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# In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by

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In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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02 Sep 2007, 03:25
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In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by pqhai on 29 Sep 2013, 00:55, edited 1 time in total.
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02 Sep 2007, 06:55
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I will stick with A here.
B and E are out becasue of which clause, here it refers to cigarette whereas it needs to refer to extra paper.
C is out due to clause "when it enters .... this looks awkward.
D is wrong becasue of "and" in "and thereby". I believe that thereby is introducing a subordinate clause so we dont need any conjunction here.
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02 Sep 2007, 08:52
A too.......

wow new formate. i like the old formate but it is really quick.
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2013, 19:01
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2013, 02:00
+1 A

In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows - cannot refer to entire clause
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows - cannot refer to entire clause
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2013, 07:07
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A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing --- good modification; correct choice

B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows ---- ‘they’ is a problematic pronoun here- there is no appropriate plural subject to standby for the 'they'. In addition which slows modifies cigarette --

C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing --- cigarette that uses thin layers. Can cigarette use papers?

D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing --- and thereby slowing -- mars //ism. Thereby slowing is a phrase while on the other side of ‘and’ is a clause; in addition, for which is unidiomatic in the context.

E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows --- which slows modifies cigarette. Wrong
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2013, 14:43
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imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu

imhimanshu wrote:
Could you please provide your reasoning on Choice C as to why it is incorrect. Also, can you please elucidate a bit on the usage of When.

Dear Himanshu,

I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

Split #1: the mystery "they", presumably referring to people at the tobacco company. The "major tobacco company" itself is a singular collective noun, which would take a singular verb (as it does!) and a singular pronoun. This is a classic mistake pattern --- using the plural pronoun "they" for singular collective noun (a company, a country, etc.) (B) is incorrect. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Split #2: the "which" pronoun after the comma. What "slows" the rate of burning? This entire process --- using the extra paper that decreases the oxygen. We can use a participle to modify a clause ---- "slowing" ---- but we cannot use the relative pronoun "which" to modify a clause. See this blog for another alternative:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/
Here, the answers with "which slows" are incorrect --- (B) & (E) are out.

Split #3: the "and" before the "thereby" is problematic ---- it suggests this parallelism with another participle, which isn't the case. It's awkward. (D) is out.

Split #4: the beginning of the underlined sentence:
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used ... = correct --- passive verb is fine, because we care about the effect, the way the cigarettes wind up, not about who is doing this to the cigarette
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper ... --- the "they" problem discussed in Split #1
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper ... --- this has the active verb "uses" --- what "uses"? Does the "cigarette" "use" "thin "layers of extra paper"???? That is a colloquialism that would in no way be acceptable on the GMAT. This is one reason (C) is incorrect.
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used ... --- has the correct passive, but the preposition "for" is odd. The extra layers of thing paper are used "for" the cigarettes, for the sake of the cigarette?? Something is off about this wording.
E. using thin layers of extra paper ... ---- similar to (C), implies that the "cigarettes" themselves are the agents.

Split #5: to express purpose or intention, use an infinitive, "to decrease", not a preposition + gerund "in decreasing" ---- choices (B) & (E) make this mistake.

Split #6: (as requested) --- the problem with "when" --- this is subtle ---- the phrase "to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette" correctly implies that there's a lot of oxygen out there, that more of it used to enter the cigarette, and now less does. By contrast, the phrase " to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" illogically suggests that some quantity of oxygen enters the cigarette, and after it enters, somehow inside the cigarette it is decreased, as if there is some magical transmutation of the elements that takes place, so that oxygen that has already entered the cigarette becomes something other than oxygen, so that the amount of the oxygen that already has entered the cigarette is decreased. This is a huge and subtle logical problem with (C).

For all these reasons, the only possible answer is (A), the OA. This is a good challenging question --- typical of the high standards of the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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27 Sep 2013, 07:01
mikemcgarry wrote:

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Thanks Mike for the Awesome explanation. You just Killed this one.

Mike, Can you please provide an example when the usage preposition + ing is correct.
I have seen questions where the issue drills down to to+verb or prep + ing usage.

