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In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company

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In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance

(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause

(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance

(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

Source : GMATPrep Default Exam Pack

Scientific American Resource Library: Readings in Psychology, Volume 2

The name comes from the Western Electric Company's Hawthorne Works in Chicago. In the 1920's the plant was the scene of an intensive series of experiments designed to determine what effect various changes in working conditions would have on the performance of female workers.

Originally posted by leeye84 on 27 May 2007, 16:44.
Last edited by Bunuel on 23 Oct 2019, 21:06, edited 5 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jun 2017, 09:09
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pafrompa wrote:
Can someone help me quickly with B vs D? I read other comments and am still a little lost.

B) My problem with B is that I believe it is modifying "scene", which doesn't make sense. Both "of an intensive series" and "of experiments" are prepositional phrases and thus modifiers in their own right.

D) Some of the people above were saying that the reason D is wrong is because "that" shows the clause that follows is modifying experiment.How is modifying experiment any less logical than modifying scene?

I guess what I am getting stuck on is how some can argue that the present participle "investigating" is modifying the entire clause in front of it. I thought only adverbial modifiers do that, and in that case you would need a comma -ing, right?


Yeah, this is a tricky little question. It's true that "investigating" (or any other "-ing" modifier) will often modify an entire clause, but I don't actually think it's true in this case.

In (B), I'm comfortable saying that "investigating" is just an adjective that modifies "series of experiments." There's some finesse involved here, to be fair: sure, a modifier can "reach back" through a bunch of prepositional phrases, but in general, the modifier is going to be as close as possible to thing it's modifying. So with any noun modifier -- that, which, "-ing", or anything else -- your first thought should be that it modifies the preceding noun. If that doesn't make sense, see if there's something else "behind" a prepositional phrase that would make sense. But don't assume that the modifier is always reaching way back across several prepositions. That can happen, but it shouldn't be your first thought.

(D) isn't all that different from (B) in terms of the meaning of the modifier: "that investigated changes" modifies the nearest noun, "series of experiments" or just "experiments." That seems OK.

The trickier thing is the meaning difference between (B) and (D). In (D), what, exactly, is the thing that changes? The effects (of working conditions) change -- not the working conditions themselves. In (B), the working conditions actually change -- and the researchers are figuring out the effects of those changes on workers' performance.

Does that help at all?
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2017, 15:44
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This thing is painful. Good luck to us.

Quote:
(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance

The word “that” always jumps out at me (more on the GMAT’s uses of “that” in this article), but I don’t think it’s doing anything wrong here: “that would investigate changes…” just modifies the “series of experiments.” No worries there.

There are plenty of other issues with (A), though. For starters, “their” isn’t quite as clear as I’d like it to be: “their” could refer to “changes in working conditions” or just “working conditions” or maybe even “experiments”. Pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule on the GMAT, and I don't think that “their” is WRONG here. But we can probably do better.

A clearer reason why (A) is wrong is the conditional verb “would investigate.” The series of experiments actually investigated those changes, so the conditional doesn’t make sense here.

Finally, I don’t think that the phrase “investigated changes… as to their effects on workers’ performance” is very direct. Why wouldn’t we just say that the experiments “investigated the effects of changes…” instead of doing this wordy, weird thing that suggests that the experiments investigated the changes themselves?

So we have plenty of pretty good reasons to eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

(B) cleans up most of the issues that we had with (A). We don’t have any pronoun problems now, and the meaning is much clearer in general: now the experiments investigate “the effects” of changes – and that makes much more sense than investigating the changes themselves, as (A) suggested.

I’m also OK with the use of the “-ing” adjective, “investigating”, as a modifier for the “series of experiments.” (More on the GMAT’s various uses of “-ing” words in this article.)

You might also be wondering about the use of the conditional in (B). I had a problem with it in (A), because it’s a fact that the experiments actually investigated the effects of changes in working conditions; the conditional, as placed in (A), made no sense. But in (B)? The use of the conditional is in a different spot, and now it's fine: the experiments investigated the potential effects of changes in working conditions, so the phrase “effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance” is completely appropriate. Even if it sounds funny.

So let’s keep (B).

