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Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi

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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2017, 07:29
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One last question for you! In the mole rats example, for choice A, I would have thought that it was completely obvious what was being referred to by "each of which" (although this is not use of a pronoun, it is very similar). An animal cannot consist of "a single reproductive female and workers that defend her"! However, this choice is wrong!! Can you shed any light on why the GMAT would consider this choice, which is less awkward than the correct answer, incorrect?


Technically speaking, "which" is also a type of pronoun, called a relative pronoun (as always, don't worry about the jargon unless you like it). You'll often see me refer to "which" as "the beginning of a modifier" or "part of a modifier" because that's a simpler way to think about it -- but technically, I'm wrong. And I think your description is nicely intuitive: "which" is "not use of a pronoun, but it is very similar." I think that's a good way of thinking of it here, but really, it's just a pronoun, and it needs an antecedent like any other.

So the problem in (A) is that if you look at it strictly and literally, "which" would seem to refer to the most recent noun: "animals." The correct answer fixes that issue nicely.

And it pains me to say this, but you really don't want to worry much about "awkwardness" on GMAT SC. I know: the answer explanations in the OG use the terms "awkward" and "wordy" all the time. But "awkward" is completely in the eye of the beholder, and I'd argue that a huge chunk of the CORRECT answers are awkward and wordy. The pronoun issue (or any other grammar rule) definitely trumps any subjective feeling that something is "awkward."
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2017, 04:08
Hi,
As per e-gmat, for pronoun ambiguity : we need to put back the valid nouns and see if more than one noun can fit in the sentence
Here 'which' can refer to 'animals' indeed but then the meaning is distorted, so we cant consider this this. Now which can only refer to colonies and then it is correct so I feel A is correct.

Pls guide.
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2017, 07:04
akhisysnl wrote:
Hi,
As per e-gmat, for pronoun ambiguity : we need to put back the valid nouns and see if more than one noun can fit in the sentence
Here 'which' can refer to 'animals' indeed but then the meaning is distorted, so we cant consider this this. Now which can only refer to colonies and then it is correct so I feel A is correct.

Pls guide.



Hello akhisysnl,


Thank you for your query. :-)

You are correct in saying that we do suggest that replace the pronoun with all he nouns that you may deem a logical antecedent of that pronoun. Only the logical noun will be the antecedent of that pronoun.

In this official sentence, as you have correctly mentioned, which has only one logical antecedent - colonies.

However, we also say that GMAT seems to prefer the answer choice that mentions the noun entity exclusively rather than the pronoun used for that noun entity.

In Choice C, the noun entity colony is specifically mentioned and hence leave no doubt for any pronoun ambiguity whatsoever. Hence, this choice is definitely better than Choice A.

There are many official sentences in which we see that the correct answer choice carries the noun entity explicitly.


Hope this helps. :-)
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Nov 2017, 21:41
GMATNinja wrote:
Ah, “each.” One of the GMAT’s favorite little things.

There’s some nuance to this, but the quick version is that when “each” is used as a subject, it’s always singular. (Note that “each” can also function as an adverb, though it’s fairly rare on the GMAT – see this thread if you want to torment yourself with those details. Or check out this thread for a more “normal” use of “each.”)

So in this case, we can eliminate (D) right away: “each… consist” is wrong, since “each” is singular.

The other thing that jumps out at me is the word “them” in answer choices (B) and (D). The most recent plural noun is “animals” – but that doesn’t make any sense. “Each of the animals consisting of a single reproductive female and workers…”?? Nope. So (B) is gone, too.

(A) has a nearly identical issue: “each of which” seems to refer back to “animals” as well, and that’s illogical. Our last two choices, (C) and (E), clarify the meaning by using the phrase “each colony.”

The only difference between (C) and (E) is the word “and” -- and that doesn’t quite work in (E). We’d need a full clause after the “and” in this case: “and each colony consisted…” would be OK, but “consisting” is a participle (modifier) here, so we definitely don’t need the “and.”

So our winner is (C). “each colony consisting” is just a modifier – and it makes perfect sense as a source of extra information for that initial clause, “Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals…”


GMATNinja Can i call this a case of resumptive modifier?
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2017, 13:02
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Luckisnoexcuse wrote:

GMATNinja Can i call this a case of resumptive modifier?

Sure! You know that I'm not a big fan of the grammar terminology, but for whatever it's worth, I think it does qualifies as a resumptive modifier: we're restating a noun ("each colony") so that we can then describe the colony in more detail.

And if you have no idea what we're talking about and have no interest in the term "resumptive modifier", that's cool, too. :)
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2017, 03:55
Hi,

I eliminated C because "each worker consisting" and "workers that defend her" dint appear parallel.

Can you help me on this please.
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2017, 22:28
kamalakarthi wrote:
Hi,

I eliminated C because "each worker consisting" and "workers that defend her" dint appear parallel.

Can you help me on this please.

There's absolutely no reason why those two things need to be parallel. The parallelism trigger "and" is followed by a noun ("workers that defend her"). That noun just needs to be parallel to some other noun -- and "a single reproductive female" does the trick.

So we have: "Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her." No problem there at all.

For more on parallelism, you might want to check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQgATaaw1ok
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2018, 01:21
Why "which" in this sentence can refer to animals, the only logical antecedent is "Colonies" as each animal cannot have both female and male animals in it, Is my reasoning correct?
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Re: Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of whi  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2018, 18:15
ThisIsWater wrote:
Why "which" in this sentence can refer to animals, the only logical antecedent is "Colonies" as each animal cannot have both female and male animals in it, Is my reasoning correct?

Well, yeah. But notice that it required an unpleasant amount of work to arrive at that conclusion. If the sentence had said, "naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of which has sharp teeth and bad breath," you probably wouldn't have hesitated to link "each of which" to the nearest noun, "animals." That's a natural first instinct - at least it was for me.

So to make sense of the phrase "naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each of which consists of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her," you have to overrule your first instinct, conclude that "animals" don't each consist of a female and workers, and then go searching for something earlier in the sentence that works better. And that's pretty confusing. Compare that with the OA: "Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her." No work required: it's 100% clear, because the sentence tells us EXACTLY what consists of a "female and workers...".

Put another way: (A) isn't necessarily WRONG, exactly, but (C) is undoubtedly better. On the GMAT, clear and logical will always trump murky and ambiguous.

I hope that helps!
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