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QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 118: Sentence Correction


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Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

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QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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This (bleeping) question is one of my all-time favorites, just because it features a whole bunch of grammar and usage issues that are simultaneously difficult and "learnable." Sometimes, it's really tough to get better at SC questions that test meaning, so it's satisfying when we can take a hard question like this one, and break it down methodically -- without any real need to worry about the subtleties of meaning.

We'll eventually have to deal with some funky parallelism stuff here (as featured in our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning), but the first thing that should catch your eye is that "-ed" modifier right at the beginning of the sentence. (More on "-ed" words here.) In this case, "based on records from ancient Athens" must be followed by something that can actually be based on records from ancient Athens. So...

Quote:
(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

Wait, this is literally saying that "each year young Athenian women" are based on records from ancient Athens. That makes no sense at all. A conclusion or a finding or a report could be "based on records", but the women themselves certainly can't be. (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(B) has exactly the same error as (A): the young women can't be "based on records." You can eliminate (B) based on that alone.

Hopefully, the past perfect tense phrase "had collaborated" catches your eye, too. As you probably know, the action in past perfect tense has to logically precede some other "time marker" in the past -- generally, another action in simple past tense. So this particular sentence is saying that the women first "had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe"; the subsequent actions in simple past are "they used to dress a statue" and "this robe depicted scenes." I suppose that they collaborated before they used the robe to dress a statue, but I think it's awfully weird to say that they "had collaborated" first, and then the robe later "depicted scenes."

You don't really need to waste your energy on the past perfect tense in (B), but for whatever it's worth, it certainly doesn't seem right.

Quote:
(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

I think I can live with the use of "according to records from ancient Athens" in this case, even though I don't love it. I think that particular "-ing" phrase is modifying the entire clause that follows ("...young women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe..."), and I guess it's OK to say that this action is something we know "according to records from ancient Athens." I've never been totally convinced by it, but wouldn't immediately eliminate (A). (More on the GMAT's use of "-ing" words here.)

The real issue with (C) is the parallelism. And it's tricky, so bear with me here.

Whenever you're looking at parallelism, start with the parallelism "trigger" -- usually an "and" or an "or", though there are others. (The other triggers are a long story that we'll save for another day.) Then you'll always want to find the thing that follows the word "and", and then figure out what's parallel to that thing.

So in this case, we have: "and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants." Something HAS to be parallel to "that this robe depicted scenes." In (C), our only option is "that they used to dress a statue." Cool, we have structural parallelism.

Trouble is, it makes no sense when you actually think about the "stem" that precedes the two parallel elements. If you want, you can think of parallelism as a list of two (or more) items, and the "stem" is the thing that precedes the first item in the list. But the stem HAS to make sense with EVERY item in the list.

If we break down (C) really carefully, we have the following:

  • Stem: "...young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe..."
  • List item #1: "...that they used to dress a statue..."
  • List item #2 (after "and"): "...that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..."

The first item works just fine with the stem: "...women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue..." No problem. But that "stem" also has to make sense with the second item. And in this case, it really doesn't work: "...women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe... that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..." Huh? That's absolute nonsense.

This is what tough parallelism looks like on the GMAT. You can't "hear" the parallelism error at all -- or at least I can't. But if you break the parallelism down methodically, (C) is clearly wrong.

(Does your brain hurt yet? If you prefer video, our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning covered this question, too.)

Quote:
(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed

(D) cleans up the parallelism nicely! Using the same technique as in (C), we have the following:

  • Stem: "Records from ancient Athens indicate..."
  • List item #1: "...that each year young women collaborated to weave a new robe..."
  • List item #2 (after "and"): "...that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..."

That works! "Records indicate... that this robe depicted scenes of battle..." Great. Keep (D).


Quote:
(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

In (E), we still have the same past perfect tense issue that appear in (B). Plus, the parallelism is completely wrong: the trigger "and" is still followed by "that this robe depicted scenes of battle...", but there are no phrases that could possibly be parallel, since there are no subordinate clauses beginning with "that" elsewhere in the sentence.

So (E) is gone, and (D) is our winner.

And if you read this far, you deserve a cookie for surviving to the end of the longest freaking QOTD explanation I've ever written. :oops:
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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress - modifier error

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress - modifier error

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress - not parallel to other that clause.

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed - parallel structure. that followed by a noun.

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing - wordy

Ans D

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QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2017, 18:55
Answer: D

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress
Based on records... each year doesn't make sense

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress
Same as above

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress
parallelism issue. Need a THAT before parallel clause (to be parallel with "and that this robe...")

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed
Correct

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing
Same parallelism issue as C
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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2017, 19:52
Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress(Modifier error)

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress (Modifier Error)

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress (Not parallel with second that clause)

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed (Correct)

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing (Not parallel with second that clause)

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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2017, 20:48
Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress - Illogical usage of based on - based on illogically modifies each year

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress - Illogical usage of based on

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress - Parallelism issue - one "that" clause describes the robe and the other is telling us an event that happened

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed - Correct

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing - Parallelism issue


Answer D
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QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 04 Oct 2017, 22:16
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 118: Sentence Correction


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Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

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.



