GMAT Question of the Day - Daily to your Mailbox; hard ones only

It is currently 22 Sep 2018, 21:41

Close

GMAT Club Daily Prep

Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.

Close

Request Expert Reply

Confirm Cancel

Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  
Author Message
TAGS:

Hide Tags

Current Student
User avatar
V
Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 5002
Location: India
GMAT 1: 760 Q50 V42
GPA: 3.8
WE: Marketing (Non-Profit and Government)
Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 29 Jun 2016, 06:43
5
5
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

Difficulty:

(N/A)

Question Stats:

0% (00:00) correct 0% (00:00) wrong based on 0 sessions

HideShow timer Statistics

Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT



- Veritas Prep Blog (link)

We encounter many different types of pronoun errors on the GMAT Verbal Section. Some of the most common errors include:

Using a pronoun without an antecedent. For example, the sentence, “Although Jack is very rich, he makes poor use of it,” is incorrect because “it” has no antecedent. The antecedent should instead be “money” or “wealth.”

Error in matching the pronoun to its antecedent in number and gender. For example, the sentence, “Pack away the unused packets, and save it for the next game,” is incorrect because the antecedent of “it” is referring to “unused packets,” which is plural.

Using a nominative/objective case pronoun when the antecedent is possessive. For example, the sentence, “The client called the lawyer’s office, but he did not answer,” is incorrect because the antecedent of “he” should be referring to “lawyer,” but it appears only in the possessive case. Official GMAT questions will not give you this rule as the only decision point between two options.

But note that the rules governing pronoun ambiguity are not as strict as other rules! Pronoun ambiguity should be the last decision point for eliminating an option after we have taken care of SV agreements, tenses, modifiers, parallelism etc.

Every sentence that has two nouns before a pronoun does not fall under the “pronoun ambiguity error” category. If the pronoun agrees with two nouns in number and gender, and both nouns could be the antecedent of the pronoun, then there is a possibility of pronoun ambiguity. But in other cases, logic can dictate that only one of the nouns can really perform (or receive) an action, and so it is logically clear to which noun the pronoun refers.

For example, “Take the bag out of the car and get it fixed.”

What needs to get fixed? The bag or the car? Either is possible. Here we have a pronoun ambiguity, but it is highly unlikely you will see something like this on the GMAT.

A special mention should be made here about the role nouns play in the sentence. Often, a pronoun which acts as the subject of a clause refers to the noun which acts as a subject of the previous clause. In such sentences, you will often find that the antecedent is unambiguous. Similarly, if the pronoun acts as the direct object of a clause, it could refer to the direct object of the previous clause. If the pronoun and its antecedent play parallel roles, a lot of clarity is added to the sentence. But it is not necessary that the pronoun and its antecedent will play parallel roles.

Let’s look at a different example, “The car needs to be taken out of the driveway and its brakes need to get fixed.”

Here, obviously the antecedent of “its” must be the car since only it has brakes, not the driveway. Besides, the car is the subject of the previous clause and “its” refers to the subject. Hence, this sentence would be acceptable.

A good rule of thumb would be to look at the options. If no options sort out the pronoun issue by replacing it with the relevant noun, just forget about pronoun ambiguity. If there are options that clarify the pronoun issue by replacing it with the relevant noun, consider all other grammatical issues first and then finally zero in on pronoun ambiguity.

Let’s take a quick look at some official GMAT questions involving pronouns now:

Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers provide workers with unpaid leave so as to care for sick or newborn children.

(A) provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(B) to provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(C) provide workers with unpaid leave in order that they
(D) to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can
(E) provide workers with unpaid leave and


The answer is (D). Why? The correct sentence would use “to provide” (not “provide”) and “so that” (not “so as to”), and should read, “Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can care for sick or newborn children.” In this sentence, “they” logically refers to “workers.” Even though “they” could refer to employers, too, after you sort out the rest of the errors, you are left with (D) only, hence answer must be (D).

Let’s look at another question:

While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity – in many cases representing a life’s savings – can plunge or even disappear.

(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose


The correct answer is (A). The correct sentence should read, “While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity – in many cases representing a life’s savings – can plunge or even disappear.” The pronoun “they” logically refers to “depressed property values.” Both the pronoun and its antecedent serve as subjects in their respective clauses, so the pronoun antecedent is quite clear.

One more question:

Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than they had in their previous campaigns, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.

(A) they had in their previous campaigns
(B) their previous campaigns had had
(C) they had for any previous campaign
(D) in their previous campaigns
(E) for any previous campaign

The correct answer is (E). The correct sentence should read, “Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than for any previous campaign, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.”

The pronoun “it” logically refers to “Napolean’s army” and not Russia. Both the pronoun and its antecedent serve as subjects in their respective clauses, so the pronoun antecedent is quite clear. Note that the pronoun and its antecedent are a part of the non-underlined portion of the sentence so we don’t need to worry about the usage here but it strengthens our understanding of pronoun ambiguity.
_________________

Have an MBA application Question? ASK ME ANYTHING!

