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In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 13:36
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In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier
(B) adapting itself earlier
(C) itself being adapted earlier
(D) having been earlier adapted itself
(E) earlier itself having been adapted

Roman Alphabet

(A) CORRECT

(B) Modifier / Meaning (adapting)

(C) Modifier (being)

(D) Modifier (having; earlier)

(E) Modifier (earlier; having)


First glance

The underline starts with the word which, which is a modifier marker. The other choices change but also use various modifier forms, so modifiers are an issue in this problem.

Issues

(1) Modifier / Meaning: adapting; being; having

The original sentence contains a nested modifier: the first which marker describes the noun Etruscan alphabet (just before the comma). The second which modifier is underlined. What had been adapted earlier from [another] alphabet?

Logically, the Greek alphabet had been adapted from another, even earlier alphabet. The modifier, then, should be in the form of a noun modifier, as it refers to the noun just before the comma (Greek alphabet).

Which signals a noun modifier, so the form in answer (A) is fine. An –ing word, such as adapting in answer (B), creates a comma –ing modifier, which modifies the main subject and verb of the clause (sentence) to which it is attached. In this case, the main clause is the Roman alphabet was adapted. The second modifier is not talking about the Roman alphabet; it should be referring to the Greek alphabet. Answers (C), (D), and (E) repeat this error (using the –ing words being and having, respectively). Eliminate (B), (C), (D), and (E).

Note that these four choices also contain a tense error. Comma –ing modifiers take on the tense of the verb in the main clause. In this case, the main verb is was adapted, the simple past tense. The sequence of the various events is as follows: In the past, the Roman alphabet was adapted; prior to that, the Etruscan alphabet had been adapted; prior even to that, the Greek alphabet had been adapted. Because the Etruscan adaptation is described using the past perfect, the Greek adaptation also must take the past perfect; if the Greek adaptation is described in simple past, then it would have to have occurred after the Etruscan adaptation.

(2) Modifier: earlier

In the different answer choices, the word earlier moves around. Earlier is an adverb: a modifier that modifies something other than a straight noun. What happened earlier?

The adaptation took place earlier in the same century. The most clear placement is right before that prepositional phrase in the same century. Answer (D) places earlier in the middle of the verb form and answer (E) places it before the verb entirely. The placement in (E) is definitely too far from in the same century; the placement in (D) might arguably be acceptable if a more clear version were not available; even then, the placement in (D) is shaky.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (A) properly uses a noun modifier form (which) to refer to the noun Greek alphabet. It also correctly places earlier next to in the same century.

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New post 17 Oct 2016, 07:15
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The key to solve is understanding "the sequence of events" and "the verb tenses"

In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, [event 1]
which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, [event 2]
which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet. [event 3]

From the meaning we can understand that
Sequence: "event 1" happened after "event 2" happened after "event 3"
Tenses: "was" > "had been" > "had been"
Tenses: "past" > "past perfect" > "past perfect"

Since "had been (past perfect)" is used (non-underlined) for event 2, we should use "had been (past perfect)" for event 3.
(though usage of "had been" for event 2 and event 3 are not necessary as the timelines [centuries before/after] are clearly provided)

A. which itself had been adapted earlier
- maintains the correct tense for the correct sequence
B. adapting itself earlier
- "adapting" makes event 3 as modifier to event 2
C. itself being adapted earlier
- missing correct clause connector (which/that/whose/etc). "being adapted" is past tense, we should use only past perfect tense
D. having been earlier adapted itself
- "having" makes event 3 as modifier to event 2
E. earlier itself having been adapted
- missing correct clause connector (which/that/whose/etc). "having been adapted" is past tense, we should use only past perfect tense

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New post 09 Sep 2015, 13:52
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In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

A. which itself had been adapted earlier
B. adapting itself earlier
C. itself being adapted earlier
D. having been earlier adapted itself
E. earlier itself having been adapted