Thanks
imhimanshu
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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03 Feb 2014, 18:36
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing OK - The trap perhaps is "in which" relative pronoun phrase instead of "that" relative pronoun; "in which" = "that".
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows "They" has not logical referent; "which slows" modifies cigarette and not the entire clause so as to indicate a cause and effect relationship.
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing "that uses..." contains many phrases and can be more concise with a subordinate clause (instead of a only relative pronoun); prepositions such as "before" or "after" describes better than "when" relative pronoun; perhaps "when" is even used incorrectly. (Thanks to Mike; we know it is. Thanks Mike!)
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing Testing-marketing is not done "for" thin paper, but rather test-marketing is done for a cigarettes "in which..."
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows If a subordinate clause is available, use it instead of a list of prepositions; "which shows" improperly modifies the cigarette.
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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28 May 2015, 04:50
mikemcgarry wrote:
imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu

imhimanshu wrote:
Could you please provide your reasoning on Choice C as to why it is incorrect. Also, can you please elucidate a bit on the usage of When.

Dear Himanshu,

I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

Split #1: the mystery "they", presumably referring to people at the tobacco company. The "major tobacco company" itself is a singular collective noun, which would take a singular verb (as it does!) and a singular pronoun. This is a classic mistake pattern --- using the plural pronoun "they" for singular collective noun (a company, a country, etc.) (B) is incorrect. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Split #2: the "which" pronoun after the comma. What "slows" the rate of burning? This entire process --- using the extra paper that decreases the oxygen. We can use a participle to modify a clause ---- "slowing" ---- but we cannot use the relative pronoun "which" to modify a clause. See this blog for another alternative:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/
Here, the answers with "which slows" are incorrect --- (B) & (E) are out.

Split #3: the "and" before the "thereby" is problematic ---- it suggests this parallelism with another participle, which isn't the case. It's awkward. (D) is out.

Split #4: the beginning of the underlined sentence:
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used ... = correct --- passive verb is fine, because we care about the effect, the way the cigarettes wind up, not about who is doing this to the cigarette
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper ... --- the "they" problem discussed in Split #1
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper ... --- this has the active verb "uses" --- what "uses"? Does the "cigarette" "use" "thin "layers of extra paper"???? That is a colloquialism that would in no way be acceptable on the GMAT. This is one reason (C) is incorrect.
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used ... --- has the correct passive, but the preposition "for" is odd. The extra layers of thing paper are used "for" the cigarettes, for the sake of the cigarette?? Something is off about this wording.
E. using thin layers of extra paper ... ---- similar to (C), implies that the "cigarettes" themselves are the agents.

Split #5: to express purpose or intention, use an infinitive, "to decrease", not a preposition + gerund "in decreasing" ---- choices (B) & (E) make this mistake.

Split #6: (as requested) --- the problem with "when" --- this is subtle ---- the phrase "to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette" correctly implies that there's a lot of oxygen out there, that more of it used to enter the cigarette, and now less does. By contrast, the phrase " to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" illogically suggests that some quantity of oxygen enters the cigarette, and after it enters, somehow inside the cigarette it is decreased, as if there is some magical transmutation of the elements that takes place, so that oxygen that has already entered the cigarette becomes something other than oxygen, so that the amount of the oxygen that already has entered the cigarette is decreased. This is a huge and subtle logical problem with (C).

For all these reasons, the only possible answer is (A), the OA. This is a good challenging question --- typical of the high standards of the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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28 May 2015, 04:57
mikemcgarry wrote:
imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu

imhimanshu wrote:
Could you please provide your reasoning on Choice C as to why it is incorrect. Also, can you please elucidate a bit on the usage of When.

Dear Himanshu,

I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

Split #1: the mystery "they", presumably referring to people at the tobacco company. The "major tobacco company" itself is a singular collective noun, which would take a singular verb (as it does!) and a singular pronoun. This is a classic mistake pattern --- using the plural pronoun "they" for singular collective noun (a company, a country, etc.) (B) is incorrect. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Split #2: the "which" pronoun after the comma. What "slows" the rate of burning? This entire process --- using the extra paper that decreases the oxygen. We can use a participle to modify a clause ---- "slowing" ---- but we cannot use the relative pronoun "which" to modify a clause. See this blog for another alternative:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/
Here, the answers with "which slows" are incorrect --- (B) & (E) are out.

