Check GMAT Club Decision Tracker for the Latest School Decision Releases https://gmatclub.com/AppTrack

 It is currently 24 May 2017, 09:40

### GMAT Club Daily Prep

#### Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

# Events & Promotions

###### Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

# Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC

Author Message
TAGS:

### Hide Tags

Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 11 Apr 2012
Posts: 6
Followers: 8

Kudos [?]: 38 [19] , given: 0

Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

05 Jun 2012, 09:28
19
KUDOS
Expert's post
23
This post was
BOOKMARKED
00:00

Difficulty:

(N/A)

Question Stats:

67% (02:12) correct 33% (01:06) wrong based on 441 sessions

### HideShow timer Statistics

Let’s try this GMATPrep(registered trademark) SC. You have 1 minute and 15 seconds and go!

Quote:
"The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

“A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and
“B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the
“C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the
“D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and
“E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and”

What did you think about the original sentence – did it seem okay or do you want to examine anything further?

On this one, perhaps the “, from which” in the original sentence sounded a little funny – after all, we don’t talk that way, do we? This structure signifies a noun modifier and noun modifiers are supposed to modify the closest main noun; in this case, that means the noun before the comma. That noun is the pronoun “it.” So I guess we need to start there: what is the pronoun “it” referring to?

Something brought the script “with it” – ah, I see. “It” is referring to the empire. The empire was expanding and when it reached this certain place, it also brought this certain script with it. So the noun modifier is telling us “the empire, from which was derived <some other alphabet>. Can an alphabet be derived from an empire? Figuratively, perhaps, but not literally – literally, that meaning is illogical. One alphabet is derived from another alphabet (in this case, the “Aramaic script”), so the sentence should convey that meaning.

Great! Because we’ve found an error in the original sentence, we can immediately cross off answer choice A. Whenever we can cross off any answer, our next step is always to scan the remaining answers to see whether we can eliminate others for the exact same reason. Do any of the other choices repeat the error that we just found?

Answers C and D have “script, from which,” so in both cases, the modifier is correctly referring to the script. Answers B and E change things up a bit – they introduce an “and” after the comma, so we no longer have a straight noun modifier marker.

Now, you have to make a choice: do you want to try to figure out what’s happening with these new “and” markers that you’ve noticed in B and E? Or do you want to try to find something else? There isn’t one right answer to this question; it just depends on whether you think you know what might be going on with the “and.” If so, keep going. If not, find something else instead. In this case, let’s examine B and E further.

B says “it, and from which deriving…” The word “and” is a parallelism marker; it signals an “X and Y” construction. If this choice is correct, then it should have some X and Y components that can be made parallel. Right after the “and,” we have the “from which” modifier marker, so this is the start of the Y component of the “X and Y” parallelism structure: “and from which…” What is the X? Ah, there’s the problem! We would need another noun-modifier component for the X part of the sentence… and we don’t have one. Eliminate B.

We know already that E also introduced an “and” at this point in the sentence, so you know what to do: see if you can reuse your work from B. In E, we have “script, and deriving…” The word “deriving” is the start of our Y component; what is the parallel X component? Perhaps it’s the word “bringing” from the non-underlined portion? Let’s test it out.

Quote:
The Empire reached the Valley, bringing with it <a script>, and deriving from it <some alphabets>.

These “comma –ing” structures are adverbial modifiers, which modify the preceding clause (subject and verb). In addition, the parallelism sets up certain expectations; for instance, when using the same pronoun in the same position in two parallel structures, the expectation is that the pronoun refers to the same noun both times.

We decided earlier that the “bringing with it” language referred to the empire. Does the second “it” refer to the same noun?

No. Once again, it doesn’t make sense to say that an alphabet was derived from an empire. The second “it” should really refer to the Aramaic script – but then we’d be using two different nouns for the same pronoun, “it,” that appears twice in a parallel structure. That’s considered ambiguous – although some ambiguity can be tolerated if all of the other choices are outright wrong. So how do we decide?

