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Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a GMAT question that focuses on active voice and wordiness! Let's take a closer look at the options, and highlight any major difference in orange:

Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
(B) executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months

After a quick glance over the options, we have 2 key items to focus on:

1. executive's plans were announced / executive announced = Passive vs. Active Voice
2. for cutting / which are to cut / for cutting / to cut / that are to cut = Clarity & Wordiness


Let's start with #1 on our list because it will remove 2-3 options right away. Any time you're asked to choose between active or passive voice on the GMAT exam, you should always choose ACTIVE voice. Here is a short example to remind you about the difference:

The children put away their toys. --> ACTIVE VOICE (places the focus on the person doing the action)
The toys were put away by the children. --> PASSIVE VOICE (places the focus on the action being done by the person)

Let's check each option and rule out any that use passive voice:

(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
(B) executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months

We can rule out options A, B, and C because they all use passive voice. They all place the focus on the action being done, rather than the person doing the action. They also cause confusion because they say that the executive's plans were announced, but it's not clear if he/she announced their own plans, or if someone else announced the plans on his/her behalf!

Now that we only have 2 options left to choose from, let's tackle #2 on our list: clarity & wordiness. For each option, we must make sure that they are written using the clearest and most concise language possible that still conveys the intended meaning:

(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
This is CORRECT! It uses active voice, and it also uses the most concise language to convey meaning. It's clear and to the point!

(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
This is INCORRECT because it's overly wordy. It's not necessary to say "that are to cut" when simply saying "to cut" will suffice.


There you have it - option D is our correct choice!


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Dear Friends,

Here is a detailed explanation to this question-
macjas wrote:
Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months

(B) executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday

(C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday

(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

The OA is intriguing... can someone shed some light?

Eg. I usually go grocery shopping Sunday = correct?


Meaning is crucial to solving this problem:
Understanding the intended meaning is key to solving this question; the intended meaning of this sentence is that the chief executive outlined his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health and on Wednesday announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

Concepts tested here: Meaning + Modifiers + Idioms + Awkwardness/Redundancy

• In a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun; this is one of the most frequently tested concepts on GMAT sentence correction.
• “that” is used to provide information needed to preserve the core meaning of the sentence, and the “comma + which” construction is used to provide extra information.

A: This answer choice incorrectly uses "Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health" to modify "the chief executive's plans", illogically implying that the plans outlined the chief executive's strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, and some unspecified party announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; the intended meaning is that the chief executive outlined his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health and, on Wednesday the chief executive announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; remember, in a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun.

B: This answer choice incorrectly uses "Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health" to modify "the chief executive's plans", illogically implying that the plans outlined the chief executive's strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, and some unspecified party announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; the intended meaning is that the chief executive outlined his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health and, on Wednesday the chief executive announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; remember, in a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun. Further, Option B incorrectly uses the "comma + which" construction to refer to information that is needed to preserve the core meaning of the sentence - the fact that the plans are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; remember, “that” is used to provide information needed to preserve the core meaning of the sentence, and the “comma + which” construction is used to provide extra information. Additionally, Option B uses the needlessly wordy phrase "which are to", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

C: This answer choice incorrectly uses "Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health" to modify "the chief executive's plans", illogically implying that the plans outlined the chief executive's strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, and some unspecified party announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; the intended meaning is that the chief executive outlined his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health and, on Wednesday the chief executive announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months; remember, in a “phrase + comma + noun” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun.

D: Correct. This answer choice correctly uses "Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health" to modify "the chief executive", conveying the intended meaning - that the chief executive outlined his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health and, on Wednesday the chief executive announced plans to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months. Further, Option C avoids the "which" vs "that" error seen in Option B, as it uses neither "which" nor "that", rather Option B simply uses the phrase "plans...to cut". Additionally, Option D is free of any awkwardness or redundancy.

E: This answer choice uses the needlessly wordy phrase "that are to", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

Hence, D is the best answer choice.