Split #3: the "and" before the "thereby" is problematic ---- it suggests this parallelism with another participle, which isn't the case. It's awkward. (D) is out.

Split #4: the beginning of the underlined sentence:
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used ... = correct --- passive verb is fine, because we care about the effect, the way the cigarettes wind up, not about who is doing this to the cigarette
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper ... --- the "they" problem discussed in Split #1
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper ... --- this has the active verb "uses" --- what "uses"? Does the "cigarette" "use" "thin "layers of extra paper"???? That is a colloquialism that would in no way be acceptable on the GMAT. This is one reason (C) is incorrect.
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used ... --- has the correct passive, but the preposition "for" is odd. The extra layers of thing paper are used "for" the cigarettes, for the sake of the cigarette?? Something is off about this wording.
E. using thin layers of extra paper ... ---- similar to (C), implies that the "cigarettes" themselves are the agents.

Split #5: to express purpose or intention, use an infinitive, "to decrease", not a preposition + gerund "in decreasing" ---- choices (B) & (E) make this mistake.

Split #6: (as requested) --- the problem with "when" --- this is subtle ---- the phrase "to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette" correctly implies that there's a lot of oxygen out there, that more of it used to enter the cigarette, and now less does. By contrast, the phrase " to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" illogically suggests that some quantity of oxygen enters the cigarette, and after it enters, somehow inside the cigarette it is decreased, as if there is some magical transmutation of the elements that takes place, so that oxygen that has already entered the cigarette becomes something other than oxygen, so that the amount of the oxygen that already has entered the cigarette is decreased. This is a huge and subtle logical problem with (C).

For all these reasons, the only possible answer is (A), the OA. This is a good challenging question --- typical of the high standards of the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Mike,
the main problem with C is that the subject/agent of "slowing" is not logic.

the paradox is that the native who get 800 on gmat can not teach the non native to get 620 on gmat while the non native who get 620 on gmat can teach the non native to do so

I realize this paradox and I see why gmat disadvantage non native. but the reward is great. non native can get full scholarship and more
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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21 Jun 2015, 13:55
The way I approached this question was as follows. The core of the sentence looks like this:

"company is test-marketing a cigarette _________________ the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates"

So....

A: Correct --
B: Incorrect b/c "they use thin layers in decreasing the amount of oxygen" --> thin layers are used to decrease not "in decreasing" + use of "they" is ambiguous
C: Incorrect b/c "decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" --> what is it? pronoun reference error
D: (My original choice; incorrect) - "and thereby slowing" is problematic because the conjunction ties the verb (slowing) back to the main subject (company)
It's like saying "company is test-marketing a cigarette, xxxxx, and thereby slowing" --> in this case the company is doing the slowing, not the fact that the cigarette uses thin layers, etc...
E: Incorrect b/c "using thin layers" -- >this describes how they are marketing the cigarette which is ilogical
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2015, 23:36
Great question.

Tests various prepositions.

johnycute wrote:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2015, 05:49
mikemcgarry wrote:
imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu

imhimanshu wrote:
Could you please provide your reasoning on Choice C as to why it is incorrect. Also, can you please elucidate a bit on the usage of When.

Dear Himanshu,

I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

Split #1: the mystery "they", presumably referring to people at the tobacco company. The "major tobacco company" itself is a singular collective noun, which would take a singular verb (as it does!) and a singular pronoun. This is a classic mistake pattern --- using the plural pronoun "they" for singular collective noun (a company, a country, etc.) (B) is incorrect. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Split #2: the "which" pronoun after the comma. What "slows" the rate of burning? This entire process --- using the extra paper that decreases the oxygen. We can use a participle to modify a clause ---- "slowing" ---- but we cannot use the relative pronoun "which" to modify a clause. See this blog for another alternative:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/
Here, the answers with "which slows" are incorrect --- (B) & (E) are out.

Split #3: the "and" before the "thereby" is problematic ---- it suggests this parallelism with another participle, which isn't the case. It's awkward. (D) is out.

