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# In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass

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In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 30 Nov 2018, 01:31
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In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

(A) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle

(B) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling

(C) most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling

(D) mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle

(E) mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

My question is - why is c correct and D wrong?
The problem i see in c is that the antecedent of "them" is ambiguous. "them" in c can refer to planets or astronomers (isn't it so?)

In D - mostly is an adverb which modifies the adjective (large).

Originally posted by namurad on 26 Apr 2008, 10:36.
Last edited by Bunuel on 30 Nov 2018, 01:31, edited 3 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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16 May 2014, 03:57
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gmatter0913 wrote:
Is there a difference in meaning between the two sentences below?

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets circling other stars.
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets that circle other stars.

If there is no difference, then would both the sentences below be correct on the GMAT?

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them atleast as large as Jupiter, circling other stars.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them atleast as large as Jupiter, that circle other stars.

Hi,

There is a difference in the meaning between the two sentences cited by you. To understand the same, please have a look at the following sentences:

1. I saw some dogs sitting outside the house.
2. I saw some dogs that sit outside the house.

In the first sentence you are talking about those dogs who were sitting outside the house when you spotted them. However, in the second sentence you are talking about a category of dogs and this category of dogs sits outside the house. So, in the second construction you are describing a general feature of these dogs.

Do you now see how the description of the planets changes with the change in the construction (from –ing modifier to that clause)?

Thanks,

Neeti.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2011, 08:58
5
(C)

(A) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle --> Missing as
(B) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling --> Missing as
(C) most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling --> Correct
(D) mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
(E) mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2013, 21:12
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mohnish104 wrote:
If anything, E is a much closer second option than D.

Hello mohnish

Sorry, I have to say E is worse than D! When you see the structure "as + adjective + OR + comparative...." ==> The correct structure MUST be: as X as OR larger than.... The second "as" is really important to make a comparison correct.

Hope it helps.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2015, 04:58
3
Avisek47 wrote:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

Can someone please clarify the following doubts -
'which' modifies "80 massive planets" or "Jupiter"?
generally 'which' modifies the immediate preceding noun before the comma. Here we have an additional modifier "most of them as large or larger than Jupiter" which can be skipped , so 'which' modifies "80 massive planets"?
If this is correct then apart from idiom error in (A) there seems no other error.
For (D) -->is the issue with "mostly" since it changes slightly the intended meaning ?
(C) --> "circling" modifies the entire clause "most of them at least as large as Jupiter"?

Hi Avisek,

Let's understand the intended meaning of this sentence

In the past several years ( is a prepositional phrase that gives more info about time frame)

astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets (this is an independent clause that has a subject astros and verb detected)

,most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, ( this phrase is giving information about planets that is additional and if ignored than you would see - astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, which circle other stars.
so now you know that which is a relative pronoun that refers to planets)

An other problem with the sentence is "as large or larger than" that is unidiomatic. The correct usage will be at least as large as .

Thus we can eliminate all answer choices except E and D.

The only difference in E and D is of adjective most. the usage of mostly is incorrect because mostly is an adverb that can't modify the noun planets.

in the end, as i said before " most of them....larger than Jupiter" is an additional phrase which can be omitted then you would see- astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets,circling other stars. in this sentence circling is modifying the planets.

Hope it helps.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2015, 09:41
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The correct route to solve this issue is through the idiom first. Anytime we use as large, it should be completed by another as – as large as.
We can thus eliminate A, B and E; between C and D, we can eliminate D for fouling ‘which’ pronoun touch rule. When there is an eligible noun such as ‘Jupiter’, ‘which’ cannot jump over it and modify the planets
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2019, 00:27
2
aniket16c wrote:
Experts can you please explain the use of circling in this question?
So according to my understanding, circling refers to the verb in the previous clause = have detected. And :have detected points to astronomers.
So have is the use of "circling" justified in this case?
Circling here is a present participle. The pattern here is verb + object + participle, and it is perfectly acceptable.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling other stars.

Ignore the most of them at least as large as Jupiter bit. Circling is not meant to be read as a comma + ing here!

Astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets circling other stars.
and not
Astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, circling other stars.

Once we understand that we're not dealing with a comma + ing, some of the rules you're trying to apply won't actually work here. Let's start with what circling is "pointing to". It is pointing to planets, not have detected. If it were pointing to have detected, it'd tell us what the astronomers were doing when they detected the planets.

The sentence in the question could be read (roughly) as

Astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets as they (the planets) were circling other stars.

This is like saying

I saw you driving a car. ≈ "I saw you as you were performing the action of driving a car".

The subject of this sentence is I and the verb is saw (not driving).
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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26 Apr 2008, 10:58
1
namurad wrote:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

(A) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
(B) most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
(C) most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
(D) mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
(E) mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

My question is - why is c correct and D wrong?
The problem i see in c is that the antecedent of "them" is ambiguous. "them" in c can refer to planets or astronomers (isn't it so?)

In D - mostly is an adverb which modifies the adjective (large).

D has 2 flaws:

1. most of them is better than mostly
2. incorrect modifying phrase that starts with "which" incorrectly refers to Jupitor.

both flaws are corrected in C.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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29 Nov 2013, 06:52
1
If anything, E is a much closer second option than D.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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15 Oct 2015, 05:36
1
rakeshpai1 wrote:
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle other stars.

A. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter, which circle
B. most of them as large or larger than Jupiter and circling
C. most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling
D. mostly at least as large as Jupiter, which circle
E. mostly as large or larger than Jupiter, circling

In option A, "which circle" --> is this modifying "80 massive planets"? If yes, which rule says always modifies the preceding noun. Can someone please provide few practice problems to this unique case?

IMO C

In D the usage of Mostly is incorrect according to me. Also, 'Which' modifies Jupiter. Plus I think Circling is necessary because the action is still going on.

It is easy to chuck other options. Experts, your comments?

Thanks,
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2018, 07:20
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prav04 wrote:
In this question, can't 'Them' refer back to Astronomers??

Good question. In my experience, pronoun reference is one of the harder topics for students so I'd heavily advise that you prioritize other decision points before you take a swing at pronoun reference. And it always comes down to this: students who are looking for pronoun reference errors very frequently misdiagnose proper pronoun usage for "hey we don't know what that refers to." The presence of multiple nouns doesn't mean that it's unclear what the pronoun refers to!

Here, note that:

1) "them" exists within a modifier that sits directly adjacent to "planets"

2) "them" describes size (most of them as large as or larger than Jupiter), and "planets" has the adjective "massive" in front of it, lending more credence to the idea that the modifier is expanding on that description of planets

3) "as large as or larger than Jupiter" just couldn't possibly describe people...the size comparison isn't something anyone would ever mistake. Pronoun reference is mostly an issue when you could make the case that the sentence might mislead people (hey, wait - is it the planets or the people who are that massive?) but here there's just no way you could mistake that.

Which...this isn't at all to "shame" anyone who saw pronoun reference as a possible error there. It's hard! Which is why I'd say leverage other, clearer decision points before trying to look for pronoun reference unless the pronoun reference is just plain egregious. If you're actively looking for pronoun reference errors as one of your primary missions, you'll "find" it in a lot of places where it doesn't really exist.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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03 Dec 2018, 01:30
1
goldfinchmonster wrote:
Guys would be nice if you ppl can put some light on my thought process.

I would go with D.
The reason are
1) If you omit the sandwich phrase i.e phrase modifier, option c would sound grammatically incorrect.

..... astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, circling other stars.

In case of D, if we eliminate the phrase modifier, then

......... astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, which circle other stars.

Even if you eliminate phrase modifier (sandwich phrase) the sentence should make sense. In C it dos't and in D it dose.

2) Comma ing rule - I dont know how many of you recognize this rule by this term.

When ever we have a ing form (verb form) of word next to comma, that word should be a effect of a cause described before the comma.

Subject + Verb, ing

Cause , Effect
Example :- The car stopped, delaying Mike.

Cause Effect
Example :- The Bomb Blasted, Killing the man.

