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Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a

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Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Nov 2013, 19:08
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A
B
C
D
E

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Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

(A) appeared—a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

(B) appeared—a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

(C) appeared—a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

(D) appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

(E) appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

https://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/travel/in-mauis-upcountry-where-the-paniolo-roam.html

The event, the smaller of Maui’s two largest annual rodeos, was preceded by a paniolo parade through downtown Makawao, a historic ranch town surrounded by farms and pastures. Along Makawao’s antique main street, a high school band played ukuleles; two monstrously large, insectlike dune buggies were bedecked with glittering Christmas garlands; and a vintage tractor tied with candy-striped bows towed Santa and Mrs. Claus on a trailer decorated with Japanese paper lanterns. Midway through, the rodeo queen appeared — a blue sash across her chest, a tiara hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in pirouettes on her white horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally. In Makawao, a town of about 7,000 that’s the center of Maui’s close-knit Upcountry communities, she may well have.

OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

This sentence correction problem uses an unusual structure to “hide the correct answer” - a common tool used by testmakers that you learned about in the Advanced Verbal lesson.

In (A), the phrase “a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat” is unusual because normally you would expect a conjunction between the two modifiers (here “and” so that it would read: “a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat”).

However, this fairly unusual rhetorical device (called asyndeton) is allowed and certainly something you have encountered in your reading over the years.

Everything else in the sentence is fine so (A) is indeed the correct answer.

However many students will eliminate it because they are not familiar with this rhetorical device.

The other four answer choices all have fatal flaws and if you use the proper strategy (“only eliminate when you are sure it is wrong” and “look for the easier decision points first”) then you will get this difficult problem correct.

For (B), the second clause following the semi-colon is clearly incorrect because “waving” is not used as a conjugated verb: “she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.” This would have to be “she rode…and waved”

For (C), the multiple semi-colons are incorrect. While you can use multiple semi-colons in a sentence to link parallel elements in a series, that is not the case in this example and the usage is incorrect.

In (D) and (E), you have a series of things that either lack any parallelism or are linked together improperly.

In (D) the “she rode” clause is inserted without any conjunction – a classic comma splice – and is also not parallel to the other structures.

In (E) there is no conjunction after “ cowboy hat,” and before “rode.” After using slash-and-burn (E) reads like this: she appeared….,rode – clearly incorrect without a conjunction.

Answer is (A).
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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avohden wrote:
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

I'm happy to help. :-) This is a hard question.

The phrases "a red sash across her chest" and "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" are absolute phrases. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/absolute-p ... -the-gmat/
These are separated by commas, do not take conjunctions, and cannot be in parallel to anything other than another absolute phrase.
(B) is incorrect, because it puts a conjunction between two absolute phrases
(C) is incorrect, because it separates absolute phrases with semicolons
(D) is a run-on sentence
(E) is also a run-on --- the two verbs in parallel, "appeared" and "rode" must be joined by a conjunction.

Choice (A) has no flaws and is the best answer. The semicolon divides her appearance from her action. The sentence has a very nice flow.

It's funny --- the only error I saw in (A) wasn't the subject of a split at all.
"....waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally."
It's not clear to me that the pronoun "them" has a clear antecedent. This is the type of mistake that the real GMAT often employs in incorrect answer choices ---- using a singular collective noun, here "crowd", and then a plural pronoun referring to its members. That's illegal. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/
A possible correct phrasing would be ....
" ...waving at the crowd as if she knew each person personally."

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2013, 09:40
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Official Explanation

Answer is (A).
This sentence correction problem uses an unusual structure to “hide the correct answer” - a common tool used by testmakers that you learned about in the Advanced Verbal lesson. In (A), the phrase “a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat” is unusual because normally you would expect a conjunction between the two modifiers (here “and” so that it would read: “a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat”). However, this fairly unusual rhetorical device (called asyndeton) is allowed and certainly something you have encountered in your reading over the years.

Everything else in the sentence is fine so (A) is indeed the correct answer. However many students will eliminate it because they are not familiar with this rhetorical device. The other four answer choices all have fatal flaws and if you use the proper strategy (“only eliminate when you are sure it is wrong” and “look for the easier decision points first”) then you will get this difficult problem correct.

For (B), the second clause following the semi-colon is clearly incorrect because “waving” is not used as a conjugated verb: “she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.” This would have to be “she rode…and waved”.

