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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses

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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2019, 08:55
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A
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C
D
E

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Project SC Butler: Day 121 Sentence Correction (SC2)


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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest

B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest

C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built

D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built

E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material, and a new nest having been built

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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2019, 08:56
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OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Quote:
Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest
B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest
C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built
D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built
E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material, and a new nest having been built


• SHORT POE

We have four signs of predators: noun, noun, __3___, and ___4__
The blanks should be regular nouns (concrete nouns) that resemble eggs and nestlings
In a list, almost always, concrete nouns should be paired with concrete nouns.

Concrete nouns are usually things that can be perceived by our five senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch). They are usually persons, places, or things.

• Split #1: parallel list item #4

Options A and B use building as a noun-like thing for item #4 in the list

-- building is not a concrete noun. It's an action (called a gerund).
-- AND the subject of that item #4 in the list is not the new nest. The new nest = the object of "building"
(building needs a something: building WHAT? Building a nest.)

Eliminate A and B

• Split #2: nesting material? Compare C, D, and E

nesting material is a regular, concrete noun
When C, D, and E are read in succession, D wins, hands down.
-- D starts with the noun and adds modifiers
-- C starts an ill-placed modifier, "partially pulled"
-- E starts with the house entrance and tacks on the noun

(E) is the worst of the three
-- E states: the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material
-- it seems to emphasize the house entrance
-- "with" as a connector is just not clear

(C) is not as good as (D)
-- both C and D use nesting material, which is a compound noun. The noun "material" is described by "nesting," an adjective. Similar compound nouns: hiding place, sewing needle, cutting board. The ING word is not a noun. It's an adjective that answers: what kind of place or needle or board?
-- use strategy: D starts with a noun. C starts with two other words and then states the noun. The first two list items start with nouns. Follow that lead to maintain parallelism.

-- C awkwardly states: partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance
-- partially pulled is located in a confusing place. It needs to be placed closer to through and after the noun.
-- so if "partially pulled" should be closer to through and hence after the noun . . . We have the construction that (D) uses

Eliminate C and E

The answer is D

• ANALYSIS

Quote:
Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

This question tests parallel structure, participles, nouns, and gerunds.

This sentence has four signs of predators, a list: A, B1 or B2, C, and D
The first two non-underlined signs are nouns. -- broken eggs and
-- missing eggs or nestlings [baby birds too young to leave the nest]

Don't be bamboozled by nestlINGs. A few nouns in English are ING words that are not participles (gerunds): no action is implied, e.g., a shilling and a painting. "Nestling" uses ING to make a diminutive noun; duckling, gosling, and hatchling are similar.

In the second sign of predators, the present participle of the verb to miss (missing), acts as an adjective and modifies eggs or nestlings.
The third and fourth signs of predators also have ___ING endings: pulling and building.

But each of those words is not the same kind of noun as eggs or nestlings.
-- Eggs and nestlings are concrete nouns (persons, places, things)

-- pulling and building, though, are actions (verbING words called gerunds).

Almost without exception, concrete nouns in a list may be paired only with other concrete nouns.
(Very rarely, concrete nouns may be paired with gerunds. We should try to avoid this pairing.)

Without getting too bogged down in the terminology, just take a look at the options.
See whether any options contain concrete nouns ("regular" nouns) that are not verb-like ___ING words (gerunds).
I spot three options: C, D, and E contain nesting material and a nest

Quote:
A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest

pulling and building are actions.
Yes, as gerunds, they are treated as nouns. But they are not concrete nouns. Not parallel.

Quote:
B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest

building -- same error as A
• first part? Compare to A. Changed placement of partially does not make pulling a concrete noun.

Quote:
C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built

• the first part may appear to be okay. Not really. And its counterpart in (D) is far superior. (D starts with the noun.)
-- the construction in C is confusing
-- the emphasis tilts towards through the house entrance, but the entrance itself is not the sign of a predator.
The nesting material matters, but in C that noun is not nearly as easy to spot and understand as it is in D
-- partially pulled should be closer to through and after the noun so that the construction is clear, as is the case in D

• nest being built is not correct.
-- by my survey of official questions, about 80 percent of the time we can pull a trick out of the editor's hat: omit being.
Does the phrase or sentence still make sense? Yes? You don't need being.
being, omitted: . . . and a nest built on top of the old one.
-- That construction still makes sense without being—actually, that phrase is better without "being."

being is not always wrong.
-- use multiple choice to your advantage. Check this part of C against D and E. (E is horrible.)

This far into the game, the answer is likely to be D. (We know that the second part of E has problems.)

