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QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 120: Sentence Correction


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Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily bought directly.

(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily

(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have

(C) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks that could be easily

(D) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help to buy stocks that easily could have been

(E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be

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QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2017, 12:47
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Unless you’re brand-new here (and if you are, welcome to GMAT Club!), you probably know that “-ing” modifiers are a pretty common thing on GMAT SC (more on the GMAT’s various uses of “-ing” words here).

In this particular case, if we start the sentence with “not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities…”, we’ll eventually need to follow that phrase with a group of people that wouldn’t actually trust themselves to choose among those investment opportunities…

Quote:
(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily

… and the “stockbrokers” probably aren’t going to make sense here. The stockbrokers presumably trust themselves to choose stocks. So (A) is clearly wrong.

You could also argue that the pronoun “them” is a problem in (A). The most recent plural is “people” – but we know that “them” should logically refer to “stockbrokers” (“stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to [stockbrokers]…”).

I’m not sure that the use of “them” is definitively WRONG, though: the antecedent “stockbrokers” isn’t so far away, and if “them” was referring to “people”, then it would probably say “themselves.” And as you may know, pronoun ambiguity isn’t an absolute rule, anyway.

So you might be able to accept the pronoun “them”, but because of the “-ing” modifier, (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have

This basically has the exact same error as in (A): literally, this is saying that the stockbrokers don’t trust themselves to pick stocks, and that can’t be right.

(B) also introduces an extra pronoun, “they” – and I think it’s more problematic than the “them.” It’s just getting messy and confusing now: “them” reaches back to “stockbrokers”, but then the next pronoun, “they”, refers back to “people” again? That’s truly confusing. (B) is gone.

Quote:
(C) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks that could be easily

We’ve fixed the logic of that “-ing” modifier, but now there are new problems. The biggest problem is that (C) is redundant now: “people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks…” There’s absolutely no reason to say “from them” here. It’s enough to just say “people are turning to stockbrokers for help.”

A much, much smaller issue: the GMAT seems to prefer the idiom “help in buying” over “help to buy.” (A similar official SC question deals with “aid in healing” vs. “aid to heal” – basically the same issue.) Personally, I don’t see any problem with saying “help to buy”, and I wouldn’t cross out (C) based solely on the idiom – but for whatever it’s worth, I suspect that the GMAT sees “help to buy” as incorrect in this question. I’m just not convinced that you’ll ever see this particular idiom ever again, since there are about 25,000 of them in English.

In any case, the redundancy thing is a pretty big issue. (C) is gone.

Let’s put the last two side-by-side, since the differences between them are pretty small:
Quote:
(D) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help to buy stocks that easily could have been
E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be

There are really only two things going on here. First, we have the idiom: “help to buy” in (D), vs. “help in buying” in (E). As we mentioned above, the GMAT seems to prefer “help in buying” – but I again, I wouldn’t bet my life on that.

And in general, I don’t worry much about idioms, unless I’m CERTAIN about them. More on that here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41848.html

But as we discussed in our beginner’s guide to SC, meaning is a really, really big deal on the GMAT. And the only other difference between (D) and (E) – at the end of the underlined portion – is the key to the question.

In (D), we have “stocks that easily could have been bought directly”, and that doesn’t completely make sense, since it suggests that the stocks could have been bought directly – in the past! Then why is it that people “are turning to stockbrokers” now – in the present progressive tense, which can ONLY be used for an action that’s happening right now?

(E) fixes that problem: it just uses the conditional tense “could easily be bought directly”, which makes much more sense with the fact that people “are turning to stockbrokers” now.

So (E) is the correct answer, even if you don’t pay much attention to the idiom.
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QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Oct 2017, 18:27
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I say E. A and B are wrong as the second clause needs to refer to people instead of stockbrokers (or else the sentence doesn't make sense! "not trusting themselves to choose wisely, stockbrokers are...")

So now between C, D and E.
C is wordy and awkward with the "turning to stockbrokers for help from them to..."
D has a verb tense error "could have been" doesn't jive with the present tense in the sentence.
E is correct!

--

Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily bought directly.

(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily

(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have

(C) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks that could be easily

(D) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help to buy stocks that easily could have been

(E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be
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Re: QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2017, 06:03
This question tests the use of modifiers. It boils down to D vs E. My take :

Option D : Makes use of "to - infinitive form". The meaning conveyed is - Many people turn to stock holders with an intention to buy stocks that could be bought directly. This meaning does not make sense. Why would people have an intention to buy stocks from brokers when they can be bought directly.

