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# President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a

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Senior SC Moderator
Joined: 22 May 2016
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President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 19:24
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Difficulty:

25% (medium)

Question Stats:

74% (01:33) correct 26% (01:31) wrong based on 485 sessions

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Project SC Butler: Day 139: Sentence Correction (SC2)

President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it

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President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 19:25
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2
OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Project SC Butler: Day 139: Sentence Correction (SC2)

President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it[/quote]

HIGHLIGHTS

• COMPARE. This question has only one answer that can be dismissed quickly: B.
Options A, C, and E are harder to eliminate than B is. Comparing those three to D is a good strategy.

• Pronouns: Possessive poison? It's a guideline, not a rule.
Careful. Do not use possessive poison as an automatic elimination strategy.

On the GMAT, as long as meaning is clear, both object and subject pronouns may have a possessive noun as an antecedent.
That sentence opens a post I wrote that took hours to research. The post discusses GMAC's apparent and current position. The post takes two minutes to read.
You can find that post HERE.

Possessive poison has been decisive in how many official questions? Zero.

At least six officially correct answers "violate" this rule, four of which I discuss in the linked post.
Possessive poison is not an ironclad rule. It's a guideline.

If you see a possessive antecedent for a non-possessive pronoun, do not automatically reject the option.
Flag the option. If it has no other glaring errors, keep the option until the end.

• PARALLELISM: to discuss X and Y
-- discuss is a transitive verb that requires objects (discuss what?)
-- X = a possible air traffic controllers’ strike
-- Y = the other thing in the answer choices
-- X is a noun phrase. Y needs to be a noun or noun phrase.

noun clauses (also called nominal clauses or substantive clauses)
Be careful.
-- WHAT- and HOW- clauses (and other relative pronoun or relative adverb clauses) can function as nouns and do all the things that nouns do, and thus these clauses are called noun clauses.
-- these noun clauses are a little strange because they have a subject and a verb but they are still treated as one whole entity.
A noun clause behaves the same way as a regular noun.

-- The italicized words below are noun clauses
Whether he had brown eyes or blue eyes did not matter to the casting agent.
(The noun clause in italics is the subject of the sentence.)
What a person does on a consistent basis reveals more about character than what a person says.
(In this case both the subject of the sentence and the subject of the that-clause are noun clauses. )
Corinne wanted to know who had left her the funny note.
(The italicized words are the object of the verb know.)
-- see the boldface type below Option D. Options A, B, C, and D are all noun clauses (constructed with varying degrees of success)
-- noun clauses often begin with "WH-words"—the words we use to ask questions.
These are the most common WH-words: what, who, whom, whose, which, when, where, why, and how. (How is an "honorary" member of this group.
A very short article that lists many WH-words (including variations such as whenever) is here.
The post is dense. If it frustrates you, just look at the words mentioned. All of them can start a noun clause.

-- To read more about these kinds of clauses, see Mike McGarry, HERE

THE PROMPT

Quote:
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

THE OPTIONS

Quote:
(A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them

• GMAC does not like the same pronoun to refer to different antecedents; as far as I recall, only one official question allows they and them to refer to different antecedents
-- they refers to Reagan, Lewis, and FAA officials
-- them refers to air traffic controllers
-- them is not possessive. air traffic controllers' is possessive. Not great.
• FLAG this option. I suspect that a better option exists

Quote:
(B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required

• same pronoun issue as that in A: them is not possessive but the antecedent noun is possessive
• In a hypothetical, IF takes the verb were, not would be. (Would never goes in the IF part of a conditional.)

-- correct: if legal and political action were required or if legal and political action were to be required
(Legal and political action might or might not be required; the action is only a possibility.)
• eliminate B

Quote:
(C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event

-- "for handling" is not quite right.
-- "in order to handle" would be better
-- the construction is awkward, but not dead wrong. KEEP, but look for a better option

Quote:
(D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event

-- much better than any other answer so far: clear and correctly modified subject, correct verb, prepositional phrase that acts as an adverbial modifier
-- every word in this answer, taken together, constitutes a noun clause. The whole thing functions as a noun even though it contains a verb. The noun clause is the object of the verb "discuss." See "Highlights" above.
-- Compare A and C to this option.

Quote:
(E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it

-- the necessity OF what kind of legal and political action?
-- that hella awkward and weird phrase contains two separate issues that have been glued together:
(1) whether any action is needed, on one hand and (2) what kind of action is needed, on the other hand
-- they can discuss
the necessity of legal and political action (whether such action is needed)
and then
what kind of legal and political action,
but the phrasing makes it sound as if the issues were one issue.
• eliminate E

• compare options A and C to D
-- Option A v. option D? No contest. Option D has no pronoun issues. Option D wins
-- Option C v. option D? Also no contest. Option D contains no weird and probably unidiomatic phrases such as "for handling."

Yes, I know . . . sometimes some of you sneak in after the 24 hour mark, often while I am writing my post (among other things).

sisaqov and amuban - welcome to SC Butler.
exc4libur , good to see you again.

Of course I am always happy to see people who post consistently.

As long as a person posts an explanation that is well-reasoned, even if the person bases the answer on a faulty assumption or incorrect rule, that person gets kudos.
Correct answer but no explanation? No kudos.

