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# Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e

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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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Since the option E say "was most unfortunate", its correct. The last sentence "now finally living" complements it. All the other options use "is most unfortunate" and thus is not in sync with final part.
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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daagh wrote:
Let’s first decide what is being tested here.
1. Whether ‘was’ or ‘is’
2. This is a list parallelism question; therefore, whether the rules of parallelism have been adhered to
3. Whether semicolon can be used to separate the various arms of a list?
Now point by point
1. Is or was?
Mandela, his woes and his endurance are all outdated. (He died in 2013). Hence ‘was’ is more appropriate. Eliminate A, B and C.
D has two visible problems. One is to say that M was and is both. We must be clear that intrusion of the present tense is incongruous.
Second fault is the use of a go- straight conjunction ‘and’ while using a contrast conjunction such as ‘yet’ or ‘but’ is a compulsion of the context.

E is of course, uses the correct tense ‘was’ and uses the contrasting conjunctions ‘yet’ and ‘but’ as per the intent of the original.

Of course, this much might suffice in the test hall. However, to know a little more: a. A is not obedient to the rules of list //ism. It uses ‘and’ between the first and the second factors. In addition, it uses the semicolon between all the items except between the first and the second. We can ,of course, use semicolons to separate the different arms of a list, but must be steadfast in using them for all the choices.
B and C end up with the awful mistake of using a present participle ‘proscribing’ as if it was NM who was proscribing.
Hope this helps in tackling this seemingly intimidating topic.

I would say reason for using "was" is because the paragraph stayed he is now living a better life, not because he is dead ( of course he is dead but we dont know when this paragraph was written)
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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It may be noted from the top of the thread that this para was written on Jan 20, 2016, some three years later than he was dead.
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Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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daagh wrote:
Let’s first decide what is being tested here.
1. Whether ‘was’ or ‘is’
2. This is a list parallelism question; therefore, whether the rules of parallelism have been adhered to
3. Whether semicolon can be used to separate the various arms of a list?
Now point by point
1. Is or was?
Mandela, his woes and his endurance are all outdated. (He died in 2013). Hence ‘was’ is more appropriate. Eliminate A, B and C.
D has two visible problems. One is to say that M was and is both. We must be clear that intrusion of the present tense is incongruous.
Second fault is the use of a go- straight conjunction ‘and’ while using a contrast conjunction such as ‘yet’ or ‘but’ is a compulsion of the context.

E is of course, uses the correct tense ‘was’ and uses the contrasting conjunctions ‘yet’ and ‘but’ as per the intent of the original.

Of course, this much might suffice in the test hall. However, to know a little more: a. A is not obedient to the rules of list //ism. It uses ‘and’ between the first and the second factors. In addition, it uses the semicolon between all the items except between the first and the second. We can ,of course, use semicolons to separate the different arms of a list, but must be steadfast in using them for all the choices.
B and C end up with the awful mistake of using a present participle ‘proscribing’ as if it was NM who was proscribing.
Hope this helps in tackling this seemingly intimidating topic.

Sir,
For someone who died in 2013 how can we use the phrase " But now living a life respected by mankind "?

I think the sentence means to talk more about his problems in the past rather than his life in the past.
Also is it expected that everyone who takes the test know a little about outside general knowledge and current affairs. As to the date when somebody died?
How do we know that when the sentence was written , whether Mr. Mandela ( God rest his soul ) was alive or not. We just know the date the question was posted in GC not the date the question was written.
Hence to decide between " was " and " is " on this factor , is it appropriate?
Thank you.
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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stne
Obviously the question itself is wrong if we do not reconcile to the phrase but now living … because it is there present in all the five choices. The comfort is that at least his problems belonged to the past although one cannot describe him a living at the moment.
Therefore, at least the past tense is ok for his problems, although A, B, and C use the incongruous 'is' and D uses a mixture of both 'is' and 'was'.
That aside, however, the crux is that if there is some take away even from this faulty structure, let's take it by choosing the best among the bads and keep going.
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
It may be noted from the top of the thread that this para was written on Jan 20, 2016, some three years later than he was dead.

someone may not know who he is so how would they know if hes alive or dead? there must be some other reason for was
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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There are excellent explanations give above, yet I would like to add how I worked the POI.(what if the test taker does not know about Nelson Mandela and if that is true how would he distinguish between 'is' and 'was'? )

Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in time of ruthless government and civil discrimination, and finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court; possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribed politically and socially; the most patriotic, yet falling the victim of wile; but finally now living his life respected by mankind

A. Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in time of ruthless government and civil discrimination, and finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court; possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribed politically and socially; the most patriotic, yet falling the victim of wile; but finally now living his life respected by mankind

Semicolen is not used correctly.

B Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in times of ruthless government and civil discrimination finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribing politically and socially, the most patriotic, yet fallen the victim of wile, but finally now living his life respected by mankind

Modifier without comma..? can be used but the sentence formation is faulty and changes the meaning.

C. Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in times of ruthless government and civil discrimination, finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court; possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribing politically and socially, the most patriotic, yet the fallen victim of wile, but finally now living his life respected by mankind
same error as A

D. Nelson Mandela was and is both the most unfortunate of men and yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in times of ruthlessness and civil discrimination, finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribed politically and socially, the most patriotic, yet fallen the victim of wile, and finally now living his life respected by mankind

was and is..? is this the correct intended meaning of the sentence.i mean it does convey the meaning but does not make sense..because adding to the claim that he was and still is.

