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QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 210: Sentence Correction


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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

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QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2018, 10:22
A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell - Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling - pilfer and selling are not parallel

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling - Not a sentence

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell - Parallelism error

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling - Same as D

Answer: A
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QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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Before we jump in, let’s talk about “not/but” constructions on the GMAT. It seems like a lot of people view that construction as an idiom that needs to be memorized: “not only… but also…” But I don’t really think that’s the best way to think about it (and I’m opposed to memorizing idioms in general, unless you have TONS of spare time on your hands).

A better way to think about “not… but…” constructions is that they indicate parallelism. In general, whatever follows “not” (or “not only” or “not just”) needs to be parallel to whatever follows “but” (or “but also”). That’s the most important thing: think of “not/but” as a parallelism trigger, not an idiom.

But then what about the “only” and the “also”? Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to them. There is absolutely no rule indicating that “not only” must be followed by “but also.” In theory, “only” and “also” might tweak the meaning of the sentence – but absolutely ANY word can tweak the meaning of the sentence. There’s nothing special about these particular words.

So just because you have the phrase “but also” doesn’t mean that you need a “not only.” And just because you have a “not only” doesn’t mean that you need a “but also.” Either can exist in isolation, as long as the sentence makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong: “not/but” constructions are pretty common on the GMAT, and you should definitely pay attention to them. But you’ll want to focus on them as parallelism triggers, and not as some sort of standard phrase that MUST appear in the same form every time.

With that in mind, this question gets a whole lot easier...

Quote:
A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

The first things I notice are the two uses of “and”, both of which indicate some sort of parallelism. (And again: “not only” is just hanging out by itself. We do NOT have a “not/but” construction here, since there’s no “but.” That’s complete fine, and not worth worrying about, as long as it makes sense meaning-wise.)

So let’s figure out what’s actually parallel here. We actually have two different “lists”, since we have two different “and’s”:

  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Totally fine! The thieves do two things: “pilfer (a bunch of data)” and “sell the data to competitors.” Makes sense.
  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Also fine! The thieves pilfer three examples of valuable information: business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans.

I don’t see any issues at all here, so let’s keep (A).

Quote:
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

There are only two things that change from (A) to (B). First, “valuable information such as” has been changed to “valuable information that includes”, and I don’t think that’s a huge problem, but I think it’s a little bit clearer to just say “such as.” After all, these are just examples of “valuable information.”

The bigger problem: “and sell” has been changed to “and selling.” “Selling” follows the parallelism trigger “and”, and that’s a problem: nothing is parallel with “selling” (a participle, if you like jargon).

And that’s a perfectly good reason to eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

And now we have an epic mess of unnecessary “-ing” modifiers!

For starters, I don’t understand why we would say “…not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, also pilfering valuable information…” There’s no reason for “pilfering” to be a modifier here. It needs to be a verb, as it is in answer choice (A).

I’d make a similar argument for the word “selling”, which seems to modify the preceding phrase (“…also pilfering valuable information including (three things)…”). That doesn’t really make sense, though: “selling” is a separate action from “pilfering”, and there’s no good reason for one of them to modify the other.

So we can eliminate (C), too.

Quote:
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

Now we finally have that “not/but” construction that everybody loves so much. Again: you want to think of it as a parallelism trigger, not as an idiom.

And there’s a problem with the parallelism! We have “not only are thieves able to divert cash… but also pilfer valuable information such as….” The “not only” is followed by a clause, with a subject and a verb; “but also” is followed by just a verb and an object – so NOT a clause. Structurally, this isn’t parallel at all.

The phrase “to sell” isn’t ideal, either. Even if we rearrange a little bit to fix the parallelism, we have “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… to sell the data to competitors.” That’s not necessarily WRONG, exactly, but it seems like a lousy way to say “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… AND sell the data to competitors.” It’s much clearer if “pilfer” and “sell” are structurally parallel, since we have two parallel actions completed by the thieves.

So (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

(E) is a funky mashup of some of the mistakes in the other answer choices. The parallelism doesn’t work, for starters: just like (D), (E) gives us “not only (clause)… but also (verb)…” See the explanation for (D) for more on that issue. There’s also no good reason to structure “pilfering” and “selling” as modifiers, when they could be nice, clear verbs.

So (E) is out, and we’re left with (A).
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 12:16
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 210: Sentence Correction


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As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

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.


Got it down to A and D, but picked D. I thought that 'but also pilfer' is correct in D because I thought 'not only are thieves able to divert... but also (able to) pilfer' is parallel. Why is 'they can also pilfer' parallel here?

Also, I thought that '...and contract bidding, and sell' is not grammatically correct. Is it grammatically correct to put 'and' before multiple items in a list?
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 13:03
Could someone please explain if it is correct to use a part of the idiom "not only" in a sentence without "but also".
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 16:06
poul_249 wrote:
Could someone please explain if it is correct to use a part of the idiom "not only" in a sentence without "but also".


