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# In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e

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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2017, 01:59
Hi mikemcgarry GMATNinja / Experts

Can you help me with below query:
Why do we need two ANDs in OA- B. Does below sentence make sense:
In ancient Thailand,
much of the local artisans’ creative energy was expended
on the creation of Buddha images ,
on construction and
decoration of the temples in
which they were enshrined
OR
In ancient Thailand,
much of the local artisans’ creative energy was expended
on the creation of Buddha images ,
construction and
decoration of the temples in
which they were enshrined
let me know if replacing AND coma makes more sense since only last element need to
be connected using AND in parallel list.
WR,
Arpit
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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2017, 14:28
1
Hi mikemcgarry GMATNinja / Experts

Can you help me with below query:
Why do we need two ANDs in OA- B. Does below sentence make sense:
In ancient Thailand,
much of the local artisans’ creative energy was expended
on the creation of Buddha images ,
on construction and
decoration of the temples in
which they were enshrined
OR
In ancient Thailand,
much of the local artisans’ creative energy was expended
on the creation of Buddha images ,
construction and
decoration of the temples in
which they were enshrined
let me know if replacing AND coma makes more sense since only last element need to
be connected using AND in parallel list.
WR,
Arpit

I'm happy to respond.

My friend, the short answer is no. Neither of your versions is good: we really need what the SC question OA had.

You see, the word "and" appears twice because we have nested parallelism, that is to say, one parallel structure nested inside another. The GMAT absolutely loves to nest structures inside each other.

Parallel structure #1:
much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on V and on W
V = the creation of Buddha images
W = parallel structure #2

Parallel structure #2:
on Y and Z of the temples in which they were enshrined
Y = construction
Z = decoration

This is NOT a list of three parallel elements. It is something very different. There is parallelism at two different levels. The first "and" is for Parallel structure #1, and the second is for Parallel structure #2.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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04 May 2018, 10:16
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(A) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated the temples that enshrined them

The biggest issue in (A) is the mess of pronouns toward the end of the sentence. That first “they” logically needs to refer to “local artisans”, but that raises two problems. First, “Buddha images” is the closest plural noun, so that raises a potential ambiguity issue. Second, “local artisans” is actually a possessive noun here, and in general on the GMAT, it’s not ideal to have a non-possessive pronoun (“they”) refer back to a possessive noun (artisans’).

If you need a refresher on pronouns, feel free to check out this YouTube webinar. To be fair, pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule, so you could keep (A) if you really wanted to be conservative. But in this case, I think we can agree that the pronouns are legitimately confusing, or at least we can agree that there are better options below.

And if that isn’t enough for you, there’s arguably a little parallelism issue in (A): “…the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated…” I’m not 100% certain that it’s WRONG, exactly: I guess it’s OK to say that “the local artisans’ creative energy was expended… when they constructed and decorated the temples…” But technically speaking, “for the creation” is a prepositional phrase, and “when they constructed” is not.

If you’re not convinced by that last paragraph, no worries: the pronoun thing is probably enough to allow us to get rid of (A), particularly since we’ll have better options in a moment.

Quote:
(B) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

This one seems much better! The pronoun “they” logically need to refer to “Buddha images”, and there’s no real reason to worry about ambiguity here: “Buddha images” is really the only plausible plural referent, since “local artisans’” is possessive, and “temples” isn’t really an option, since “they” couldn’t plausibly refer back to temples in the phrase “temples in which they were enshrined.”

The parallelism is also much better here: “much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration…” Yup, that’s parallel.

So we can keep (B).

Quote:
(C) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

(C) isn’t all that different from (B), but it does warp the parallelism a little bit. Let’s put the key part of the sentence side-by-side so we can see the differences:

(B) “much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration…”
(C)“much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration…”

(C) isn’t totally awful, but I see absolutely no reason to use “as well as” here, when a nice, simple “and” does the trick. Plus, (B) is parallel throughout: the artisans’ energy was expended on the creation, construction, and decoration. That’s nice. In (C), it gets wonky: we have “on the creation”, but then “constructing and decoration.” That’s less nice.

