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Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem

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Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Mar 2015, 19:04
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Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem


- From the Manhattan GMAT blog

This week, we’re going to analyze a particularly tough GMATPrepSentence Correction question.

First, set your timer for 1 minute and 15 seconds and try the problem!

Research has shown that when speaking, individuals who have been blind from birth and have thus never seen anyone gesture nonetheless make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way as sighted people do, and that they will gesture even when conversing with another blind person.

A) have thus never seen anyone gesture nonetheless make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way as sighted people do, and that

B) have thus never seen anyone gesture but nonetheless make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way that sighted people do, and

C) have thus never seen anyone gesture, that they nonetheless make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way as sighted people do, and

D) thus they have never seen anyone gesture, but nonetheless they make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way that sighted people do, and that

E) thus they have never seen anyone gesture nonetheless make hand motions just as frequently and in the same way that sighted people do, and



Okay, have you got your answer? Now, let’s dive into this thing! What did you think when you read the original sentence?GMAT modifier

This is a very tough problem; when I read the sentence the first time, I actually had to stop and try to strip the sentence down to its basic core, then figure out how the modifiers fit. Until I did that, I couldn’t go any further.

First, we have research has shown, a subject-verb pair. That’s the start of the core. The research has shown some things. What are those things (in simple form)? In the following sentence, the words in <brackets> are my simplification of the sentence; these words do not represent the original sentence.

Research has shown THAT when speaking, <certain>1 individuals nonetheless make hand motions <in a certain way>2, and THAT <when speaking>3 they will gesture <in another way>4.

1<certain> takes the place of who have been blind from birth and have thus never seen anyone gesture.

2<in a certain way> takes the place of just as frequently and in the same way as sighted people do.

3<when speaking> is implied by parallelism; this second thing is something that occurs when speaking, just as the first thing is something that occurs when speaking. This parallelism is indicated by the second instance of the word that and is reinforced by the pronoun they, which refers to the subject (individuals) of the first that clause.

4<in another way> takes the place of even when conversing with another blind person.

So what we’ve really got is:

Research has shown THAT when speaking, <certain> individuals nonetheless make <certain> hand motions, and THAT they will gesture <in a certain way>.

Simplify that even more:

Research has shown THAT X, and THAT Y. (X and Y are parallel and are both things that the research has shown.)

In the original sentence, the main word in X is individuals and the main word in Y is they, so we already have proper parallelism.

Are the other four choices also correct just at the core level of the sentence? Part of the core is not underlined: Research has shown THAT X. We know, then, that the Y part should be introduced with another THAT (in order to indicate that these two parts, X and Y, should be parallel). Choices B, C, and E all omit the THAT in front of Y, so they are not correct.

D also uses the core structure and THAT Y, so D is okay as far as that issue is concerned. How do the rest of A and D compare? A begins have thus never seen while D begins thus they have never seen. What’s the major difference? D includes the subject they while A omits a subject. Do we want a subject here? Now we need to dive into one of the modifiers.

individuals who have been blind from birth and have thus never seen anyone gesture nonetheless make

As we discussed earlier, individuals is a subject; the matching verb is make: individuals nonetheless make <certain> hand motions. The words in between individuals and nonetheless are modifiers “ and because we have two separate modifiers connected by the word and, we need to make those two modifiers parallel.

Individuals who J and K nonetheless make

A: Individuals who [have been blind from birth] and [have thus never seen anyone gesture] nonetheless make

D: Individuals who [have been blind from birth] and [thus they have never seen anyone gesture], but nonetheless they make

So, are they both properly parallel? The J modifier is not part of the underline, so we know that the structure of K has to match the existing structure of J. J’s main construction is a verb in the present-perfect tense, so K should have the same structure. In choice A, K does begin with a present-perfect verb, but in choice D, K beings with a noun (they). That’s not parallel. Eliminate D.

Now, we’re down to one answer choice. The correct answer is A.

There are other ways we could have eliminated answers. For example, choices B and D both use the phrase but nonetheless to indicate a contrast. Each word indicates a contrast by itself, so using both words together is redundant.

There’s another split between just as frequently and in the same way as and just as frequently and in the same way that. Which one is right? The word and once again indicates parallelism, so there’s something parallel about the part before and the part after the and. Try each part individually.

She runs just as frequently as he skis. That’s fine. Can we say She runs just as frequently he skis? No “ we need that second as after the word frequently. The full phrase is just as frequently as. So that’s why we have parallelism in this sentence! In the structure just as frequently and in the same way as, the second as applies to both parts (just as frequently as and in the same way as). We can’t use just as frequently and in the same way than because that would leave us with either just as frequently (with no second as) or just as frequently than “ neither of which is correct.

The major take-aways here:

(1) when doing SC, first attack the errors that you know how to do and reuse your prior analysis as much as you can; you may not have to use all of the errors / differences in order to find the right answer!

(2) scan SC answer choices vertically to find differences; don’t read horizontally

(3) know how to recognize and properly construct noun modifiers and adverbial modifiers

(4) watch out for parallelism markers “ the markers are often little words but they can make a big difference!
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Aug 2017, 11:32
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Great article by Souvik and congratulations to him. To augment his saga, let me weigh in a little to say just a point or two here.
'That' is a vital parallelism marker in GMAT SC and choices A, C, and E have somehow ignored this critical factor.

Between B and D, D is flatly guilty of the redundancy of 'but nonetheless'. So, B is the odd man out.
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 01:44
daagh wrote:
Great article by Souvik and congratulations to him. To augment his saga, let me weigh in a little to say just a point or two here.
'That' is a vital parallelism marker in GMAT SC and choices A, C, and E have somehow ignored this critical factor.

Between B and D, D is flatly guilty of the redundancy of 'but nonetheless'. So, B is the odd man out.


sir
I am afraid whats the OA: is it A or B ?
I eliminated B as it doesn't have the that that parallelism
Research has shown that........ and that
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 05:42
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Yes. sorry. It should be B, C, and E that should go on the first glance. Between A and D, A is the answer. Sorry once again for my oversight.
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2018, 08:56
Do we have any document for toughest questions (800 Level) questions on Modifiers?
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2018, 10:01
viditm4 wrote:
Do we have any document for toughest questions (800 Level) questions on Modifiers?


Search in our questions' bank: https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?view=search_tags

700+ SC questions in modifiers: https://gmatclub.com/forum/search.php?s ... mit=Search
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Re: Modifier Madness: Breaking Down a GMATPrep Sentence Correction Problem &nbs [#permalink] 25 Jun 2018, 10:01
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