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# Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly

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Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 18 Oct 2018, 04:59
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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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

(B) and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

(C) and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

(D) or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

(E) or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 58: Sentence Correction

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Originally posted by nightwing79 on 22 May 2009, 18:51.
Last edited by Bunuel on 18 Oct 2018, 04:59, edited 5 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2017, 10:40
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8
Quote:
A. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

I don't love the sound of this answer choice, but SC isn't ever about sound, so... whatever.

The "it" is perfect here. What are the singular nouns that precede "it"? "A language" is the only reasonable option -- and that makes perfect sense. "Those" generally works better with an antecedent of some sort, but it's basically just a synonym for "people" here, and that's acceptable. Keep (A).

Quote:
B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

"Them" is confusing: does it refer to "dialects", "sub-languages," or all the way back to "languages" at the beginning of the sentence? I also can't figure out why we would want to conjoin these phrases with "with" -- that doesn't make much sense. (A) is much better, so (B) is out.

Quote:
C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

I'm cool with the first "it", but the second "it" doesn't work: "those who have tried counting the language..."? We're trying to count languages, and that needs to be plural. Eliminate (C).

Quote:
D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

Same problem with "them" as in answer choice (B). Plus, I don't see any good reason to use past tense here. The use of present perfect in (A) makes more sense, since people have presumably attempted to count languages in the past, and continue to do so in the present. (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

Just a hybrid of the worst elements of (B) and (C). (E) is out, and (A) is correct.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 23 Aug 2015, 01:15
10
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Error Analysis:

Questions to ask here are

1) what are the X & Y for between (between X & Y).
2) what does IT refer to.

B: THEM reference is wrong(it should be IT) - referring to Language
D: "between X or Y" is wrong. THEM reference is wrong(it should be IT) - referring to Language
E: "between X or Y" is wrong. "but those who have tried to Count" is not Clause t
C: but those who have tried to Count(Present Continuous) , typically find (Simple Present) - Wrong

Originally posted by RaviChandra on 03 Oct 2009, 05:46.
Last edited by RaviChandra on 23 Aug 2015, 01:15, edited 1 time in total.
##### General Discussion
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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10 Nov 2010, 14:25
5
2
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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found -- It correctly refers to languages - CORRECT

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding -- them is incorrectly refering to singular language + " with those who have " - wordy construction

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find -- IT corrcetly refers to singular language in first part, second IT incorrectly refers to " MANY LANGUAGES"

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found -- Incorrect use of between - correct use is " between X and Y " not " between X or Y "

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding -- Incorrect use of between - correct use is " between X and Y " not " between X or Y "
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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03 May 2013, 04:11
3
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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

There are 2 clauses in the SC

1.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

2. but those who have tried to count typically have found

In the first clause subject is 'languages' and verb is 'are', SV agreement is correct .Between is used for comparing two things ,here the usage is correct since because in in underlined portion so the comparison between "a language and languages is correct ".

From the above explanation we can zero down A,B and C.

In the second clause the split is within found/find/finding.... in the second clause the verb "tried" is past tense so using found is appropriate in this context

SO finally the answer is "A"

note: Sorry if I am wrong in explanation ,please correct.I have tried my level best.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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03 May 2013, 05:15
4
pavanpaone 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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

There are 2 clauses in the SC

1.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

2. but those who have tried to count typically have found

In the first clause subject is 'languages' and verb is 'are', SV agreement is correct .Between is used for comparing two things ,here the usage is correct since because in in underlined portion so the comparison between "a language and languages is correct ".

From the above explanation we can zero down A,B and C.

In the second clause the split is within found/find/finding.... in the second clause the verb "tried" is past tense so using found is appropriate in this context

SO finally the answer is "A"

note: Sorry if I am wrong in explanation ,please correct.I have tried my level best.

Hi pavan,

Note the following:

Glad to see your explanation mostly correct, just a few tweakings
There are actually 3 clauses (see the one highlighted above)

We can take down choices to only A or C - reason if you note carefully, the highlighted clause, the pronoun must refer to "a language" - think carefully, is the author referring to dialects withing "the sub languages" or is he/she referring to "sublanguages/dialects within language" - the answer is the latter part, thus we need to use "it"

Hope I could help
Happy going with E-Gmat
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 14:35
2
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 world, partly  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2014, 22:17
2
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 world, partly  [#permalink]

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14 May 2016, 23:57
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.