Split #4: the beginning of the underlined sentence:
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used ... = correct --- passive verb is fine, because we care about the effect, the way the cigarettes wind up, not about who is doing this to the cigarette
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper ... --- the "they" problem discussed in Split #1
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper ... --- this has the active verb "uses" --- what "uses"? Does the "cigarette" "use" "thin "layers of extra paper"???? That is a colloquialism that would in no way be acceptable on the GMAT. This is one reason (C) is incorrect.
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used ... --- has the correct passive, but the preposition "for" is odd. The extra layers of thing paper are used "for" the cigarettes, for the sake of the cigarette?? Something is off about this wording.
E. using thin layers of extra paper ... ---- similar to (C), implies that the "cigarettes" themselves are the agents.

Split #5: to express purpose or intention, use an infinitive, "to decrease", not a preposition + gerund "in decreasing" ---- choices (B) & (E) make this mistake.

Split #6: (as requested) --- the problem with "when" --- this is subtle ---- the phrase "to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette" correctly implies that there's a lot of oxygen out there, that more of it used to enter the cigarette, and now less does. By contrast, the phrase " to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" illogically suggests that some quantity of oxygen enters the cigarette, and after it enters, somehow inside the cigarette it is decreased, as if there is some magical transmutation of the elements that takes place, so that oxygen that has already entered the cigarette becomes something other than oxygen, so that the amount of the oxygen that already has entered the cigarette is decreased. This is a huge and subtle logical problem with (C).

For all these reasons, the only possible answer is (A), the OA. This is a good challenging question --- typical of the high standards of the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hello Mike,
Is the use of comma + and in option D correct ?
Because comma + and is used to represent two independent clauses
but here second clause is actually dependent on first
Is this right ?
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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27 Jul 2015, 14:05
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divya517 wrote:
Hello Mike,
Is the use of comma + and in option D correct ?
Because comma + and is used to represent two independent clauses
but here second clause is actually dependent on first
Is this right ?

Dear divya517,

I'm happy to respond. The short answer is: NO!

Here's the question again.
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

In (D), what follows the comma and the word "and" is NOT a clause. It's a participle, a modifier that modifies the preceding clause. Putting an "and" in front of a modifying participle, to separate it from what it modifies, is always 100% wrong.
The GMAT is challenging, causing student to study hard. = right
The GMAT is challenging, and causing student to study hard. = wrong

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2016, 08:24
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In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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29 Sep 2016, 23:05
mikemcgarry wrote:
imhimanshu wrote:
Hello Experts,
Can someone provide reasoning to this question. Its from GPrep.

Thanks
Himanshu

imhimanshu wrote:
Could you please provide your reasoning on Choice C as to why it is incorrect. Also, can you please elucidate a bit on the usage of When.

Dear Himanshu,

I'm happy to help.

Here's the question again:
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette, thereby slowing
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen that enters the cigarette, and thereby slowing
E. using thin layers of extra paper in decreasing the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, which slows

Split #1: the mystery "they", presumably referring to people at the tobacco company. The "major tobacco company" itself is a singular collective noun, which would take a singular verb (as it does!) and a singular pronoun. This is a classic mistake pattern --- using the plural pronoun "they" for singular collective noun (a company, a country, etc.) (B) is incorrect. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Split #2: the "which" pronoun after the comma. What "slows" the rate of burning? This entire process --- using the extra paper that decreases the oxygen. We can use a participle to modify a clause ---- "slowing" ---- but we cannot use the relative pronoun "which" to modify a clause. See this blog for another alternative:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sente ... te-a-word/
Here, the answers with "which slows" are incorrect --- (B) & (E) are out.

Split #3: the "and" before the "thereby" is problematic ---- it suggests this parallelism with another participle, which isn't the case. It's awkward. (D) is out.

Split #4: the beginning of the underlined sentence:
A. in which thin layers of extra paper are used ... = correct --- passive verb is fine, because we care about the effect, the way the cigarettes wind up, not about who is doing this to the cigarette
B. in which they use thin layers of extra paper ... --- the "they" problem discussed in Split #1
C. that uses thin layers of extra paper ... --- this has the active verb "uses" --- what "uses"? Does the "cigarette" "use" "thin "layers of extra paper"???? That is a colloquialism that would in no way be acceptable on the GMAT. This is one reason (C) is incorrect.
D. for which thin layers of extra paper are used ... --- has the correct passive, but the preposition "for" is odd. The extra layers of thing paper are used "for" the cigarettes, for the sake of the cigarette?? Something is off about this wording.
E. using thin layers of extra paper ... ---- similar to (C), implies that the "cigarettes" themselves are the agents.