Option E corrects the aforementioned error. Hence Option E. Please correct me if I am wrong.
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Re: QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Oct 2017, 07:44
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Will go with E
A B can be easily eliminated because of modifier error.
Not trusting must modify people and not stockbrokers, because people are not trusting themselves.
C is wordy people are turning to stockbrokers "for help from them"
This can very well be written as turning to stockbrokers for help.
Between D and E there is no idiom error both help in buying/ help to buy are correct idioms.
D has the tense error. Present perfect have been is not correct as the whole sentence is in present tense.
Answer E

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New post Updated on: 03 Apr 2018, 10:37
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sandysilva wrote:
Will go with E
A B can be easily eliminated because of modifier error.
Not trusting must modify people and not stockbrokers, because people are not trusting themselves.
C is wordy people are turning to stockbrokers "for help from them"
This can very well be written as turning to stockbrokers for help.
Between D and E there is no idiom error both help in buying/ help to buy are correct idioms.
D has the tense error. Present perfect have been is not correct as the whole sentence is in present tense.
Answer E

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Hello sandysilva,

You are the only one who has pointed the verb tense error in Choice D that is the real deal breaker.

Choice D uses the verb could have been bought. This verb phrase suggests a possibility of an action that could have happened but actually does not happen. This certainly is not the intended meaning of the sentence.

Per the context of the sentence, many people need help from stockbrokers to buy those stocks that they could actually buy easily.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
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Originally posted by egmat on 10 Oct 2017, 10:21.
Last edited by egmat on 03 Apr 2018, 10:37, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 10 Oct 2017, 10:57
egmat wrote:
sandysilva wrote:
Will go with E
A B can be easily eliminated because of modifier error.
Not trusting must modify people and not stockbrokers, because people are not trusting themselves.
C is wordy people are turning to stockbrokers "for help from them"
This can very well be written as turning to stockbrokers for help.
Between D and E there is no idiom error both help in buying/ help to buy are correct idioms.
D has the tense error. Present perfect have been is not correct as the whole sentence is in present tense.
Answer E

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Hello sandysilva,

You are the only one who has pointed the verb tense error in Choice D that is the real deal breaker.

Choice D uses the verb could have been bought. This verb phrase suggests a possibility of an action that could have happened but actually does not happen. This certainly is not the intended meaning of the sentence.

Per the context of the sentence, the stockbrokers need help to buy those stocks that they could actually buy easily.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


For the colored portion above, I feel that the intended meaning of the sentence is exactly that -- a possible present situations that have not happened --- for which "could have been" appears to be correct phrase to use.
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New post 11 Oct 2017, 11:02
sevenplusplus wrote:
egmat wrote:
Choice D uses the verb could have been bought. This verb phrase suggests a possibility of an action that could have happened but actually does not happen. This certainly is not the intended meaning of the sentence.



For the colored portion above, I feel that the intended meaning of the sentence is exactly that -- a possible present situations that have not happened --- for which "could have been" appears to be correct phrase to use.



Hello sevenplusplus,


In my explanation of Choice D, what I meant to say is that per the context of the sentence, we need to present an action that will possibly take place. That is why the sentence uses the verb could be bought.

The verb could have been bought denotes an action that certainly had the possibility to happen but actually never took place ever.

Let me present an example here:

In the accident last night, I was lucky to have lost only the headlights of my car; the damages could have been worse.

The above-mentioned sentence clearly mentions the loss I suffered. I just lost the headlights. The latter part of the sentence suggests that there was possibility of more serious damages but nothing of that sort actually took place.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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New post 13 Oct 2017, 07:11
Hi

Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market => In my opinion this part acts as a modifier. Now ask "Who don't trust themselves" (answer: Many People) not Stockbrokers.

Option A & B are out

Option C: Has a pronoun ambiguity - "them" could refer Stockbrokers as well as People

Option D: Tense Error. No need to use present perfect tense "have been" here.

Option E: Resolves all errors.
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New post 19 Feb 2018, 19:32
Hi Experts/ sayantanc2k,

Is my understanding below correct?

Could be bought - present tense passive
Could have been bought - present perfect passive
Could have bought - present perfect.

What is the role of could here? Its not a past tense verb of could, so its just used to show possibility? Can we say its a helping verb?

Does adding could/would to present perfect makes it a past event that didn't happen as in choice D?