Quote:
D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built

Bingo. Two concrete nouns.
The third sign of a predator is nesting material [that has been] pulled through the house entrance
The fourth sign is a nest [that has been] built on top of the old nest

Quote:
E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material, and a new nest having been built

• What the heck is that first thing? I understand that we are looking at an entrance IN WHICH lies nesting material that has been pulled out of the birdhouse.
Compared to D? Disaster.
a nest having been built is inferior to a nest built
having been built is called a perfect participle (do not worry about that jargon).
These constructions almost always precede another action.
Example: Having been prepared for monsoons for weeks, he was not worried about his food supplies.

The answer is D.

Participles can be daunting.
First, in English, many past participles are the same as the simple past tense of the verb.
Second, some regular non-gerund nouns end in __ING. We have one: nestlings. (Tip: if an ING word ends in "s," 99 percent of the time it's a concrete noun.)
Finally, participles are often part of verbs (is writing, could not stop laughing, was painted).

In this case, only option D "leads" with two concrete nouns for list items #3 and #4: nesting material and nest.

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Re: Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2019, 09:19
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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest- Signs doesnt include building a new nest, SIgns include "new nest, which is built on the existing one"

B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest- Same as A

C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built- Being usage is incorrect. This is a general list of things and hence, it should be represented using present-active tense.

D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built-Correct

E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material, and a new nest having been built - having been built denotes that the action is already done before others.
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Re: Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2019, 12:23
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My answer is D. I always use POE for SC questions. It took me 1 minute 52 seconds to decide on this one. Most of the time was spent debating between option C and D.

Problem with option A: Ornithologists provides a list of signs so the list items should be parallel. "broken eggs" and "missing eggs or nestlings" are all simple nouns so, ideally, we would like to see simple nouns (instead of gerunds) for the rest of the list. A quick scan indicates that option C and D are pretty promising, so A can be eliminated.
Problem with option B: Eliminated for the same reason as A.
Option C: At first glance, C looks not too bad. Keep for now.
Option D: Similar to C. Keep for now.
Problem with Option E: (1) "the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material" is quite awkward with the emphasis on the house entrance. So it changes the meaning of the sentence as well. (2) "A new nest having been built" can simply be "A new nest built". No strong reason to use "having been built".

The analysis with E actually helps me focus on one difference between C (a new nest being built) and D (a new nest built). For C, "a new nest being built" indicate that the nest construction is still in process. One should expect to see the nest buildup in action. That changes the meaning. I decide that D (a new nest built) is so much better.

Now that I think D is correct, I compare "partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance" and "nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance" and can tell that there is nothing wrong with the latter. I am interested to see more discussion about the merit of "partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance".
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Re: Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2019, 18:03
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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

The Sentence tests your understanding of Sentence Structures.
So, having said that let's take a look at what has been said: It talks about a report that signs of predator may include X, Y, Z and building a new nest on the top of the old one.

But look at Z = Pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance.
It's a modifier which makes no sense.

So, Scanning through the answer choices.

nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built --- is the correct Structure.

IMHO D
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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Jun 2019, 06:37
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amitanshumaity wrote:
Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

The Sentence tests your understanding of Sentence Structures.
So, having said that let's take a look at what has been said: It talks about a report that signs of predator may include X, Y, Z and building a new nest on the top of the old one.

But look at Z = Pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance.
It's a modifier which makes no sense.

So, Scanning through the answer choices.

nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built --- is the correct Structure.

IMHO D



Hi zhanbo,

You did a good job, arriving at the correct answer choice under 2 minutes, although C and D are close contenders as you said. Let me elaborate on their difference. You seem to already have a decent understanding of the usage of being since you figured out that a new nest being built is incorrect construction. However, it is incorrect not for the reason you indicated.

On GMAT, being can be used as a modifier, a verb, and a noun. As for C, you wrote that being in a new nest being built indicates that the nest construction is still in process. However, in order to indicate an ongoing process being should be used as a verb in Continuous tenses, with to be in front. Examples from GMAT Prep:

The cause of genetic irregularities in many breeds of dog is not so much that dogs are being bred for looks or to meet other narrow criteria.

The survival of coral colonies is being threatened not only by pollutants but also by dropped anchors.

In the first example, being is in passive continuous tense (with to be in front) and is used to emphasize an ongoing process, in which dogs still continue to be bred for certain reasons. The same is true of the second example, in which coral colonies still continue to be threatened. In C being built doesn’t act as a verb, but it incorrectly tries to act as a modifier describing a new nest and thus cannot indicate an ongoing process.

