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# Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the

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Manager
Joined: 31 Mar 2010
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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05 Oct 2012, 02:51
1
Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the hands or feet is termed polydactyly.

(a) Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes
(b) Having had more than the usual number of fingers or toes - "having had" means one had it in past but does not have it anymore
(c) Having more than the usual number of fingers or toes - correct
(d) To have more than the usual number of fingers or toes - Incorrect meaning - "to have "suggests as if we have a choice
(e) To have more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes

C is correct.
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2013, 12:23
4
kingb wrote:
Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the hands or feet is termed polydactyly.
(A) Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes
(B) Having had more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(C) Having more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(D) To have more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(E) To have more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes

fameatop wrote:
Can you explain why option D is incorrect & C is correct. Regards, Fame

I'm happy to help with this. I am answering a pm from Fame.

This is an MGMAT question. Normally, I hold MGMAT in the highest regard, but I will say --- sometimes a few of their questions get into some reasonably obscure territory is that is bit more picayune than the GMAT SC would touch. I believe this is such a question.

First of all, the word "number" is correct, not "numbers." Therefore, (A) & (E) are out. Furthermore, (B) is simply ridiculous, so that's out.
The real question is (C) vs. (D), gerund vs. infinitive as the subject. For more on gerunds, see this:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-phrases/
For more on infinitives, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/infinitive ... -the-gmat/

Notice, first of all, there is NO PARALLELISM in this sentence. We have the verb "is termed" and then we have the noun, the term, "polydactyly." Both gerunds and infinitive can act as nouns. In particular, both gerunds and infinitive can be subjects of sentences.
To err is human. --- Seneca the Younger (4 BC-65 AD) --- infinitive subject
Reading classical Latin literature can be edifying. --- gerund subject

What is the difference between having a gerund as a subject vs. having an infinitive as a subject? There's no clear and well-defined rule. There's nothing cut-and-dry. In certain instances, one will sound more natural than the other, but that's far from rigorous. In this particular sentence, I will say --- for reasons I can't articulate, (C) does some more natural, but I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with (D). In my mind, the difference between (C) & (D) is too slight for this to be the defining split on a SC question. As much as I respect MGMAT in general, I think I will say --- this is not a particularly GMAT-like SC question, because it lacks a clear & unambiguous split between (C) & (D).

Here's a link where Ron Purewal himself says the MGMAT folks were debating this question.
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/ger ... t3133.html
The fact that the bright people who wrote this question original have to debate about it means that it lacks the ringing clarity that characterizes a good GMAT-like SC question.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Posts: 73
Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2013, 23:51
I will go with C

Reason: Gerunds rather than infinitives are preferred as subjects when the main clause denotes something that actually exists/occurs, and infinitives where something unreal or hypothetical is discussed. Since this medical conditonal actually occurs, the gerund is preferable here.

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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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01 Jul 2013, 12:33
4
swati007 wrote:
I will go with C

Reason: Gerunds rather than infinitives are preferred as subjects when the main clause denotes something that actually exists/occurs, and infinitives where something unreal or hypothetical is discussed. Since this medical conditonal actually occurs, the gerund is preferable here.

hi,
here is the OE

The original sentence incorrectly uses the phrase "numbers of" instead of the correct expression "number of."

(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.

(B) This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of." However, the present perfect tense verb "having had" is incorrectly used. The present perfect tense is used to indicate an event that started in the past and remains true in the present. Since this sentence simply defines the term "polydactyly," the present perfect tense is inappropriate. Instead, in order to maintain parallel structure, the phrase "is termed polydactyly" must be preceded by a normal gerund, a verb that acts as a noun, such as "having."

(C) CORRECT. This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of."

(D) This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of." Moreover, in theory, an infinitive (such as "To have") CAN be used as a noun, even as a subject. For instance, you can properly say "To err is human." However, a long infinitive phrase (such as "To have more than the usual number of fingers and toes") is considered stylistically awkward as a subject at the beginning of a sentence. For one thing, we often start sentences with infinitives to indicate purpose: "To make money, I worked extra hours." In keeping with good prose style, the GMAT strongly prefers that you move such an infinitive subject to the end of the sentence and put a "Placeholder IT" at the beginning of the sentence: "It is human to err." Furthermore, even a postponed infinitive subject may be considered awkward in comparison to a gerund subject (such as "having"). Note that a gerund subject does not require you to specify who is performing the action in question: "Running is fun" is a perfectly acceptable sentence.

