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QOTD: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps

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Re: QOTD: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps [#permalink]

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New post 04 Aug 2017, 11:57
GMATNinja wrote:
Interesting question, right? All sorts of funky stuff going on here with meaning and pronouns.

For those of you who missed it, we went through this question in our live YouTube session this past Monday. The video is available here.

Quote:
A. for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve.

The nice thing about (A) is that the subject-verb agreement is clearly wrong. "The number of chirps per minute... rise and fall." No reason to overthink this one. (A) is gone.

Quote:
B. for attracting females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, which can in fact serve

Subject-verb agreement looks fine here, but "which" seems to modify temperature, and that doesn't make sense. The temperature can serve as a thermometer? That's messed up. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. in attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.

Same subject-verb error as in (A), so (C) is gone, too.

Quote:
D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve.

Heh heh, here's where it gets interesting. :twisted:

Let's talk about the pronoun "it". On the face of things, it looks like "it" could refer back to temperature (the nearest singular noun), and that's illogical. If we reach further back, "it" could refer to "male", "minute", "number", or "cricket." So it's ambiguous, right?

Nope! Notice that "it" is the subject of a dependent clause -- the second clause in the sentence. What's the subject of the first (independent) clause? "The number", or "the number of chirps per minute." And the GMAT is weirdly consistent about this: if a sentence contains two clauses (either one dependent and one independent, or two independent clauses) and the second clause starts with a pronoun, then the pronoun can refer unambiguously to the subject of the first clause.

So "it" refers to "the number of chirps per minute", without any trouble at all. Let's keep (D).

Quote:
E. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.

Hm, nothing looks wrong here grammatically. If I'm being honest, I'd keep (E), too.

Now let's compare those last two:

    D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve.
    E. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.

These two are identical, other than the last little bit of the underlined portion. And there's a subtle little meaning difference between these two. (D) is saying that the "number of chirps per minute" CAN serve as a thermometer if you wanted it to. (E) is saying that the number of chirps "in fact" (="definitely") "possibly" (≠"definitely) serves as a thermometer. And that's nonsense: how can something "in fact" and "possibly" serve as a thermometer?

That's subtle, but enough to make (D) the right answer.


shouldnt it be serves instead of serve in option D

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Re: QOTD: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2017, 16:48
4SL wrote:
shouldnt it be serves instead of serve in option D


Quote:
D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve


Nope! Sure, "it serves" would be correct, but there's a helping word ("can", "must", "may", "should", etc.) in the sentence, so "it can serve" would be correct.
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Re: QOTD: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2017, 11:28
In some species of cricket, the number of chirps per minute used by the male for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve as an approximate thermometer.

A. for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve. - "rise and fall" needs to be singular to match "the number"... so it needs to be "rises and falls"
B. for attracting females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, which can in fact serve the use of "which" means that we are modifying the nearest noun, which is "temperature". That changes the meaning incorrectly.
C. in attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving. - same "rise and fall" issue as A
D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve.

E. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving - seems to change the meaning... I think D is more closely in line with the intended meaning.

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Re: QOTD: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps   [#permalink] 11 Nov 2017, 11:28

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