To understand the concept of "Phrase Comma Subject" and "Subject Comma Phrase" on GMAT, you may want to watch the following video (~1 minute):



To understand the concept of "Which" vs "That" on GMAT, you may want to watch the following video (~2 minutes):



All the best!
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If the problem is about using Wednesday barely without the preposition on, then I would say tht it is an accepted version all over American journalism and composition to use timelines without the proposition on. This choice also proves GMAT has taken it. Otherwise, D is the correct choice for reasons given by gmatdog
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WHY e IS WRONG?
why E is considered the distorted meaning

E meann "the plans are to cut" , "the plans must cut in the future"

E is both grammatical and logic but

USING COMMON SENSE, we see that D is intended meaning.

second reason why E is wrong is that D is closer to the meaning of the original sentence than E.

there are 2 ways to realize the distored meaning:
1. is the meaing is further from the meaing of the original sentence
2. using common sense.

pls comment, is my thinking correct?

E is worth discussing carefully . pls remember, this is og question.
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the following from og 12 (not from og10 which is considered old when gmat focuse on meaning) ilustrate my point. hope many persons discuss my thinking

In 1527 King Henry VII sought to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled so as to marry Anne Boleyn.

A.
B. and so could be married to
C. to be married to
D. so that he could marry to
E. in order that he would marry to

we realize C is correct by using common sense. there are 2 ways to justify whether a choice is distored meaing. as mentioned in my above posting. But, The meaning of the original sentence dose not help us eliminate some choices and all incorrect choices are grammatical and logic. all choices A,B,D and E show that the possiblilty of marying is certain. choice C, on the other hand, show that possibility is not certain. using common sensen, we realize only C is correct. Using common sense is only method here to realize the distored meaning.

The point I try to make here is that in some cases , USING COMMON SENSE is the only way to realize the distorted meaning. Ron from Manhantan also said about this point already.

pls discuss , comment.
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thangvietnam wrote:
WHY e IS WRONG?
why E is considered the distorted meaning

E meann "the plans are to cut" , "the plans must cut in the future"

E is both grammatical and logic but

USING COMMON SENSE, we see that D is intended meaning.

second reason why E is wrong is that D is closer to the meaning of the original sentence than E.

there are 2 ways to realize the distored meaning:
1. is the meaing is further from the meaing of the original sentence
2. using common sense.

pls comment, is my thinking correct?

E is worth discussing carefully . pls remember, this is og question.


Hi thangvietnam,

e-gmat team wishes you a very Happy New Year.

Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearlv 512 billion in assets over the next 18 months.

E. executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months: Incorrect. This choice is grammatically incorrect because relative pronoun “that” illogically refers to the preceding noun “Wednesday”. Remember that “Wednesday” actually stands in the sentence as “on Wednesday”. This understood prepositional phrase modifies the verb “announced” and not the noun “plans”. This understood prepositional phrase can be placed somewhere else in the sentence without distorting the intended meaning of this sentence.

To learn when a noun modifier can refer to a far-away noun and when it cannot, click on the following link to read this detailed article:
noun-modifiers-can-modify-slightly-far-away-noun-135868.html

Your analysis of distorted meaning is correct. The intended meaning of the sentence may be distorted by suggesting some other meaning or by violating the common knowledge through the answer choices.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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thangvietnam wrote:
the following from og 12 (not from og10 which is considered old when gmat focuse on meaning) ilustrate my point. hope many persons discuss my thinking

In 1527 King Henry VII sought to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled so as to marry Anne Boleyn.

A.
B. and so could be married to
C. to be married to
D. so that he could marry to
E. in order that he would marry to

we realize C is correct by using common sense. there are 2 ways to justify whether a choice is distored meaing. as mentioned in my above posting. But, The meaning of the original sentence dose not help us eliminate some choices and all incorrect choices are grammatical and logic. all choices A,B,D and E show that the possiblilty of marying is certain. choice C, on the other hand, show that possibility is not certain. using common sensen, we realize only C is correct. Using common sense is only method here to realize the distored meaning.

