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# Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor

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Intern
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Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2013, 06:02
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69% (02:03) correct 31% (01:15) wrong based on 219 sessions

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Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sub languages or dialects within it. but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand

A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

I selected correct answer choice A. But my doubt is if one of the answer choice was:

and the sub languages or dialects within it. but those who tried to count found

would this be correct in the context of the question? I feel am overlooking a very simple concept but just not able to get my head around this. Any help is much appreciated.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

Last edited by dentobizz on 10 Oct 2013, 00:16, edited 1 time in total.
edited the Title
If you have any questions
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Re: OG 13 Q 93- Got the correct answer but still have a doubt [#permalink]

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09 Oct 2013, 15:13
sunainaluthra wrote:
I selected correct answer choice A. But my doubt is if one of the answer choice was:

and the sub languages or dialects within it. but those who tried to count found

would this be correct in the context of the question? I feel am overlooking a very simple concept but just not able to get my head around this. Any help is much appreciated.

Dear sunainaluthra,
That's a great question, and I am happy to help.
In the phrase "those who tried to count typically found ...", those verbs are in the simple past tense. This contains the subtle implication that these efforts took place in the past, but no one is even trying to answer this question any more. It's a done deal. In other words, academically, it's a dead question, no longer pursued in any way.

In the phrase those "who have tried to count typically have found ... ", those verb are in the present perfect tense. See this blog article on the perfect tenses:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-verb- ... ct-tenses/
This has the subtle implication that the effort to count was started in the past but still, somehow, is under way --- that folks today are still, in some way, wrestling with this question. Academically, it's a living question.

Within the context of the question, we don't have much way to decide between these two, other than what's in the underlined section. If (A) contained the present perfect tenses but were incorrect for some unrelated reason, so that we had to look for another answer, then I would say that a choice with the simple past would change the meaning too much to be a correct answer, but the GMAT is not going to have a subtle connotation such as this as the only deciding factor separating answer choices. If the prompt and the answers consistent made one of these two choices, either one would be grammatically correct.

I imagine, since the OG opted for the present perfect, that the question is still an open, living, debated question in academia today. The GMAT SC sentences usually reflect real-world facts. Of course, there would be absolutely no way you would be expected to know this real-world fact independently.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2013, 08:03
Hi Sunaina,

Thanks for posting your query here, as we suggested. Thanks also to Mike for the very comprehensive explanation.

Sunaina, please feel free to let us know if you have any further questions!
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 14:35
My Approach - difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sub languages or dialects within it.
Use of It is correct, that eliminates B, D, E.
Between A and C, the use of have tried to count typically have found is better than
tried counting it typically find
C is changing the tense in this part and is incorrect.
Hence A is correct
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 22:17
cs2209 wrote:
C is changing the tense in this part and is incorrect.
Hence A is correct

Yes, and there is another substantial issue with C. It says:

...but those who have tried counting it typically find...

No instance of the infamous it should never go unnoticed. What does it refer to here? Well perhaps one of the following two entities:

a) Languages (plural): If the intent of it is to refer to languages, then the usage of it is incorrect, since it (a singular pronoun) cannot refer to languages (a plural noun). So, the least that should have been present in the sentence is them and not it.

Or

b) Number of languages (singular): If the intent of it is to refer to number of languages, then the usage of is again incorrect, since the phrase number of languages is not present anywhere in the sentence. Note that pronouns can only refer to nouns that are present in the sentence; number of languages is not present.

p.s. Our book SC Nirvana discusses this concept of pronouns, its application and examples in significant detail. If you can PM you email, I can send you the corresponding section.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2017, 19:50
i got it wrong and opted for option B, although i was not comfortable with this option.

the clue which i missed is 'a language', i did not see this small clue and opted for them and got it wrong

A sounds much better and grammatically correct
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2017, 21:01
sunainaluthra wrote:
Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly because of the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sub languages or dialects within it. but those who have tried to count typically have found about five thousand

A) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
B) and the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
C) and the sublanguages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
D) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
E) or the sublanguages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

I selected correct answer choice A. But my doubt is if one of the answer choice was:

and the sub languages or dialects within it. but those who tried to count found

would this be correct in the context of the question? I feel am overlooking a very simple concept but just not able to get my head around this. Any help is much appreciated.

the difference between simple past and present perfect is basic and is explained a lot in grammar book. this is a textbook case.
to fully understand this point, I recommend you read the book "advanced grammar in used".

present perfect can be used to say: a past action without a point of time, a past action relating to present, and a past action which happened recently. present perfect can be used to say about an action which continue to present.

So, we have 4 cases of uses of present perfect. if we read a grammar book, we can know these 4 cases. But to remember these 4 cases, we have to practice realizing each case whenever you read text. in short, you have to see grammar points in the text. this is the only way to master grammar.

because we can not master the difference between have done and did, we are confused when facing them. but this is basic point.

whenever I see a tense in the text I read, I try to realize the grammatical role of it. it refers to a past action or an action continuing to present. this way help me master the tense easily. consult the grammar books when reading the text is normal.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2017, 21:13
in some cases such as this case, simple past and present perfect are interchangeble.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the wor   [#permalink] 28 Mar 2017, 21:13
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