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Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if

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New post Updated on: 20 Jan 2020, 23:16
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Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.


A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

B. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that worked well in the past, makes missing signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting ones likely when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

D. Executives' being heavily committed to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes them likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting them when they do appear.

E. Being heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that has worked well in the past, is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

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Originally posted by marine on 23 Sep 2004, 15:48.
Last edited by Bunuel on 20 Jan 2020, 23:16, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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New post 19 Apr 2020, 07:54
Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.


A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

B. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that worked well in the past, makes missing signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting ones likely when they do appear.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.

D. Executives' being heavily committed to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes them likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting them when they do appear.

E. Being heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that has worked well in the past, is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear

This is a beautiful question.
A. The second 'it' is a big problem. Logically it should refer to executive, but here that is not the case.
B. Makes missing signs of trouble does not make sense. Ones is also very vague here.
C. Especially if it has worked well looks disconnected from rest of the sentence. It is also noy clear here.
D. Executives being is incorrecr.
E. Correct. This shows an option with being should not be rejected as a knee jerk reaction.
E is correct.

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New post 25 Apr 2020, 07:07
PRONOUNS, MEANING


This is my take on this question. It's a classic one.





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New post 29 Apr 2020, 17:02
Hello,
I am still not sure why C is incorrect. I understand E is also correct. I have been advised to take the meaning and logical based approach for SC. In this sentence, in option C, "it" can logically only refer back to the action and "it" can not logically refer to the "trouble".
"especially if the trouble has worked well in the past" does not logically make sense. Can someone help.
Thanks
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New post 29 Apr 2020, 17:42
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9Karan3 wrote:
Hello,
I am still not sure why C is incorrect. I understand E is also correct. I have been advised to take the meaning and logical based approach for SC. In this sentence, in option C, "it" can logically only refer back to the action and "it" can not logically refer to the "trouble".
"especially if the trouble has worked well in the past" does not logically make sense. Can someone help.
Thanks
Hi 9Karan3,

There is no "meaning approach" to SC as such. Or, more accurately, that term is not meant to be taken as an absolute. Sure, SC tests meaning, but that's not the only thing it tests. Take the following sentence for example:

It seemed as if the ball reached the boundary even before it left Bumrah's hand.

There's a lot that goes into understanding even a simple sentence like that, and much of that processing work does not rely on absolute rules. You or I may feel that the it can logically refer back only to the ball, but the it is ambiguous. Does that mean that the sentence is unacceptable? No, but it does mean that it contains a possible error, and that we should choose a better option if a better option is available. In the case of this question, a better option is available, so that is what we must choose as the answer.

I support your decision to look for meaning issues, but we cannot say that pronoun ambiguity does not exist just because we want to lead with meaning.
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New post 30 Apr 2020, 05:49
9Karan3 wrote:
Hello,
I am still not sure why C is incorrect. I understand E is also correct. I have been advised to take the meaning and logical based approach for SC. In this sentence, in option C, "it" can logically only refer back to the action and "it" can not logically refer to the "trouble".
"especially if the trouble has worked well in the past" does not logically make sense. Can someone help.
Thanks



There are two reasons why "it" is wrong in C

1. Slight ambiguity. "It" could refer to either "course" or "trouble", and definitely it makes more sense with "course", but pronoun reference should not only take the meaning into consideration. Pronoun placement is just as important. That final "it" is so far away from "course" , and so close to "trouble" that it is not clear. Of course this does not make the sentence totally incorrect, but is a red flag.

2. MORE IMPORTANT. "It" should not be used in this sentence. Notice that the correct answer choice changes the pronoun to "one". That is because we need a COPY. We are not referring to that specific course of action, but to an undetermined course of action that has worked well in the past. Just remember that "IT" is a personal pronoun, that refers to specific/determined nouns.




Best,


Rod
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New post 13 Jun 2020, 00:33
Hey GMATNinja, thank you for the wonderful explanation as always!

I have a follow-up query for (A). Isn't the second it a placeholder pronoun that could refer to the infinitive to miss...?

