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Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.

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Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 07:33
Hi,

I am facing a doubt in the item of a parallel list. My question goes like this-:

The earliest English settlers in Virginia failed to survive their first winter in the New World because of
factors such as inadequate food supplies, harsh weather, and an inability to communicate with Native
Americans.

One of the options to the above question was "Lacking an inability". I rejected this option based on the fact the original answer i.e "an inability" was having "inability" as noun and "an" working as a modifier.

The list that i figured out was "inadequate food supplies", "harsh weather", and "an inability". The criteria was that each item is a noun with a noun modifier at the start.

The solution to the question states that "Lacking an inability" is a verb construction rather than a noun. While going through this option I considered "Lacking" as a gerund and as there was no modifier to modify "Lacking".

Please help resolve the above issue.

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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 10:15
darrrrkhorse wrote:
Hi,

I am facing a doubt in the item of a parallel list. My question goes like this-:

The earliest English settlers in Virginia failed to survive their first winter in the New World because of
factors such as inadequate food supplies, harsh weather, and an inability to communicate with Native
Americans.

One of the options to the above question was "Lacking an inability". I rejected this option based on the fact the original answer i.e "an inability" was having "inability" as noun and "an" working as a modifier.

The list that i figured out was "inadequate food supplies", "harsh weather", and "an inability". The criteria was that each item is a noun with a noun modifier at the start.

The solution to the question states that "Lacking an inability" is a verb construction rather than a noun. While going through this option I considered "Lacking" as a gerund and as there was no modifier to modify "Lacking".

Please help resolve the above issue.

Regards


Could you post the complete question with all options? It would be easier to respond properly to your query then.
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Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 12:39
sayantanc2k wrote:
Could you post the complete question with all options? It would be easier to respond properly to your query then.


Here is the complete question along with OA

The earliest English settlers in Virginia failed to survive their first winter in the New World because of factors such as inadequate food supplies, harsh weather, and an inability to communicate with Native Americans.

A)an inability
B)that they were unable
C)because they were unable
D)being unable
E)Lacking an ability

OA


I am with the OA , since it presents a list -

1. inadequate food supplies
2. harsh weather
3. an inability

Hence with OA (A)
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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2016, 20:01
HI All,

I am also in with the Original Answer but the reason why the last option was rejected is not clear. The solution to the question states that "Lacking an inability" is a verb construction rather than a noun. While going through this option I considered "Lacking" as a gerund and as there was no modifier to modify "Lacking", therefore, I rejected this option.

The reason of my rejection and the reason provided in the answer explanation is different. How come "Lacking an Inability" is a verb construction? I considered "Lacking" as a gerund so it must be a noun phrase rather than a verb construction.

Please help.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2016, 03:46
darrrrkhorse wrote:
While going through this option I considered "Lacking" as a gerund and as there was no modifier to modify "Lacking", therefore, I rejected this option.

Hi darrrrkhorse, I am not sure I understand the reasoning here. How did you get the impression that a noun should always have a modifier?

Quote:
The reason of my rejection and the reason provided in the answer explanation is different. How come "Lacking an Inability" is a verb construction? I considered "Lacking" as a gerund so it must be a noun phrase rather than a verb construction.

By referring to lacking as a verb construction, perhaps the OE is referring to it as a verb -ing construction.

The issue is that in English, most verb -ing constructions can be used in two ways: Gerunds and Participles.

One could argue that in this sentence, it is very clear that because lacking follows such as, lacking can only act as noun (gerund),

However, for clarity purposes, to ensure that the noun usage of a verb form a every evident and beyond any ambiguity, one should in general (there might be exceptions, but it's a matter of preference) use non -ing form. Here, that non -ing form is inability.

To summarize, lacking can be either:
i) Participle Or
ii) Gerund (Noun form)

Inability can only be:
i) Noun

Hence, the use of Inability is preferred.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this concept of Participles Vs Nouns, its 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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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2016, 07:05
Hi Ashish,

I am not of a view that noun should be followed by a modifier always. My reason as explained in my earlier post was that the items of the list are following this pattern. For clarity "weather " is preceded by "harsh" and "food supplies" is preceded by "inadequate". So it prompted to me that " an" is a modifier and "lacking" is a noun.

Now I considered "lacking" a gerund and hence a noun.

The answer shows that this is a verb construction.

I just need to know whether my thought process was right or wrong?

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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2016, 07:27
1
darrrrkhorse wrote:
I am not of a view that noun should be followed by a modifier always. My reason as explained in my earlier post was that the items of the list are following this pattern. For clarity "weather " is preceded by "harsh" and "food supplies" is preceded by "inadequate". So it prompted to me that " an" is a modifier and "lacking" is a noun.

Actually parallelism does not mean word to word similarity. So, in this case, as long as all the parallel elements are noun phrases, we are ok with parallelism.

Another officially correct sentence:

A recent study has found that within the past few years, many doctors have elected to retire early rather than face the threats of lawsuits and the rising costs of malpractice insurance.

Clearly, the following are parallel elements:

i) threats of lawsuits
ii) rising costs of malpractice insurance

Here again, rising is a modifier modifying costs, but we don't have this structure replicated in threats of lawsuits. However, it does not matter, because both are noun-phrases, and hence considered parallel.

In any case, this was a moot point in the sentence under consideration because none of the five answer choices presented here have a modifier + noun structure. This is in fact something that you have to develop an eye for: Quickly look at the answer choices, and figure out what really matters.
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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2016, 09:10
Hi Ashish,

Thanks for a prompt and enlightening reply. For sure I will try to develop an eye for that.

Sorry to say but your example has brought another doubt in parallelism. In the example above "rather than" is used to compare. Are the things compared parallel?

Please help.

Thanks once again for prompt response.

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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 May 2016, 09:23
darrrrkhorse wrote:
In the example above "rather than" is used to compare. Are the things compared parallel?

Yes....two infinitives are being compared:

....to retire early rather than (to) face.....
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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2017, 08:32
Option A Clearly establishes parallelism between the list mentioned.

Hence - A
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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list.  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 15:34
I am asking a very silly question, really sorry for that. Here is my question; how "an" before inability acting as a modifier or adjective?
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Re: Parallelism : Doubt in one of the items of the list. &nbs [#permalink] 13 Sep 2017, 15:34
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