Also, what's the difference in meaning in the below?

- stocks that could be easily bought directly
- stocks that could easily be bought directly

Why can't 'easily', an adverb, modify the verb 'bought' in both sentences?

Thank you!
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New post 28 Feb 2018, 23:18
sdlife Yes, looks like you are on the right track with all that.

As for your final question, the point in the sentence is to show that it would have been easy to buy the stocks directly. So we need "easily" to apply not just to "bought," but to "bought directly." If we put "be" in front of "easily," we're saying that the stocks are "easily bought," and that this is happening directly. By putting "be" after "easily," we make it clear that "easily" modifies the whole thing: "be bought directly."
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New post 01 Mar 2018, 05:20
GMATNinja sayantanc2k generis
GMATNinjaTwo

Can you please confirm if SIMPLE FUTURE tense in (E) is the only one that makes sense
in the context of sentence?
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New post 01 Mar 2018, 15:44
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adkikani wrote:
GMATNinja sayantanc2k generis
GMATNinjaTwo

Can you please confirm if SIMPLE FUTURE tense in (E) is the only one that makes sense
in the context of sentence?

I'm not sure that I understand the question, but I'll give it a shot!

Quote:
(E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be

In (E), "are turning" is actually a form of the present tense -- if you like jargon, it's the present progressive tense, which means that it's in the present, but the "-ing" emphasizes that it's an ongoing action in the present. (More on "-ing" verbs here.)

Could you use another form of the verb here? I guess simple present ("turn" instead of "are turning") would be fine, too -- it's just that simple present describes a general characteristic, and it seems that the sentence is trying to emphasize that this change in investor behavior is happening right now. So present progressive ("are turning") is arguably better, but it wouldn't be wrong to choose simple present.

The second verb, the "could be" in the phrase "could easily be bought directly" isn't in the future tense, either -- it's present tense, but the phrase "could be" indicates possibility. If it helps, replace "could" with "can", and the meaning is reasonably similar in this particular sentence.

(E) makes sense since both verbs are in some form of the present tense. I suppose that we could rewrite this in the future tense, but it would very dramatically change the meaning of the sentence.

I'm not sure if I answered your question, but I hope this helps!
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New post 01 Mar 2018, 15:58
Thank you GMATNinja

Oops for the confusion! ;) Yes I was talking about the highlighted verb:

Quote:
Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be bought directly.


I guess 'be' in passive tense confused me a bit. :-)

Does 'be' acts as a helping verb (is/are) in passive voice?

Hope we are on same page.
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New post 03 Apr 2018, 11:08
adkikani wrote:
Thank you GMATNinja

Oops for the confusion! ;) Yes I was talking about the highlighted verb:

Quote:
Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among the wide array of investment opportunities on the market, many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be bought directly.


I guess 'be' in passive tense confused me a bit. :-)

Does 'be' acts as a helping verb (is/are) in passive voice?

Hope we are on same page.



Hello Arpit/ adkikani,

I am not sure if your doubt still persists. Here is the answer nonetheless. :-)


In Choice E, the verb could be bought is indeed in passive voice.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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New post 27 May 2018, 09:35
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GMATNinja I see your explanation mentioning D wrong because there is use of modal verb.
Whatever material I have gone through until now there is mention of Simple, Progressive and Perfect tenses.
It anyways is overwhelming for me and now I see a question with modal form. So, I was wondering what all forms one should know?

sayantanc2k generis egmat :
Can anyone please suggest exhaustive list of what all verb forms we need to master for GMAT?

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New post 29 May 2018, 14:22
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Gmat800Champ wrote:
GMATNinja I see your explanation mentioning D wrong because there is use of modal verb.
Whatever material I have gone through until now there is mention of Simple, Progressive and Perfect tenses.
It anyways is overwhelming for me and now I see a question with modal form. So, I was wondering what all forms one should know?

sayantanc2k generis egmat :
Can anyone please suggest exhaustive list of what all verb forms we need to master for GMAT?

If you ask 40 different test-prep experts, you'll probably get about 40 different answers to your question! Most test-prep books basically run through EVERY verb tense, mood, and form that exists. And hey, they're all part of the English language, so in theory, they're all fair game.

