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# QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s

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Re: QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2018, 08:03
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
A. In South Korea in the early 2000s, growth in the nation’s ten largest companies’ assets was fueled by the companies’ rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

"They" really doesn't work very well here. Sure, we intuitively understand that "they" refers back to "companies"... except that "companies" is possessive in this sentence, and a non-possessive pronoun ("they") can't refer back to a possessive noun on the GMAT. At the very least, I've never seen a correct answer that does so -- and this could definitely be clearer. Eliminate (A).

Quote:
B. In South Korea, the nation’s ten largest companies’ asset growth was fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly double that of 2002.

"That" is used as a singular pronoun here, so we need to look for a singular noun that it could refer back to. I don't see a whole lot of options: "total", I guess? But that really doesn't make much sense. (For more on the GMAT's many uses of "that", click here.)

Plus, we still have the same pronoun issue as in (A). Eliminate (B).

Quote:
C. In South Korea, the nation’s ten largest companies experienced rapid asset growth in the early 2000s, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice that of 2002.

"They" works a little bit better, but "that of" still doesn't make any sense. (C) is out.

Quote:
D. In the early 2000s, South Korea’s ten largest companies experienced rapid asset growth, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

This looks fine! We're legitimately comparing the number of subsidiaries now, and the pronoun issues have been cleaned up. Keep (D).

Quote:
E. In the early 2000s, South Korea’s ten largest companies’ assets grew rapidly, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice the number they had in 2002.

The comparison at the end is incredibly wordy, and that's not necessarily the end of the world, but (D) is clearly better. Plus, we're back to the same pronoun issue as in (A) and (B). So (E) is gone, and (D) is the correct answer.

GMATNinja , MagooshExpert

I have a confusion whether a non-possessive pronoun can refer back to a possessive noun on the GMAT.

As per this question it can't but as per the following post it can

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

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Re: QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s  [#permalink]

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03 Aug 2018, 13:22
2
Prateek176 wrote:

GMATNinja , MagooshExpert

I have a confusion whether a non-possessive pronoun can refer back to a possessive noun on the GMAT.

As per this question it can't but as per the following post it can

https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Excellent question!

The Magoosh article is pointing out that there's no formal rule stipulating that a non-possessive pronoun can never refer to a possessive noun. It's not something that would be explicitly stated in a usage guide. However, if we think about why this usage makes answer choice (A) murkier than (D), we can see why you'd be unlikely to see that usage in a correct sentence on the GMAT.

Quote:
A) In South Korea in the early 2000s, growth in the nation’s ten largest companies’ assets was fueled by the companies’ rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

Notice that "they" serves as the subject of a clause. Typically, when we get a pronoun as the subject of a clause, the most logical place to search for a referent is the subject of the previous clause. In this case, that subject was "companies' assets." That's not logical. Can we eventually double back and deduce that "they" should probably be referring to the companies themselves despite the fact that "companies'" is possessive? Sure. But it's confusing at first, and it requires some work to understand.

And here's (D) again:
Quote:
D) In the early 2000s, South Korea’s ten largest companies experienced rapid asset growth, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

Again, "they" is the subject of a clause, but this time the subject of the previous clause is "companies." Notice that this pronoun-referent connection is simply clearer and easier to understand than A. Put another way, you can make the argument that A doesn't technically violate any ironclad grammatical rule, but you can't make the argument that A is better than D.

It's a good reminder that SC isn't just about memorizing a bunch of grammatical rules; some rules can never be broken, while other "rules" aren't really rules at all, just general tendencies that we've derived from official GMAT questions over the years. Put another way, the reason we haven't seen a non-possessive pronoun referring to a possessive noun might not be because it's definitively wrong, but simply because every time such a construction shows up, there's a better, clearer alternative.

I hope that helps!
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Re: QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2018, 00:37
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 53: Sentence Correction

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In South Korea in the early 2000s, growth in the nation’s ten largest companies’ assets was fueled by the companies’ rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

A. In South Korea in the early 2000s, growth in the nation’s ten largest companies’ assets was fueled by the companies’ rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

B. In South Korea, the nation’s ten largest companies’ asset growth was fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly double that of 2002.

C. In South Korea, the nation’s ten largest companies experienced rapid asset growth in the early 2000s, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice that of 2002.

D. In the early 2000s, South Korea’s ten largest companies experienced rapid asset growth, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice as many as in 2002.

E. In the early 2000s, South Korea’s ten largest companies’ assets grew rapidly, fueled by their rapid expansion into new lines of business: they had a total of 592 subsidiaries in 2011, nearly twice the number they had in 2002.

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This is the case in which one needs to consciously look for singular - plural pronouns.

The use of "they" in A and E are not justified.

among C and E -- use of that is wrong because it is a singular pronoun... therefore E it is
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QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s  [#permalink]

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09 Aug 2018, 04:00
What is " comma fueled" modifying in the ans D?

It cannot modify the "company" as verb Ed modifier cannot jump a verb.

Also in c, can't "that" refer to "total"?
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Re: QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s  [#permalink]

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15 Aug 2018, 14:27
Hey GMATNinja

I eliminated A, B, and C on the basis of them starting with in South Korea because later it also mentioned nation's ten... which I believe is mere repetition.

With those three eliminated, the choice was between D and E. D made perfect sense to me while E seemed wordier. So I chose D.

Am I doing it wrong?
Re: QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s &nbs [#permalink] 15 Aug 2018, 14:27

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# QOTD: In South Korea in the early 2000s

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