GMATNinja wrote:
This is one of the OG questions that causes the most trouble, partly because a lot of GMAT test-takers have an (occasionally incorrect) impulse to automatically eliminate any answer choice with the word "being."

But we'll get to that. Let's take these buggers in order:

Quote:
A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.


That second "it" is the big problem here: "makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble..." I suppose that "it" could refer to "heavy commitment" or "course of action", but neither of those would make any sense. (A) is gone.

Quote:
B. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that worked well in the past, makes missing signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting ones likely when they do appear.


This is fairly subtle, but the subject doesn't make a whole lot of sense with the main verb here. "An executive... makes missing signs of incipient trouble... likely when they do appear." The pronoun "they" is OK, but it doesn't make logical sense to say that "an executive makes missing signs of trouble likely..." Also, I see no good reason use "ones" here -- in theory, "ones" would refer to very specific signs of trouble, and there's no good reason to use "ones" when a simple "them" would work. (B) is gone.

Quote:
C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.


The "it" is a problem here: "it" generally refers to the nearest singular noun. In this case, "it" would seem to refer to "trouble," and that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. "Course of action" would work, but that's much farther back in the sentence.

To be fair, ambiguous pronouns aren't always wrong on the GMAT, so if you want to be conservative, you could keep (C) for now. But as we'll see in a moment, (E) is a much better option.

Quote:
D. Executives’ being heavily committed to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes them likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting them when they do appear.


"Them" is trying to refer back to a possessive pronoun, "executives'", and that's wrong on the GMAT. Non-possessive pronouns (they, them, he, she, it) can't refer back to possessive nouns on the GMAT. So (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. Being heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that has worked well in the past, is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.


There are lots of pronoun issues in the other answer choices, but we're all good with (E): the ambiguous "it" we saw in (C) isn't here at all, and "them" and "they" very clearly refer to "signs of incipient trouble." The subject "being heavily committed to a course of action" works nicely with the main verb phrase ("is likely to make an executive miss signs of trouble..."), so (E) is an upgrade from (B).

That leaves "being" as the only reasonable objection to (E). But "being" is absolutely fine here: it's just a noun, also known as a gerund in this case. "Being" is no different than any other gerund. So (E) is our answer.

Please see last Monday's Topic of the Week for more on gerunds and other "-ing" words on the GMAT: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 39780.html.
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 04:20
A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

What is the subject of the verb "makes" ? Does touch rule apply here? I eliminated this question because the "past" or the "course of action" can't really "make" .

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New post 17 Jun 2020, 04:25
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waihoe520 wrote:
A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

What is the subject of the verb "makes" ? Does touch rule apply here? I eliminated this question because the "past" or the "course of action" can't really "make" .

Heavy commitment is the subject here.
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 04:28
EducationAisle wrote:
waihoe520 wrote:
A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

What is the subject of the verb "makes" ? Does touch rule apply here? I eliminated this question because the "past" or the "course of action" can't really "make" .

Heavy commitment is the subject here.


Thanks, touch rule doesn't apply to the SV agreement?
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New post 17 Jun 2020, 04:40
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waihoe520 wrote:
Thanks, touch rule doesn't apply to the SV agreement?

At best, touch rule would apply to modifiers.
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New post 20 Jun 2020, 06:49
Dear GMATGuruNY MartyTargetTestPrep IanStewart VeritasPrepHailey AjiteshArun DmitryFarber GMATNinja GMATRockstar,

Can IT in choice A. act as a placeholder for infinitive phrase?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes IT likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

IMHO, it is fine to use IT this way (although I've seen many experts call this usage wrong)
According to MGMAT:
Quote:
Right: She made it possible for us to attend the movie.

RonPurewal also said that this usage is correct (https://www.beatthegmat.com/pronoun-amb ... tml#305959)
Quote:
It + is often difficult + to distinguish between a past-tense verb and a past participle.

The rain made it + quite challenging + to drive on the freeway.

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New post 20 Jun 2020, 12:18
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varotkorn wrote:
Can IT in choice A. act as a placeholder for infinitive phrase?