Again, I wouldn’t argue that (C) is WRONG, exactly. But it’s clearly inferior to (B), so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) creating images of Buddha accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy, and also constructing and decorating the temples enshrining them

This is a confusing mess. Basically, we can’t make any sense of the parallelism: “and” is followed by “constructing and decorating”, but I can’t figure out what “constructing and decorating” is parallel to. “Creating” is structurally similar, but if we’re trying to make “creating” parallel to “constructing and decorating”, then why aren’t all of them at the beginning of the sentence?

Plus, we could argue that “them” is more confusing than in (B). “Them” logically refers back to “images of Buddha”, which is waaaaay back in the beginning of the sentence in (D). The antecedent is much closer to the pronoun in (B). Again, pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule on the GMAT, and I wouldn’t necessarily argue that (D) is WRONG solely because of the pronoun – but the pronoun gives us another small reason to prefer (B) over (D).

Quote:
(E) the creating of Buddha images accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy as well as construction and decoration of the temples that enshrined them

We can make the same argument about the pronoun “them” in (E) as we did in (D): it isn’t WRONG for “them” to reach all the way back to “Buddha images”, but it isn’t ideal, either.

More importantly, the meaning of the sentence is warped by the phrase “as well as construction and decoration.” It sounds like the sentence is trying to say that “the creating of Buddha images” accounted for several things: “the local artisans’ creative energy” and also “the construction and decoration of the temples.” And that doesn’t make sense: the creating of Buddha images didn’t “account for the construction and decoration of temples.”

Plus, I suppose you could also argue that “the creating of Buddha images” is a not-so-ideal use of a gerund. There’s no need to use the gerund “creating” when the noun “creation” is available to us. Again, I don’t think that “the creating of Buddha images” is WRONG, exactly, but it’s one more small reason to feel good about eliminating (E).

Hi Charles Sir,

I have a question regarding the option C. As much as the idiomatic construction of "as well as" is incorrect, I have confusion whether the term "creating" is actually a simple or complex gerund. Because if it is a simple gerund (overlooking the faraway "of"), then it certainly cannot be parallel with the two action nouns: construction and decoration. But, if it is a complex gerund (considering the "of" to be common with "decoration"), then it certainly is very much parallel with the action nouns. So, if we ignore the "as well as" part, can the discussed reason be the "sole" criteria for eliminating an answer choice? (If at all the word "creating" is a complex gerund). Even though complex gerunds can be parallel to the action nouns, is it preferable to convert all terms into action nouns?

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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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13 May 2018, 11:53
urvashis09 wrote:

I have a question regarding the option C. As much as the idiomatic construction of "as well as" is incorrect, I have confusion whether the term "creating" is actually a simple or complex gerund. Because if it is a simple gerund (overlooking the faraway "of"), then it certainly cannot be parallel with the two action nouns: construction and decoration. But, if it is a complex gerund (considering the "of" to be common with "decoration"), then it certainly is very much parallel with the action nouns. So, if we ignore the "as well as" part, can the discussed reason be the "sole" criteria for eliminating an answer choice? (If at all the word "creating" is a complex gerund). Even though complex gerunds can be parallel to the action nouns, is it preferable to convert all terms into action nouns?

I'll be honest: in the (*cough*) ridiculous number of years since I first started teaching/taking the GMAT, I've never given a moment's thought to the difference between simple and complex gerunds. I just can't see any reason why we would use a gerund (any gerund!) in the phrase "the creating of", when it would be much more elegant to say "the creation of." Why use a kooky gerund phrase when a nice, normal noun is available to us?

In general, I get nervous whenever we try to turn a very fine nuance of grammar into a hard-and-fast GMAT rule. Most things that we sometimes describe as GMAT "rules" (pronoun ambiguity, for example, or the modifier "touch rule") end up having exceptions. And since the GMAT has never published an authoritative, comprehensive list of SC rules, we have to wonder which things can even be reasonably described as "rules" in the first place.

