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# Parallel that clauses

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Intern
Joined: 24 Sep 2010
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10 Oct 2010, 15:57
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From Gmat Prep ver 1, the correct answer was (slightly rephrased for brevity):

One automobile manufacturer has announced plans to increase fuel efficiency by 25%, an increase that would amount to roughly 5 mpg and would represent the first major advance in over a decade.

Now, per MGMAT, parallel clauses must always start with the same word. So in this case, it should be "an increase that X, and that Y" instead of "an increase that X, and Y". A specific example from MGMAT: Chapter 4, 3rd edition, page 63: "She argued THAT the agency acted recklessly and THAT it should be shut down."

The missing THAT in the answer choice made me pick an incorrect answer. I would like to know if MGMAT got it wrong or overly restrictive on this one. In other words, is it _preferable_ to have a THAT here or is it a MUST HAVE?
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 22 Sep 2010
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Schools: MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management / BA, Wesleyan University

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13 Oct 2010, 07:42
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Vinay3-

You are right that parallel clauses should start with the same word. The issue is that the parallel clauses in your example don't start with the word "that". Instead, they start with the world "would." Think of "that" as the last word in the first part of the sentence, before the parallelism begins:

I told my sister that I liked her dog and I hated her cat.

I told my sister that:
- I liked her dog and
- I hated her cat.

*We don't need to repeat the word "that" here because it distributes.

Given the chance, I would move to Hawaii and open a surf shop.

Given the chance, I would:
-move to Hawaii and
-open a surf shop

*Again, the word "would" here distributes to both verbs. Notice in this example that one clause starts with "move" and one starts with "open" because they both actually use the word "would."

The idea behind our rule that parallel clauses must start with the same word is that you can't have a situation such as the following:

-I bought a house that has four bedrooms and where I can relax.

Here, one clauses starts with "that" and one starts with "where." This is not OK, since these words are serving the same purpose and to make it parallel you'd have to be distributing the word "house," which you can't do.

Make sense?

Brett
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Brett Beach-Kimball | Manhattan GMAT Instructor

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Intern
Joined: 24 Sep 2010
Posts: 20

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13 Oct 2010, 11:22
Thanks Brett for your detailed response.

Overall, what you say makes sense. So, the rule would be that "if you have 2 parallel clauses, and both begin with the same word (looks like it is always a subordinating word like that, would etc), it is okay to drop one instance of that word. However, if you have 2 parallel clauses that use 2 different starting words (e.g. that vs would), then it is a grammatical error."

Is it then safe to say that in the specific example from MGMAT - Chapter 4, 3rd edition, page 63: "She argued THAT the agency acted recklessly and THAT it should be shut down." - it is okay to drop the 2nd THAT? Both of these are THAT clauses, and THAT should thus distribute to both? In other words, is "She argued that the agency acted recklessly and it should be shut down." correct? Somehow, I am not liking the sound of this sentence. If this sentence is not correct, I would once again be confused
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Schools: MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management / BA, Wesleyan University

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19 Oct 2010, 20:32
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Yes! It would be grammatically correct to say "She argued that the agency acted recklessly and it should be shut down."

Nice work!
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Brett Beach-Kimball | Manhattan GMAT Instructor

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Re: Parallel that clauses   [#permalink] 19 Oct 2010, 20:32
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