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# QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies

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QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 09:28
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 31: Sentence Correction

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Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

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QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 09:30
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This is a classic case of "I really don't like the right answer, but I found four wrong answer choices, so... I guess the GMAT doesn't care whether I like anything."

Quote:
(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

All sorts of weird stuff here. "Them" is a problem: if it refers to the most recent plurals ("coteries" or "colonies"), then it makes no sense. I suppose that it's possible that "them" reaches all the way back to "prairie dogs", but even then, it would be a little bit redundant ("prairie dogs live in colonies of roughly a dozen prairie dogs"). I'm also not crazy about "their new pups," because "their" would seem to refer to "coteries" (which makes no sense) or "males" (which doesn't make too much sense, since the males switch coteries frequently).

If you wanted to be really conservative, I suppose that you could hang onto (A), but there's a lot of crappy stuff here, and we'll have a better option below.

Quote:
(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

"Each" seems to refer to "animals", and that makes no sense at all. And "their new pups" is shaky, too, as mentioned above. Eliminate (B).

Quote:
(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

"Them" has the same problem as in (A). Again, you could be conservative and keep this one for now if you really wanted to, but I think we can do better.

Quote:
(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

And this is better! We could argue that "of roughly a dozen" doesn't sound great, but nobody cares about sound here. There's no pronoun issue whatsoever -- and "the females' new pups" clarifies the end of the sentence, too. Keep (D).

Quote:
(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

I actually think that the first part of the sentence sounds good here, but we should never worry about "sound" on GMAT SC. More importantly: this is a classic comma splice, featuring two full sentences improperly separated by a full comma. So it's wrong, even if we think it sounds nice. Eliminate (E).

That leaves us with (D).
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 09:52
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souvik101990 wrote:
Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

Correct answer must be (D), for the highlighted errors in other options...
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 20:04
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Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups. it should be dogs and not animals

(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups. correct

(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups. D looks better than E as use of animals in E is incorrect
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 20:22
Chose C.

Look like D would be the right answer.

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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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12 Jun 2017, 20:29
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souvik101990 wrote:
Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

Spend over 5 mins in this question

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.
"that" here is ambiguous. Also, "their" here is ambiguous since "their" could refer to "several breeding females" or "one or two breeding males"

(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.
"their" here is ambiguous. "one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently" changes the original meaning of sentence.

(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.
correct idiom is "colonies of something"

(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.
CORRECT. "consisting of" modifies "tight-knit colonies of roughly a dozen"

(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.
correct idiom is "colonies of something"
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2017, 01:46
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The simple clue is that the pronouns 'their' and 'them' have no eligible logical antecedents. 'Their' could be the animals' pup, or the dogs' pups or the breeding males' pups or breeding females' pups. Similarly, 'them' could refer to the dogs, the colonies, or the coteries. We can easily eliminate three in a stroke.
The next clue is that E is a run-on. Your answer is D, notwithstanding the problems with the usage 'of', 'with' and 'that' in all other choices.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2017, 20:21
Can somebody help me to explain the usage of Ving in option D ?
- Rewrite option D: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies ....of roughly a dozen, consisting of ...
- Question: I am understand that "consisting .." modifies the clause "Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies ..." (not modify coteries) but Prairie dogs can not conisist dogs themselves ?
Am i wrong ?
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2017, 23:21
Imo D
Correct modifiers and correct meaning

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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 08:41
daagh wrote:
The simple clue is that the pronouns 'their' and 'them' have no eligible logical antecedents. 'Their' could be the animals' pup, or the dogs' pups or the breeding males' pups or breeding females' pups. Similarly, 'them' could refer to the dogs, the colonies, or the coteries. We can easily eliminate three in a stroke.
The next clue is that E is a run-on. Your answer is D, notwithstanding the problems with the usage 'of', 'with' and 'that' in all other choices.

Hello daagh Sir,

I did not followed your last sentence. E is a run-on...

I see that in underline part "each catorie includes x, y and z" so its a complete sentence isn't it ??

I think I am missing something here ...
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 19:55
Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(A) of roughly a dozen of them, that consist of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

(C) that have roughly a dozen of them, with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(D) of roughly a dozen, consisting of several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

(E) with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2017, 11:15
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mihir0710 wrote:
Hello daagh Sir,

I did not followed your last sentence. E is a run-on...

I see that in underline part "each catorie includes x, y and z" so its a complete sentence isn't it ??

I think I am missing something here ...

Hi mihir0710 ,

Here is the explanation of run on for E.

I have two sentences here(marked in different colors below).

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

Now, if you look at these two, they are joined together by a comma and no FANBOYS. Hence, this makes them run on.

Let me know in case of any concern.
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QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2017, 11:38
GMATNinja : part of the explanation

Quote:
(B) of roughly a dozen animals, each with several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that switch coteries frequently, and their new pups.

