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# More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which

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Intern
Joined: 14 Aug 2017
Posts: 29

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 12

Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2017, 23:06
GMATNinja mikemcgarry

A - Hold
B - Could not eliminate
C - Multiple usage of it which causes redundancy
D - It has no antecedent
E - Incorrectly modifies Siberia Lake

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 12

Verbal Expert
Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 3278

Kudos [?]: 3794 [0], given: 22

Location: Germany
Schools: HHL Leipzig
GMAT 1: 780 Q50 V47
WE: Corporate Finance (Pharmaceuticals and Biotech)
Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which [#permalink]

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12 Dec 2017, 05:42
siddyj94 wrote:
GMATNinja mikemcgarry

A - Hold
B - Could not eliminate
C - Multiple usage of it which causes redundancy
D - It has no antecedent
E - Incorrectly modifies Siberia Lake

The first "that": comma + "that" is incorrect - for essential modifier "that", comma is not to be used. Moroever use of essential modifier itself is wrong. Essential modifiers are used to define a noun (frequently to specify a subgroup). Here "Fresh water" is not defined by "more than all the North American Great Lakes combined."

The second "that": same reason as above - use of essential modifier is wrong. The rivers are not defined by the fact that they drain into the lake.

Kudos [?]: 3794 [0], given: 22

Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4645

Kudos [?]: 9283 [0], given: 117

Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which [#permalink]

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12 Dec 2017, 16:14
siddyj94 wrote:
GMATNinja mikemcgarry

A - Hold
B - Could not eliminate
C - Multiple usage of it which causes redundancy
D - It has no antecedent
E - Incorrectly modifies Siberia Lake

Dear siddyj94,

I'm happy to respond. I see that my brilliant colleague sayantanc2k answered your question, and I am going to add a little more.

Here's (B)
(B) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, that is more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

Here's what I'll say. GMAT SC is NOT a test of grammar. On the GMAT SC, grammar and logic and rhetoric have to come together coherently to produce meaning. Many non-native speakers focus exclusively on grammar and so miss problems at other levels of analysis. The GMAT loves to construct wrong answers that are 100% grammatically correct but logically or rhetorically flaws, to trap the folks who pay attention to grammar only.

Arguably, (B) is grammatically correct, but it's a disaster in other ways.
1) The "that is" is a very weak, indirect, wordy way of presenting that information. We could eliminate those words entirely and get a better sentence:

(B2) With 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

That's 100% grammatically correct and considerably better than (B)--it has an air of elegance, whereas the original version of (B) felt clunky and tentative.

2) The "with" construction is not ideal. This construction is colloquially acceptable, but it doesn't withstand logical scrutiny. It really doesn't make sense to say that Lake Baikal is "with" water. Instead, we would say, that Lake Baikal is "holds" or "contains" water. If we replace "with" with the participle form, we get:

(B3) Holding 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined, Siberia's Lake Baikal has more than 300 rivers that drain into it.

That's not bad at all. That could be a correct answer on the GMAT SC, but (A) is even better than this. Why?

Think about it. What's the main verb here? It's "has." The principle action is "has more than 300 rivers . . . "--not a riveting action. The slightly more active verb "hold" is in participle form, as a modifier, and the very active verb "drain" is hidden in a noun-modifying clause. A sentence feels most active when the most "active" action is also the main verb.

Now, think about the verbs in (A):
More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which holds 20 percent of the world's fresh water, more than all the North American Great Lakes combined.

This is grammatically and logically correct. Furthermore, the main verb "drain" is the most "active" action. This version has a level of punch, of forcefulness, that even (B3) lacks. Even the dependent clause, with the main verb "hold," feels more active than the main clause of (B3)! Choice (A) is a very direct and powerful way to communicate this information: it's an extremely well-written sentence.

You see, if you look at only grammar, you are seeing less than half the story of GMAT SC. You have to look at all levels at once.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
_________________

Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

Kudos [?]: 9283 [0], given: 117

Re: More than 300 rivers drain into Siberia's Lake Baikal, which   [#permalink] 12 Dec 2017, 16:14

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