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

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Senior Manager
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In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2009, 08:22
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95% (hard)

Question Stats:

23% (01:23) correct 77% (01:15) wrong based on 4173 sessions

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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
(B) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
(C) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of who are
(D) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustle with farm workers, many of which
(E) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many are
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2009, 08:45
26
19
A.
1."surround" refers to a plural "fields"
2. "bustles" refers to a singular "patchwork"
3. We are left with A and C.
4. C would be correct if we had "many of whom", in which case the modifying phrase would serve as appositive
5. Modifying phrase in A is absolute phrase

priyankur_saha@ml.com wrote:
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
B. surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
C. surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of who are
D. surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustle with farm workers, many of which
E. surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many are

Detail explanations are welcome.
##### General Discussion
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 09:48
26
3
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
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2009, 09:06
9
1
"The patchwork of green fields"--->Singular
hence Surrounds
-->only B and E remain
farm workers-->Modified correctly by "many of whom"
IMO B

A. surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of them
B. surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
C. surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of who are
D. surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustle with farm workers, many of which
E. surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many are
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2009, 09:51
5
It is A because its green fields that surround the valley and patchwork bustles with farmworkers.
I'd got it wrong I too and had looked up the reason at that time.

pierrealexandre77, I'd used http://thousandsc.blogspot.com
Well organized
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2011, 12:00
5
1
While the sentence has a singular subject ("patchwork"), the antecedent of "surround/s" (which is part of the relative clause "that surround/s the San Joaquin Valley town") can be either "fields" or "patchwork" depending on the author's intention. Thus, since there's nothing grammatically amiss with either "surround" or "surrounds," you can reject neither and must instead consider other parts of the sentence to eliminate the four wrong options.

Eliminate D right away, because both "bustle" and "which" are wrong--"farm workers" being people and not inanimate objects. Get rid of C because "who" should be "whom" (object of a preposition) and E because "many are" would create a comma splice, which is when two complete sentences are connected by only a comma.

We're left with A and B, then, which differ in just two ways: (1) "surround"/"surrounds" and (2) "them"/"whom are." (1) won't help us winnow the choices, so (2) must be our final determinant. Which is better, "many of them in the area just for the season" or "many of whom are in the area just for the season"? Well, both are grammatical, so how do we decide between them? What's the difference between them? A is briefer by one word. That's pretty much it. A is therefore the better choice because it is more concise--its verb is understood ("many of them [being] in the area just for the season"), whereas B's is explicit.

It's a fine distinction, no doubt--but A is slightly better than B.

-C. Rhudy
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2010, 06:20
4
The subject is not "patchwork".

The word "that" suggests that the subject is "green fields" (plural) and hence the verb should be "sorround" (plural).....It is the green fields that sorround not patchwork......

patchwork of green fields (singular).......bustles (singular).......

That leaves A, C and D

C has...."many of who"....who refers to an individual...in the sentence it is "farm workers" (plural)

D has..."many of which"....which refers to a thing not to people.

That leaves only (A)

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
(B) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
(C) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of who are
(D) surround the San Joaquin Valley town bustle with farm workers, many of which
(E) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many are
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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27 Mar 2016, 19:08
4
ts30 wrote:
seofah wrote:
A.
1."surround" refers to a plural "fields"
2. "bustles" refers to a singular "patchwork"
3. We are left with A and C.
4. C would be correct if we had "many of whom", in which case the modifying phrase would serve as appositive
5. Modifying phrase in A is absolute phrase

I dont get the logic for the 1st point. To elaborate, please answer these-
1. Members of an organization is/are protesting.
2. Group of girls is/are partying.

If the answer to any of the above is dependent on the X in the X of Y construction, then how can a patchwork of green fields be plural?

1. Members of an organization are protesting...correct
2. Group of girls is partying... correct

However the subject question is somewhat different from the examples you have given.

The patchwork of green fields is singular.

Nonetheless the modifier that surround the San Joaquin Valley town refers to green fields, which is plural - the relative pronoun that is used to refer to fields, not patchwork. Hence the usage of plural verb surround is alright.

The main subject of the sentence is patchwork, which is singular. Hence it takes the main singular verb bustles.
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Re: The single most popular and ambiguous concept in SC!  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2011, 22:52
3
1
Hmm, my answer is closest to #4, with a bit of 3 and 6 thrown in.

Let's use parentheses to clarify the meaning of your examples:

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.
(By the way, I think this is a flawed problem, and not worthy of all the attention it gets on the forums.)