For (C), the multiple semi-colons are incorrect. While you can use multiple semi-colons in a sentence to link parallel elements in a series, that is not the case in this example and the usage is incorrect.

In (D) and (E), you have a series of things that either lack any parallelism or are linked together improperly. In (D) the “she rode” clause is inserted without any conjunction – a classic comma splice – and is also not parallel to the other structures. In (E) there is no conjunction after “ cowboy hat,” and before “rode.” After using slash-and-burn (E) reads like this: she appeared….,rode – clearly incorrect without a conjunction.
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2015, 01:49
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Sharing my findings..

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
- Green highlights are fine. Red one is incomplete(sentence fragment) and hence incorrect.

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
- Again the one highlighted RED is problematic as it is a fragment.

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
- here appreared with X(correct), Y(correct), she robe(wrong).. It should either be as below -
appeared with X and Y, and she robe..
appeared with X, Y and robe...

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
- highlighted GREEN is fine. But "And" is missing before robe.

By POE, A seems best and hence the ANSWER. :)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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avohden wrote:
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally


oe to follow


A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally correct answer

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally. She rode and waving are not parallel

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally 'a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat' separated by ';' is not a complete sentence

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally 'She rode in circles on her gray horse' must be separated by ';' and not by ','

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally. 'Appeared' and 'Rode' are not connected
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2016, 04:03
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fantaisie wrote:
Divyadisha wrote:

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally 'She rode in circles on her gray horse' must be separated by ';' and not by ','


Could you please elaborate on why a semi-colon should be used in this sentence? Thanks!


A semicolon is required to join two independent clauses. Here the two independent clauses are:

1. The rodeo queen appeared.
2. She rode.
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 12 Jun 2017, 03:42
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Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

This is indeed a daunting question to especially those non-natives who may not have heard of 'asyndeton' before. I was under the impression that the two modifiers are co-ordinate adverbs (which do not require to be conjugated with a conjunction) describing how the queen appeared. Still, we may try other roads to reach our Rome.

Choice B is unparallel with a clause before 'and' a phrase after.
Choice C is un-stylistic since a semicolon is not used unless there is a distraction from the presence multiple commas in a sentence.
Choice D is a run - on with no conjunction between the two ICs
Choice E is unparallel with no conjunction between the two verbs
What remains is A.

Incidentally, --waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally-- is common to all the five choices. Why underline that phrase unduly?
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Last edited by daagh on 12 Jun 2017, 03:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2017, 12:42
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anupama000 wrote:
Yes, it makes sense. Thanks for the explanation Mike.
I just wanted to confirm if, in the above sentence instead of "-" we have used the modifier after comma, the behaviour would still be same. For instance, the following sentence is correct as it is, right?
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared, a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat.

Dear anupama000

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The short answer is: yes. The sentence is grammatically correct with either a comma or an em-dash in that position.

Grammatically, they are about the same, but rhetorically, they are very different. The version with the comma is flat and dry, almost like a laundry list. By contrast, the version with the em-dash, the OA (A), is electric! The em-dash creates a momentary sense of anticipation, making us wait a fraction of a second to hear about how the rodeo queen looked. There is something tantalizing in this small delay, and sentence plays this up with great dramatic effect. The em-dash version is as engaging and exciting as the comma version is dull.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 17:56
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ArupRS wrote:
AjiteshArun : Does GMAT test this concept? An absolute phrase is tested frequently, but two absolute phrases not connected by any conjunction is rare.
There are other glaring errors by which we can discard other options. But the problem is we may think that this is also a glaring error if we are not aware of this concept, selecting another option which may have some "soft error" to our perception as I did.
Hi ArupRS,

I don't think that the GMAT is going to go out of its way to test something like this, but I think you might just find this official question interesting. :)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2019, 18:43
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AjiteshArun wrote:
ArupRS wrote:
AjiteshArun : Does GMAT test this concept? An absolute phrase is tested frequently, but two absolute phrases not connected by any conjunction is rare.
There are other glaring errors by which we can discard other options. But the problem is we may think that this is also a glaring error if we are not aware of this concept, selecting another option which may have some "soft error" to our perception as I did.
Hi ArupRS,

I don't think that the GMAT is going to go out of its way to test something like this, but I think you might just find this official question interesting. :)


AjiteshArun: pretty interesting official question. Thank you for sharing this.

