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# In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround

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Intern
Joined: 27 Nov 2018
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2019, 16:54
I feel like we're all overthinking the question.. highly doubt gmat will would be use questions with ambiguous references, so I think the we should depend on the verbs to decide on what 'that' is referring to. Surround and bustle should reference the same noun, because both 'patchwork' and 'green field' can 'surround' or 'bustle', we shouldn't have to distinguish them

Assuming that 'surround' and 'bustle' both modify the same noun, they should agree with each other, so the correct answer should either have 'surround' (plural) & 'bustle' (plural), or 'surrounds' (singular) & 'bustles' (singular). Then, we are left with B, D & E.

B correctly uses 'whom' to reference farmers, so is correct.
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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07 Jun 2019, 07:01
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

This is a very bizarre question, and I'm afraid I have to disagree with everyone who's saying the answer is "obviously" A. I see nothing wrong with B (which makes this problematic as an official answer). Also, there are serious problems with GMAT Tiger's explanation, which many people have been describing as sensible.

He wrote:

A is correct. "That" in the sentence refers to "green fields", which is plural and so does "that" too. [What in the world does this mean? How can something "do 'that'"?

When "that" is plural, the verb that follows "that" should be also plural (surround), which is only in A and D. [THAT is a relative pronoun, and has no plurality. There is no such thing as a singular or plural "that".

"many of them" is better than "many of whom". -- [This is NOT true. "Them" is a subject pronoun and "whom" is an object pronoun. They have totally different uses. In fact, our ears prefer "them", so GMAT will often encourage you towards "whom".]

OKAY! Now that we've dealt with that bit of confusion, we can look at the question.

In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of them in the area just for the season.

(A) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of them
PROBLEM: The writing of this sentence makes it impossible to work out what the subject of surrounds is. It could be fields (because relative pronouns like "that" typically modify whatever they touch), but it could also be patchwork (because "of green fields" is a modifier, just as we could say the King of Spades IS a good card). This sentence is extra confusing because "surround" and "bustle" are both verbs. The A folks in the room seem to want to argue that the "fields" surround the valley, but the "patchwork" bustles. But why? The same subject could just as easily do both.

(B) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
CORRECT: Whom is correct here, because we need the object of a preposition ("of"). I prefer this answer myself, but I see no actual reason to cross it off.

(C) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of who are
PROBLEM: You can't say "many of who", you need an object pronoun to be the object of the preposition "of".

(D) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustle with farm workers, many of which
PROBLEM: This verb arrangement is odd, as is "many of which". We prefer who/whom for people.

(E) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many are
PROBLEM: This starts a new sentence after the comma, which isn't allowed.

Hope that helps, and I'm definitely up for argument! : )

-tommy

Its "patchwork of green fields", isnt this a prepositional clause and hence the subject would be patchwork which is singular thus followed by "surrounds" supporting SV agreement?
Pls clarify
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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09 Jun 2019, 19:55
Neha2050 wrote:
Its "patchwork of green fields", isnt this a prepositional clause and hence the subject would be patchwork which is singular thus followed by "surrounds" supporting SV agreement?
Pls clarify
Of green fields is a prepositional phrase (green fields is a noun phrase). Patchwork of green fields is a noun phrase. That's why the main verb (bustles) is singular (because patchwork is singular).

The surrounds however, depends on whatever the that refers to (the that could refer either to patchwork of green fields or to green fields).
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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10 Jun 2019, 18:22
Per my understanding the subject here is patchwork. Anything that is after 'of' is a prepositional phrase and hence can not be the subject. So the correct verb form would be 'surrounds'. Between option B and E, option B is better as we need an object pronoun i.e. 'whom'.
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18 Jan 2020, 16:58
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In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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18 Jan 2020, 20:46
pulinagarwal wrote:
Per my understanding the subject here is patchwork. Anything that is after 'of' is a prepositional phrase and hence can not be the subject.

Hi pulinagarwal, words in a prepositional phrase cannot be the subject in the clause that prepositional phrase is a part of.

In this sentence, the two clauses are:

(i) In good years, the patchwork of green fields bustles with farm workers, many of them in the area just for the season

(ii) that surround the San Joaquin Valley town

Notice that patchwork of green fields is part of clause (i) and hence, in clause (i), green fields cannot be the subject (since it is part of prepositional phrase). Hence, the subject is singular (patchwork) and so, we use singular verb bustles in this clause.

On the other hand, in clause (ii), whether the verb should be surround or surrounds, merely depends on what that is modifying. In this case, the nearest word is green fields and there is no reason why that cannot modify green fields. Hence, the correct verb in clause (ii) is surround.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this issue, its application and examples in significant detail. If you or someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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28 May 2020, 11:39
"That" here can refer to both "patchwork" and "green fields", so definitely the pronoun refrent is wrong. But why is option B wrong ? Is " many of whom" wrong ?
Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround   [#permalink] 28 May 2020, 11:39

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