In an effort improve the quality of patient care, Dr. Lydia Temoscho is directing one (of several clinical research projects that seek to determine how helpful psychological counseling is in supplementing the medical treatment of serious disease).

The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions (in an individual) that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses. (I added a plural here; otherwise, you'd need to add "an" before "unconscious.")

. . . a patent for one (of Kirchoff's laws), an observation

So, in short, when you see a modifier following a prepositional phrase, there is no concrete rule saying whether the modifier applies to the original noun or to the object of the prepositional phrase. You need to use meaning to make the determination. As you said in #3, you may also use the following verb (among other clues) to help you decide. Here are a few more examples off the top of my head (all correct):

Police have captured one of a ring of drug smugglers who have been plaguing the area. (smugglers who)
Members of the committee who do not wish to vote may leave early. (Members . . . who)
The extensive network of caverns that lie beneath the city has yet to be thoroughly explored. (network . . . has yet, caverns that lie)
The price of steel, which had fluctuated wildly for many years, began a steady decline after the labor dispute. (price . . . which)

Notice that there isn't much ambiguity here. In each case, only one reading makes sense. You might make a case for "network (of caverns) that lies," but that's about it. If there is more than one valid way to read the sentence, there will probably be another split that makes the answer clear, or one of the choices will be a distinct departure from the intended meaning conveyed by the other choices.

I hope that helps. Dig up more examples for Supreme Court consideration if you like . . .
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2010, 01:48
2
1
Generally, a relative clause (a clause starting with 'that'/'which'/'who'/'whom'/'whose') should come as close as possible to the word it modifies. The GMAT SC often uses relative clauses inside a prepositional phrase, and this is a structure you should be prepared to see on the exam!

Ex.
Incorrect: One of the students who is in my class is taking her exam on Friday.

Main clause: One... is taking...
Relative/Subordinate clause: who is in my class --> SHOULD REFER TO THE STUDENTS

Correct: One of the students who are in my class is taking her exam on Friday.

One [of the students {who are in my class}] is taking....

Thus, the prepositional phrase ('of the students') describes the subject of the main clause ('One'). The relative clause ('who are in my class') defines the noun inside the prepositional phrase ('students').

However, sometimes the relative clause is separated from the referent (the word to which it refers) by a prepositional phrase, and then you have to pay attention to the intended meaning of the sentence to understand what the referent should be.

Ex. The erosion of the Fortland shores, which has reached an unprecedented rate this year, will eventually result in the destruction of much of the marine wildlife in the area.

Clearly, the erosion and not the shores has reached a rate, and the prepositional phrase ('of Fortland shores') should be skipped as descriptive info.

I hope that helps!

Best,
Sarai
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2011, 18:44
2
In search for further evidence to support B, I found these information in the MGMAT SC book.

For your reference, the original problem and the first two alternatives are here:
-------------------------------
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
(B) surrounds the San Joaquin Valley town bustles with farm workers, many of whom are
-------------------------------

I have 4th edition of the MGMAT SC. On page 234, under "Modifiers: Exception to the Touch Rule"

1) A "mission-critical modifier falls between. This is modifier is often an Of-phrase that defines the noun. Example: He had a way OF DODGING OPPONENTS that impressed the scouts.

Without the Of-phrase, the sentence is meaningless.

In our problem, "patchwork" is meaningless without the of-phrase. So I would qualify this as a valid exception for the touch rule.

On page 236, under "subgroup modifiers"

Right: This model explains all known subatomic particles, SOME OF WHICH WERE only recently discovered
Wrong: This model explains all known subatomic particles, SOME OF WHICH only recently discovered

In other words, this construction requires a verb. As A lacks a verb, I would conclude this ungrammatical, a la MGMAT.
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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27 Apr 2010, 08:56
1
Isnt "of .." the middle man here, which can be eliminated.

Hence bustles describes patchwork and surround should go with greenfields.

379. 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.
Eliminate of
In good years, the patchwork {eliminate middleman} bustles with farm workers, many of them in the area just for the season.
Thus surround describes green fields.

Hence the right choice would be A
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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21 Jun 2010, 07:27
1
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey Sarai,

Sorry to butt in, but can you reference any specific GMAT question that actually utilizes the structure you described there? I can't say I've ever seen it show up on a test, but I'm open to the possibility. In my experience, GMAT would fix the weirdness some other way (i.e. "One of my students is taking her exam..."). Perhaps a cleaner example, because it changes up the verb (instead of using is/is), might be:

One of the songs that blow my mind is "Take the A Train".

Again though, we could fix it by writing "'Take the A Train' is a song that blows my mind." Or something like that. Thoughts?

