trying to focus more intensely on those differences in meaning. LSATs are a nice tool if you're trying to break through to a super-elite score, but they aren't magical, either.

I hope this helps a bit!


Thank you so-so much for replying!

Exactly what I needed to see. Taking my GMAT this Saturday. Your post confirmed that my approach to studying is a good one. I just need to make sure that I am not taking too long on reading the first half of the Verbal Section. In my last practice GMATPrep (720 Q49 V39 yesterday) I spent way too much time on the first 18 questions (only 2 wrong), and for the last 18 I had about 1-1.2 mins per question, resulting in 6 errors (last 3 were all wrong). Some of those errors were truly silly (easy parallelism...), if I had an extra 30 seconds per question - would have gotten them correct.

I also do agree that V42 - V45 is such a marginal "skill" difference (or luck...), that sometimes its truly said that adcom decisions sometimes factor in V42-V45 difference. But as you said, thats the world we live in.

Best,
Niko
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Dec 2018, 14:07
Super helpful. Thanks Charles!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2018, 16:04
Hoozan wrote:
17. A patient accusing a doctor of malpractice will find it difficult to prove damage if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify about proper medical procedures.

(A) if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify
(B) unless there will be another doctor to testify
(C) without another doctor’s testimony
(D) should there be no testimony from some other doctor
(E) lacking another doctor to testify

Please could you help me understand the error in this question and tell me why option C is the correct choice?

As per my understanding, the above is a "outcome, If condition" format. And as per this the If clause uses a present tense while the condition clause uses a simple future tense. Since the use of tense is correct I chose Option A

This is one of my least-favorite official SC questions, just because it doesn't really test any idea or rule or principle that you're likely to see on any other question. There really aren't any official questions that look like this one, so I don't think that it's worth a ton of your time. You could dissect this question until the cows come home, and I'm skeptical that it would help you get other official questions right.

For whatever it's worth, the mistake you're making is a logical one, not really a grammatical one. You're essentially saying that because one aspect of the grammatical structure in (A) is acceptable, that it must be the best answer -- and that all of the other answer choices are wrong. Sure, it can be fine to have a conditional statement in the structure "if (present tense action) happens, then (future tense action) will happen." But that doesn't mean that it's automatically correct.

Quote:
A patient accusing a doctor of malpractice will find it difficult to prove damage if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify about proper medical procedures.

(A) if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify
(C) without another doctor’s testimony

So why is (C) better than (A)? I don't think that the answer is terribly fulfilling, unfortunately. (C) is just much more direct, clear, and elegant: it is "difficult to prove damage without another doctor's testimony" is much more succinct than saying that it is "difficult to prove damage if there is a lack of some other doctor to testify." And that's not a terribly helpful reason, but the absence of any real grammatical issue, there's absolutely no reason to pick muddy, clunky (A) over clear, direct (C).

I hope this helps a bit!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2018, 15:59
Hey Charles,

I'm reviewing the SC question found here about Stella Adler. And your analysis on this has been super helpful.

However, I have a concern about "include" vs "included" here. Wouldn't it better be to say "include" rather than "included" since these actors still are and will always be considered among the ranks of actors taught by Stella Adler?

I don't think it's enough to seriously call into question the validity of answer (C), but it's a small point that I've been curious about.
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2018, 19:27
vanam52923 wrote:
https://gmatclub.com/forum/rather-like-james-m-cain-with-whom-he-shares-the-distinction-of-be-280703.html#p2166429

Can u please help with option d? here should who not be whom .

here subject of verb shares is he i.e Mcbain so whom must be referring to object McCain.

You're absolutely right, vanam52923: the phrase in (D) is "with who he shares the distinction...", and that's 100% wrong. "With" is a preposition, and needs to be followed by "who" and not "whom."

Fortunately, this concept is not tested terribly frequently on the GMAT. And more importantly: the question in the link is an absolute diaper fire. I don't have any idea where it came from, but it was clearly not written by anybody who knows much about the GMAT or the English language. Please pay no attention to it.

For a better question that deals with "who" and "whom", please check out this one.

I hope this helps!
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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2018, 19:41
Hi GMATninja
Hope you are doing fine.

I have a few doubts :

1. Noun + preposition + participial... is this wrong on the gmat?

2. Usage of the word Having and being.. i mean when are they correct?

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Re: GMAT Ninja SC Expert - Ask Me Anything about GMAT SC and Grammar  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Dec 2018, 19:42
1
gmatman1031 wrote:
Hey Charles,

I'm reviewing the SC question found here about Stella Adler. And your analysis on this has been super helpful.

However, I have a concern about "include" vs "included" here. Wouldn't it better be to say "include" rather than "included" since these actors still are and will always be considered among the ranks of actors taught by Stella Adler?

I don't think it's enough to seriously call into question the validity of answer (C), but it's a small point that I've been curious about.

Good question, gmatman1031!

I end up thinking about this fairly often: it's often the case that multiple verb tenses would work in the same sentence, without really changing the meaning much. And I think this is one of those cases.

Here's a stripped-down version of the Stella Adler sentence, one in past tense, and one in present tense:

  • Stella Adler trained several generations of actors whose ranks included Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.
  • Stella Adler trained several generations of actors whose ranks include Marlon Brando and Robert De Niro.

I think you could argue that either one is fine. The training happened in the past, so it seems appropriate enough to say that the ranks included Brando and De Niro in the past tense. You could also argue that because the present tense just indicates a general characteristic, you could use the present tense here: the ranks of actors inherently include Brando and De Niro.

Honestly, I think past tense seems more reasonable here. For example, you probably wouldn't say something like "the ranks of dinosaurs include raptors and brontosauruses." That would be weird, since the dinosaurs are clearly dead. It wouldn't be WRONG, exactly, to use the present, but I think it would feel strange, and confuse the reader a little bit. ("Why is the author using present tense to talk about dinosaurs? OH CRAP!! Jurassic Park was a documentary?!?! It was REAL?! AAAAAAAAAAGH! We're all going to get chomped! I need to panic-eat ice cream. RIGHT NOW!")

But of course, the GMAT didn't actually make you choose between the past and present tenses in the Stella Adler question. (The present tense appears in (B), but that answer choice is horrendously wrong for other reasons.) And generally, the GMAT won't force you to choose between those two if there's any ambiguity whatsoever.

I hope this helps a bit! (And for anybody looking for a general treatment of GMAT verb tenses, check out this video.)
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