Turns out there’s an even bigger problem. Parallel structures should be able to be used independently to complete the sentence. We should be able to say: (1) The Empire reached the Valley, bringing with it a script. (2) The Empire reached the valley, deriving from it some alphabets. What does the “it” refer to in the second sentence? The valley? The empire? Neither one makes sense, and the script is no longer an option – it’s not part of the sentence any longer. Eliminate E.

So now we’ve narrowed it down to C and D, both of which use the “script, from which” construction. Now is a great time to scan the two choices vertically, comparing equivalent parts of the sentences until you find differences. There are only two: one uses the singular “derives” while the other uses the plural “derive,” and one includes “the” in front of both northern and southern while the other does not use “the” for either one.

The derives / derive split seems as though it should be straightforward – we just have to determine whether we need the verb to be singular or plural, right? So, what subject goes with this verb?

Ask yourself who or what is doing the action – what derives from what? Did the script come first and then the alphabets? Or was it the other way around? The original sentence describes the former scenario: the alphabets derive (come) from the script.

So the subject is the plural “the northern and southern alphabets” and the verb should be the plural “derive.” Eliminate D. The correct answer, by process of elimination, is C.

This last bit of analysis also shows the biggest trap in this problem: many students will think that the subject is “script” (it comes first, after all!) and that the verb should therefore be “derives.” Consequently, those students will eliminate the right answer, C, and choose a very tempting wrong answer, D. We have an inverted structure here, however, where the subject actually shows up after the verb – and the clue to this construction was the “from which” language. “Which” refers to the preceding noun, “script” – the (something) derive or derives from the script. If the script is part of that prepositional phrase after the verb, then it can’t be the subject.

In choice E, we saw another trap: false parallelism. Students will like the apparent parallelism between “bringing with it” and “deriving from it,” but the parallelism is only superficial. The two pronouns are not actually parallel and the second item doesn’t make sense in the context of the entire sentence.

The major take-aways here:

(1) Re-use your analysis! Whenever you find anything wrong, make sure to check the remaining answers for the same issue.
(2) Study modifiers and meaning! These are both very commonly tested on the GMAT.
(3) Don’t fall for false or superficial parallelism! Test the parts and make sure that they really are parallel and separately able to complete the sentence.

* GMATPrep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.
If you have any questions
New!
Retired Moderator
Status: worked for Kaplan's associates, but now on my own, free and flying
Joined: 19 Feb 2007
Posts: 3830
Location: India
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 817

Kudos [?]: 6308 [3] , given: 324

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

05 Jun 2012, 21:07
3
KUDOS
Tom’s note makes an excellent analysis and a wonderful lesson; As an offshoot, let me give another angle to it. What are derived from it are two things; therefore, you require a plural verb namely derive; C is the only one tht depicts a plural working verb.

“A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and - ---- was derived is singular verb
“B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the ------ second part is a fragment
“C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the--- good
“D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and --- derives is singular
“E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and --- second part is a fragment.

This is perhaps a quick-fix shot via grammar notwithstanding that we can point out several other incongruities in structure and logic.
A big Kudo to TOM
_________________

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher” – a Japanese proverb.
9884544509

GMAT Club Legend
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 10370
Followers: 997

Kudos [?]: 224 [0], given: 0

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

26 Jan 2014, 06:58
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Senior Manager
Joined: 15 Aug 2013
Posts: 314
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 63 [0], given: 23

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

29 May 2014, 23:59
daagh wrote:
Tom’s note makes an excellent analysis and a wonderful lesson; As an offshoot, let me give another angle to it. What are derived from it are two things; therefore, you require a plural verb namely derive; C is the only one tht depicts a plural working verb.

“A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and - ---- was derived is singular verb
“B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the ------ second part is a fragment
“C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the--- good
“D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and --- derives is singular
“E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and --- second part is a fragment.

This is perhaps a quick-fix shot via grammar notwithstanding that we can point out several other incongruities in structure and logic.
A big Kudo to TOM

Hi daagh,

Can we not consider "deriving" to be a verb in B and E? Why not?

Thanks
Intern
Joined: 18 May 2014
Posts: 35
GMAT 1: 680 Q49 V35
Followers: 5

Kudos [?]: 36 [0], given: 201

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

31 May 2015, 00:20
TomATManhattanGMAT wrote:
Let’s try this GMATPrep(registered trademark) SC. You have 1 minute and 15 seconds and go!

