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QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage

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QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage [#permalink]

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 203: Sentence Correction


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In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional, and ruling that it was a form of price-fixing and, as such, an abridgment of the right of contract.

(A) the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional, and

(B) the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia, and

(C) the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia,

(D) a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,

(E) when the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional,


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QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jan 2018, 21:56
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(A) the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional, and

The parallelism trigger “and” gives us the best hint on this one. The “and” is followed by “ruling that it was a form…”, so we need something that’s parallel to ruling. And we really don’t have that: there are no other “-ing” modifiers that could possibly be an option.

The word order at the beginning of the underlined portion is also just a little bit confusing. It sounds like “the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children” – which isn’t what the sentence is saying. It’s saying that the Supreme Court declared that the minimum wage as unconstitutional – so why not keep the phrase “minimum wage as unconstitutional” together? That would make the sentence clearer.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia, and

In (B), the phrase “as unconstitutional” is in a much better spot: “declared as unconstitutional a minimum wage…” might sound funny, but it’s much clearer than the version in (A). We now know exactly what the Supreme Court actually declared, without having to think too hard about it. That’s great.

Trouble is, the parallelism still makes no sense, exactly as we described in answer choice (A): “and” is followed by “ruling”, and nothing is parallel with “ruling.”

So we can get rid of (B), too.

Quote:
(C) the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia,

The “and” is missing from (C), and that’s actually a good thing: now “ruling that it was a form of price-fixing” is a modifier that gives us more information about the previous clause (“the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage…”) And that makes perfect sense.

The placement of the word “unconstitutional” is also much better than in some of the other answer choices: it’s immediately clear that the Supreme Court declared the minimum wage unconstitutional, and that makes the sentence much clearer.

Let’s keep (C).

Quote:
(D) a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,

(D) is exactly the same as (C), except that it’s in passive voice: “a minimum wage… was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court” is an unnecessarily indirect way to say “the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage…”

To be clear: there are times when passive voice is perfectly acceptable. It’s not automatically wrong. But in this case, there’s no justification for the passive voice: why would we use passive when it’s clearer to just use active voice, and state that the Supreme Court took action?

(D) isn’t as good as (C), so we can eliminate (D).

Quote:
(E) when the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional,

Like (A), (E) separates the phrase “as unconstitutional” from the action it modifies (“the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage”), and that’s a little bit confusing. For more on this issue, see the explanation for answer choice (A).

The bigger issue is that this thing just isn’t a sentence at all. The underlined portion is a modifier, and then it’s followed by another modifier (beginning with “ruling”) – so we never have a main clause, with a nice subject and verb.

So (E) is out, and (C) is our answer.
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Re: QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage [#permalink]

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(A) the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional, and:
*AS+NOUN: IN THE ROLE OF- NONSENSICAL HERE
* AND: CANNOT BE USED FOR JOINING A CLAUSE WITH VERBING MODIFIER (RULING)


(B) the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia, and:
SAME ERRORS AS A

(C) the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia,:
CORRECT

(D) a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,:
SUBJECT 'A MINIMUM WAGE' DOESN'T MAKE SENSE WITH VERBING MODIFIER 'RULING'

(E) when the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia as unconstitutional,:
NO MAIN CLAUSE IN THE SENTENCE

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Re: QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2018, 11:40
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(D) a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court,

(D) is exactly the same as (C), except that it’s in passive voice: “a minimum wage… was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court” is an unnecessarily indirect way to say “the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage…”

To be clear: there are times when passive voice is perfectly acceptable. It’s not automatically wrong. But in this case, there’s no justification for the passive voice: why would we use passive when it’s clearer to just use active voice, and state that the Supreme Court took action?

(D) isn’t as good as (C), so we can eliminate (D).


GMATNinja , GMATNinjaTwo , egmat

I thought D was the correct answer because the non -underlined word 'ruling' correctly modifies the 'supreme court' at the end of the sentence. Is that correct?
Also how do we realize which word the modifier is modifying (in this case - 'ruling'). Sometimes it could be the subject at the start of the sentence or sometimes the last word of the sentence.
Your reply would be well appreciated.
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Re: QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage [#permalink]

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Deepit wrote:
egmat

I thought D was the correct answer because the non -underlined word 'ruling' correctly modifies the 'supreme court' at the end of the sentence. Is that correct?
Also how do we realize which word the modifier is modifying (in this case - 'ruling'). Sometimes it could be the subject at the start of the sentence or sometimes the last word of the sentence.
Your reply would be well appreciated.



Hello Deepit,

Thank you for your query. :-)


The verb-ing modifiers modify the preceding noun entities when they are NOT preceded by a comma. For example:

The man wearing the red hat is my uncle.

In the above-mentioned sentence, wearing modifies the preceding noun The man.

When a verb-ing modifier is preceded by a comma and is placed after a clause, then it modifies the action in the preceding clause. In such a modification, the action presented by the comma + verb-ing modifier must make sense with the doer of the modified action.

Same is the structure we see in the correct answer choice of this official sentence as well.

In 1923, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional a minimum wage for women and children in the District of Columbia, ruling that it was a form of price-fixing and, as such, an abridgment of the right of contract.

As you can see, the verb-ing modifier ruling is preceded by the comma and placed after the clause. Hence, it is an action modifier. It modifies the action declared in the preceding clause.

The sentence intends to say that the Supreme Court declared xyz unconstitutional. In doing so, the court ruled something. So you see, in choice C, the action of ruled makes sense with the doer - the Supreme Court - of the modified action declared.

But this is not the case with Choice D. Choice D seems to suggest that a minimum wage did the action of ruling. This is certainly not the intended logical meaning.

You can learn all about the Verb-ing Modifiers at e-GMAT by simply registering at e-gmat.com for free. This concept is part of our Free Trial course.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks
Shraddha
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Re: QOTD: In 1923, the Supreme Court declared a minimum wage   [#permalink] 06 Apr 2018, 12:13
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