No, it's not. If you have 'not only', then you need to complete the construction with 'but also'. Both the elements that follow not only and but also MUST be parallel.
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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poul_249 wrote:
Could someone please explain if it is correct to use a part of the idiom "not only" in a sentence without "but also".


You can choose an answer with not only X but also Y when X and Y are parallel and Y reinforces X or uses the same tone as X.

Here is one more question for practice: https://gmatclub.com/forum/not-only-did ... 81150.html
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 03:16
sdlife wrote:
poul_249 wrote:
Could someone please explain if it is correct to use a part of the idiom "not only" in a sentence without "but also".


No, it's not. If you have 'not only', then you need to complete the construction with 'but also'. Both the elements that follow not only and but also MUST be parallel.


As you said that "not only" can not be used alone. so how can choice a be correct.
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 03:40
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A thing to note here is that not only is followed by a clause, therefore but also must be followed by a clause as well.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell-Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling- Corrects the not only but also error, but creates another parallelism error. What is selling parallel to ? bidding ? doesn't makes sense. As per the intended meaning thieves apart from being able to divert cash are also able to do two other things i.e. pilfer and sell. So selling must be "sell" and parallel to pilfer.

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling- out. But also is followed by a verb-ing phrase and not a clause.

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell- out. But also is followed a verb and not a clause.

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling- out. But also not followed by a clause. Parallelism error

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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2018, 22:27
sandysilva wrote:
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A thing to note here is that not only is followed by a clause, therefore but also must be followed by a clause as well.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell-Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling- Corrects the not only but also error, but creates another parallelism error. What is selling parallel to ? bidding ? doesn't makes sense. As per the intended meaning thieves apart from being able to divert cash are also able to do two other things i.e. pilfer and sell. So selling must be "sell" and parallel to pilfer.

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling- out. But also is followed by a verb-ing phrase and not a clause.

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell- out. But also is followed a verb and not a clause.

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling- out. But also not followed by a clause. Parallelism error



Hello sandysilva,

I must say you have presented a very thorough analysis of this official sentence. Your approach is meaning-based. Keep up the good job. :-)


I would just like to say that per your analysis, Choice B corrects the not only X but also Y error. However, that is not the case. This choice, like choice A, does not use the phrase but also Y.

It most certainly has the parallelism error that you have pointed out in your analysis.


Thanks. :-)
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 00:00
egmat wrote:
sandysilva wrote:
As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

A thing to note here is that not only is followed by a clause, therefore but also must be followed by a clause as well.

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell-Correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling- Corrects the not only but also error, but creates another parallelism error. What is selling parallel to ? bidding ? doesn't makes sense. As per the intended meaning thieves apart from being able to divert cash are also able to do two other things i.e. pilfer and sell. So selling must be "sell" and parallel to pilfer.

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling- out. But also is followed by a verb-ing phrase and not a clause.

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell- out. But also is followed a verb and not a clause.

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling- out. But also not followed by a clause. Parallelism error



Hello sandysilva,

I must say you have presented a very thorough analysis of this official sentence. Your approach is meaning-based. Keep up the good job. :-)


I would just like to say that per your analysis, Choice B corrects the not only X but also Y error. However, that is not the case. This choice, like choice A, does not use the phrase but also Y.

It most certainly has the parallelism error that you have pointed out in your analysis.


Thanks. :-)
Shraddha

Hi Shraddha. Im glad to know my approach is fine. All credit goes to your well defined explanations. I have learned alot from them.
And thanks for pointing "not only.. but also.." part out.

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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2018, 12:08
Hi GMATNinja - Could you please comment on the lack of the word 'but' in the correct answer? I am wondering why this idiomatic phrase is still correct despite not following the 'not only X, but also' syntax. Thank you!
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2018, 23:15
frrcattack wrote:
Hi GMATNinja - Could you please comment on the lack of the word 'but' in the correct answer? I am wondering why this idiomatic phrase is still correct despite not following the 'not only X, but also' syntax. Thank you!

Great question! I think it's addressed in the explanation now, but let me know if the edited version doesn't clear up the trouble: https://gmatclub.com/forum/qotd-as-crim ... l#p2005524
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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 17 Mar 2018, 02:48
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Before we jump in, let’s talk about “not/but” constructions on the GMAT. It seems like a lot of people view that construction as an idiom that needs to be memorized: “not only… but also…” But I don’t really think that’s the best way to think about it (and I’m opposed to memorizing idioms in general, unless you have TONS of spare time on your hands).

A better way to think about “not… but…” constructions is that they indicate parallelism. In general, whatever follows “not” (or “not only” or “not just”) needs to be parallel to whatever follows “but” (or “but also”). That’s the most important thing: think of “not/but” as a parallelism trigger, not an idiom.

