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QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star

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QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 231: Sentence Correction


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Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

(A) Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

(B) Although not announced until February, 1968, in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell observed the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted.

(C) Although observed by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, the discovery of the first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, had not been announced before February, 1968.

(D) The first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, but the discovery was not announced until February, 1968.

(E) The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell.

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Masters of Time: Cosmology at the End of Innocence - Page 78

John Boslough - 1993

The old cosmology of a less hurried, more *The pulsars were first detected by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, confirmed in the fall, but not announced until the following February.

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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2018, 22:59
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This is a classic case of an SC question with a terrible-sounding correct answer. (And if I remember correctly, I got this !&$!^$%ing question wrong the first time I saw it a decade or so ago, for exactly that reason.) But in case you aren’t tired of hearing me say it yet: sound doesn’t matter on SC, right?
Quote:
(A) Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

We have all sorts of problems here. For starters, “it” seems to refer to “the first pulsar”, and that makes no sense: “the first pulsar had not been announced until February, 1968”? What the heck does it mean to “announce a pulsar”? You could announce a sighting, but not the pulsar itself.

The use of the past perfect tense (“had not been announced”) also isn’t great in (A). That verb tense needs to describe an action that happens BEFORE some other action in the past. But in this case, it’s backwards: the pulsar was observed in 1967, but then it was announced later, in 1968 – so it’s awfully strange to use the past perfect tense to discuss the 1968 announcement, given the context of the sentence.

That’s enough to eliminate (A). But for whatever it’s worth, there’s other goofy stuff here: why would you say that the “first pulsar… to be sighted was in the summer of 1967”?? You could say that it “was observed in the summer of 1967” or “was first seen in the summer of 1967” or maybe even “was first sighted in the summer of 1967”, but the version in (A) doesn't make much sense.

But even if you ignore everything I said in that last paragraph, we still have plenty of reasons to eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) Although not announced until February, 1968, in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell observed the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted.

The biggest problem with (B) is that funky modifier at the beginning of the sentence: “Although not announced until February, 1968….” needs to be followed by the thing that was (eventually) announced – presumably, the observation of the pulsar. But that doesn’t really happen. Instead, the phrase is followed by “in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell…” And that makes no sense, because neither the summer of 1967 nor Jocelyn Bell was announced in 1968.

So (B) is gone, too.

Quote:
(C) Although observed by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, the discovery of the first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, had not been announced before February, 1968.

(C) has some of the same problems as (A) and (B). That opening modifier is still a problem: the opening phrase “Although observed… in the summer of 1967, the the discovery of the first sighted pulsar…” suggests that the discovery was observed in the summer of 1967, and that’s nonsense.

I’m also still uncomfortable with the use of past perfect tense (“had not been announced”) at the end of the sentence. It’s odd to say that the discovery “had not been announced before February, 1968” unless that action comes before some other action – and it doesn’t, since the pulsar was first observed in 1967.

Finally, I don’t love the way the word “sighted” is used here. It’s structured as an adjective in (C), and “sighted” generally means “having the ability to see” (i.e., not blind) when it’s used as an adjective. So if we say “the first sighted pulsar”, we’re literally saying that the pulsar has eyesight. Sounds cool, but not terribly reasonable.

So we can get rid of (C).

Quote:
(D) The first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, but the discovery was not announced until February, 1968.

I’ll be honest: I think this sounds lousy. That initial clause (“the first pulsar… to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967”) SOUNDS redundant. I mean, it just doesn’t SOUND right to say that the pulsar was both “sighted” and “observed.”

But if you’re answering SC based on sound, you’re not doing it right (more on that here). In this case, there’s actually a pretty good reason the sentence is written the way it is: if it just said “the first pulsar was observed in the summer of 1967”, that would imply that the pulsar Bell observed was the first pulsar that ever existed. And that makes no sense.

So we actually need the phrase “to be sighted” in order to understand which pulsar Bell observed.

And I don’t see anything else that’s really a concern. Let’s keep (D).

Quote:
(E) The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell.