I agree that if two actions are parallel, it would generally be PREFERABLE to use two action nouns, instead of a gerund and an action noun. But the GMAT avoided making that the SOLE issue in this question, interestingly. And it wouldn't shock me to see a correct answer that includes an action noun that's parallel to a gerund, even though I can't think of any cases of it.

Bottom line: your thinking seems correct to me, but just be careful not to get TOO mechanical with "rules" that might not actually be real RULES. This particular question is typical of the GMAT: there are two issues that make (B) better than (C). So even if you're not 100% certain about either issue individually, the correct answer is pretty unambiguous.

I know that wasn't the most satisfying answer ever, but I hope that it helps, anyway!
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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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26 Sep 2018, 19:17
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(A) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated the temples that enshrined them

The biggest issue in (A) is the mess of pronouns toward the end of the sentence. That first “they” logically needs to refer to “local artisans”, but that raises two problems. First, “Buddha images” is the closest plural noun, so that raises a potential ambiguity issue. Second, “local artisans” is actually a possessive noun here, and in general on the GMAT, it’s not ideal to have a non-possessive pronoun (“they”) refer back to a possessive noun (artisans’).

If you need a refresher on pronouns, feel free to check out this YouTube webinar. To be fair, pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule, so you could keep (A) if you really wanted to be conservative. But in this case, I think we can agree that the pronouns are legitimately confusing, or at least we can agree that there are better options below.

And if that isn’t enough for you, there’s arguably a little parallelism issue in (A): “…the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated…” I’m not 100% certain that it’s WRONG, exactly: I guess it’s OK to say that “the local artisans’ creative energy was expended… when they constructed and decorated the temples…” But technically speaking, “for the creation” is a prepositional phrase, and “when they constructed” is not.

If you’re not convinced by that last paragraph, no worries: the pronoun thing is probably enough to allow us to get rid of (A), particularly since we’ll have better options in a moment.

Quote:
(B) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

This one seems much better! The pronoun “they” logically need to refer to “Buddha images”, and there’s no real reason to worry about ambiguity here: “Buddha images” is really the only plausible plural referent, since “local artisans’” is possessive, and “temples” isn’t really an option, since “they” couldn’t plausibly refer back to temples in the phrase “temples in which they were enshrined.”

The parallelism is also much better here: “much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration…” Yup, that’s parallel.

So we can keep (B).

Quote:
(C) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

(C) isn’t all that different from (B), but it does warp the parallelism a little bit. Let’s put the key part of the sentence side-by-side so we can see the differences:

(B) “much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration…”
(C)“much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration…”

(C) isn’t totally awful, but I see absolutely no reason to use “as well as” here, when a nice, simple “and” does the trick. Plus, (B) is parallel throughout: the artisans’ energy was expended on the creation, construction, and decoration. That’s nice. In (C), it gets wonky: we have “on the creation”, but then “constructing and decoration.” That’s less nice.

Again, I wouldn’t argue that (C) is WRONG, exactly. But it’s clearly inferior to (B), so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) creating images of Buddha accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy, and also constructing and decorating the temples enshrining them

This is a confusing mess. Basically, we can’t make any sense of the parallelism: “and” is followed by “constructing and decorating”, but I can’t figure out what “constructing and decorating” is parallel to. “Creating” is structurally similar, but if we’re trying to make “creating” parallel to “constructing and decorating”, then why aren’t all of them at the beginning of the sentence?

Plus, we could argue that “them” is more confusing than in (B). “Them” logically refers back to “images of Buddha”, which is waaaaay back in the beginning of the sentence in (D). The antecedent is much closer to the pronoun in (B). Again, pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule on the GMAT, and I wouldn’t necessarily argue that (D) is WRONG solely because of the pronoun – but the pronoun gives us another small reason to prefer (B) over (D).

Quote:
(E) the creating of Buddha images accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy as well as construction and decoration of the temples that enshrined them

We can make the same argument about the pronoun “them” in (E) as we did in (D): it isn’t WRONG for “them” to reach all the way back to “Buddha images”, but it isn’t ideal, either.

