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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River

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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2020, 06:16
GMATNinja wrote:
There’s a lot of funny-sounding stuff in this one: two consecutive “which” modifiers in some answer choices, plus it’s really, really hard to quickly say “oysters there of their flavor” five times in a row. But by now, you don’t care about “sound” on SC… right? :)

Quote:
(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,

The first thing that jumps out at me is the underlined “which” modifier. I don’t think that it makes a whole lot of sense: “Apalachicola Bay” certainly doesn’t “rob oysters there of their flavor”, and neither does “the saline content of Apalachicola Bay.” The alteration of the saline content robs oysters of their flavor – but that’s a verb here (“could alter”), and “which” generally doesn’t modify a verb on the GMAT.

The parallelism is also a huge problem here. The phrase “to make” follows the “and”, so we’d need another infinitive verb earlier in the sentence. But I don’t see anything that could possibly work.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,

Hopefully, the word “it” jumps out at you whenever you see it. You’re looking for a singular referent, but in this case, I don’t see a lot of great options: we have the saline content, Apalachicola Bay, or a couple of different rivers, but none of those are really performing the action of robbing oysters of their flavor. It’s the alteration of the saline content – caused by increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River – that rob the oysters of their flavor. So the pronoun “it” is wrong.

Plus, we have some funky parallelism stuff going on here: “rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” I’d be OK if there was an “and” before “make”: that way, “smaller”, “less distinctive”, and “less in demand” could all be parallel to each other.

But in this case, the list makes no sense: it’s a hodgepodge of verbs (“rob” and “make”) and modifiers (“less distinctive” and “less in demand”). (B) is definitely out.

Quote:
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,

This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

The other issue with (C) is the parallelism at the end of the sentence: “making them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.” So “less in demand” and “less distinctive” are both modifiers. Fair enough. But then “decrease in size” is a verb phrase, which can’t be parallel to those two modifiers.

Nasty stuff, in my opinion. (C) is gone.

Quote:
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,

This sounds weird. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller…” Hm, that’s a mouthful. Say it five times fast, and you probably won’t want to choose it as your answer.

But it’s right. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor” is now a modifier, giving us more information about the entire previous clause about increasing demands on the river, and alterations of the saline content. That makes perfect sense: the entire, long-winded situation – beginning with the “increasing demands” on the river – robs oysters of their flavor, so the “-ing” modifier is perfect.

And the parallelism at the end of the sentence is great, too: “making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” Three parallel modifiers, all describing what happens to the oysters.

Let’s keep (D).

Quote:
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

The comma after “flavor” is a minor issue. In general, the GMAT doesn’t spend a lot of time testing us on the subtleties of comma usage, but there’s no real need for the comma here, since “robbing” and “making” are very nicely parallel with each other. Don’t lose sleep over this, since it’s rarely – if ever – a deciding factor on these questions.

The bigger issue is the parallelism error at the end of the sentence: just as in (C), “decrease in size” isn’t parallel to “less distinctive” and “less in demand,” since “decrease” is a verb. And that’s the best reason to eliminate (E), and settle for (D).

GMATNinja
Sir,
Could you check the explanation of choice C and E (the highlighted part)?
I think, 'decrease' is noun, not verb (at least here in this case). Could you clarify if i miss anything here?
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 14 May 2020, 19:28
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Asad wrote:
GMATNinja
Sir,
Could you check the explanation of choice C and E (the highlighted part)?
I think, 'decrease' is noun, not verb (at least here in this case). Could you clarify if i miss anything here?

The word "decrease" can be a verb or a noun:

  • "With a steady diet of doughnuts and fried pickles, I decreased the size of my belly." - Here, "decrease" is a verb. (Though the content of the sentence may not be totally reasonable.)
  • "After dieting for several months, I noticed a decrease in the size of my belly." - Here, "decrease" is a noun.

Choice (C), for example, uses the structure, "making them [verb]". Let's look at a few simpler examples that use a similar structure:

  • "The robber held the hostages at gunpoint, making them beg for mercy."
  • "When the tourists arrived in Argentina, the locals made them dance the tango."
  • "There are too many people in this pub, so I will start talking about the GMAT to make them leave."

Similarly, in choice (C), we have, "... rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size." In this case, "decrease" is an action, just like the underlined verbs in the three examples above.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2020, 00:33
GMATNinja wrote:
Asad wrote:
GMATNinja
Sir,
Could you check the explanation of choice C and E (the highlighted part)?
I think, 'decrease' is noun, not verb (at least here in this case). Could you clarify if i miss anything here?

The word "decrease" can be a verb or a noun:

  • "With a steady diet of doughnuts and fried pickles, I decreased the size of my belly." - Here, "decrease" is a verb. (Though the content of the sentence may not be totally reasonable.)
  • "After dieting for several months, I noticed a decrease in the size of my belly." - Here, "decrease" is a noun.

Choice (C), for example, uses the structure, "making them [verb]". Let's look at a few simpler examples that use a similar structure:

  • "The robber held the hostages at gunpoint, making them beg for mercy."
  • "When the tourists arrived in Argentina, the locals made them dance the tango."
  • "There are too many people in this pub, so I will start talking about the GMAT to make them leave."

Similarly, in choice (C), we have, "... rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size." In this case, "decrease" is an action, just like the underlined verbs in the three examples above.

I hope that helps!


Hi Sir,

Great explanation!!!
So I understand here decrease is a verb with subject being them.
Then how do we interpret the SV pairs in the given sentence:
The medicine makes the baby grow small. Or even in your 2nd example(made them dance the tango)

baby should not be the subject of grow because it is the object of the sentence.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jun 2020, 16:17
Quote:
Hi Sir,

Great explanation!!!
So I understand here decrease is a verb with subject being them.
Then how do we interpret the SV pairs in the given sentence:
The medicine makes the baby grow small. Or even in your 2nd example(made them dance the tango)

baby should not be the subject of grow because it is the object of the sentence.

Language is complicated: a noun can play more than one role in a sentence. In this case, anytime you have the construction "made X do Y," the X will be doing double-duty: it'll be the thing acted on by the original subject, as well as the thing doing Y.

For example:

    "Tim made his children mow the lawn, and, as a reward, allowed them to have gummy bears for dinner every night for a month."

It's true that the noun "children" functions like an object here, in the sense that the children are the recipient of Tim's questionable parenting. But it's also true that the children are made to do some action. That's fine. Just as it's fine for locals to make the tourists dance the tango.

Most importantly, you likely had no difficulty understanding the meaning of the sentence. It was when you started to apply labels to the component parts that you began to have doubts.

So anytime you find yourself genuinely unsure about whether a given construction acceptable, but the construction you're wondering about seems perfectly logical and consistent with usage you've seen in the past, move on to other elements of the sentence. Otherwise, you run the risk of inventing a rule that doesn't actually exist.

I hope that helps!
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RC, CR, and other articles & resources: All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for $29.99 | Time management on verbal

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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River   [#permalink] 12 Jun 2020, 16:17

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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River

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