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# John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery

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Re: John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery [#permalink]
Bunuel wrote:
John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery novels, to be the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomizes the symbol of British deduction.

A. to be the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomizes the symbol of British deduction

B. deserve the title of the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes, with his famous pipe, epitomize the symbol of British deduction

C. to be the definite English detective, but Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe is the symbol of British detection

D. embodies the very essence and spirit of English detectives whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomize the symbol of British deduction

E. is the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomize British deduction

This is a SC Butler Question

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OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery novels, to be the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomizes the symbol of British deduction.

A. to be the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomizes the symbol of British deduction

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The plural subject Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe does not agree with the singular verb epitomizes.

What helps us identify this question as a Subject Verb Agreement question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A plural subject made up of singular nouns connected by and

Also, this answer is stylistically flawed. The word epitomizes means about the same as the words the symbol of, which creates redundancy.

B. deserve the title of the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes, with his famous pipe, epitomize the symbol of British deduction

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice appears to correct the original mistake by changing the original plural subject (Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe) to a singular subject (Sherlock Holmes, with his famous pipe), it simultaneously changes the singular verb epitomizes to the plural epitomize, and thus actually repeats the Subject Verb Agreement mistake. Furthermore, the corrected sentence creates a new Subject Verb Agreement mistake: the singular subject Miss Marple does not agree with the plural verb deserve.

What helps us identify this question as a Subject Verb Agreement question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

A complex long subject / long distance between subject and verb

Also, this answer choice repeats the redundancy of the original sentence. The word epitomizes means about the same as the words the symbol of, which creates redundancy.

C. to be the definite English detective, but Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe is the symbol of British detection

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice resolves the redundancy of the original sentence (by eliminating one of the redundant pair of words epitomizes the symbol of) it repeats the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake. The plural subject Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe does not agree with the singular verb is.

In addition, this answer choice changes the meaning of the original sentence by replacing the word deduction with the word detection. These words do not mean the same thing.

D. embodies the very essence and spirit of English detectives whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomize the symbol of British deduction

Incorrect.

Although this answer choice corrects the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake, by changing the singular verb epitomizes to the plural epitomize, it repeats the redundancy of the original sentence: epitomize means about the same as the symbol of.

In addition, this answer choice is further stylistically flawed. Replacing the four-word phrase to be the definitive with the seven-word phrase embodies the very essence and spirit of creates another redundancy.

E. is the definitive English detective whereas Jane thinks Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe epitomize British deduction

In addition to correcting the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake in the sentence, by changing the singular verb epitomizes to the plural epitomize, this answer choice also addresses the stylistic issue of redundancy created by the phrase epitomizes the symbol of in the original sentence. Being the symbol of X and epitomizing X is the same thing, so using them both is redundant - the corrected sentence eliminates the redundancy by using only one of these phrases.

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Re: John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery [#permalink]
How I reasoned through:

A: Big problem here - first the usage of "to be" is not the best, and more importantly in the second portion of the sentence you have "Sherlock Holmes and..".. empoitmizes -> SJV error.

B: SJV error here as well. "Miss maple.. deserve"

C: SJV error: Sherlock Holmes and his famous pipe is

D: Correct grammar, however there is a slight redundancy. "Epitomize the symbol of british deduction" is not necessary. it is already implied that they are a symbolic representation, so using "the symbol of british deduction" is wordy. Lets keep just in case.

E: Good, no redundancy

Only because of a redundancy, I pick E.
Re: John thinks Miss Marple, heroine of Agatha Christie's murder mystery [#permalink]
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