Quote:
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause

(C) is a hot mess, and it feels like the GMAT is just clowning us with this one. It’s so messy that it’s hard to even explain why it’s such a s#!t-show. Here’s a list of objections:

    1. It’s awfully awkward to say “series of experiments for investigating.” No, the series of experiments actually investigated something, so “series of experiments that investigated” or “series of experiments investigating” are both fine, but “for investigating” wouldn’t work.

    2. There’s no reason to include the words “what are” in this sentence; “investigating the effects” would be enough...

    3. … Except that “effects in workers’ performance” makes no sense at all. I can’t even figure out what that phrase literally means.

    4. “effects… that changes… would cause” is arguably redundant. If we’re already calling something an “effect”, then it’s hard to argue that we really need to restate the word “cause.”

I can’t believe I spent this much time thinking about (C). I’m mad at myself now. Moving on…

Quote:
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance

This is the answer choice that most of my students seem to fall in love with! (And you probably already know that you shouldn’t fall in love on GMAT verbal questions.) The problem here isn’t grammatical, though: it’s just that the meaning gets a little bit warped.

Let’s think about the intended meaning of the sentence: the experiments investigated the effects of “changes in working conditions”, right? The company changed working conditions, and then examined how those changes affected worker performance.

But (D) is saying something slightly different: the experiments “investigated changes in working conditions’ effects.” That’s wrong! We’re not interested in changes in the effects on workers’ performance -- the working conditions change, not the effects themselves.

Tricky, huh? So (D) is out.

Let’s line our last two options up side-by-side, to make it a little bit easier to see why (E) is wrong:
Quote:
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

These two aren’t terribly different from each other. For starters, I think it’s a little bit clearer to just use the “-ing” adjective “investigating” to modify the “series of experiments” – there’s no reason to say “to investigate” in this case. I wouldn’t eliminate (E) based SOLELY on that issue, but it’s a small strike against (E).

The other problem with (E) is the phrase “what the effects changes…” At the very least, that’s awkward AF. You could also argue that the word “what” is just a waste of space: the experiments investigated “the effects”, so why stick “what” in there? It just doesn’t make any sense.

So (B) is the best we can do.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2009, 03:47
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rgarg1nortel wrote:
In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

What's the answer and why?


(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
-“that” is modifying experiment. It is illogical to write that “experiment” would investigate. Hence wrong

(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
- A present participle modifying the total sentence is allowed in GMAT. Hence correct

(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
- “what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause “ is totally written in awkward manner. Hence incorrect.


(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
-“that” is modifying experiment. It is illogical to write that “experiment” would investigate. Hence wrong

(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

- “what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance”
is totally written in awkward manner. Hence incorrect.

Hope this helps
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2007, 02:52
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(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance – Just Wrong!
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

This is a classic GMAT Q -

All the answers have some flaw and we need to pick the best answer(remember!!.. choose the best answer.)

I choose a process of elimination

I did not really get B rather it was the only one left standing...!!!
Hence B is the aswer.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2007, 21:15
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B !

intensive series OF experiments that --- Here "that" incorrectly refers to "series" because of the "OF" construction. Need a participle to modify the "experiments"
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Dec 2009, 03:10
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Read Ron's(MGMAT tutor) explanations

the participle "investigating" follows "experiments" immediately. no filler words are necessary; this is good concision.
the wording is clear; there are no awkward double possessives, etc., as in some of the other choices.
"would" is used properly here, as a past-tense form of "will". (i.e., if this sentence were translated into the present tense, it would read "...that changes ... will have")
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Mar 2010, 23:27
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jade3 wrote:
rgarg1nortel wrote:
In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

What's the answer and why?


(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
-“that” is modifying experiment. It is illogical to write that “experiment” would investigate. Hence wrong

(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
- A present participle modifying the total sentence is allowed in GMAT. Hence correct

(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
- “what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause “ is totally written in awkward manner. Hence incorrect.


(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
-“that” is modifying experiment. It is illogical to write that “experiment” would investigate. Hence wrong

(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

- “what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance”
is totally written in awkward manner. Hence incorrect.

Hope this helps


Actually 'that' belongs to a category called 'essential' modifiers. Essential modifiers can surprisingly modify either the word or the phrase before them, whatever makes sense; this is as opposed to non-essential modifiers such as 'which', which (almost always) modify the word preceding those modifiers.

