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Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable

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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 12:25
I understand that the idiom "so.. that so" is wrong. But answer B does not have that idiom. It just says "so gradual they can be indistinguishable". Does not have a double "so". Why is it wrong then?
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 23:50
manapacheco wrote:
I understand that the idiom "so.. that so" is wrong. But answer B does not have that idiom. It just says "so gradual they can be indistinguishable". Does not have a double "so". Why is it wrong then?
Because the sentence starts with often, we don't really need a can there. For example:

1. Often, voters are asked to... ← This happens often, but probably not always.
vs.
2. Often, voters can be asked to... ← Pretty much the same thing, but with an additional layer of that "sometimes" meaning (because of can).

It is the word often that really makes a difference here. If we were instead looking at all possible events, then a can could help.

3. Voters are asked to... ← "everyone"
vs.
4. Voters can be asked to... ← "some, but probably not all"

Also, the GMAT seems to like having a that in so that constructions.

Therefore, we'd say that option A is better than option B.
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2019, 20:11
manapacheco wrote:
I understand that the idiom "so.. that so" is wrong. But answer B does not have that idiom. It just says "so gradual they can be indistinguishable". Does not have a double "so". Why is it wrong then?

As AjiteshArun suggested, (B) seems to be missing a "that". Consider the following examples:

  • "The earthquake was so strong that it was felt 500 miles away from the epicenter." - Correct.
  • "The earthquake was so strong; it was felt 500 miles away from the epicenter." - This could also work, but it changes the meaning very slightly. In the previous example, the second part of the sentence qualifies the first part: how strong was the earthquake? SO strong THAT it was felt... In this example, the two parts of the sentence are seemingly independent -- this version does not explicitly tell us that the earthquake was felt 500 miles away BECAUSE the earthquake was so strong.
  • "The earthquake was so strong it was felt 500 miles away from the epicenter." - Incorrect. If the second part qualifies the first part, then we need to use "so strong that" (as in the first example). If we want each part to be independent, we have to separate the two parts (i.e. with a semicolon, a period, or a comma+conjunction). By itself, "so strong" doesn't work.

(B) is wrong for the same reason: it makes far less sense without a "that".

I hope this helps!
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jul 2019, 01:40
Hello GMATNinja!!,
Thank you for clearing out doubts, you are awesome!.
In the above question I had chosen C as the answer, and to be honest nobody has done a good POE for it, all I hear is it's "wordy" or "how can shifts be unable to distinguish", according to me the later line of thinking would have been incorrect if it said something like" unable to be distinguishable".

I'll be glad if you could shed some light on why the option is incorrect.

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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jul 2019, 03:11
GMATNinja - Could you please help me get clarity on this question?
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2019, 09:01
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deveshj21 wrote:
Hello GMATNinja!!,
Thank you for clearing out doubts, you are awesome!.
In the above question I had chosen C as the answer, and to be honest nobody has done a good POE for it, all I hear is it's "wordy" or "how can shifts be unable to distinguish", according to me the later line of thinking would have been incorrect if it said something like" unable to be distinguishable".

I'll be glad if you could shed some light on why the option is incorrect.

Posted from my mobile device

T'hank you for the kind words, deveshj21!

Generally speaking, whenever we see the construction, "[SUBJECT] is unable to [VERB]," it means that the subject is attempting, unsuccessfully, to perform some action. For example, "Tim is unable to decide which of his children to feed tonight." Here, Tim, who probably should not have had children in the first place, is trying to decide which child to feed, and he can't do it. He's failed to perform a desired action.

Now consider option (C) in this light: "Often major economic shifts are so gradual that they are unable to be distinguished.." Now it sounds as though the economic shifts are trying to be distinguished, but they've failed because they're just too darn gradual. This doesn't make sense: economic shifts aren't active agents that attempt to do things. So (C) isn't incorrect because it's wordy; it's incorrect because the meaning is illogical.

NL15 wrote:
GMATNinja - Could you please help me get clarity on this question?

Let us know if you have a specific question that isn't addressed above?
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2019, 22:48
DmitryFarber wrote:
“So as to” vs. “so that” is a “red-herring” split here. In other words, either form is fine. The GMAT has gone back and forth on "so as to" (see Ch. 9 of our SC book), but you wouldn't want to eliminate on this basis alone.

In any case, the idiom “so as to” will generally have an intervening term: “So X as to Y.”

The award-winning pumpkin was so large as to require a special scale.

Note that the odd form of this idiom puts "require" in the present tense. Its size was large enough to cause this requirement.

We can also use “so that” with a more straightforward construction:

The award-winning pumpkin was so large that it required a special scale.

In the case of the posted problem, the difficulty with B has nothing to do with "so as to" vs. "so that"--it's the word “can.” We want to say that the changes actually are indistinguishable, not that they *can* be indistinguishable. This is a great example of the kind of meaning-based difference that can catch you if you are only focused on grammar rules. Beware!


I went with A since So As to fit better than So that in this case.

Also, You look like Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99.
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Re: Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable   [#permalink] 22 Aug 2019, 22:48

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