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QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures

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QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 14:25
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 150: Sentence Correction


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Like the grassy fields and old pastures that the upland sandpiper needs for feeding and nesting when it returns in May after wintering in the Argentine Pampas, the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in farming practices.

(A) the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

(B) the bird itself is vanishing in the northeastern United States as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

(C) that the birds themselves are vanishing in the northeastern United States is due to residential and industrial development and changes to

(D) in the northeastern United States, sandpipers' vanishing due to residential and industrial development and to changes in

(E) in the northeastern United States, the sandpipers' vanishing, a result of residential and industrial development and changing

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QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 14:27
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The GMAT usually doesn't get poetic like this, and it’s one of the very few metaphors I’ve ever seen on official SC questions. Like any other GMAT SC question that uses “like”, we need two nouns that are logically comparable – and the tricky part here is deciding which of the metaphorical comparisons is actually “logically comparable.”

We covered some similar issues in our YouTube webinar on comparisons, so head on over there if you prefer your explanations in video form.

Quote:
(A) the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

The comparison here is shaky, but I’m not 100% sure that it’s absolutely wrong. Is there any reason why we can’t compare “the grassy field and old pastures” with “the sandpipers”, since both are vanishing? I guess not. So we can tolerate the comparison, even though there are better versions below.

The bigger problem: “the sandpipers vanishing… is a result…” The sandpipers (plural!) are the subject; vanishing is just an adjective. So the subject-verb agreement is wrong here. (If you think this “sounds OK”, you’re not wrong. The subject-verb agreement would be OK if “sandpipers” was possessive, because then “vanishing” would be the subject. But that’s not what’s actually happening here.)

So (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) the bird itself is vanishing in the northeastern United States as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

Not bad, the comparison is clarified somewhat by the use of “the bird itself”: that phrase is nicely comparable to “the grassy fields and old pastures”, since both are disappearing.

The parallelism also works well later in the sentence: “the bird itself is vanishing… as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in….” That’s great: the bird is vanishing as a result of X and of Y. Keep (B).

Quote:
(C) that the birds themselves are vanishing in the northeastern United States is due to residential and industrial development and changes to

This isn’t a total disaster, but it’s not great, either. “Like the grassy fields and old pastures…, that the birds themselves are vanishing... is due to… development and changes…” In this particular use of “that”, the word basically means “the fact that.” So we’re literally comparing “the grassy fields and old pastures” to “the fact that the birds are vanishing.”

That doesn’t make any sense at all: we could compare the fields and pastures to the birds, and then say that all three of those things are vanishing. But we can’t compare the fields and pastures to the fact that the birds are vanishing.

So we can eliminate (C), too.

Quote:
(D) in the northeastern United States, sandpipers' vanishing due to residential and industrial development and to changes in

A lot of this is pretty clunky, but the real problem is that the grassy fields and old pastures are compared to “sandpipers’ vanishing.” And that doesn’t make sense: we’re literally comparing fields and pastures to “vanishing” – and not to the sandpipers themselves.

Plus, (D) doesn’t actually have an independent clause, which means that it isn’t a proper sentence. So (D) is gone.

Quote:
(E) in the northeastern United States, the sandpipers' vanishing, a result of residential and industrial development and changing

(E) has exactly the same issues as (D): the comparison is nonsense, and the sentence isn’t actually a real sentence, since it lacks an independent clause. So (B) is the best we can do.
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Re: QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 21:31
Like the grassy fields and old pastures that the upland sandpiper needs for feeding and nesting when it returns in May after wintering in the Argentine Pampas, the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in farming practices.

A out because : (1) S-V agreement, "the sandpipers" is plural then usage of verb "is" is wrong; (2) meaning: "the sandpipers" cannot be "result of..." since vanishing aren't acting like a gerund.
C, D and E out because of wrong grammatical construction.

Hence B correct.

(A) the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

(B) the bird itself is vanishing in the northeastern United States as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in - Correct

(C) that the birds themselves are vanishing in the northeastern United States is due to residential and industrial development and changes to

(D) in the northeastern United States, sandpipers' vanishing due to residential and industrial development and to changes in

(E) in the northeastern United States, the sandpipers' vanishing, a result of residential and industrial development and changing

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QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 05 Nov 2017, 23:56
Quote:
The GMAT usually doesn't get poetic like this, and it’s one of the very few metaphors I’ve ever seen on official SC questions. Like any other GMAT SC question that uses “like”, we need two nouns that are logically comparable – and the tricky part here is deciding which of the metaphorical comparisons is actually “logically comparable.”

We covered some similar issues in our YouTube webinar on comparisons, so head on over there if you prefer your explanations in video form.

Quote:
(A) the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

The comparison here is shaky, but I’m not 100% sure that it’s absolutely wrong. Is there any reason why we can’t compare “the grassy field and old pastures” with “the sandpipers”, since both are vanishing? I guess not. So we can tolerate the comparison, even though there are better versions below.