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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2015, 23:22
Agree with MIke about the pronoun 'them'. It confused me in Veritas Cat. It is not understandable how Veritas staff made such a mistake in the question.
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2015, 04:36
mikemcgarry wrote:
The phrases "a red sash across her chest" and "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" are absolute phrases. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/absolute-p ... -the-gmat/
These are separated by commas, do not take conjunctions, and cannot be in parallel to anything other than another absolute phrase.

Hi Mike, can you let us know why there should be no conjunctions (for example, "and") when two absolute phrases are used? I have never come across this property.

Also, can you point to a GMAT question that also tests this similar concept of "no conjunctions in absolute phrases". As another person has pointed out, I would definitely have expected a "and"

a red sash across her chest, *and* a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2015, 07:49
arjunbeswal and @Dumyanti

It can help you -

In (A), the phrase “a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat” is unusual because normally you would expect a conjunction between the two modifiers (here “and” so that it would read: “a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat”). However, this fairly unusual rhetorical device (called asyndeton) is allowed and certainly something you have encountered in your reading over the years.
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2016, 01:29
Divyadisha wrote:

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally 'She rode in circles on her gray horse' must be separated by ';' and not by ','


Could you please elaborate on why a semi-colon should be used in this sentence? Thanks!
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2016, 09:09
Hello mikemcgarry. Thank you for the explanations,I have the following doubt:

1. Could an independent clause have a pronoun with its antecedent in the other independent clause? In this quest, "Rodeo queen......of her cowboy hat; SHE rode in circles........personally" She refers to rodeo queen and is still functioning as an independent clause, how?

2. Also, sentences beginning with however, can they be independent clauses?

Eg, - The physical structure of the human eye enables it to sense light of wavelengths up
to 0.0005 millimeters; however, the wavelength of infrared radiation—0.1 millimeters—is too long to be registered by the eye

Is the sentence beginning with however, the... eye an independent clause?

Thanks in advance

mikemcgarry wrote:
avohden wrote:
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

I'm happy to help. :-) This is a hard question.

The phrases "a red sash across her chest" and "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" are absolute phrases. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/absolute-p ... -the-gmat/
These are separated by commas, do not take conjunctions, and cannot be in parallel to anything other than another absolute phrase.
(B) is incorrect, because it puts a conjunction between two absolute phrases
(C) is incorrect, because it separates absolute phrases with semicolons
(D) is a run-on sentence
(E) is also a run-on --- the two verbs in parallel, "appeared" and "rode" must be joined by a conjunction.

Choice (A) has no flaws and is the best answer. The semicolon divides her appearance from her action. The sentence has a very nice flow.

It's funny --- the only error I saw in (A) wasn't the subject of a split at all.
"....waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally."
It's not clear to me that the pronoun "them" has a clear antecedent. This is the type of mistake that the real GMAT often employs in incorrect answer choices ---- using a singular collective noun, here "crowd", and then a plural pronoun referring to its members. That's illegal. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/
A possible correct phrasing would be ....
" ...waving at the crowd as if she knew each person personally."

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Jul 2016, 11:29
jjindal wrote:
Hello mikemcgarry. Thank you for the explanations,I have the following doubt:

1. Could an independent clause have a pronoun with its antecedent in the other independent clause? In this quest, "Rodeo queen......of her cowboy hat; SHE rode in circles........personally" She refers to rodeo queen and is still functioning as an independent clause, how?

2. Also, sentences beginning with however, can they be independent clauses?

Eg, - The physical structure of the human eye enables it to sense light of wavelengths up
to 0.0005 millimeters; however, the wavelength of infrared radiation—0.1 millimeters—is too long to be registered by the eye

Is the sentence beginning with however, the... eye an independent clause?

Thanks in advance

Dear jjindal,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

As to your first question, one of the very few flaws of the Sentence Correction question format is that it predisposes us to think in terms of single sentences only. Of course, well-constructed sentences are the building blocks of fine writing. Nevertheless, there are grammatical & logical features that tie separate sentences together, and the GMAT SC typically neglects such features. One feature is that, in a paragraph, a main subject needs be mentioned only once, and often it is mentioned as a pronoun in subsequent sentences, as long as no ambiguity is introduced.
Einstein was a remarkable scientist. He published three papers in 1905. In the first, he explained . . .
It would be redundant to repeat the name in sentence after sentence. When you consider how a paragraph is constructed, it becomes obvious that of course it's fine that, when a sentence has two independent clauses, we can use a pronoun in one to refer to a noun in the other.