Here in option C the first part of the sentence does not signify any cause for the circling to be an effect.

Hope it's clear now.

The answer is D.

2 commas are placed as parenthesis.
so the correct answer looks like this.

-In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets( most of them at least as large as Jupiter) circling other stars.

According to your theory, if you remove sandwich phrase i.e phrase modifier sentence would look like

-In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets circling other stars.

it means there is no comma before circling

now the rule say, when there is no comma before verb+ing modifier, it modify the preceding noun.

So answer C is in correct.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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12 May 2014, 22:57
Is there a difference in meaning between the two sentences below?

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets circling other stars.
In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets that circle other stars.

If there is no difference, then would both the sentences below be correct on the GMAT?

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them atleast as large as Jupiter, circling other stars.

In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them atleast as large as Jupiter, that circle other stars.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2015, 07:13
1
Guys would be nice if you ppl can put some light on my thought process.

I would go with D.
The reason are
1) If you omit the sandwich phrase i.e phrase modifier, option c would sound grammatically incorrect.

..... astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, circling other stars.

In case of D, if we eliminate the phrase modifier, then

......... astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, which circle other stars.

Even if you eliminate phrase modifier (sandwich phrase) the sentence should make sense. In C it dos't and in D it dose.

2) Comma ing rule - I dont know how many of you recognize this rule by this term.

When ever we have a ing form (verb form) of word next to comma, that word should be a effect of a cause described before the comma.

Subject + Verb, ing

Cause , Effect
Example :- The car stopped, delaying Mike.

Cause Effect
Example :- The Bomb Blasted, Killing the man.

Here in option C the first part of the sentence does not signify any cause for the circling to be an effect.

Hope it's clear now.

The answer is D.
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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10 Jan 2017, 14:36
I edited the OA
I looked in other places to find an answer to this question...

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/foru ... t4433.html

RonPurewal
ManhattanGMAT Staff

"you can eliminate (a) and (b) on the grounds of STRICT parallelism.

specifically:
when you have an "or" construction (or, for that matter, an "and" construction), each part of the construction must work in isolation from the other one.

this eliminates (a) and (b), both for the same reason: "as large" requires "as". you can't be "as large than" something -- but that's the only preposition available.
the correct parallel construction would be ...as large as or larger than, a construction that allows both parts to have their own proper prepositions.

choice (c), the correct answer, circumvents the issue entirely by replacing the parallel construction with '...at least as large'. not only does this construction obviate the need to consider parallelism in the first place, but it's also more concise than the alternative."

I tend to believe experts from MGMAT
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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30 Nov 2018, 01:23
In this question, can't 'Them' refer back to Astronomers??
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2019, 00:24
Hi VeritasPrepBrian.

Thank you for your kind explanation.

I just want to make sure whether my logic is correct.

In choice C , "In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling other stars" , does the word "circling" modifies most of them , which in turn modifies massive planets , because comma + participle modifies the preceding clause and must correspond to the subject of that clause?

Am I correct on this point? please explain.

Thank you.
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In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2019, 03:40
ballest127 wrote:
Hi VeritasPrepBrian.

Thank you for your kind explanation.

I just want to make sure whether my logic is correct.

In choice C , "In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 massive planets, most of them at least as large as Jupiter, circling other stars" , does the word "circling" modifies most of them , which in turn modifies massive planets , because comma + participle modifies the preceding clause and must correspond to the subject of that clause?

Am I correct on this point? please explain.

Thank you.

ballest127

hi your reasonng is correct....."circling..." modifies "planets"
because there is one modifier in between "most of them...." ...which uneventually cannot be place else where(otherwise meaning will be changed)
we need to saperate "circling"

hope it helps
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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14 Mar 2019, 21:29
Experts can you please explain the use of circling in this question?
So according to my understanding, circling refers to the verb in the previous clause = have detected. And :have detected points to astronomers.
So have is the use of "circling" justified in this case?
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Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass  [#permalink]

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15 Mar 2019, 08:49
Thank you AjiteshArun
Re: In the past several years, astronomers have detected more than 80 mass   [#permalink] 15 Mar 2019, 08:49

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