The bigger problem: “the sandpipers vanishing… is a result…” The sandpipers (plural!) are the subject; vanishing is just an adjective. So the subject-verb agreement is wrong here. (If you think this “sounds OK”, you’re not wrong. The subject-verb agreement would be OK if “sandpipers” was possessive, because then “vanishing” would be the subject. But that’s not what’s actually happening here.)

So (A) is out.


Hi GMATNinja,

Wonderful Explanation for such a great official question! :-)

But, I have one question regarding one of the points in your explanation for A. As per my understanding, even if the Subject Verb agreement was correct in option A, that is,

the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States are a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in
Then also, this option would be incorrect as the meaning then implied is Non-sensical. It says that the sandpipers themselves are the result of residential and industrial development.

Can you please review and let me know if I am thinking correctly.

Thanks.
-Varun

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Re: QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 06 Nov 2017, 07:30
IMO B

A -- SV disagreement
C-- Comparison issue
D & E -- sentence structure issue

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Re: QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 05:54
GMATNinja wrote:
The GMAT usually doesn't get poetic like this, and it’s one of the very few metaphors I’ve ever seen on official SC questions. Like any other GMAT SC question that uses “like”, we need two nouns that are logically comparable – and the tricky part here is deciding which of the metaphorical comparisons is actually “logically comparable.”

We covered some similar issues in our YouTube webinar on comparisons, so head on over there if you prefer your explanations in video form.

Quote:
(A) the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

The comparison here is shaky, but I’m not 100% sure that it’s absolutely wrong. Is there any reason why we can’t compare “the grassy field and old pastures” with “the sandpipers”, since both are vanishing? I guess not. So we can tolerate the comparison, even though there are better versions below.

The bigger problem: “the sandpipers vanishing… is a result…” The sandpipers (plural!) are the subject; vanishing is just an adjective. So the subject-verb agreement is wrong here. (If you think this “sounds OK”, you’re not wrong. The subject-verb agreement would be OK if “sandpipers” was possessive, because then “vanishing” would be the subject. But that’s not what’s actually happening here.)

So (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) the bird itself is vanishing in the northeastern United States as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in

Not bad, the comparison is clarified somewhat by the use of “the bird itself”: that phrase is nicely comparable to “the grassy fields and old pastures”, since both are disappearing.

The parallelism also works well later in the sentence: “the bird itself is vanishing… as a result of residential and industrial development and of changes in….” That’s great: the bird is vanishing as a result of X and of Y. Keep (B).

Quote:
(C) that the birds themselves are vanishing in the northeastern United States is due to residential and industrial development and changes to

This isn’t a total disaster, but it’s not great, either. “Like the grassy fields and old pastures…, that the birds themselves are vanishing... is due to… development and changes…” In this particular use of “that”, the word basically means “the fact that.” So we’re literally comparing “the grassy fields and old pastures” to “the fact that the birds are vanishing.”

That doesn’t make any sense at all: we could compare the fields and pastures to the birds, and then say that all three of those things are vanishing. But we can’t compare the fields and pastures to the fact that the birds are vanishing.

So we can eliminate (C), too.

Quote:
(D) in the northeastern United States, sandpipers' vanishing due to residential and industrial development and to changes in

A lot of this is pretty clunky, but the real problem is that the grassy fields and old pastures are compared to “sandpipers’ vanishing.” And that doesn’t make sense: we’re literally comparing fields and pastures to “vanishing” – and not to the sandpipers themselves.

Plus, (D) doesn’t actually have an independent clause, which means that it isn’t a proper sentence. So (D) is gone.

Quote:
(E) in the northeastern United States, the sandpipers' vanishing, a result of residential and industrial development and changing

(E) has exactly the same issues as (D): the comparison is nonsense, and the sentence isn’t actually a real sentence, since it lacks an independent clause. So (B) is the best we can do.


Thanks for the explanation :)
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QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2017, 07:57
I don't get it! Why can't "vanishing" act as gerund here and make -through the use of "is"- SV thus correct?

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Re: QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures [#permalink]

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New post 20 Nov 2017, 21:32
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drexxie wrote:
I don't get it! Why can't "vanishing" act as gerund here and make -through the use of "is"- SV thus correct?

In (D), "vanishing" does act as a gerund, so the subject-verb agreement is fine -- but the comparison doesn't make sense, as described here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/qotd-like-th ... l#p1956891

In (A), the construction is a little bit different: "Like the grassy fields and old pastures...., the sandpipers vanishing in the northeastern United States is a result of..." I suppose you could argue that "vanishing" is the subject, but then what is "sandpipers" doing there? For "vanishing" to become the subject, "sandpipers" would need to be possessive, and that would require an apostrophe. And even if "vanishing" is the subject in (A), the comparison doesn't make sense: we're not comparing the grassy fields and old pastures to the act of vanishing.

I hope this helps!
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Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
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Need an expert reply?
Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja and @GMATNinjaTwo in your post.

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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

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November webinar schedule

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Re: QOTD: Like the grassy fields and old pastures   [#permalink] 20 Nov 2017, 21:32
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