According to GMATNinja and Ron Purewal, being + past participle construction is legitimate when it acts as a noun. Some GMAT Prep examples:

Victims learning to live with their disabilities were helped to practice falling, so that they could learn to fall without being hurt.

Astronauts retrieved an orbiting satellite and simultaneously avoided being rear-ended by a passing ultraviolet telescope.

Being heavily committed to a course of action is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble.

What do victims learn to fall without? Without being hurt (noun). What did astronauts avoid? They avoided being rear-ended (noun). What does make an executive to miss signs? Being committed makes them to miss signs. In all examples being + past participle acts as a noun. In C, being built is also being + past participle construction, but it doesn’t act as a noun. Instead it incorrectly tries act as a modifier and thus is incorrect.

Being can act as a modifier when it is not followed by past participle. An example from GMAT Prep:

Jean Toomer’s Cane has been called one of the three best novels ever written by a Black American — the others being Richard Wright’s Native Son and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man.

According to Ron Purewal and e-gmat, here being is a modifier giving examples of other novels. As you see being built in C doesn’t fit in any of the three categories above.

In short, do what Ron Purewal does when he encounters being: drop being and read the sentence again. If the meaning changes or becomes illogical, then being is correctly used and necessary. If the meaning is the same even without being, then being is redundant and incorrect. For example:

Being heavily committed to a course of action is likely to make an executive miss signs of incipient trouble. Removing being, we deprived the sentence of its subject because heavily committed is an adjective now. Try this with other above examples also.

Jimmy, being an accountant, knows the tax code well. This one is Ron’s example and it still makes sense as he says.

Being born in Italy, Domenico has a deep understanding of outstanding cuisine. This one is GMATNinjas example and it also still makes sense as he says.

…a new nest being built on top of the old one. This is our example and it still makes sense as you see. Thus D is correct.

I hope that I wrote at least something helpful for you :)
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Originally posted by ShukhratJon on 06 Jun 2019, 05:21.
Last edited by ShukhratJon on 06 Jun 2019, 06:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2019, 06:26
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Question is basically based on parallelism. We need to list the signs of a predator in your bluebird house at first to element are broken eggs and missing eggs both are noun with little bit of modifiers around, thus we need remaining to be noun too.

Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.

A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest -- both of the elements here are actions rather than nouns.

B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest -- similar to option A.

C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built -- option is implying that there would be partially pulled material passing via the entrance and that prey would be building a nest when we check for the signs of predator. option D is better. Eliminate option c.

D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built -- seems OK.

E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material , and a new nest having been built -- though both of them are nouns but doesn't make any sense at all, especially the first part.

IMO D.
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Re: Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jun 2019, 06:55
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generis wrote:
Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses may include broken eggs in and around the nest, missing eggs or nestlings, pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest on top of the old one.


A great question on parallel structure, specifically the list of items.
We're presented by a list of things which may indicate the presence of a predator in our bluebird houses.
1. broken eggs in and around the nest
2. missing eggs or nestlings
both these items are basically nouns, specifically things which signify a predator. Since we need the sentence to be parallel, the other two elements should also be nouns.

Lets look at the options.

A) pulling the nesting material partially through the house entrance, and building a new nest
verb+ing can sometimes be used as a noun, but in this instance pulling is representing an action. It is also unclear.
Who is pulling? We have no clear answer.
Not only is this option incorrect, it is also ambiguous.


B) partially pulling the nesting material through the house entrance, and building a new nest
Again, as in (A) pulling and building are verbs. They aren't parallel to the nouns in the stem.


C) partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance, and a new nest being built
This is an interesting option.
partially pulled here is a modifier of the noun nesting material.
a new nest is also noun, so this option does obey the laws of parallel structure. The problem, however, lies in the meaning.
This option presents a nonsensical meaning. There is also an error in the fragment.
partially pulled nesting material through the house entrance?
basically the sentence structure here is - Noun preposition Noun, which is wrong.
Also it makes no sense. some pulled nesting material will be present cause of the birds themselves. They aren't master architects!

Also, as explain by ShukhratJon, being is redundant/wrong here.


D) nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance, and a new nest built
This is the correct choice.
nesting material partially pulled through the house entrance conveys that some of the material which was used to build the nest must have been pulled from the outside. The remnants of the nest must thus be visible from the entrance.
a new nest built suggest the predator must have built a new nest atop of the old one.
The meaning is clear and the parallel structure is maintained!


E) the house entrance with partially pulled through nesting material, and a new nest having been built
This is neither parallel, not meaningful.
Incorrect.
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Ornithologists report that signs of a predator in your bluebird houses  [#permalink]

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