1) Distinguishing between a language and sub-languages or dialects within it -> it is correct as the sub-languages or dialects are under a single language.

A. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found
Correct

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding
1) Point number 1
2) Finding is a gerund and not a verb. We require a verb here

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find
1) "Count it". It refers to a single language. How a person count a single language.
2) Find -> Simple present and it provides a meaning as if the number of count will always be true. So it I count the number of languages 10 years from now, we will still get 5000. Which is not the meaning of the sentence.

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found
1) them -> Point # 1 above
2) Between takes "And" and not "or"

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding
1) them -> Point # 1 above
2) Between takes "And" and not "or
3) Finding is a gerund and not a verb. We require a verb here
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2016, 11:58
1
apoorv601 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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found - Correct

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

1. Them - sub-languages or dialects are within LanguagE and not LanguagES.
2. With - We need Contrast here.
3. Finding - We need a verb and finding is not a verb

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

1. Counting - Should be infinitive - to count. As it is, "counting" is a participle modifying the verb - have tried.
2. it - The referent here is LanguageS.

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

1. Or - Changing the meaning. Should be - and.
2. them - Same as option B.
3. but those who tried to count them typically found - Change in Tense means that those who are trying to count the # of languages at Present are not included.

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

1. Or - Same as D
2. them - Same as B
3. With - Same as B
4. Finding - Again, same as B
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2017, 19:57
1
nightwing79 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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

What is "those" pronoun refer to? Does it ("those") refer to the languages being counted?
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2017, 10:53
ziyuen wrote:
nightwing79 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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

What is "those" pronoun refer to? Does it ("those") refer to the languages being counted?

No, it refers to people who tried to count the number of languages/ dialects. Those people have found about five thousand dialects/languages.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2017, 11:06
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 58: Sentence Correction

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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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

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'Language' is singular so we require 'it'. Any sentence with them is OUT. => B, D, E are OUT.
Between A & C.
C - Changes the tense + what is 'it' referring to? OUT.

A is the answer.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2017, 12:05
akshayk wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 58: Sentence Correction

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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 sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.

'Language' is singular so we require 'it'. Any sentence with them is OUT. => B, D, E are OUT.
Between A & C.
C - Changes the tense + what is 'it' referring to? OUT.

A is the answer.

What if option C uses 'them' in place of 'it' in the second part, will it be correct?
and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting them typically find
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2017, 13:03
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Selfmotivated wrote:

What if option C uses 'them' in place of 'it' in the second part, will it be correct?
and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting them typically find

Hello Selfmotivated,

I will be glad to help you with this one.

Even if we change the singular pronoun it to plural pronoun them, Choice C will continue to remain incorrect because of the phrase tried counting.

Colloquially, tried counting may sound okay. However, this expression is not considered idiomatic on GMAT SC. The phrase tried to count is an idiomatic phrase.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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24 Aug 2018, 22:11
1
Sentence Analysis
The sentence says nobody knows exactly ‘something’. The something is ‘how many languages there are in the world’ (This quoted part is a clause acting as a noun in the sentence. Such clauses are called Noun-clauses). The sentence then states the reason why nobody knows. The reason is the difficulty in differentiating between a language and its sub-languages. The sentence then presents a contrasting information that people who have tried to count the number of languages have found about five thousand languages.

Everything’s fine with this sentence. We can notice that the sentence doesn’t mention “tried to count what?”. The reason is that it is clear from the context that we are talking about the number of languages. Given that this is the correct sentence, we can learn that such omissions are acceptable on GMAT. Also, note the use of pronoun ‘those’ – it doesn’t refer to any noun in the sentence. It along with its modifier “who have tried to count” has been used in a generic sense to talk about people who have tried to count. Again, this is an acceptable usage in English. We do have sentences such as “Those who persist eventually reach their goals.” Such usage is acceptable on GMAT, as this sentence demonstrates
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2018, 08:29
I am confused why we should use 'it' here. As per Manhattan SC, X and Y should follow with plural. So confused here
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2018, 22:24
1
CoolBeans wrote:
I am confused why we should use 'it' here. As per Manhattan SC, X and Y should follow with plural. So confused here

We are trying to find the number of distinct languages here.