The point I try to make here is that in some cases , USING COMMON SENSE is the only way to realize the distorted meaning. Ron from Manhantan also said about this point already.

pls discuss , comment.


Hi thangvietnam,

Yes, there are many sentences the intended meaning of which can be understood through common knowledge. These types of sentences generally deal with universal truths or general known fact.

The OG12 sentence you have cited is a historical event. Not many people may know about this event. However, understanding the intended meaning of this sentence is not difficult as it talk about what did King Henry VIII do to get married to Anne Boleyn.

Now in order to get to the correct answer of any SC problem, intended meaning must be maintained through correct grammatical structure. There can be many times when one can understand the intended meaning but may not be able to identify the grammatical issues with various answer choices. So we need knowledge of both to get to the correct answer.

So now let’s solve this official sentence:

In 1527 King Henry VIII sought to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled so as to marry Anne Boleyn.

MEANING ANALYSIS

The sentence is an event form history. King Henry VIII sought to have his marriage to Queen Catherine annulled so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.

ERROR ANALYSIS

“So as to marry” is not idiomatic. This expression is not very clear in expressing the reason that King Henry sought the annulment of his marriage because he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn.

PoE:

A) so as to: Incorrect for the reason stated above.

B) and so could be married to: Incorrect. This choice implies that annulment of his marriage will automatically make King Henry married to Anne Boleyn. This is not the intended meaning of the sentence. The sentence means that King Henry could not marry Boleyn as long he was married to Catherine. The annulment of marriage with her could only make it possible for King Henry to marry Boleyn.

C) to be married to: Incorrect. This choice also implies the same thing. Annulment of the marriage with Catherine will not make King Henry married to Boleyn. It will just make him eligible to marry her.

D) so that he could marry: Correct. This choice clearly states the reason why King Henry sought the annulment of his marriage to Catherine. He did it so that he could marry Boleyn. Now annulment would make it possible for him to marry Boleyn. Now, if he married Boleyn or not, is irrelevant. But the annulment would surely make it possible for him to marry Boleyn if he wished to.

E) in order that he would marry: Incorrect. Conditional “would” states an assumption that King Henry would marry Boleyn. But this is not the intended meaning of the sentence. The annulment was imperative to enable him to marry again.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha
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in the pattern
X of Y, which...
if Y works, which refers to Y
if Y dose not work and Y modifies X and so can not be placed elswhere, which can jump Y to modify X
if Y dose not work and Y dose not modifies X, which can not jump Y to modify X. E choice is this case.

pls confirm, Thank you e gmat expert.
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thangvietnam wrote:
in the pattern
X of Y, which...
if Y works, which refers to Y
if Y dose not work and Y modifies X and so can not be placed elswhere, which can jump Y to modify X
if Y dose not work and Y dose not modifies X, which can not jump Y to modify X. E choice is this case.

pls confirm, Thank you e gmat expert.


Hi thangvietnam,

Precisely. Your understanding is correct. We need to look which entity "which" logically refers to and check its placement accordingly.

Thanks.
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Options (A), (B), and (C) have modifier errors. It is only the chief executive who could have outlined the strategy, not the chief executive's plans.

Between (D) and (E), (E) is out because the plans themselves cannot cut debts - they can only be used to cut debts. In (D), the chief executive is announcing plans to cut debt (correct) but in (E), he is announcing plans that are to cut debts (incorrect).

(D) it is.
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Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health,the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months.
1. Eliminate A, B, and C - a verb should follow "chief"
2. Eliminate E. "plans that are to cut" is less direct than "plans to cut"


A executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
B executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday.
C executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday.
D executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
E executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12billion in assets over the next 18 months
Re: Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
If the problem is about using Wednesday barely without the preposition on, then I would say tht it is an accepted version all over American journalism and composition to use timelines without the proposition on. This choice also proves GMAT has taken it. Otherwise, D is the correct choice for reasons given by gmatdog


Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.
(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(B) executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months, were announced on Wednesday
(C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

Hi daagh,
In this question the correct choice is D. We can easily eliminate choice A, B, and C for the wrong use of antecedent for pronoun 'his'. Here, 'executive's plans' and 'his' can't be the same thing-''executive's plans'' indicates the person's 'plans' and 'his' indicates the 'person himself'.