(E) This choice incorrectly uses the phrase "numbers of" instead of the correct expression "number of." Moreover, in theory, an infinitive (such as "To have") CAN be used as a noun, even as a subject. For instance, you can properly say "To err is human." However, a long infinitive phrase (such as "To have more than the usual number of fingers and toes") is considered stylistically awkward as a subject at the beginning of a sentence. For one thing, we often start sentences with infinitives to indicate purpose: "To make money, I worked extra hours." In keeping with good prose style, the GMAT strongly prefers that you move such an infinitive subject to the end of the sentence and put a "Placeholder IT" at the beginning of the sentence: "It is human to err." Furthermore, even a postponed infinitive subject may be considered awkward in comparison to a gerund subject (such as "having"). Note that a gerund subject does not require you to specify who is performing the action in question: "Running is fun" is a perfectly acceptable sentence.
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 13:11
Eliminate A ) - Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes
Eliminate B) Having had more than the usual number of fingers or toes
Eliminate D) To have more than the usual number of fingers or toes
Eliminate E) To have more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes

(C) Having more than the usual number of fingers or toes .Correct
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2014, 05:45
mikemcgarry wrote:
kingb wrote:
Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the hands or feet is termed polydactyly.
(A) Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes
(B) Having had more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(C) Having more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(D) To have more than the usual number of fingers or toes
(E) To have more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes

fameatop wrote:
Can you explain why option D is incorrect & C is correct. Regards, Fame

I'm happy to help with this. I am answering a pm from Fame.

This is an MGMAT question. Normally, I hold MGMAT in the highest regard, but I will say --- sometimes a few of their questions get into some reasonably obscure territory is that is bit more picayune than the GMAT SC would touch. I believe this is such a question.

First of all, the word "number" is correct, not "numbers." Therefore, (A) & (E) are out. Furthermore, (B) is simply ridiculous, so that's out.
The real question is (C) vs. (D), gerund vs. infinitive as the subject. For more on gerunds, see this:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... d-phrases/
For more on infinitives, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/infinitive ... -the-gmat/

Notice, first of all, there is NO PARALLELISM in this sentence. We have the verb "is termed" and then we have the noun, the term, "polydactyly." Both gerunds and infinitive can act as nouns. In particular, both gerunds and infinitive can be subjects of sentences.
To err is human. --- Seneca the Younger (4 BC-65 AD) --- infinitive subject
Reading classical Latin literature can be edifying. --- gerund subject

What is the difference between having a gerund as a subject vs. having an infinitive as a subject? There's no clear and well-defined rule. There's nothing cut-and-dry. In certain instances, one will sound more natural than the other, but that's far from rigorous. In this particular sentence, I will say --- for reasons I can't articulate, (C) does some more natural, but I believe there is absolutely nothing wrong with (D). In my mind, the difference between (C) & (D) is too slight for this to be the defining split on a SC question. As much as I respect MGMAT in general, I think I will say --- this is not a particularly GMAT-like SC question, because it lacks a clear & unambiguous split between (C) & (D).

Here's a link where Ron Purewal himself says the MGMAT folks were debating this question.
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/ger ... t3133.html
The fact that the bright people who wrote this question original have to debate about it means that it lacks the ringing clarity that characterizes a good GMAT-like SC question.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,

Brilliant explanation!
But I have a doubt from the meaning perspective of the sentence. "Having" may imply "eating". Then Having fingers or toes is awkward. So I thought "To have" is more precise.
Could you please throw some light. Sorry if this is naive. :D
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Joined: 28 Dec 2011
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2014, 11:32
fantasycracker wrote:
Hi Mike,

Brilliant explanation!
But I have a doubt from the meaning perspective of the sentence. "Having" may imply "eating". Then Having fingers or toes is awkward. So I thought "To have" is more precise.
Could you please throw some light. Sorry if this is naive. :D

Dear fantasycracker,
I'm happy to respond.

Using the verb "to have" ("has", "had", "having", etc.) as a synonym for "to eat" is an idiomatic colloquialism that never never never will appear anywhere on the GMAT. That will never be the primary implication of the word.

Does this make sense?

Mike
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2014, 12:12
Quote:
Using the verb "to have" ("has", "had", "having", etc.) as a synonym for "to eat" is an idiomatic colloquialism that never never never will appear anywhere on the GMAT. That will never be the primary implication of the word.

Does this make sense?

Mike

That perfectly makes sense. Thanks a ton
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2017, 10:03
Mahmud6 wrote:
OA is missing.

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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2017, 07:24
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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31 Aug 2017, 13:07
I am sure this is a pattern in gmat, even though the pattern is not common.
I now cannot find the post discussing the differences between gerunds and to-verb
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Joined: 01 Feb 2017
Posts: 188
Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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31 Jan 2019, 00:56
My Take on Choice C vs D

Point no. 1:
Infinitive as adjective indicates direct action plan.
Infinitive as adverb indicates purpose / intention.
Having used as a gerund / noun means to possess something.
Having used as a present participle indicates two subsequent / sequential actions with action stated with 'having' as the first.

Point no. 2:
It is always useful to flip and rephrase an inverted sentences.

Flipped version: The term polydactyly is "having (gerund: possessing)" / "to have (verb: with the intention of having) more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the hands or feet.

Hence, Ans C.
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Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the  [#permalink]

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31 Jan 2019, 01:34
Re: Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the   [#permalink] 31 Jan 2019, 01:34

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