Quote:
"The Achaemenid empire of Persia reached the Indus Valley in the fifth century B.C., bringing the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and southern Indian alphabets.

“A) the Aramaic script with it, from which was derived both northern and
“B) the Aramaic script with it, and from which deriving both the northern and the
“C) with it the Aramaic script, from which derive both the northern and the
“D) with it the Aramaic script, from which derives both northern and
“E) with it the Aramaic script, and deriving from it both the northern and”

What did you think about the original sentence – did it seem okay or do you want to examine anything further?

On this one, perhaps the “, from which” in the original sentence sounded a little funny – after all, we don’t talk that way, do we? This structure signifies a noun modifier and noun modifiers are supposed to modify the closest main noun; in this case, that means the noun before the comma. That noun is the pronoun “it.” So I guess we need to start there: what is the pronoun “it” referring to?

Something brought the script “with it” – ah, I see. “It” is referring to the empire. The empire was expanding and when it reached this certain place, it also brought this certain script with it. So the noun modifier is telling us “the empire, from which was derived <some other alphabet>. Can an alphabet be derived from an empire? Figuratively, perhaps, but not literally – literally, that meaning is illogical. One alphabet is derived from another alphabet (in this case, the “Aramaic script”), so the sentence should convey that meaning.

Great! Because we’ve found an error in the original sentence, we can immediately cross off answer choice A. Whenever we can cross off any answer, our next step is always to scan the remaining answers to see whether we can eliminate others for the exact same reason. Do any of the other choices repeat the error that we just found?

Answers C and D have “script, from which,” so in both cases, the modifier is correctly referring to the script. Answers B and E change things up a bit – they introduce an “and” after the comma, so we no longer have a straight noun modifier marker.

Now, you have to make a choice: do you want to try to figure out what’s happening with these new “and” markers that you’ve noticed in B and E? Or do you want to try to find something else? There isn’t one right answer to this question; it just depends on whether you think you know what might be going on with the “and.” If so, keep going. If not, find something else instead. In this case, let’s examine B and E further.

B says “it, and from which deriving…” The word “and” is a parallelism marker; it signals an “X and Y” construction. If this choice is correct, then it should have some X and Y components that can be made parallel. Right after the “and,” we have the “from which” modifier marker, so this is the start of the Y component of the “X and Y” parallelism structure: “and from which…” What is the X? Ah, there’s the problem! We would need another noun-modifier component for the X part of the sentence… and we don’t have one. Eliminate B.

We know already that E also introduced an “and” at this point in the sentence, so you know what to do: see if you can reuse your work from B. In E, we have “script, and deriving…” The word “deriving” is the start of our Y component; what is the parallel X component? Perhaps it’s the word “bringing” from the non-underlined portion? Let’s test it out.

Quote:
The Empire reached the Valley, bringing with it <a script>, and deriving from it <some alphabets>.

These “comma –ing” structures are adverbial modifiers, which modify the preceding clause (subject and verb). In addition, the parallelism sets up certain expectations; for instance, when using the same pronoun in the same position in two parallel structures, the expectation is that the pronoun refers to the same noun both times.

We decided earlier that the “bringing with it” language referred to the empire. Does the second “it” refer to the same noun?

No. Once again, it doesn’t make sense to say that an alphabet was derived from an empire. The second “it” should really refer to the Aramaic script – but then we’d be using two different nouns for the same pronoun, “it,” that appears twice in a parallel structure. That’s considered ambiguous – although some ambiguity can be tolerated if all of the other choices are outright wrong. So how do we decide?

Turns out there’s an even bigger problem. Parallel structures should be able to be used independently to complete the sentence. We should be able to say: (1) The Empire reached the Valley, bringing with it a script. (2) The Empire reached the valley, deriving from it some alphabets. What does the “it” refer to in the second sentence? The valley? The empire? Neither one makes sense, and the script is no longer an option – it’s not part of the sentence any longer. Eliminate E.