The sentence tells us that it is difficult to distinguish between a language and its sub-languages or dialects.

The "it" refers to "a language" in the sentence.
"... the difficulty of distinguishing between a language and the sub-languages or dialects within it"

the sub-languages or dialects within a language... Hence use of "them" is incorrect here.

Also, the correct usage is "distinguish between A and B" not "distinguish between A or B".
Hence (B), (D) and (E) are incorrect.

The second "it" is incorrect in option (C) - we are not trying to count a language. We are trying to count "the number of languages" which is not given in the sentence. Also the use of "find" is incorrect. It must be "have found" - those who have tried have found ... present perfect in both cases.

To use find, the construction needs to be something like this: those who try find ...

Answer (A) by elimination though "typically" seems to be a squinting modifier there - is it referring to "count typically" or "typically have found"? Logic tells us that it must be "typically have found" so we need to let it go.
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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27 Oct 2018, 18:54
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
A. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

I don't love the sound of this answer choice, but SC isn't ever about sound, so... whatever.

The "it" is perfect here. What are the singular nouns that precede "it"? "A language" is the only reasonable option -- and that makes perfect sense. "Those" generally works better with an antecedent of some sort, but it's basically just a synonym for "people" here, and that's acceptable. Keep (A).

Quote:
B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

"Them" is confusing: does it refer to "dialects", "sub-languages," or all the way back to "languages" at the beginning of the sentence? I also can't figure out why we would want to conjoin these phrases with "with" -- that doesn't make much sense. (A) is much better, so (B) is out.

Quote:
C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

I'm cool with the first "it", but the second "it" doesn't work: "those who have tried counting the language..."? We're trying to count languages, and that needs to be plural. Eliminate (C).

Quote:
D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

Same problem with "them" as in answer choice (B). Plus, I don't see any good reason to use past tense here. The use of present perfect in (A) makes more sense, since people have presumably attempted to count languages in the past, and continue to do so in the present. (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

Just a hybrid of the worst elements of (B) and (C). (E) is out, and (A) is correct.

I am now looking for ways to correct an incorrect option for my better understanding. If we remove "it" from answer choice C, is the sentence correct? which one will you prefer between "to count"vs "counting"? I am struggling with these kind of obvious dialemmas
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Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly  [#permalink]

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04 Feb 2019, 13:24
GMATNinja.

I have a concern in option A with the first "it".
Though I agree with your explanation but I still have a doubt

the said it is as well in the underlined portion of the sentence and we can never rule out the possibility or a path there. It therefore becomes difficult to assume that the stated "it" is correct and correctly refers to the singular language!

Thanks

GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
A. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried to count typically have found

I don't love the sound of this answer choice, but SC isn't ever about sound, so... whatever.

The "it" is perfect here. What are the singular nouns that precede "it"? "A language" is the only reasonable option -- and that makes perfect sense. "Those" generally works better with an antecedent of some sort, but it's basically just a synonym for "people" here, and that's acceptable. Keep (A).

Quote:
B. and the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried counting typically finding

"Them" is confusing: does it refer to "dialects", "sub-languages," or all the way back to "languages" at the beginning of the sentence? I also can't figure out why we would want to conjoin these phrases with "with" -- that doesn't make much sense. (A) is much better, so (B) is out.

Quote:
C. and the sub-languages or dialects within it, but those who have tried counting it typically find

I'm cool with the first "it", but the second "it" doesn't work: "those who have tried counting the language..."? We're trying to count languages, and that needs to be plural. Eliminate (C).

Quote:
D. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, but those who tried to count them typically found

Same problem with "them" as in answer choice (B). Plus, I don't see any good reason to use past tense here. The use of present perfect in (A) makes more sense, since people have presumably attempted to count languages in the past, and continue to do so in the present. (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. or the sub-languages or dialects within them, with those who have tried to count typically finding

Just a hybrid of the worst elements of (B) and (C). (E) is out, and (A) is correct.
Re: Nobody knows exactly how many languages there are in the world, partly   [#permalink] 04 Feb 2019, 13:24

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