E. Nelson Mandela was most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of endurance: extant in times of ruthless government and civil discrimination, finding himself cast on the tender mercies of a corrupt court, possessing a high order of compliance and compromise, still proscribed politically and socially, the most patriotic, yet fallen the victim of wile, but finally now living his life respected by mankind
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
Hi,

Other than the parallelism problem here, I am just curious about the lack of 'the' in answer E.. I thought that in the superlative form, there should be 'the' in front of most..

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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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Dear experts, how do you recommend approaching fully underlined sentences that are similar to the one posted in this thread? I am usually not able to comprehend the meaning especially if the sentence is twisted. So far, my strategy is to bail if I see a similar question.

Thank you.
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Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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mykrasovski wrote:
Dear experts, how do you recommend approaching fully underlined sentences that are similar to the one posted in this thread? I am usually not able to comprehend the meaning especially if the sentence is twisted. So far, my strategy is to bail if I see a similar question.

Thank you.
I think it's important not to change your approach. That is, don't try to read faster. Instead, give yourself a little more time. I normally recommend that test takers target 60-80 seconds (SC), but that's an average figure. On some questions you'll take (or need) more time, and that's okay, as long as you can make that time up on other questions (and the confidence to do that comes with practice).

Knowing when to guess and move on is equally important.
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Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
In E, is it ok to say "was most unfortunate of men"? Do we need to add "the" between "was" and "most"?

EDIT: On a second thought, I think in choice E, they don't mean to say that he was the most unfortunate one out of a group of men. Here's my thought process using an example:

This apple is most delicious. --- This one makes me think that the apple can't get any more delicious. We don't know how many apples there are out there, but we also don't really care. It relates to the taste of the apple; it's not comparing the apple to the other apples.
This apple is the most delicious --- There is a pool of apples here (20 or 25 apples or whatever), and we are referring to the most delicious one out of that pool.

Mandela is most unfortunate of men... --- I think the word "men" is referring to something bigger than a group of dudes here; it's referring to an entity (the mankind, the human race). By omitting "the", we are not looking at a pool of, say, 20 dudes to see who the absolute most unfortunate is. We are only saying that everything that Mandela has gone through (after the colon) depicts him as the epitome of a lack of fortune.
Mandela is the most unfortunate of men... --- This one would be ok if we were looking at, say, 20 men and comparing him to the rest of the group.

Thoughts?

Originally posted by zeyneptuzun on 05 Jun 2019, 12:28.
Last edited by zeyneptuzun on 05 Jun 2019, 13:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
Oh man. This is a hard one. Is the answer really E or not?
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Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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zeyneptuzun wrote:
In E, is it ok to say "was most unfortunate of men"? Do we need to add "the" between "was" and "most"?
You're right. Option E needs a the there.

X was the most unfortunate of men...
not
X was most unfortunate of men...
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
AjiteshArun wrote:
zeyneptuzun wrote:
In E, is it ok to say "was most unfortunate of men"? Do we need to add "the" between "was" and "most"?
You're right. Option E needs a the there.

X was the most unfortunate of men...
not
X was most unfortunate of men...

So the question is missing that word? Can anyone confirm?
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
Incorrect use of semicolon eliminates A and C
and vs but eliminates D
is vs was eliminates B
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
Experts,

will someone pls suggest how usage of past tense in option E is correct ?

In my opinion, when we say "Mr. Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men", most itself mean he has been compared with all the people at present time as well, and this statement holds good in current time as well.

Moreover usage of past tense with another parallel element "the embodiment of endurance" doesnt sound appropriate. This honor still holds good for Mr. Nelson Mandela and should be mentioned in present tense.
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Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
Let’s first decide what is being tested here.
1. Whether ‘was’ or ‘is’
2. This is a list parallelism question; therefore, whether the rules of parallelism have been adhered to
3. Whether semicolon can be used to separate the various arms of a list?
Now point by point
1. Is or was?
Mandela, his woes and his endurance are all outdated. (He died in 2013). Hence ‘was’ is more appropriate. Eliminate A, B and C.
D has two visible problems. One is to say that M was and is both. We must be clear that intrusion of the present tense is incongruous.
Second fault is the use of a go- straight conjunction ‘and’ while using a contrast conjunction such as ‘yet’ or ‘but’ is a compulsion of the context.

E is of course, uses the correct tense ‘was’ and uses the contrasting conjunctions ‘yet’ and ‘but’ as per the intent of the original.

Of course, this much might suffice in the test hall. However, to know a little more: a. A is not obedient to the rules of list //ism. It uses ‘and’ between the first and the second factors. In addition, it uses the semicolon between all the items except between the first and the second. We can ,of course, use semicolons to separate the different arms of a list, but must be steadfast in using them for all the choices.
B and C end up with the awful mistake of using a present participle ‘proscribing’ as if it was NM who was proscribing.
Hope this helps in tackling this seemingly intimidating topic.

Thanks for the explanation, but in E....'the' is missing before most..
isnt it wrong?

Posted from my mobile device
Re: Nelson Mandela is the most unfortunate of men, yet the embodiment of e [#permalink]
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