The key point to note here is that the non-underlined portion".. and that this robe..." clearly expects a verb in the main clause of the sentence which would complete the second section after "and" , such as "demonstrate that this robe ...", "assert that this..." , "tell that this robe..." or "indicate that this robe ..." - you get the picture. This gets us down to D & E.
Now, although omitting "that" after verbs such as "indicate" or "reported" is not unusual in colloquial English, in GMAT such verbs must be followed by "that". This will eliminate E.
D - correct answer IMO.
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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2017, 00:35
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 118: Sentence Correction


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Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

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.


the non underlined portion contains THAT.... so to maintain parallelism we should use that,,,

straight D

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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2017, 06:18
This questions tests us on 3 issues - modifiers, parallelism , & tenses. Option A,B can be eliminated because of modifier error. Option E because of parallelism and tense error (use of had is wrong). Option C is wrong because of parallelism error. That eaves us with option D.
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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.

reading the whole sentence we find that there is an "And that" parallelism in the second half of the sentence so we need a that in first half as well
so options without that can straight away eliminated

(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress : reading the sentence on whole "That" in the second part doesn't refer to the robe but in the first part "That" refers to the robe so they are not parallel

(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress : reading the sentence on whole "That" in the second part doesn't refer to the robe but in the first part "That" refers to the robe so they are not parallel

(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed :correct

(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens [#permalink]

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New post 05 Oct 2017, 18:08
GMATNinja wrote:
This (bleeping) question is one of my all-time favorites, just because it features a whole bunch of grammar and usage issues that are simultaneously difficult and "learnable." Sometimes, it's really tough to get better at SC questions that test meaning, so it's satisfying when we can take a hard question like this one, and break it down methodically -- without any real need to worry about the subtleties of meaning.

We'll eventually have to deal with some funky parallelism stuff here (as featured in our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning), but the first thing that should catch your eye is that "-ed" modifier right at the beginning of the sentence. (More on "-ed" words here.) In this case, "based on records from ancient Athens" must be followed by something that can actually be based on records from ancient Athens. So...

Quote:
(A) Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

Wait, this is literally saying that "each year young Athenian women" are based on records from ancient Athens. That makes no sense at all. A conclusion or a finding or a report could be "based on records", but the women themselves certainly can't be. (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) Based on records from ancient Athens, young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which to dress

(B) has exactly the same error as (A): the young women can't be "based on records." You can eliminate (B) based on that alone.

Hopefully, the past perfect tense phrase "had collaborated" catches your eye, too. As you probably know, the action in past perfect tense has to logically precede some other "time marker" in the past -- generally, another action in simple past tense. So this particular sentence is saying that the women first "had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe"; the subsequent actions in simple past are "they used to dress a statue" and "this robe depicted scenes." I suppose that they collaborated before they used the robe to dress a statue, but I think it's awfully weird to say that they "had collaborated" first, and then the robe later "depicted scenes."

You don't really need to waste your energy on the past perfect tense in (B), but for whatever it's worth, it certainly doesn't seem right.

Quote:
(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress

I think I can live with the use of "according to records from ancient Athens" in this case, even though I don't love it. I think that particular "-ing" phrase is modifying the entire clause that follows ("...young women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe..."), and I guess it's OK to say that this action is something we know "according to records from ancient Athens." I've never been totally convinced by it, but wouldn't immediately eliminate (A). (More on the GMAT's use of "-ing" words here.)

The real issue with (C) is the parallelism. And it's tricky, so bear with me here.

Whenever you're looking at parallelism, start with the parallelism "trigger" -- usually an "and" or an "or", though there are others. (The other triggers are a long story that we'll save for another day.) Then you'll always want to find the thing that follows the word "and", and then figure out what's parallel to that thing.

So in this case, we have: "and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants." Something HAS to be parallel to "that this robe depicted scenes." In (C), our only option is "that they used to dress a statue." Cool, we have structural parallelism.

Trouble is, it makes no sense when you actually think about the "stem" that precedes the two parallel elements. If you want, you can think of parallelism as a list of two (or more) items, and the "stem" is the thing that precedes the first item in the list. But the stem HAS to make sense with EVERY item in the list.

If we break down (C) really carefully, we have the following:

  • Stem: "...young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe..."
  • List item #1: "...that they used to dress a statue..."
  • List item #2 (after "and"): "...that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..."

The first item works just fine with the stem: "...women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue..." No problem. But that "stem" also has to make sense with the second item. And in this case, it really doesn't work: "...women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe... that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..." Huh? That's absolute nonsense.

This is what tough parallelism looks like on the GMAT. You can't "hear" the parallelism error at all -- or at least I can't. But if you break the parallelism down methodically, (C) is clearly wrong.

(Does your brain hurt yet? If you prefer video, our YouTube webinar on parallelism and meaning covered this question, too.)

Quote:
(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed

(D) cleans up the parallelism nicely! Using the same technique as in (C), we have the following:

  • Stem: "Records from ancient Athens indicate..."
  • List item #1: "...that each year young women collaborated to weave a new robe..."
  • List item #2 (after "and"): "...that this robe depicted scenes of a battle..."

That works! "Records indicate... that this robe depicted scenes of battle..." Great. Keep (D).


Quote:
(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing

In (E), we still have the same past perfect tense issue that appear in (B). Plus, the parallelism is completely wrong: the trigger "and" is still followed by "that this robe depicted scenes of battle...", but there are no phrases that could possibly be parallel, since there are no subordinate clauses beginning with "that" elsewhere in the sentence.

So (E) is gone, and (D) is our winner.

And if you read this far, you deserve a cookie for surviving to the end of the longest freaking QOTD explanation I've ever written. :oops:


Longest but possibly the best one. !!!
Great Explanation !!!
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Re: QOTD: Based on records from ancient Athens   [#permalink] 05 Oct 2017, 18:08
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