Since the adaption event happened way back in the past, there is no place for present or present continuous or present perfect tense.
only A satisfies the criteria of past perfect tense.
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New post 09 Sep 2015, 19:29
there are 2 "had done" and 1 "did"

this is the pattern to learn though gmat will not test us
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2016, 15:17
Hi!
Experts, kindly jump in for the review and analysis please.
chetan4u , egmat, magoosh , daagh
between A & B
I picked B solely avoiding A because A was having WHICH... again refeerring to that alphabet.. and I assumed needed some ING modifier.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2017, 02:43
I hardly expect such grammar structure will appear in real gmat. Fortunately, there is a key word here; that is, "earlier" indicates a past perfect tense. Nevertheless, I have a question. The time sequel is clear "1 century earlier", so past tense can be used? Here, there is no past tense among options.
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New post 15 Jul 2017, 02:43
I have a question. The time sequel is clear "1 century earlier", so past tense can be used? Here, there is no past tense among options.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2017, 12:06
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chesstitans wrote:
I have a question. The time sequel is clear "1 century earlier", so past tense can be used? Here, there is no past tense among options.

In general, you'll want the verb tenses to reflect the timeline of the actions in the sentence. And in this case, notice that there IS simple past tense in the non-underlined portion of the sentence: "the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet."

The other actions in the sentence all happened even earlier than that -- so it's a whole lot clearer if those other actions are in past perfect tense, as others here have suggested.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jul 2017, 14:06
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Sequence of Events

1. In the past, something happened ===========================> Simple Past Tense =====> "-ed" form of the verb

2. Before the above event, something had happened ==============> Past Perfect Tense =====> "had" + been + "-ed" form of the verb

3. Again, before the above event, something had happened ==========> Past perfect Tense =====> "had" + been + "-ed" form of the verb

As per the above sequencing logic, option A is correct.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2017, 10:47
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If this question is from OG sources, then it might appear someday, even if it has not appeared so far; maybe this is GMAT's way of evaluating responses by floating the questions in the OG. One day it might help posterity.
With reference to the use of past perfect, the takeaway is that GMAT couldn't care less about it, because in the very prior part it has accepted the use of past perfect without underlining, in spite of the use of the word 'previous" to pinpoint a deeper past.
It will be worthwhile to consider this topic ignoring the past perfect aspect, in which case, A is acceptable.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2017, 21:09
souvik101990 wrote:
In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

A. which itself had been adapted earlier
B. adapting itself earlier
C. itself being adapted earlier
D. having been earlier adapted itself
E. earlier itself having been adapted


The answer is A
The first thing that strike me first was the clause western alphabet is essential modifier .
So we need relative pronoun to refer to the noun it is modifying.
Only A makes sense
B, C , D are out they suggest that the alphabet itself evolved .
E is wrong because of earlier and wrong usage of present perfect continuous tense.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Apr 2018, 03:46
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I used too much of mind to eliminate option A :(

which itself had been adapted earlier

My thought process was as we are already using "had", so timeline is already defined therefore use of "earlier" is redundant.

Was I completely wrong folks ? and what is wrong with option "C".

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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2018, 22:00
B to E, can be eliminated, as the language cannot adapt itself.
and having etc, sounds outright stupid.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jul 2018, 21:12
daagh

Can you please elaborate what's wrong in D and E
I have understand the OA is A
But I was pondering why D and E are wrong.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2018, 07:14
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teaserbae wrote:
daagh

Can you please elaborate what's wrong in D and E
I have understand the OA is A
But I was pondering why D and E are wrong.


D. having been earlier adapted itself

- If you want -ing to modify NOUN in the end of the sentence, you set right after NOUN without comma. Otherwise (if you have a comma), the -ing modifies the whole preceding clause or subject+verb. As per this option

Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted... having been earlier adapted itself. But you need a modifier that would refer to Greek alphabet

E. earlier itself having been adapted

- Again it's adverbal phrase that can modify many, many thing: action(verb) of the clause, subject, object...


So you need some "modest" modifier that would touch Greek alphabet and follow the line of tenses (have to have past perfect in it)
A. which itself had been adapted earlier - makes this job perfectly
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In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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Hello Everyone!