My Stuff: Four Years to 760 | MBA Trends for Indian Applicants

My GMAT Resources
V30-V40: How to do it! | GMATPrep SC | GMATPrep CR | GMATPrep RC | Critical Reasoning Megathread | CR: Numbers and Statistics | CR: Weaken | CR: Strengthen | CR: Assumption | SC: Modifier | SC: Meaning | SC: SV Agreement | RC: Primary Purpose | PS/DS: Numbers and Inequalities | PS/DS: Combinatorics and Coordinates

My MBA Resources
Everything about the MBA Application | Over-Represented MBA woes | Fit Vs Rankings | Low GPA: What you can do | Letter of Recommendation: The Guide | Indian B Schools accepting GMAT score | Why MBA?

My Reviews
Veritas Prep Live Online

Veritas Prep GMAT Discount CodesKaplan GMAT Prep Discount CodesJamboree Discount Codes
Retired Moderator
User avatar
S
Joined: 18 Sep 2014
Posts: 1148
Location: India
GMAT ToolKit User Premium Member Reviews Badge
Re: Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 29 Jun 2016, 11:52
souvik101990 wrote:

Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers provide workers with unpaid leave so as to care for sick or newborn children.

(A) provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(B) to provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(C) provide workers with unpaid leave in order that they
(D) to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can
(E) provide workers with unpaid leave and


The answer is (D). Why? The correct sentence would use “to provide” (not “provide”) and “so that” (not “so as to”), and should read, “Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can care for sick or newborn children.” In this sentence, “they” logically refers to “workers.” Even though “they” could refer to employers, too, after you sort out the rest of the errors, you are left with (D) only, hence answer must be (D).


souvik101990

In this question, I felt B is another strong contender after D.

Can you explain why it is incorrect for a strong reason.

I believe so....as to .....is an idiom which explain the result of some activity as in this case.
_________________

The only time you can lose is when you give up. Try hard and you will suceed.
Thanks = Kudos. Kudos are appreciated

http://gmatclub.com/forum/rules-for-posting-in-verbal-gmat-forum-134642.html
When you post a question Pls. Provide its source & TAG your questions
Avoid posting from unreliable sources.


My posts
http://gmatclub.com/forum/beauty-of-coordinate-geometry-213760.html#p1649924
http://gmatclub.com/forum/calling-all-march-april-gmat-takers-who-want-to-cross-213154.html
http://gmatclub.com/forum/possessive-pronouns-200496.html
http://gmatclub.com/forum/double-negatives-206717.html
http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-greatest-integer-function-223595.html#p1721773
https://gmatclub.com/forum/improve-reading-habit-233410.html#p1802265

Intern
Intern
User avatar
B
Joined: 09 Jul 2015
Posts: 28
Location: India
Concentration: Finance
GMAT 1: 690 Q50 V32
GMAT 2: 750 Q51 V40
GPA: 3.58
GMAT ToolKit User
Re: Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 02 Jul 2016, 09:59
Nevernevergiveup wrote:
souvik101990 wrote:

Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers provide workers with unpaid leave so as to care for sick or newborn children.

(A) provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(B) to provide workers with unpaid leave so as to
(C) provide workers with unpaid leave in order that they
(D) to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can
(E) provide workers with unpaid leave and


The answer is (D). Why? The correct sentence would use “to provide” (not “provide”) and “so that” (not “so as to”), and should read, “Congress is debating a bill requiring certain employers to provide workers with unpaid leave so that they can care for sick or newborn children.” In this sentence, “they” logically refers to “workers.” Even though “they” could refer to employers, too, after you sort out the rest of the errors, you are left with (D) only, hence answer must be (D).


souvik101990

In this question, I felt B is another strong contender after D.

Can you explain why it is incorrect for a strong reason.

I believe so....as to .....is an idiom which explain the result of some activity as in this case.


IMHO, option B distorts the meaning. It gives the meaning that employers need to take care of the children.
Non-Human User
User avatar
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 2955
Premium Member
Re: Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT  [#permalink]

Show Tags

New post 19 Aug 2018, 09:52
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
_________________

-
April 2018: New Forum dedicated to Verbal Strategies, Guides, and Resources

GMAT Club Bot
Re: Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT &nbs [#permalink] 19 Aug 2018, 09:52
Display posts from previous: Sort by

Pronoun Ambiguity on the GMAT

  new topic post reply Question banks Downloads My Bookmarks Reviews Important topics  

Events & Promotions

PREV
NEXT


Copyright

GMAT Club MBA Forum Home| About| Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy| GMAT Club Rules| Contact| Sitemap

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group | Emoji artwork provided by EmojiOne

Kindly note that the GMAT® test is a registered trademark of the Graduate Management Admission Council®, and this site has neither been reviewed nor endorsed by GMAC®.