B expresses the meaning in a most lucid manner and is hence the correct answer. Usage such as "working conditions’ effects " or "what the effects changes in working conditions" are clearly awkward.
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Re: the Hawthorne Works  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2010, 11:56
According to this source* the construction "preposition"+"noun"+"participle" is always wrong, and that is why I didnt choose. Please clarify.

*source: http://www.amazon.com/GMAT-Ultimate-Sen ... 780&sr=8-1
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In the mid-1920s the Hawthorne Works of the Westerm Electric  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Aug 2010, 10:40
Hey Noboru,

"intensive series of experiments" is effectively a single noun. The prepositional phrase "of experiments" modifies "series" (as does the adjective "intensive"), and it has already resolved. So this is just one noun. What that books means is you wouldn't say:

I'm going to Dave running from the law.

OR

I came from England running from my parents.

Hope that helps!

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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2012, 23:36
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(b) is the best choice here.

(a) is vague because it's overly indirect: the meaning of "investigate changes ... as to their effects" is unclear. what's more, it's probably considered unidiomatic as well, at least in this sort of context.

(b) = correct
the participle "investigating" follows "experiments" immediately. no filler words are necessary; this is good concision.
the wording is clear; there are no awkward double possessives, etc., as in some of the other choices.
"would" is used properly here, as a past-tense form of "will". (i.e., if this sentence were translated into the present tense, it would read "...that changes ... will have")

(c) is ridiculously wordy; there's no way you should give this choice any serious consideration. if you don't realize pretty quickly that this choice is wrong, you should go back and read through a bunch of correct OG answers, trying to internalize the sights and sounds (the "vibe") of the correct answers.

(d) "changes in working conditions' effects" is at best awkward and vague, and at worst ambiguous: the intended meaning is the effects of the changes, but this sentence seems to indicated the effects of the conditions themselves. in other words, a literal reading of this sentence seems to indicate that the conditions themselves haven't changed - only their effects have. that's not the intended meaning of the original.

(e) "what the effects" is ungrammatical.
also, in constructions of this sort, "what" is generally redundant / unnecessary; it's better merely to say "to investigate X" rather than to say "to investigate what X is" (or other such wordy construction).
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2014, 04:15
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First look: verb form, redundacy, logical sequence of events

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance Wrong - "as to" is imprecise; "their" doesn't have a proper referent or the sentence is illogical (changes in working conditions as to working conditions' effects on workers' performance

(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance Best choice - participles and relative pronouns can be interchanged, typically; cause and effect is clear.

(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause Wrong - "for investigating what are" is more wordy and imprecise than "that investigate.."

(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance Wrong - the logic of the sentence is reversed too, as if the sentence suggested that the changes in working conditions' effects affected workers performance.

(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance Wrong - "effects changes" is nonsensical; "what" is inherently redundant.

IMO B.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2014, 04:33
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rgarg1nortel wrote:
In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

What's the answer and why?



In Option B

In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

"Investigating" is modifying "experiments", but experiments are not doing the investigation/study. Verb-ing modifier should make sense with the entity it modifies.

So how is the modifier placement correct here?
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2014, 07:36
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rgarg1nortel wrote:
In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

What's the answer and why?



its B

Reasoning as follows :

Meaning of Sentence is the Hawthorne Works is a series of experiments & these experiments investigate how change in working condition effects worker's performance.

A : It implies as series of experiments would investigate changes in .....
nonsensical to say that series itself investigate hence wrong.

B : Investigating ....
Verb-ing modifier without a comma, modifies preceding noun, which in this case is series of experiments , thus structure wise sentence is correct, In terms of meaning also perfectly fine, as It provides information about these series of experiments .

C : Awkward construction & meaning not clear

D : Sames as A --> Implies that series itself investigate which is wrong

E : In this structure subject is What the effects ...(Phrase) verb is would have wrong as whenever phrase is subject, It must be taken as singular entity, hence singular verb must be use

Hope this help, & experts correct me if i am wrong some where !!

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New post 08 Jul 2014, 04:36
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jrashish wrote:
rgarg1nortel wrote:
In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

What's the answer and why?



In Option B

In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

"Investigating" is modifying "experiments", but experiments are not doing the investigation/study. Verb-ing modifier should make sense with the entity it modifies.

So how is the modifier placement correct here?


