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QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small

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QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 277: Sentence Correction


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Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta effigies left by supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help.

(A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

(B) in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for helping

(C) in healing physical and mental ills, and thanking her for helping

(D) to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help

(E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

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QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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The relatively easy part of this question is the parallelism: the words that immediately follow “either” and “or” must be strictly parallel. (And just in case you’re one of the GMAT Club members who asked: these are two of the “special parallelism triggers” I mentioned in our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning.)

Unfortunately, there’s also a frustrating idiom thing in this question, and I really don't think that it should be tested at all. But we can't really avoid it in this case. I’ll rant more about that below.

Quote:
(A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

Let’s start with the parallelism triggered by the either/or construction: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help.

Hey, you can’t beat that in terms of the parallelism. Maybe you think that “aid in healing” or “such help” sound funny, but neither of them are wrong, and “sounding funny” is a terrible reason to eliminate answer choices anyway. Let’s keep (A).

Quote:
(B) in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for helping

In (B), we have: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for such help.

That’s all sorts of wrong. First, “either” and “and” really don’t go together at all – it just doesn’t make any sense. Second, the parallelism is wrong, anyway: “asking” and “to thank” are not parallel. So (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) in healing physical and mental ills, and thanking her for helping

(C) suffers from exactly the same problem as (B): “either” and “and” just don’t make any sense together. Sure, “asking” and “thanking” are in the same form, but that’s irrelevant if we can’t get the either/or thing right.

So (C) is gone, too.

Quote:
(D) to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help

Well, we have an “either/or” construction now, so that’s good, but the parallelism is still wrong: “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help. “Asking” and “to thank” aren’t parallel to each other, so (D) is out, too.

Quote:
(E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help

The parallelism looks absolutely fine in (E): “…supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help. Cool.

So now let’s line (A) and up side-by-side, since there are no DEFINITE errors in either of them (and for more on the distinction between DEFINITE errors and other stuff, check out this crusty old article):

Quote:
    (A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help
    (E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help


Ugh, this is one of those nightmare scenarios that I absolutely dread, both as a teacher and as a test-taker: the only difference is an idiom. There are roughly 25,000 idioms in English, and they are – by definition! – arbitrary, and don’t follow generalizable rules. I discuss idioms at length in this article; you could memorize 25,000 idioms if you really want to, but the key on the overwhelming majority of GMAT SC questions is to avoid the idioms as much as possible, and look for ANY other error.

But in relatively rare cases, there’s nothing else you can do: you just have to fight with the idiom. In this case, it turns out that the GMAT prefers the phrase “aid in healing” over “aid to heal.” The same is true if we replace “aid” with “help”: “help in healing” would apparently be correct on the GMAT, but “help to heal” would not. So (A) is correct, and (E) is wrong.

Why is that the case? I don’t know. It’s an idiom, so it doesn’t need reasons. And again, I think it’s a silly thing for the GMAT to test. But in the very unlikely event that you encounter these on your actual GMAT, now you know the correct idiom: “aid in healing” or “help in healing” are correct, but “aid to heal” is wrong on the GMAT.

But more importantly: make sure you’re really strict and literal with the “either/or” business, because I 100% promise that you’ll see THAT stuff again.
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 23:33
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Split 1: -
The Idiom is "Either X or Y"
B and C ---> Both of them don't follow the idiom. hence INCORRECT

Split 2: -
D ---> This option follows the idiom but both X and Y are not parallel. Hence INCORRECT

Split 3: -
Now we are left with Option A and E

aid in V/S aid to

I think "Aid to X" is used when "X" stands for a person or entity
"aid in verb-ing" is also a correct IDIOM form

In this case, X stands for "heal physical ills" that is incorrect. Hence we would have to use "aid in verb-ing"

Hence Option A
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 09 May 2018, 23:59
A) option looks correct in its structure.
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2018, 02:28
Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small terra-cotta effigies left by supplicants who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help.

(A) in healing physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help - Correct

(B) in healing physical and mental ills and to thank her for helping - Either X or Y is the correct idiom

(C) in healing physical and mental ills, and thanking her for helping - Either X or Y is the correct idiom

(D) to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help - Either X or Y -- here X and Y need to be parallel

(E) to heal physical and mental ills or thanking her for such help - aid to heal is unidiomatic

Answer A
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2018, 18:18
I was between A and D, and picked D.

I see from a few responses that D is not parallel. Could someone expand on that? To me, "to heal...or to thank" seems parallel.
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 08:36
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jsheppa

IMO,

D has the structure:
who were either asking the goddess Bona Dea's aid to heal physical and mental ills or to thank her for such help

asking the goddess... is not parallel to to thank her...
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Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small [#permalink]

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New post 11 May 2018, 11:22
could you just please differentiate between A & E.
As far i've known we use infinitive form for future activities in certain cases. Ex : thanks to help me
Explain y E is not the correct answer.
Re: QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small   [#permalink] 11 May 2018, 11:22
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QOTD: Among the objects found in the excavated temple were small

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