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# I am confused between the following two sentences He

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I am confused between the following two sentences He [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2012, 18:52
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I am confused between the following two sentences

He appreciated the student's progress in Maths, but ignored what was made in English.
He appreciated the student's progress in Maths, but ignored that in English.

Which of the above two is correct usage per GMAT?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Crick

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Re: SC Doubt : "what was made in" vs "that in" [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 08:48
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Let is apply a small pronoun test to find the difference. A pronoun should be logically replaced by the noun it stands for.
1.He appreciated the student's progress in Maths, but ignored what was made in
English.
Here the pronoun ‘what’ stands for progress; try to replace ‘what’ with progress. The resultant structure will be ‘While he appreciated a noun, he ignored a clause. Is it logical and parallel?

2.He appreciated the student's progress in Maths, but ignored that in English.
Here ‘that’ also stands for progress and is perfectly replacable, because you apprpeciated a noun in the first place and ignored a noun in the second place. Perfect foil.

This is only to say that 'what and that' may not be interchangeable after all.
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Re: SC Doubt : "what was made in" vs "that in" [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 11:27
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Daagh is right as far as he pursues this. The credited answer must make sense if you replace the pronoun with its antecedent. He is also correct that "the student's progress was made in English" is a clause, and so not parallel with "the student's progress in Maths" (though the GMAT is American, and so would use "math").

That's not the only problem with your first option, though. Notice that even if you drop the word "was," so that substitution of the antecedent yields a fine sentence, "what" would still be wrong. Why? Frankly, the grammatical reasons are probably too abstruse to bother about, so I'd just treat this as a diction/idiom-ish question, and say "trust your ear," which advice I almost never give.

In case you're in the mood for abstruse grammatical issues, though... "What" is not an ordinary pronoun like it, it's, they, them, their; nor a relative pronoun, like that, which, , who, whom, when, where; nor even a demonstrative pronoun like this, that, these, those.

Huh? Well, let me give a slightly technical account, and then a simple bottom line.

The slightly technical account: "what" is usually used as what is called an "interrogative pronoun." You use it to ask questions ("What should we order for lunch?") or to describe questions ("Find out what the special at Los Cantaros is.") I believe that I have seen the interrogative "what" used on the GMAT SC in the latter way, but never in a contested part of the question. So we probably don't need to worry about that.

"What" can also be used in some circumstances in which "that which" or "the thing(s) that" would be grammatically correct but awkward ("What I like even better than the sopa is the birria.") I have seen the "what" used on the GMAT SC in this way, but not in a contested part of the question. So we probably don't need to worry about that.

"What" does a few additional jobs in Standard Written English, but those jobs are even less relevant to the GMAT.

The simple bottom line: if the real GMAT gives you a choice between some other pronoun and "what", choose the other pronoun, unless your ear demands otherwise. If you have a terrible ear for this sort of thing, look for some other split first.
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Last edited by MichaelS on 07 Mar 2012, 17:03, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: SC Doubt : "what was made in" vs "that in" [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 16:00
Nice explanation by daagh .. Sentence 1 looks a bit aqward and wordy compared to sentence 2 which is concise and correct.

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Re: SC Doubt : "what was made in" vs "that in" [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2012, 17:31
Thanks daagh and MichaelS for the explanations.

There is one small clarification. Per Michael's post, "what" would actually stand for "the progress that" and not just "progress".

But i got the overall message.

To check for pronoun, replace it with its intended noun and see if the resultant sentence makes sense.

When the only difference between two choices is "what" and "other logical pronoun", choose the latter unless it sounds very awkward.

Crick

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Re: I am confused between the following two sentences He [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2016, 16:45
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Re: I am confused between the following two sentences He   [#permalink] 12 Feb 2016, 16:45
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