-t

Hey Tommy,

Yeah, in the Verbal Review, problem #42. The original goes,

"...the AM-1 is one of the many new satellites that is a part of 15 years effort..."

"is a part" is corrected to read "are a part" because it is the satellites that are a part, not the 'one'. It's not a highly common structure, but I know I've seen it tested before, and students should keep their eyes open for it, paying close attention to intended meaning.

-Sarai

p.s. Couldn't agree with you more on "Take the A train"!
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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21 Feb 2011, 01:16
1
2
Before we decide the subjects and their agreement with their corresponding verbs, let us refresh some facts and ask some questions.

1. What is the verb in question? “Surround” –
2. What ‘surround’? It must be some plural subject.
3. What are the available plural subjects prior to surround? There is only one plural subject i.e. ‘green fields’.

In addition, as per the relative pronoun touch - rule, the relative pronoun modifies the noun just before it and assumes all the characteristics of its gender and number.

So there can be no doubt that the noun phrase ‘-green fields –' is the subject of ‘surround’.

Let us now go to the next verb ‘bustles’. This is a singular verb and its subject has to be singular.

What singular subjects are there before ‘bustles? They are the patch work and the town. But green fields are not even a contender because of its plurality.

The singular subject town is not a logical contender in the context, because the town is the object of the verb surround. We have to conclude that the ‘patch work’ is the only plausible subject of the verb ‘bustles’

I am interested in knowing any better logic than this .
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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11 Nov 2012, 02:28
1
Many have argued that the object pronoun ‘them’ may refer to either the fields or the workers. But, can it logically referto the fields? If we accept that premise, then we have to accept that the fields appear around the San Joaquin Valley town for the season, and then disappear or take a vacation in the non- season or in not so good years, and then reappear. Can this logic hold well?

On the contrary, in the context, we can assign such mobility only to workers; so I see no dilemma of ‘them’ referring to the fields.

Can we delve into these points? We can’t crack such hard nuts, unless there is an official version to this kind of hair- pullers.
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and above all the wisdom to know the difference.
-The Serenity Prayer - A GMAT aspirant’s first entreaty

Over 200 pages of personal course material on all gamuts of GMAT SC for non-native speakers, great value for the money; 919884544509
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2010, 08:11
doesnt 'that' make the object of preposition the subject of the next clause?

Discrimination in wages paid in occupations that are predominantly male over the predominantly female have given rise to substantial differentials between the wage of housepainters and secretaries and between the wages of parking-lot attendants and library assistants.

in the example above though the subject is 'disrimination', 'that' makes 'occupations' the subject of the next clause.

PS: i have seen dimilar instances that i am not able to find with preposition 'of' also. please explain
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2010, 10:58
Hey Rosh,

The confusion comes when you want to modify a noun with two modifiers at once. They can't both touch. For example, "The cup of water, which is in my hand, is hot."

Both "of water" and "which is in my hand" are modifying "cup". But they can't both touch. So we allow "cup of water" to be considered ONE THING, which is then modified by "which is in my hand". This is why you can't simply argue that every modifier touches the exact word it modifies, because it may touch another modifier.

Does that help?

-tommy
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2010, 12:29
yeah i do know that in X of Y, which......; the 'which' USUALLY refers to X ( as u guys in manhattan call it mission critical modifier) , but can the same yardstick be applied to 'that', which is an essential modifier. is it better to ALWAYS treat 'X of Y' clause like a noun phrase? this way there would be no ambiguity what so ever
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2010, 13:03
Hey Rosh,

Yeah, I'd say treat any X of Y like one thing, but I don't know how far you can stretch that: "The house that I bought from Dave, which is on fire, was a bad purchase."

Here, the essential clause is necessary, but then the "which" clearly modifies HOUSE still, not Dave, even though it's touching. I'll need to re-read our official literature on mission critical modifiers, but my understanding would be that my example sentence is fine.

Hope that helps!

-t
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Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround  [#permalink]

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20 Jun 2010, 16:54
Hey Sarai,

Sorry to butt in, but can you reference any specific GMAT question that actually utilizes the structure you described there? I can't say I've ever seen it show up on a test, but I'm open to the possibility. In my experience, GMAT would fix the weirdness some other way (i.e. "One of my students is taking her exam..."). Perhaps a cleaner example, because it changes up the verb (instead of using is/is), might be:

One of the songs that blow my mind is "Take the A Train".

Again though, we could fix it by writing "'Take the A Train' is a song that blows my mind." Or something like that. Thoughts?

-t
Re: In good years, the patchwork of green fields that surround   [#permalink] 20 Jun 2010, 16:54

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