If this is the case, then how ''his'' is ok for ''Ryunosuke Akutagawa‘s knowledge'' in the following link?
The link is here:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ryunosuke-ak ... 35722.html
In this question, there is no antecedent of "his", i think.
Thank you daagh...
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iMyself wrote:
daagh wrote:
If the problem is about using Wednesday barely without the preposition on, then I would say tht it is an accepted version all over American journalism and composition to use timelines without the proposition on. This choice also proves GMAT has taken it. Otherwise, D is the correct choice for reasons given by gmatdog


Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.
(A) executive's plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(B) executive's plans, which are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months, were announced on Wednesday
(C) executive's plans for cutting the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(D) executive announced plans Wednesday to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(E) executive announced plans Wednesday that are to cut the company's huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

Hi daagh,
In this question the correct choice is D. We can easily eliminate choice A, B, and C for the wrong use of antecedent for pronoun 'his'. Here, 'executive's plans' and 'his' can't be the same thing-''executive's plans'' indicates the person's 'plans' and 'his' indicates the 'person himself'.

If this is the case, then how ''his'' is ok for ''Ryunosuke Akutagawa‘s knowledge'' in the following link?
The link is here:

https://gmatclub.com/forum/ryunosuke-ak ... 35722.html
In this question, there is no antecedent of "his", i think.
Thank you daagh...


Notice there are two things in this question.
1. His Usage
2. Modifier usage.

As per the meaning of the sentence, we are told that someone is outlining something. Now, Plans could not outline anything. It MUST be the chief who is outlining his strategy via those plans. Hence, D is correct here.

In the question you mentioned, his is correctly used to refer to a Possessive case.

So, this questions is actually using a modifier to denote an action while the other question is using a possessive pronoun to refer to a possessive case.

P.S.: Meaning should be a deciding factor in case of such confusions.
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Would anyone please tell me why in the option d 'announce is not followed by that' ? (only for that reason I have chosen E rather than taking D.) Please clarify ..
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soumya170293 wrote:
Would anyone please tell me why in the option d 'announce is not followed by that' ?

Hi Soumya, the object of announced is not really a clause, but the noun plans.

The usage is similar to:

Government announced incentives to reduce unemployment.

Again here, the object of announced is the noun incentives.

If you think about it, there is no graceful way to introduce that immediately after announced here. One could perhaps rephrase the above sentence as:

Government announced incentives that would reduce unemployment.

However, in the above sentence, that doesn't follow announced; that follows the noun incentives. So, that is used as a relative pronoun.

Quote:
(only for that reason I have chosen E rather than taking D.) Please clarify ..

Hopefully it is clear by my comments above that in E, that is not really following announced (in which case, that would have acted as a conjunction); that actually follows plans, thereby acting as a relative pronoun.

So, your impression that announced should be followed by that, actually doesn't apply to any of the options and hence, cannot be used as an elimination criterion here.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses these various avatars of that (as a conjunction and as a relative pronoun), their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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daagh wrote:
If the problem is about using Wednesday barely without the preposition on, then I would say tht it is an accepted version all over American journalism and composition to use timelines without the proposition on. This choice also proves GMAT has taken it. Otherwise, D is the correct choice for reasons given by gmatdog


This question confused me for exactly this reason. Why is GMAT dropping the preposition?
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ekp33 wrote:
This question confused me for exactly this reason. Why is GMAT dropping the preposition?
Probably for... precisely that reason. To confuse test takers by presenting a false split that makes them more likely to either waste time or get the question wrong.
GMAT Club Bot
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