But then what about the “only” and the “also”? Honestly, I don’t pay much attention to them. There is absolutely no rule indicating that “not only” must be followed by “but also.” In theory, “only” and “also” might tweak the meaning of the sentence – but absolutely ANY word can tweak the meaning of the sentence. There’s nothing special about these particular words.

So just because you have the phrase “but also” doesn’t mean that you need a “not only.” And just because you have a “not only” doesn’t mean that you need a “but also.” Either can exist in isolation, as long as the sentence makes sense.

Don’t get me wrong: “not/but” constructions are pretty common on the GMAT, and you should definitely pay attention to them. But you’ll want to focus on them as parallelism triggers, and not as some sort of standard phrase that MUST appear in the same form every time.

With that in mind, this question gets a whole lot easier...

Quote:
A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell

The first things I notice are the two uses of “and”, both of which indicate some sort of parallelism. (And again: “not only” is just hanging out by itself. We do NOT have a “not/but” construction here, since there’s no “but.” That’s complete fine, and not worth worrying about, as long as it makes sense meaning-wise.)

So let’s figure out what’s actually parallel here. We actually have two different “lists”, since we have two different “and’s”:

  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Totally fine! The thieves do two things: “pilfer (a bunch of data)” and “sell the data to competitors.” Makes sense.
  • ”they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell…” → Also fine! The thieves pilfer three examples of valuable information: business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans.

I don’t see any issues at all here, so let’s keep (A).

Quote:
B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling

There are only two things that change from (A) to (B). First, “valuable information such as” has been changed to “valuable information that includes”, and I don’t think that’s a huge problem, but I think it’s a little bit clearer to just say “such as.” After all, these are just examples of “valuable information.”

The bigger problem: “and sell” has been changed to “and selling.” “Selling” follows the parallelism trigger “and”, and that’s a problem: nothing is parallel with “selling” (a participle, if you like jargon).

And that’s a perfectly good reason to eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling

And now we have an epic mess of unnecessary “-ing” modifiers!

For starters, I don’t understand why we would say “…not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, also pilfering valuable information…” There’s no reason for “pilfering” to be a modifier here. It needs to be a verb, as it is in answer choice (A).

I’d make a similar argument for the word “selling”, which seems to modify the preceding phrase (“…also pilfering valuable information including (three things)…”). That doesn’t really make sense, though: “selling” is a separate action from “pilfering”, and there’s no good reason for one of them to modify the other.

So we can eliminate (C), too.

Quote:
D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell

Now we finally have that “not/but” construction that everybody loves so much. Again: you want to think of it as a parallelism trigger, not as an idiom.

And there’s a problem with the parallelism! We have “not only are thieves able to divert cash… but also pilfer valuable information such as….” The “not only” is followed by a clause, with a subject and a verb; “but also” is followed by just a verb and an object – so NOT a clause. Structurally, this isn’t parallel at all.

The phrase “to sell” isn’t ideal, either. Even if we rearrange a little bit to fix the parallelism, we have “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… to sell the data to competitors.” That’s not necessarily WRONG, exactly, but it seems like a lousy way to say “(thieves) pilfer valuable information… AND sell the data to competitors.” It’s much clearer if “pilfer” and “sell” are structurally parallel, since we have two parallel actions completed by the thieves.

So (D) is gone.

Quote:
E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling

(E) is a funky mashup of some of the mistakes in the other answer choices. The parallelism doesn’t work, for starters: just like (D), (E) gives us “not only (clause)… but also (verb)…” See the explanation for (D) for more on that issue. There’s also no good reason to structure “pilfering” and “selling” as modifiers, when they could be nice, clear verbs.

So (E) is out, and we’re left with (A).




How could we correct the parallelism error in D? “but THEY also pilfer valuable information..”?

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Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more [#permalink]

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New post 18 Mar 2018, 22:17
A GMAT nightmare for the some atleast for me
the essence of the sentence is to maintain parallelism and give same more preference over idiom

As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

we see a not only.....but also idiom and many will simply strike off A ,B,C because but is missing :but the logic there is more subtle :not only X but also y :where X and Y are parallel
X= are thieves (verb +subject inversion) so Y should be verb +subject= they can also pilfer......................sentence omits but
now split changes and only A and B remains
out of A and B in option B :selling not parallel so A is the best choice

A. they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell :correct

B. they can also pilfer valuable information that includes business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and selling :selling not parallel

C. also pilfering valuable information including business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, selling: lacks parallelism with not only

D. but also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans to sell :lacks parallelism with not only

E. but also pilfering valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans and selling :lacks parallelism with not only
Re: QOTD: As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more   [#permalink] 18 Mar 2018, 22:17
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