For starters, it’s illogical to say that “the first pulsar… was not announced until February, 1968.” You might announce the discovery of the pulsar; you wouldn’t announce the pulsar itself.

Second, we still have that problem with the adjective “sighted.” See answer choice (C) for more on this, but it literally suggests that the pulsar has eyesight; if we want to say that it was the first pulsar anybody had ever seen, then we could say something like “the first pulsar to be sighted” or “the first pulsar ever seen”… or something along those lines.

And finally, the sequencing of the sentence is odd. When you read the first half of the sentence – telling us that the “pulsar… was not announced”, we have no context for it yet, since we don’t know when it was first observed by Bell. This isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s one more reason that (E) isn’t awesome.

So (E) is out, and (D) is our answer.
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Feb 2018, 23:45
(A) Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968. - 'it' refers to the 'first pulsar', resulting in an illogical meaning. Also, there is an issue with the tenses. The earlier event has a simple past tense but the later event has a past perfect tense.

(B) Although not announced until February, 1968, in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell observed the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted. - Modifier error.

(C) Although observed by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, the discovery of the first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, had not been announced before February, 1968. - Same as B.

(D) The first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, but the discovery was not announced until February, 1968. - Correct.

(E) The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell. - 'while' creates a meaning issue.

Answer: D
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2018, 20:13
D is the right answer. A and C use the past perfect tense incorrectly. B sounds like what had to be announced was the student viewing the star and not the discovery itself. In E, 'while' makes the sentence awkward.
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2018, 23:42
GMATNinja
I have a question, in answer choice d, isn't "sighted was observed " redundant?@
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2018, 04:09
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 231: Sentence Correction


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Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

(A) Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

(B) Although not announced until February, 1968, in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell observed the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted.

(C) Although observed by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, the discovery of the first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, had not been announced before February, 1968.

(D) The first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, but the discovery was not announced until February, 1968.

(E) The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell.

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.


One mistake is enough to eliminate an option.

A. had not been announced We do not have here some action that happened before some another action in a past. Out.
B. Although not announced until February, 1968, in the summer of 1967 graduate student Jocelyn Bell. Sounds like the student was announced. Wrong. Out.
C. Although observed by graduate student Jocelyn Bell in the summer of 1967, the discovery/ Sounds like the discovery was observed. Out.
E. The main part in this entence is that the star was observed, not announced. Bit in this option it is otherwise. Out.

D. Nice.
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2018, 22:03
'To be sighted was observed' does sound redundant actually. GMATNinja, could you please explain that?
But nevertheless, D sounds better than the other choices, so would go with that!
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2018, 23:32
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nithinjohn wrote:
'To be sighted was observed' does sound redundant actually. GMATNinja, could you please explain that?
But nevertheless, D sounds better than the other choices, so would go with that!


Do not agree.

The first pulsar to be sighted was observed.

"the first to be sighted" is an attribute of this pulsar. it was the first pulsar that somebody has been seen.
And then we say that it was observed. In some year, by some guy and so on.
So no redundancy.
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Feb 2018, 23:39
Okay Now I understood it better. Thanks for that!
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2018, 05:57
Vyshak

Quote:
(E) The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell. - 'while' creates a meaning issue.


While has two functions: To present a contrast as well as to indicate two simulateneous actions.

I think we do need a contrast here. I think (D) is incorrect since we need FANBOYS
connector to connect two independent sentences.

See sentence structure:

The first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, to be sighted was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell,

but

the discovery was not announced until February, 1968.

Whereas in (E)

The first sighted pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star, was not announced until February, 1968, while it was observed in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell.

SV Pair as highlighted. There are no modifiers issue here.

generis sayantanc2k, Am I correct here?
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Mar 2018, 15:01
Samakshkapoor92 wrote:
GMATNinja
I have a question, in answer choice d, isn't "sighted was observed " redundant?

nithinjohn wrote:
'To be sighted was observed' does sound redundant actually. GMATNinja, could you please explain that?
But nevertheless, D sounds better than the other choices, so would go with that!