I don't think about SC in terms of grammar jargon like 'infinitive phrases', but it seems to me we (correctly) use "it" that way all the time. "I like to read because it relaxes me" is, as far as I can tell, an even simpler example than the ones you give in your post, where "it" is used to stand for an infinitive. The other examples you give are also perfectly correct.

That still doesn't make answer A right, because as A is written, it is incomprehensible. One of its biggest issues is that it does not make clear, no matter how you interpret the various "its" in the sentence, who will miss the signs of trouble. Any rewrite of answer A that does make clear who will miss the signs of trouble is instantly a better answer choice.
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Re: Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jun 2020, 15:47
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varotkorn wrote:
Can IT in choice A. act as a placeholder for infinitive phrase?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes IT likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

IMHO, it is fine to use IT this way (although I've seen many experts call this usage wrong)
According to MGMAT:
Quote:
Right: She made it possible for us to attend the movie.

"It" can be used as you described, as it is in the following example.

    The telescope makes it easy to see details of faraway objects.

We can confirm that "it" is used logically by substituting the infinitive for "it."

    The telescope makes to see details of faraway objects easy.

However, "it" does not work logically in that way in this instance, as we can see by substituting the infinitive for "it."

    Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action makes to miss signs of incipient trouble likely.

Since that version is not logical, we can't really say that "it" is used logically.

The following would work.

    Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action makes it likely that that executive will miss signs of incipient trouble.

We can confirm by substituting the noun clause for "it."

    Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action makes that that executive will miss signs of incipient trouble likely.

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New post 20 Jun 2020, 16:49
Dear IanStewart MartyTargetTestPrep,

You two seem to make the point that it is not clear that it is EXECUTIVE who will miss the sign.

So, if I added the highlighted portion, then would choice A. be ok?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes IT likely FOR THE EXECUTIVE to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.
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New post 20 Jun 2020, 19:12
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varotkorn wrote:
So, if I added the highlighted portion, then would choice A. be ok?

Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes IT likely FOR THE EXECUTIVE to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.


At a glance it looks technically correct, but it's still bad writing. You'd always say "that the executive will miss signs" and not "for the executive to miss signs", because then the verb has a subject. And compare this with the correct answer, which is not only clearer, but also does not include both "by an executive" and "for the executive". Sentences sometimes need repetition like that for clarity, but when they don't, it's best avoided.
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New post 24 Jun 2020, 09:36
I marked E too which is the correct answer. But I have one stupid doubt hereas:
In choice A, 2nd "It" pronoun seems to modify executive. I understand that it is not clear in the passage whether pronoun "It" modifies
a) Heavy commitment",
b) a course of action
or c) an executive

But it is very logical right that of above 3, "It" pronoun should modify "executive" to make sense.

Please help. I might be stupid to ask this.
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Re: Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2020, 06:15
Let us first dissect the sentence
Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, - This is a phrase
especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.
It is ambiguous what it refers to. It is ambiguous what them refers to. It is ambiguous what they refers to.
SV pair – Heavy commitment … makes


A. Heavy commitment by an executive to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes it likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.

B. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that worked well in the past, makes missing signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting ones likely when they do appear.
This changes the meaning of the sentence. An executive worked well in the past is incorrect. An executive makes missing signs is incorrect.

C. An executive who is heavily committed to a course of action is likely to miss or misinterpret signs of incipient trouble when they do appear, especially if it has worked well in the past.
It is unclear what it refers to in the later part of the sentence.

D. Executives' being heavily committed to a course of action, especially if it has worked well in the past, makes them likely to miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpreting them when they do appear.

Being is almost always wrong in the sentence. It is unclear what them refers to.

E. Being heavily committed to a course of action, especially one that has worked well in the past, is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble or misinterpret them when they do appear.
Although being is almost always wrong on the gmat we do not have a better choice in this question. This is by far the correct answer choice.
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New post 20 Jul 2020, 15:43
Hi GMATNinja,
Could you help me to clarify why does the sentence use 'miss' instead of 'misses' in 'is likely to make an executive miss signs'? I thought executive is the one misses the signs of troubles, so I went C from E. Please help me :angel: Thank you.
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