People who do the best on this test generally and in SC in particular possess strong critical thinking skills.
I know. Sounds boring. Wait till you're staring at a Quant problem from hell or five SC options that all seem correct.
This is the place to make factual mistakes and to sharpen your thinking skills.

Happy kudos!
##### General Discussion
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 20:05
1
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

Meaning--> The president met with the two departments to discuss X and Y.
X= possible air traffic controller's strike
Y= What possible action they would need to take in order to handle such an event.

Note: The event did not take place till now. They are just speculating what steps they should take if the event occurs.
So basically they are meeting to discuss the plan in advance.
This is what the author wants to convey.
Let's look for a choice which conveys this meaning.
Choice D conveys the intended meaning and also does away with S-V errors present in the original choice.
IMHO D.
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 20:29
1
Tested pronoun ambiguity. If we look at the option A "they" should refer to the president, secretary and administration and the second pronoun "them" has no antecedent so option A out. Similar logic applied to eliminate B. In c handling is not parallel to "to discuss" in the in underlined part hence eliminated. E doesn't make sense. D conveys the right meaning as well as removes the pronoun ambiguity.

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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 21:49
1
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 139: Sentence Correction (SC2)

President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

Sentence Structure
Subject - Verb:
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss
1) a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and - Noun phrase
2) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it( air traffic controllers’ strike ). - Noun phrase

Issues:
It's a question of pure meaning.
The sooner one realizes, the faster one can reach the CORRECT answer.
A, B, C and D Parallelism issue: Noun phrase vs Clause

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them
Parallelism issue: Noun phrase vs Clause
Pronoun issue: 'them' has NO coherent referrent as air traffic controllers’ is in adjective form

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required
Parallelism issue: Noun phrase vs Clause
Pronoun issue: 'them' has NO coherent referrent as air traffic controllers’ is in adjective form

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event
Parallelism issue: Noun phrase vs Clause

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event
Parallelism issue: Noun phrase vs Clause

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it
Better than the rest. E is the winner!

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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2019, 23:19
1
A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them - Strike is singular, Pronoun "them" is incorrect

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required Strike is singular, Pronoun "them" is incorrect

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event D conveys a better meaning

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event Correct

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it It - "an event" is better. + meaning is not clear as in D
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 03:57
1
generis wrote:
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them
B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required
C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event
D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event
E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it

Meaning: the president MET with x and y TO DISCUSS [1] a possible air strike [singular] and [TO DISCUSS] [2] what action would be necessary.

(A) "them" is plural, the "strike" is singular; also, "they" could imply the "president", but what does he know about the political and legal environment of aviation? unintended;
(B) "them" is plural…; and this suggests that Reagan met with x and y to discuss how to handle x and y, unintended;
(C) "for handling" does show intent, we need "to handle" (infinitive);
(E) "[to discuss] the necessity" Reagan is there to discuss what actions might be taken, no "the necessity", unintended; also, "what action in order to handle it" this is confusing;

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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 05:20
1
Quote:
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

Hi Folks,
Ambiguous pronouns are problem in the original sentence. Both, they and them, could refer to traffic controllers or President and his team.
A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them: Incorrect

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event : Does not make it clear what would be done legally and politically. "missing action"

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event : Better than C

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it : badly structured sentence plus it does not refer to strike here.

I'll go with D.
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 06:41
1
It is D.

President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them - them" is plural, the "strike" is singular, also "they" as a pronoun is not having an unambiguous reference here in the sentence .

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required - same as A, them cannot refer to singular strike

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event - For handling is not correct usage, to+verb (infinitive) required to show the intent.

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event - Correct.

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it - not a clear meaning
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 09:15
1
To answer such questions we have to observe the underlined portion very carefully.
As we can see lots of pronouns are being used, we can have a quick look if the pronouns can refer to their nous clearly.
Here we can see, they & them being used which can not refer to a possessive noun controllers’. Thus we can eliminate option A & B.
From remaining Option C is not constructed properly. Option E is complex and does not convey the meaning properly.

Thus option D is the correct choice.
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President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 12:05
1
generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 139: Sentence Correction (SC2)

President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it

A) they and them has no antecedent here. Controllers' is in possessive case, so its only correct antecedent would be their
B) again no antecedent for them
C) Distorts the meaning. It is not what is necessary legally and politically but rather political and legal action itself
D) Correct
E) Too wordy compared to D. "it" here is ambiguous
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President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 20:34
1
President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis and the Federal Aviation Administration in July 1981 to discuss a possible air traffic controllers’ strike and how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them.

A) how they would have to act legally and politically to handle them - who are them?

B) how to handle them if legal and political action would be required - wrong usage of conditional tense and them again (A)

C) what would be necessary legally and politically for handling such an event - sounds betters than all previous answers, so - for handling is wrong

D) what legal and political action would be necessary in order to handle such an event - correct, but strange since only one action is on stake

E) the necessity of what kind of legal and political action in order to handle it - change the meaning
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Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a  [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2019, 23:39
I have posted the official explanation HERE
Re: President Ronald Reagan met with Transportation Secretary Drew Lewis a   [#permalink] 18 Jul 2019, 23:39