More importantly, the meaning of the sentence is warped by the phrase “as well as construction and decoration.” It sounds like the sentence is trying to say that “the creating of Buddha images” accounted for several things: “the local artisans’ creative energy” and also “the construction and decoration of the temples.” And that doesn’t make sense: the creating of Buddha images didn’t “account for the construction and decoration of temples.”

Plus, I suppose you could also argue that “the creating of Buddha images” is a not-so-ideal use of a gerund. There’s no need to use the gerund “creating” when the noun “creation” is available to us. Again, I don’t think that “the creating of Buddha images” is WRONG, exactly, but it’s one more small reason to feel good about eliminating (E).

Himikemcgarry,
I just needed your advice on pronoun error in this question .
MGMAT, Says
Rule: Every it and Its must refer to same singular antecedent. Every " they,them,and their " must refer to same plural antecedent.

On that grounds ( though not deterministic error ) i suspected that "they" must logically refer to artisans and "them" must logically refer to Images, hence by using "they and them "both are referring to different plural antecedents, we are inviting trouble.

So does the rule apply here. Also what are the exception of this rule.

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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2018, 10:36
1
Hello Everyone!

This looks like a great example of one of the tougher questions you might see on the GMAT! Let's start by taking a quick look at the options, and highlight the major differences we can focus on to start:

In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated the temples that enshrined them.

(A) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated the temples that enshrined them
(B) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined
(C) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined
(D) creating images of Buddha accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy, and also constructing and decorating the temples enshrining them
(E) the creating of Buddha images accounted for much of the local artisans' creative energy as well as construction and decoration of the temples that enshrined them

After a quick glance over the options, we have a few things we can focus on:

1. expended for / expended on / accounted for (idioms & meaning)
2. and / as well as
3. how each ends (possible issues with parallelism & intended meaning)

Let's start with #1, which focuses on choosing the right verb for the job! We have two verb options here, and we need to choose the correct one to convey the intended meaning. The verbs "expended" and "accounted for" mean slightly different things here:

the artisans' energy was expended on/for creating Buddha images = artisans used up a lot of creative energy to create these pieces of art
creating Buddha images accounted for the artisans' energy = artisans got their creative energy by making artwork about Buddha

For this sentence, it makes more sense to say that the artists used up their creative energy by creating so many pieces of Buddha imagery. It doesn't make logical sense to say that artists gained even more creative energy by creating tons of artwork - that's not really how creative energy works. Therefore, we can rule out options D & E because the verb "accounted for" changes the intended meaning.

Now, let's look at the other part of #1: expended for vs. expended on. It is not idiomatically correct to say that people "expend energy for" a task. It IS correct to say that people "expend energy on" a task! Let's see how each option handles this:

(A) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended for the creation of Buddha images and when they constructed and decorated the temples that enshrined them
(B) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined
(C) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

We can also rule out option A because "expended for" isn't idiomatically correct.

Now that we're left with only 2 options, let's take a closer look at parallelism. Remember that when we talk about a list of 2+ items, they both should be written using parallel wording, verb tense, structure, etc. Let's see how each option handles this:

(B) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images and on construction and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

This is CORRECT! The phrases "on the creation of Buddha images" and "on construction and decoration of the temples" are written using parallel structure and wording!

(C) much of the local artisans' creative energy was expended on the creation of Buddha images as well as constructing and decoration of the temples in which they were enshrined

This is INCORRECT because the items are not worded using parallelism! The three actions (creation / constructing / decoration) aren't worded the same. We also don't like using "as well as" in place of the much less wordy "and" here. Remember - the GMAT prefers concise language whenever possible, so why use 3 words when 1 will do?

There you have it - option B is the correct choice!

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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e  [#permalink]

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07 Nov 2018, 10:39
It's the question all about parallel construction which you can find in option B

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Re: In ancient Thailand, much of the local artisans' creative energy was e &nbs [#permalink] 07 Nov 2018, 10:39

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