While there is already some great discussion on this question, let's take a look at it to determine how to answer this question as quickly as possible. That way, you can get to the harder GMAT questions more easily! Before we dive in, here is the original question, with the major differences between each option highlighted in orange:

In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier
(B) adapting itself earlier
(C) itself being adapted earlier
(D) having been earlier adapted itself
(E) earlier itself having been adapted

After a quick glance over the options, the only major difference we see is the verbs, so let's focus on that!

To determine which verb tense we need to use, we first need to figure out the order in which these events happened. Since they all happened in the past, we will need to use a combination of past tense and past perfect tense. Here is how the events in this sentence work in a timeline:

Greek alphabet was adapted from Phoenician alphabet --> Etruscan alphabet was adapted from Greek alphabet --> Roman alphabet was adapted from Etruscan alphabet

The event that happens in the past gets plain ol' past tense, which we see in the original sentence (...the Roman alphabet was adapted from...). This means any event that occurs further in the past requires past perfect tense!

Let's see which options use the correct past perfect tense to show the proper order of events:

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier --> GOOD
(This uses past perfect tense to show that the event happened before another past event, so we'll keep this for later!)

(B) adapting itself earlier --> BAD
(This doesn't work because it turns the phrase "adapting itself earlier" into a modifier for Etruscan alphabet. It also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself, which doesn't make logical sense. An alphabet isn't a person, so it can't change by itself!)

(C) itself being adapted earlier --> BAD
(This also doesn't work because it also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself. It also uses past tense, and we need past perfect tense for it to work.)

(D) having been earlier adapted itself --> BAD
(This option is written using past tense, and it's in passive voice. We're looking for past perfect tense here, so this doesn't work.)

(E) earlier itself having been adapted --> BAD
(This option uses past tense, which isn't what we're looking for. We want past perfect tense instead.)

There you have it - option A is the only one that uses past perfect to show the order of events correctly!


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Originally posted by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 11 Oct 2018, 11:41.
Last edited by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 07 May 2019, 12:58, edited 1 time in total.
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In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2018, 15:34
The answer choice is A, but I still feel "earlier" in A to be redundant.
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Apr 2019, 23:10
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

While there is already some great discussion on this question, let's take a look at it to determine how to answer this question as quickly as possible. That way, you can get to the harder GMAT questions more easily! Before we dive in, here is the original question, with the major differences between each option highlighted in orange:

In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier
(B) adapting itself earlier
(C) itself being adapted earlier
(D) having been earlier adapted itself
(E) earlier itself having been adapted

After a quick glance over the options, the only major difference we see is the verbs, so let's focus on that!

To determine which verb tense we need to use, we first need to figure out the order in which these events happened. Since they all happened in the past, we will need to use a combination of past tense and past perfect tense. Here is how the events in this sentence work in a timeline:

Greek alphabet was adapted from Phoenician alphabet --> Etruscan alphabet was adapted from Greek alphabet --> Roman alphabet was adapted from Etruscan alphabet

The event that happens in the past gets plain ol' past tense, which we see in the original sentence (...the Roman alphabet was adapted from...). This means any event that occurs further in the past requires past perfect tense!

Let's see which options use the correct past perfect tense to show the proper order of events:

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier --> GOOD
(This uses past perfect tense to show that the event happened before another past event, so we'll keep this for later!)

(B) adapting itself earlier --> BAD
(This doesn't work because it turns the phrase "adapting itself earlier" into a modifier for Etruscan alphabet. It also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself, which doesn't make logical sense. An alphabet isn't a person, so it can't change by itself!)

(C) itself being adapted earlier --> BAD
(This also doesn't work because it also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself. It also uses past tense, and we need past perfect tense for it to work.)