Hi jrashish,

Thanks for posting your doubt here. We appreciate your effort. :-)

Yes, you are correct that in the correct answer choice B, the verb-ing modifier modifies the preceding noun entity "series of experiments". Yes, it is kind of a bit odd to say that the "series of experiments" did the investigation about something. But it is certainly not incorrect. This expression is absolutely acceptable on GMAT.

Hope this helps. :-)
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New post 23 Jul 2014, 00:35
Hello Experts,

Please chip on this one....This is GMAT prep question and I am bit worried on this :?

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New post 25 Jul 2014, 07:27
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WoundedTiger wrote:
Hello Experts,

Please chip on this one....This is GMAT prep question and I am bit worried on this :?


Hi WoundedTiger,

I agree that it sounds a little awkward to say that "a series of experiments" investigated the effects. However, this is the correct answer choice of an official question. Hence, we must understand that such expressions are acceptable.

The suggestion that you have made - to put a comma before "investigation" - will certainly lead to a correct construction. But the meaning will be different from the one the correct answer conveys now. And you certainly understand that. And the other choices do contain grammatical errors that make Choice C correct.

Hope this helps. :-)
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New post 16 Aug 2014, 18:00
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Hello Raihanuddin

Here is my 2 cents.

In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance
Wrong.
- Why A uses "would investigate" that implies an intention. In fact, the action - "investigate - happened in the past.
- "as to" does not make any sense.

(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
Correct.
- "investigating" is a verb-ing modifier

(C) for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause
Wrong.
- "for investigating" sounds wrong. To express a purpose, we should use "TO + Verb" not "For + VerbING".
- "that" modifies "performance" incorrectly.

(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
Wrong.
- D changes meaning. Because of the possessive form - "working conditions' effects" ==> the ultimate main noun is "effects" NOT "working conditions" ==> a compound noun becomes "changes in effects". Definitely, "change in effects on workers’ performance" is nonsensical in this sentence.
For example: changes of water's colors ==> means "change of colors" NOT "changes of water".

(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
Wrong.
- "The effects changes" is wrong. The correct meaning is changes in working conditions have effects on workers' performance.

Hope it's clear.
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GMAT Club Verbal Focus: Can you Spot the Meaning Error?  [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2016, 21:54
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Can you Spot the Meaning Error?


- By ManhattanPrep

Sentence Correction tests grammar, yes, but it also tests meaning. In fact, a decent chunk of grammar actually revolves around meaning in the first place.

Try this GMATPrep problem from the free exams and then we’ll talk about it.

In the mid-1920s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

“(A) that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance

“(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

“(C) for investigating what the effects on workers’ performance are that changes in working conditions would cause

“(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance

“(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance”



What did you think? I did give away that this problem tests meaning; did you spot any meaning issues?

The first step on SC is to glance at the start of the underline (even before you read the sentence). The underline starts halfway through on the word that. The word that can signal issues with modifiers or with the underlying sentence structure, so keep these possibilities in mind as you move to the next step, reading the sentence.

Did you like the original sentence or did you think there was something wrong with it?

In fact, the original has a meaning issue! We have a starting point. The sentence talks about something that happened nearly 100 years ago, so it doesn’t make sense to say that these experiments would investigate something. The place was the scene of the experiments conducted at that time in the past.

You can use would properly in certain past conditions: She would have eaten the fish if she hadn’t been allergic. If she ate fish, she would have an allergic reaction. The test results showed that feeding her fish would cause an allergic reaction.

You can’t, then, just cross off any other answers that also contain would; you’ll have to read to figure out the meaning.

Answers (B), (D), and (E) all use would, but they don’t say would investigate. Instead, all three talk about what effects changes in working conditions would cause or would have.
This usage is acceptable because the information is conveying a cause-effect relationship: changes cause effects. By definition, the effects have to happen later than the changes. The word would can be used to indicate a “future in the past” meaning, similar to the example The test results showed that feeding her fish would cause an allergic reaction.

Hmm, that starting point allowed the elimination of only one answer, (A). Back to the drawing board. What next?
If you noticed anything else about the original sentence that you didn’t like, try that next. Otherwise, scan the answers vertically to spot differences and tackle one of those differences. Let’s follow the latter path next.