As to your second question, the word "however" here is simply an adverb. The presence of an adverb has no bearing on whether a clause is independent or subordinate. For more on the word "however," see:
The Word “However” on the GMAT

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2016, 07:27
avohden wrote:
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally


oe to follow


I cannot compare myself to such great experts as Mike and Ergenekon, but I will show how I reached to the correct answer.

we need a semicolon to separate two independent clauses.
info after hyphen serves as a description, and doesn't have an overall effect on the sentence.

waving - is an ing modifier; she rode on her horse while waving at the crowd. correct usage of the ing modifier.
B - changes the focus from riding to riding and waving. waving is an additional action and not a modifier.
C - same thing. one more error - non-essential description of the "queen" is between two hyphens, but "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" is not an independent clause; it doesn't even have a verb!!!
D - appeared with... kind of changes the meaning... and was waving - again modifier is transformed in a verb. nope.
E - same error as in D. in addition, we have in original sentence 2 IC, but here, we have only one. she appeared and she rode. thus, waving at the crowd modifier extends to the verb appeared...so another error.

A seems to be the best!
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 00:54
mikemcgarry wrote:
avohden wrote:
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

I'm happy to help. :-) This is a hard question.

The phrases "a red sash across her chest" and "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" are absolute phrases.
These are separated by commas, do not take conjunctions, and cannot be in parallel to anything other than another absolute phrase.
(B) is incorrect, because it puts a conjunction between two absolute phrases
(C) is incorrect, because it separates absolute phrases with semicolons
(D) is a run-on sentence
(E) is also a run-on --- the two verbs in parallel, "appeared" and "rode" must be joined by a conjunction.

Choice (A) has no flaws and is the best answer. The semicolon divides her appearance from her action. The sentence has a very nice flow.

It's funny --- the only error I saw in (A) wasn't the subject of a split at all.
"....waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally."
It's not clear to me that the pronoun "them" has a clear antecedent. This is the type of mistake that the real GMAT often employs in incorrect answer choices ---- using a singular collective noun, here "crowd", and then a plural pronoun referring to its members. That's illegal.
A possible correct phrasing would be ....
" ...waving at the crowd as if she knew each person personally."

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Hi Mike,
Thanks for this explanation. I read the article on absolute phrases and have a doubt in reference to this question.
As I understand, an absolute phrase can modify the preceding clause. But in this sentence, the phrase "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" seems to be modifying "a red sash across her chest". Presence of "and" between these phrases would make both these modifiers separaetly modify the preceding clause which looks logical to me. Can you explain how is my understanding flawed?
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 10:23
anupama000 wrote:
Hi Mike,
Thanks for this explanation. I read the article on absolute phrases and have a doubt in reference to this question.
As I understand, an absolute phrase can modify the preceding clause. But in this sentence, the phrase "a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat" seems to be modifying "a red sash across her chest". Presence of "and" between these phrases would make both these modifiers separately modify the preceding clause which looks logical to me. Can you explain how is my understanding flawed?

Dear anupama000,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The Touch Rule applies only to noun modifiers. It does not apply to verb modifiers or anything else. It is a very important pattern in only a limited context, and it is 100% irrelevant after that context.

Also, let's be precise with wording. It's true, as you say, that "an absolute phrase can modify the preceding clause'--yes, that's one possibility. This is not the same as "an absolute phrase must modify the preceding clause"--this latter statement is not true at all.

Absolute phrase modify verbs or clauses--we could say either, depending on perspective. They are not noun modifiers, so they are not at all subject the constraints of the touch rule. The pronoun "her" refers specifically to the "the rodeo queen," but the absolute clauses overall describe how she made her appearance--they answer a "how?" question, because they are adverbial in nature.

Adverbial modifiers, verb modifiers, don't have rigid rules on their placement. They don't have to touch what they modify. It's perfectly fine to have two in a row modifying the same clause, and that's exactly what we have here.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2017, 02:16
Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally.

A. appeared — a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
--> correct.

B. appeared — a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

C. appeared — a red sash across her chest; a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat; she rode in circles on her gray horse and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally

D. appeared with a red sash across her chest, a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, she rode in circles on her gray horse, and was waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
--> run-on sentence.

E. appeared with a red sash across her chest and a crown hugging the band of her cowboy hat, rode in circles on her gray horse, waving at the crowd as if she knew each of them personally
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Re: Midway through the parade, the rodeo queen from New Mexico appeared—a   [#permalink] 12 Jun 2017, 02:16

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