Sorry for the wait on the OE, Samakshkapoor92 & nithinjohn! I think the potential redundancy is actually the hardest thing about this question, and I say quite a bit about it in the explanation. Though DharLog is spot-on, and beat me to it. :)

Welcome to GMAT Club, Samakshkapoor92!
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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2018, 06:25
GMATNinja wrote:

The use of the past perfect tense (“had not been announced”) also isn’t great in (A). That verb tense needs to describe an action that happens BEFORE some other action in the past. But in this case, it’s backwards: the pulsar was observed in 1967, but then it was announced later, in 1968 – so it’s awfully strange to use the past perfect tense to discuss the 1968 announcement, given the context of the sentence.



Dear @GMATNinja,mikemcgarry, GMATNinjaTwo, GMATNinja, MagooshExpert Carolyn,
sayantanc2
VeritasPrepKarishma

I genuinely need you experts' help

verb tens is so hard for foreigners.

As GMATNinja explains above, I think I can understand what your point.
but, I am still confused.

I read a correct example from Manhattan guide,
Quote:

The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980s, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rival in the pantheon of popular music.


my interpretation of HAD fully ECLIPSED is the timeframeless than ten years later,
more important point of this sentence is that a past perfect HAD fully ECLIPSED is not earlier action in the sentence,

similarly, in this case, I think HAD not BEEN ANNOUNCED is not a earlier action although HAD fully ECLIPSED is correct because the timeframe "UNTIL FEBRUARY 1968",
So I think the meaning is sound.

please help explain further.

Thanks in advance

have a lovely day.

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Re: QOTD: Although the first pulsar, or rapidly spinning collapsed star  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Sep 2018, 13:09
zoezhuyan wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

The use of the past perfect tense (“had not been announced”) also isn’t great in (A). That verb tense needs to describe an action that happens BEFORE some other action in the past. But in this case, it’s backwards: the pulsar was observed in 1967, but then it was announced later, in 1968 – so it’s awfully strange to use the past perfect tense to discuss the 1968 announcement, given the context of the sentence.



Dear @GMATNinja,mikemcgarry, GMATNinjaTwo, GMATNinja, MagooshExpert Carolyn,
sayantanc2
VeritasPrepKarishma

I genuinely need you experts' help

verb tens is so hard for foreigners.

As GMATNinja explains above, I think I can understand what your point.
but, I am still confused.

I read a correct example from Manhattan guide,
Quote:

The band U2 WAS just one of many new groups on the rock music scene in the early 1980s, but less than ten years later, U2 HAD fully ECLIPSED its early rival in the pantheon of popular music.


my interpretation of HAD fully ECLIPSED is the timeframeless than ten years later,
more important point of this sentence is that a past perfect HAD fully ECLIPSED is not earlier action in the sentence,

similarly, in this case, I think HAD not BEEN ANNOUNCED is not a earlier action although HAD fully ECLIPSED is correct because the timeframe "UNTIL FEBRUARY 1968",
So I think the meaning is sound.

First, you want to be very, very careful about interpreting a non-official sentence as an authoritative representation of how the GMAT handles a certain concept. If you want to analyze official GMAT sentences in an effort to figure out how, exactly, the GMAT handles the past perfect tense, that would be fine. But I think it's a mistake to assume that questions written by a test-prep company (my own included!) -- perfectly mimic the GMAT's handling of any particular grammar issue.

In other words: official GMAT sentences are a good authority on the GMAT's usage of past perfect tense; non-official sentences are not.

So I won't analyze the U2 example, but let's get back to the original sentence:

Quote:
Although the first pulsar... to be sighted was in the summer of 1967 by graduate student Jocelyn Bell, it had not been announced until February, 1968.

I think that part of the confusion is that the action in past perfect ("had not been announced") isn't really an action at all -- it's the absence of any action, since the discovery "had NOT been announced". But still, the sentence is very clearly trying to draw a distinction between two time periods: in 1967 (the earlier period), the discovery was made, and in 1968 (the later period) the discovery was announced. And it's just nonsensical to use past perfect to describe what happened -- or didn't happen -- in the LATER period (1968).

And even if you don't believe a word of that, there are still plenty of other reasons to eliminate (A). :)

I hope this helps!
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