So now we’ve narrowed it down to C and D, both of which use the “script, from which” construction. Now is a great time to scan the two choices vertically, comparing equivalent parts of the sentences until you find differences. There are only two: one uses the singular “derives” while the other uses the plural “derive,” and one includes “the” in front of both northern and southern while the other does not use “the” for either one.

The derives / derive split seems as though it should be straightforward – we just have to determine whether we need the verb to be singular or plural, right? So, what subject goes with this verb?

Ask yourself who or what is doing the action – what derives from what? Did the script come first and then the alphabets? Or was it the other way around? The original sentence describes the former scenario: the alphabets derive (come) from the script.

So the subject is the plural “the northern and southern alphabets” and the verb should be the plural “derive.” Eliminate D. The correct answer, by process of elimination, is C.

This last bit of analysis also shows the biggest trap in this problem: many students will think that the subject is “script” (it comes first, after all!) and that the verb should therefore be “derives.” Consequently, those students will eliminate the right answer, C, and choose a very tempting wrong answer, D. We have an inverted structure here, however, where the subject actually shows up after the verb – and the clue to this construction was the “from which” language. “Which” refers to the preceding noun, “script” – the (something) derive or derives from the script. If the script is part of that prepositional phrase after the verb, then it can’t be the subject.

In choice E, we saw another trap: false parallelism. Students will like the apparent parallelism between “bringing with it” and “deriving from it,” but the parallelism is only superficial. The two pronouns are not actually parallel and the second item doesn’t make sense in the context of the entire sentence.

The major take-aways here:

(1) Re-use your analysis! Whenever you find anything wrong, make sure to check the remaining answers for the same issue.
(2) Study modifiers and meaning! These are both very commonly tested on the GMAT.
(3) Don’t fall for false or superficial parallelism! Test the parts and make sure that they really are parallel and separately able to complete the sentence.

* GMATPrep question courtesy of the Graduate Management Admissions Council. Usage of this question does not imply endorsement by GMAC.

This is one of the best analysis of a sentence I have read till date. Thanks much. Lot of basic stuff got cleared!
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 22 Mar 2011
Posts: 1005
Followers: 342

Kudos [?]: 924 [0], given: 28

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

31 May 2015, 03:01
Hi russ9,

The short answer is that the use of "deriving" in B and E doesn't make sense as a verb in the context of the sentence. Tom gets into this at length in his analysis of those answer choices in the original post. One quick way to see the problem is that this verb has no subject! We don't want to say that the empire derived the Indian alphabets from the Aramaic script. This doesn't make sense! Notice that in the correct version, we aren't told who did this deriving. None of the choices tell us this, because there is no such subject. The alphabets derived from Aramaic, but no person or thing *derived* them. It's just as if we'd said that an animal evolved from an earlier species. We don't want to say that someone or something "evolved it."

Does that help?
_________________

Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile |
Manhattan GMAT Reviews

Manager
Joined: 26 Jan 2016
Posts: 57
Location: India
Schools: ISB '18
GMAT 1: 690 Q49 V36
GPA: 3.01
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 11

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

13 May 2016, 00:06
I Could narrow down to C and D, but got it wrong at the end because I was timing myself and chose D
Intern
Joined: 27 Dec 2016
Posts: 15
Concentration: Social Entrepreneurship, Nonprofit
GPA: 3.65
WE: Sales (Consumer Products)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 71

Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC [#permalink]

### Show Tags

16 May 2017, 20:55
I'm still confused with the usage of "from which" in answer C and D, especially in the following verb. Does anyone here know why we reverse the subject here? I thought that "which" in "from which" referes to The Script (not inverted).

Thanks!

Posted from my mobile device
Re: Meaning, modifiers and Parallelism in SC   [#permalink] 16 May 2017, 20:55
Similar topics Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
4 parallel modifiers - relative pronouns 3 11 Sep 2012, 20:14
1 SC: Modifiers 10 17 Oct 2014, 23:44
6 SC: Modifiers 6 02 Mar 2017, 21:52
1 SC: Parallel Modifiers 7 18 Oct 2014, 12:17
3 SC: Modifier 7 20 Oct 2014, 17:31
Display posts from previous: Sort by