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# Off topic , but need suggestions on this one . Rule:a

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Director
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Off topic , but need suggestions on this one . Rule:a [#permalink]

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06 Feb 2013, 21:23
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Off topic , but need suggestions on this one .

Rule:a pronoun in subject position in one clause may often be presumed to refer to the subject of a parallel
clause

Supernovas destroy their immediate environments in vast explosions,
BUT by synthesizing heavy chemical elements, THEY provide the universe
with the possibility of biochemistry-based life as we know it.

I always have a doubt regarding pronoun ambiguity.In other words,how one should proceed when checking pronoun ambiguity ,whether to check the logicality or the RULES?

Similar example

The board is investigating the compensation packages of several executives in order to determine how much II THEY may have been improperly awarded.

THEY is ambiguous or not ????

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Director
Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 915
Concentration: General Management, General Management
GMAT 1: 630 Q47 V29
GMAT 2: 680 Q50 V32
GPA: 3.7
WE: Information Technology (Investment Banking)
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 734 [0], given: 322

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06 Feb 2013, 22:51
Consider two more examples

While depressed property values can hurt some large investors，they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

As per OA , "they" in red correctly refers back to "Values".

However,in the below example

According to some economists，the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing．

As per OA, "it" in red can ambiguously refer back to "Decrease" or "Unemployment"

Plz clear the air !!!!
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07 Feb 2013, 04:19
I think by searching for grammatical errors, people often overlook the meaning of the sentence.

1)Supernovas destroy their immediate environments in vast explosions, but by synthesizing heavy chemical elements, they provide the universe with the possibility of biochemistry-based life as we know it.

As you have said, logic does help in determining the right answer. This sentence is clear. "They" cannot possibly refer to "chemical elements" because the clause itslef modifies the word "they" i.e "chemical elements" is actually too close to "they". Moreover the "a pronoun in subject position in one clause may often be presumed to refer to the subject of a parallel clause" clearly shows why this sentence is not wrong.

2) The board is investigating the compensation packages of several executives in order to determine how much THEY may have been improperly awarded.

IMHO, "They" can actually refer to "executives" or "packages" and in the strict sense, it does seems ambiguous. However, the meaning of this sentence does not change regardless of which one "they" is referring to. So, if I do not have a better option, I would not mind choosing this sentence as the right answer.

3) While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

This sentence is again unambiguous for the same reason as 1.

4)According to some economist, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

Here too as in "2", "it" can either refer to "decrease" or "unemployment". But unlike "2" the meaning of the sentence does changes based on which word the "it" refers to. Hence this sentence is wrong. I think this sentence is a brilliant example in the backdrop of "2" to illustrate how "2" may not necessarily be a perfect sentence.
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Director
Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 915
Concentration: General Management, General Management
GMAT 1: 630 Q47 V29
GMAT 2: 680 Q50 V32
GPA: 3.7
WE: Information Technology (Investment Banking)
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 734 [0], given: 322

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07 Feb 2013, 04:30
MacFauz wrote:
I think by searching for grammatical errors, people often overlook the meaning of the sentence.

1)Supernovas destroy their immediate environments in vast explosions, but by synthesizing heavy chemical elements, they provide the universe with the possibility of biochemistry-based life as we know it.

As you have said, logic does help in determining the right answer. This sentence is clear. "They" cannot possibly refer to "chemical elements" because the clause itslef modifies the word "they" i.e "chemical elements" is actually too close to "they". Moreover the "a pronoun in subject position in one clause may often be presumed to refer to the subject of a parallel clause" clearly shows why this sentence is not wrong.

Agreed !!!

2) The board is investigating the compensation packages of several executives in order to determine how much THEY may have been improperly awarded.

IMHO, "They" can actually refer to "executives" or "packages" and in the strict sense, it does seems ambiguous. However, the meaning of this sentence does not change regardless of which one "they" is referring to. So, if I do not have a better option, I would not mind choosing this sentence as the right answer.

Agreed !!!

3) While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

This sentence is again unambiguous for the same reason as 1.

But according to OG -12 , this sentence is perfectly correct .

4)According to some economist, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

Here too as in "2", "it" can either refer to "decrease" or "unemployment". But unlike "2" the meaning of the sentence does changes based on which word the "it" refers to. Hence this sentence is wrong. I think this sentence is a brilliant example in the backdrop of "2" to illustrate how "2" may not necessarily be a perfect sentence.

Yes,according to OG-12 the pronoun "it" is ambiguous.

Now my doubt is

Why in 3 Pronoun is not ambiguous but in 4 the pronoun is ambiguous .

Rgds,
Saurabh
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07 Feb 2013, 04:42
In the first case, there are two different clauses, each having a subject.

However, in the second case, there is only one clause with a subject. i.e "Decrease" and "unemployment" are both part of the same subject which is "the decrease in unemployment".
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Director
Joined: 03 Aug 2012
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GMAT 1: 630 Q47 V29
GMAT 2: 680 Q50 V32
GPA: 3.7
WE: Information Technology (Investment Banking)
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 734 [0], given: 322

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08 Feb 2013, 00:45
MacFauz wrote:
In the first case, there are two different clauses, each having a subject.

However, in the second case, there is only one clause with a subject. i.e "Decrease" and "unemployment" are both part of the same subject which is "the decrease in unemployment".

Hi

Just a query as you said where do we have two different clauses in below:

While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they
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08 Feb 2013, 02:26
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

Subject
Object
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GMAT Reading Comprehension: 7 Most Common Passage Types

Director
Joined: 03 Aug 2012
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GMAT 1: 630 Q47 V29
GMAT 2: 680 Q50 V32
GPA: 3.7
WE: Information Technology (Investment Banking)
Followers: 23

Kudos [?]: 734 [0], given: 322

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08 Feb 2013, 02:48
MacFauz wrote:
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

Subject
Object

Hi MacFauz,

As u said "In the first case, there are two different clauses, each having a subject."

Different clauses,where are they?

However, I can see Subject and object !!!! => It is only one clause.
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08 Feb 2013, 05:14
1
KUDOS
targetgmatchotu wrote:
MacFauz wrote:
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

Subject
Object

Hi MacFauz,

As u said "In the first case, there are two different clauses, each having a subject."

Different clauses,where are they?

However, I can see Subject and object !!!! => It is only one clause.

1) While depressed property values can hurt some large investors,

2) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity-in many cases representing a life’s savings-can plunge or even disappear.

"Depressed property values" and "they" clear play the role of the subject in each part. Hence "they" can unambiguously refer to "depressed property values"
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Re: Pronoun Ambiguity   [#permalink] 08 Feb 2013, 05:14
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