The opening of each answer is as follows:

The Hawthorne Works was the scene of a series of experiments…
(A) that would investigate…
(B) investigating…
(C) for investigating…
(D) that investigated…
(E) to investigate…

Idiom time. It’s acceptable to say a series of experiments that did something or a series of experiments investigating something.
It isn’t acceptable to say a series of experiments for investigating something. If you wanted to convey that kind of meaning, you’d need to say something similar to a series of experiments designed to investigate something. You can also drop the word designed and go straight into to investigate.

Okay, (A) and (C) down, three to go. What next?
Here’s where it gets a bit messy. The remaining portions of the choices differ enough that you can’t compare a single word or a couple of words. Now you have to look at an entire chunk of each sentence.

Here are (B), (D), and (E) again. What are these things trying to say?
“(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
“(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance
“(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance”

Something like: when there were changes in working conditions, what effects would there be on performance?

Do all three options convey this logically and unambiguously?

As it turns out, no. Take a look at answer (D). Strip out the modifiers:
“(D) that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance”

(D) that investigated changes in effects on performance
This choice doesn’t talk about changes in the conditions. It talks about changes in the effects. It doesn’t make any sense to jump straight to the effects—you change the input (conditions) to see how the output then changes. Very tricky!

Answers (B) and (E) are very close. The only differences are towards the beginning.
“(B) investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance
“(E) to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance”

This last one is the trickiest of all. Consider these two examples:

New York was the scene of a study investigating the theft.
New York was the scene of a study to investigate what the theft.

You probably knew immediately that the second sentence is wrong. Why? Once you toss in the word what, you need a clause (a verb) to go with theft: New York was the scene of a study to investigate what the theft then led to in future.

Choice (E) uses the word what, but this choice doesn’t make the effects portion a clause. The verb would have applies to changes. You could say something like “to investigate what the effects on workers’ performance are when there are changes in working conditions.” That sentence is a little clunky, but it does contain the necessary verb. (Notice that answer (C) also uses the word what and that one does talk about what the effects are.)

That takes us down to one answer, (B). This answer uses an acceptable idiom (a series of experiments investigating…) and conveys the appropriate meaning (they were investigating the effects that resulted from changes in working conditions).

In my opinion, the test writers purposely used would investigate incorrectly in (A) hoping that people would then automatically eliminate other answers because they also use what seems to be a similar, incorrect verb structure. Conveniently, the correct answer contains would have, so anyone doing this will have just crossed off the correct answer. That leaves answer (D), which seems just fine if you don’t notice that the meaning is illogical (and that choice is written confusingly enough that it would be easy to overlook the meaning issue).

The correct answer is (B).

Key Takeaways: Meaning in SC



[i](1) Always go for the low-hanging fruit first: anything that you know how to tackle easily and confidently. This will help you to narrow down the answers before you have to get to the toughest stuff, making it easier (though not easy!) for you to try to strip out the trickiest traps.

(2) When answers change as much as the ones in this example do, you are probably looking at a Structure, Modifier, Meaning, or Parallelism issue (or multiple issues intertwined). You’ll likely have to compare entire chunks of the answers, not just a few words at a time.

(3) When you do have to compare chunks, first get the meaning straight in your head: what is the sentence actually trying to convey? Be on the lookout for choices that twist the meaning in an illogical or ambiguous way; you can cross these off.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jan 2017, 22:39
I can't even understand what is going on here...

In the mid-1920’s the Clyde Fan Factory of the Bosch Manufacturing Company was the scene of an intensive series of experiments that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance.

A. that would investigate changes in working conditions as to their effects on workers’ performance

B. investigating the effects that changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance

C. for investigating what are the effects in workers’ performance that changes in working conditions would cause

D. that investigated changes in working conditions’ effects on workers’ performance

E. to investigate what the effects changes in working conditions would have on workers’ performance


As far as I have learnt the rules...
In A "That" modifies experiments, which can not investigate.
B) again investigating modifies experiments
C) For is wrong usage, and effects in workers’ performance that changes, I think verb changes should take Subject effects, I don't understand how can this "that" does not modify performance but effects.
D) same as A
E) I rearrange it as " to investigate the effects that changes in changes in working conditions would have....

I am totally confused now after seeing the OA. Can anyone make this rules or strategy clear to me....

mikemcgarry, i hope you won't mind if i continue to tag you. I am sorry if I bother you, but i think you are best man to whom I can ask help.
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Re: In the mid-1920’s the Hawthorne Works of the Western Electric Company   [#permalink] 25 Jan 2017, 22:39

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