Split #5: to express purpose or intention, use an infinitive, "to decrease", not a preposition + gerund "in decreasing" ---- choices (B) & (E) make this mistake.

Split #6: (as requested) --- the problem with "when" --- this is subtle ---- the phrase "to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette" correctly implies that there's a lot of oxygen out there, that more of it used to enter the cigarette, and now less does. By contrast, the phrase " to decrease the amount of oxygen when it enters the cigarette" illogically suggests that some quantity of oxygen enters the cigarette, and after it enters, somehow inside the cigarette it is decreased, as if there is some magical transmutation of the elements that takes place, so that oxygen that has already entered the cigarette becomes something other than oxygen, so that the amount of the oxygen that already has entered the cigarette is decreased. This is a huge and subtle logical problem with (C).

For all these reasons, the only possible answer is (A), the OA. This is a good challenging question --- typical of the high standards of the GMAT.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hey mikemcgarry, Another great explanation.

Of course I spotted the " ,which " here.

Wanted to understand a bit about the " -ING modifiers" - If there is an "ING word" following a Noun without a COMMA, does it mean to modify the NOUN ? I have read that we need a COMMA ING word if we want to use it as a participle. Do you have any resources that will help me understand this?

Thanks
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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30 Sep 2016, 10:41
AmanKidCACS wrote:
Hey mikemcgarry, Another great explanation.

Of course I spotted the " ,which " here.

Wanted to understand a bit about the " -ING modifiers" - If there is an "ING word" following a Noun without a COMMA, does it mean to modify the NOUN ? I have read that we need a COMMA ING word if we want to use it as a participle. Do you have any resources that will help me understand this?

Thanks

Dear AmanKidCACS,

I'm happy to respond.

Here's what I am going to say. It is is impossible, impossible, to attain GMAT SC mastery by assembling some ideal list of rules. The Chinese sage Laozi said: "The Way that can be put into words is not the true Way." While this might be more relevant for big questions of destiny and life meaning, there is a sense in which it says something deep about GMAT SC. There are multiple elements of SC mastery that cannot be formulated tersely as rules. For example, as I have mentioned before, apprehending the meaning of the sentence is more important than figuring out what any comma is doing.

As I believe we have discussed, whether what you are calling the "ING word" is a participle or a gerund or part of a full verb is the first issue. If it is a participle, then it's hard to deduce anything universal from the presence or absence of a comma. Context is everything!

Here's the prompt, which is the OA (A):
In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by cigarettes, a major tobacco company is test-marketing a cigarette in which thin layers of extra paper are used to decrease the amount of oxygen entering the cigarette, thereby slowing the rate at which it burns and lowering the heat it generates.
In that sentence, we have three participles. The first, "entering," clearly modifies the noun that precedes it, "oxygen": the oxygen" is performing the action of "entering the cigarette."
The other two participles, "slowing ... and lowering" are in parallel. These modify the action of the entire clause before the comma. You see, participles can be noun-modifiers or they can be verb-modifiers--modifying the action of a verb or, essentially, the action of an entire clause, since the verb is the heart of any clause.

That's what is happening in this particular sentence, but once again, it's hard to form general rules. I would recommend that you be deeply suspicious of any GMAT prep book that is recommending a ton of rules about SC. Some books make their money by giving students what they ask for rather than what they need.

If you really are committed to improving your verbal performance on the GMAT, I would urge you to cultivate a habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score
Reading is precisely what builds intuition for the language, all those levels of understanding that are subtle & pattern-based rather than clear-cut & rule-based.

Also, I will say that I explain a tremendous amount about GMAT SC in the Magoosh lessons. Here's a free lesson:
Substantive Clauses
Here's a practice SC question:
With American cryptanalysts
When you submit your answer, the following page will have my video explanation. Each one of Magoosh's 1000+ has its own VE: this sort of immediate feedback accelerates the learning process of our students. That's where you would find a compendium of my advice on GMAT SC.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by [#permalink]

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30 Sep 2016, 11:03
Great. Thanks a ton. GMAT in a few days

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Re: In an effort to reduce the number of fires started by   [#permalink] 30 Sep 2016, 11:03
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