But in practice? If you already have a fundamental command of English, I don't think that memorizing a crapload of verb tenses is all that helpful. But I'm a little bit of a heretic. :)

This video is basically an hourlong response to your question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxANHcxwbeM. Basically, my argument is that you should have a deep understanding of past perfect tense, since that appears frequently on the GMAT. Beyond that, the key is to have a strong grasp of how verb tenses might change the meaning of a sentence -- but I personally don't think that it's helpful to obsess over the technicalities of most other verb forms, as long as you have an intuitive grasp of their meaning.

I hope the video helps a bit!
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New post 29 May 2018, 19:28
Thanks for your reply GMATNinja. I have gone through your videos and they are pretty good.
I am stuck in V30's and on my analysis of OG 2018 I found I got most of the Verb forms questions wrong.
So, I am kind of wondering what else I need to understand and master to reach elite V40.
I still have few questions of OG left to be practiced. So, what else should I practice? Could you please guide me on that?

GMATNinja wrote:
Gmat800Champ wrote:
GMATNinja I see your explanation mentioning D wrong because there is use of modal verb.
Whatever material I have gone through until now there is mention of Simple, Progressive and Perfect tenses.
It anyways is overwhelming for me and now I see a question with modal form. So, I was wondering what all forms one should know?

sayantanc2k generis egmat :
Can anyone please suggest exhaustive list of what all verb forms we need to master for GMAT?

If you ask 40 different test-prep experts, you'll probably get about 40 different answers to your question! Most test-prep books basically run through EVERY verb tense, mood, and form that exists. And hey, they're all part of the English language, so in theory, they're all fair game.

But in practice? If you already have a fundamental command of English, I don't think that memorizing a crapload of verb tenses is all that helpful. But I'm a little bit of a heretic. :)

This video is basically an hourlong response to your question: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxANHcxwbeM. Basically, my argument is that you should have a deep understanding of past perfect tense, since that appears frequently on the GMAT. Beyond that, the key is to have a strong grasp of how verb tenses might change the meaning of a sentence -- but I personally don't think that it's helpful to obsess over the technicalities of most other verb forms, as long as you have an intuitive grasp of their meaning.

I hope the video helps a bit!

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Re: QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2018, 19:39
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Gmat800Champ wrote:
Thanks for your reply GMATNinja. I have gone through your videos and they are pretty good.
I am stuck in V30's and on my analysis of OG 2018 I found I got most of the Verb forms questions wrong.
So, I am kind of wondering what else I need to understand and master to reach elite V40.
I still have few questions of OG left to be practiced. So, what else should I practice? Could you please guide me on that?

Heh heh, that's the gigantic question that has no easy answer. I wish that there was some magic advice I could give to make your score jump from the 30s to an elite level, but that's not really how it works. (Though I can promise that some test-prep company is about to point you to their books/courses/articles/videos, with the implication that THEIR stuff really is magic. Here's a great post from a legendary 760-scorer about how test-prep is kind of like fad diets: https://gmatclub.com/forum/four-years-t ... l#p2069345)

Anyway, here are a few resources that might help a bit:

  • Beginner's guides to RC,CR, and SC if you haven't read them already. (I suspect very strongly that you're beyond these, but maybe there's a nugget in one of them that will help.)
  • A video on verb tenses and meaning on the GMAT, since it sounds like those might be giving you a disproportionate amount of trouble.
  • An article on using LSATs for GMAT CR and RC, since it sounds like you've mostly exhausted the OGs. LSATs aren't perfect, but they're WAY better than doing a bunch of non-official verbal questions. The article discusses the limitations of the LSAT, too.

And when you say that you're "stuck in the V30s", is that on GMATPrep tests? If so, the GMATPrep software provides a breakdown by verbal question type, so that might help you focus your efforts. And if you haven't done any GMATPrep exams yet, it might be time to do one, and see where you really stand. It's basically impossible for any test-prep company to accurately copy the style of the actual exam -- especially on verbal -- so take any non-official verbal test scores with a grain of salt.

I hope this helps, and let me know how things go for you!
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Re: QOTD: Not trusting themselves to choose wisely among  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2018, 20:15
IMO ans is E.

(A) stockbrokers are helping many people who turn to them to buy stocks that could be easily--- incorrect, 'stockbrokers' not trusting themselves doesn't make any sense

(B) stockbrokers are helping many people who are turning to them for help in buying stocks that they could easily have--- incorrect, same as A

(C) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help from them to buy stocks that could be easily--- incorrect, 'for help from them' is awkward

(D) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help to buy stocks that easily could have been--- incorrect, no need for perfect tense

(E) many people are turning to stockbrokers for help in buying stocks that could easily be--- correct, by POE
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