(D) having been earlier adapted itself --> BAD
(This option is written using past tense, and it's in passive voice. We're looking for past perfect tense here, so this doesn't work.)

correct me if i am wrong, its not past tense, its perfect continuous tense, and adapted is not verb, it is past participle

(E) earlier itself having been adapted --> BAD
(This option uses past tense, which isn't what we're looking for. We want past perfect tense instead.)

correct me if i am wrong, its not past tense, its perfect continuous tense, and adapted is not verb, it is past participle

There you have it - option A is the only one that uses past perfect to show the order of events correctly!


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i think in option D and E

(correct me if i am wrong,) its not past tense, its perfect continuous tense, and adapted is not verb, it is past participle
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2019, 19:16
if a sentence has 3 or 4 action, to find the sequence of actions, we focus on 2 actions each time.

to make a sequence for 2 actions, we use 2 ways. first, we can put 2 actions in the 2 different verb form. second we can use the same verb form for the 2 actions and use a time indicators like before, after or earlier.

inhere, for action 2 and 3, we use the same verb form had done and time indicator , earlier
for action 1 and 2 , we use 2 different forms, did and had done.

once again, we should focus on 2 actions each time. focusing this way make us realize the sequence and, so, realize the correct verb forms

tense problem is hard. there is a gap between understanding of the explanation and the application of understanding to the sentence, a few-seconds application
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Re: In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2019, 03:36
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

While there is already some great discussion on this question, let's take a look at it to determine how to answer this question as quickly as possible. That way, you can get to the harder GMAT questions more easily! Before we dive in, here is the original question, with the major differences between each option highlighted in orange:

In the seventh century B.C., the Roman alphabet was adapted from the Etruscan alphabet, which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet, which itself had been adapted earlier in the same century from the Phoenician alphabet.

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier
(B) adapting itself earlier
(C) itself being adapted earlier
(D) having been earlier adapted itself
(E) earlier itself having been adapted

After a quick glance over the options, the only major difference we see is the verbs, so let's focus on that!

To determine which verb tense we need to use, we first need to figure out the order in which these events happened. Since they all happened in the past, we will need to use a combination of past tense and past perfect tense. Here is how the events in this sentence work in a timeline:

Greek alphabet was adapted from Phoenician alphabet --> Etruscan alphabet was adapted from Greek alphabet --> Roman alphabet was adapted from Etruscan alphabet

The event that happens in the past gets plain ol' past tense, which we see in the original sentence (...the Roman alphabet was adapted from...). This means any event that occurs further in the past requires past perfect tense!

Let's see which options use the correct past perfect tense to show the proper order of events:

(A) which itself had been adapted earlier --> GOOD
(This uses past perfect tense to show that the event happened before another past event, so we'll keep this for later!)

(B) adapting itself earlier --> BAD
(This doesn't work because it turns the phrase "adapting itself earlier" into a modifier for Etruscan alphabet. It also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself, which doesn't make logical sense. An alphabet isn't a person, so it can't change by itself!)

(C) itself being adapted earlier --> BAD
(This also doesn't work because it also suggests that the alphabet adapted itself. It also uses past tense, and we need past perfect tense for it to work.)

(D) having been earlier adapted itself --> BAD
(This option is written using past tense, and it's in passive voice. We're looking for past perfect tense here, so this doesn't work.)

(E) earlier itself having been adapted --> BAD
(This option uses past tense, which isn't what we're looking for. We want past perfect tense instead.)

There you have it - option A is the only one that uses past perfect to show the order of events correctly!


Don't study for the GMAT. Train for it.


Hello! Your posts are very helpful to me. I have a question. In letter B, you said that "adapting" is wrong because it modifies Estrucan alphabet. For sentences that contain comma + gerund, how do we know what the gerund modifies? How can you say that it modifies Estrucan alphabet? Can't it modify the entire phrase "which in turn had been adapted in the previous century from a western Greek alphabet," ?

Right now, I completely understand that words such as Which modify the immediate word to its left. I have no problems with that. The confusion arises when I see gerunds and I don't know what it's supposed to modify.

I completely get why A is correct, I just want to improve my skills in detecting errors, that is why im asking more about letter B.

Thank you so much!
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