I thought the phrase "each ----- pups" is a noun + noun modifier and not a complete clause.

Also, since we have a prepositional phrase -- of roughly a dozen animals - doesn't each refer back to colonies?

Note: I feel B is incorrect because it says that colonies of a dozen animals -

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies of roughly a dozen animals - isn't that a deviation from original sentence? colonies of their own members but not generic animals.

Also, as you pointed out the pronoun error at the end.

Is my understanding incorrect?
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2017, 17:28
I have a question regarding the official answer.
It basically says: "Prairie dogs live in X, consisting of Y". As far as I'm aware, COMMA + verb-ing modifier modifies the preceding clause, so prairie dogs are the agent of consisting.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2017, 20:49
abhimahna wrote:
mihir0710 wrote:
Hello daagh Sir,

I did not followed your last sentence. E is a run-on...

I see that in underline part "each catorie includes x, y and z" so its a complete sentence isn't it ??

I think I am missing something here ...

Hi mihir0710 ,

Here is the explanation of run on for E.

I have two sentences here(marked in different colors below).

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

Now, if you look at these two, they are joined together by a comma and no FANBOYS. Hence, this makes them run on.

Let me know in case of any concern.

Hi abhimahna,

Thanks for the clarification.

I thought that "each coterie ...." is an absolute phrase describing the "coteries" in the previous clause and hence it is ok to connect it without a FANBOYS conjunction...

Seems like I will have to look back into my "absolute phrase" concepts !!
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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24 Jun 2017, 23:47
mihir0710 wrote:

Thanks for the clarification.

I thought that "each coterie ...." is an absolute phrase describing the "coteries" in the previous clause and hence it is ok to connect it without a FANBOYS conjunction...

Seems like I will have to look back into my "absolute phrase" concepts !!

I feel the same way - the phrase "each ---pups" is an absolute modifier and not another clause. I have asked GMATNinja.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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25 Jun 2017, 21:21
abhimahna wrote:
mihir0710 wrote:
Hello daagh Sir,

I did not followed your last sentence. E is a run-on...

I see that in underline part "each catorie includes x, y and z" so its a complete sentence isn't it ??

I think I am missing something here ...

Hi mihir0710 ,

Here is the explanation of run on for E.

I have two sentences here(marked in different colors below).

Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.

Now, if you look at these two, they are joined together by a comma and no FANBOYS. Hence, this makes them run on.

Let me know in case of any concern.

This is an absolute modifier and not two clauses creating comma splice.

Below question from Exam Pack 1

Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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26 Jun 2017, 04:29
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mihir0710 wrote:

Hi abhimahna,

Thanks for the clarification.

I thought that "each coterie ...." is an absolute phrase describing the "coteries" in the previous clause and hence it is ok to connect it without a FANBOYS conjunction...

Seems like I will have to look back into my "absolute phrase" concepts !!

warriorguy wrote:

This is an absolute modifier and not two clauses creating comma splice.

Below question from Exam Pack 1

Naked mole rats form colonies of approximately 20 animals, each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her.

Looks like you guys have confused absolute phrase with independent clause.

"each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her" --> This is correctly an absolute phrase. We have a noun + Noun Modifier. No verb.

each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups. --> Notice the word includes. It is a verb. So, subject is each coterie and verb is includes. Hence, it is an independent clause.

My current understanding is absolute phrase should not have a verb and a subject together.

Let me know if you guys think something else.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2017, 17:47
abhimahna wrote:
Looks like you guys have confused absolute phrase with independent clause.

"each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her" --> This is correctly an absolute phrase. We have a noun + Noun Modifier. No verb.

each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups. --> Notice the word includes. It is a verb. So, subject is each coterie and verb is includes. Hence, it is an independent clause.

My current understanding is absolute phrase should not have a verb and a subject together.

I completely agree with abhimahna here. warriorguy, does this answer your question from the chat today? Sorry that I didn't get to it during the session -- I figured that it would be better saved for this spot, but abhimahna beat me to it! In a good way.
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Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2017, 21:31
GMATNinja wrote:
abhimahna wrote:
Looks like you guys have confused absolute phrase with independent clause.

"each colony consisting of a single reproductive female and workers that defend her" --> This is correctly an absolute phrase. We have a noun + Noun Modifier. No verb.

each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups. --> Notice the word includes. It is a verb. So, subject is each coterie and verb is includes. Hence, it is an independent clause.

My current understanding is absolute phrase should not have a verb and a subject together.

I completely agree with abhimahna here. warriorguy, does this answer your question from the chat today? Sorry that I didn't get to it during the session -- I figured that it would be better saved for this spot, but abhimahna beat me to it! In a good way.

Thanks for the clarification GMATNinja. Just for my understanding - If I change the phrase to --> each coterie that includes several breeding females

Now will the phrase (just the phrase and not the entire sentence) be valid?
Re: QOTD: Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies   [#permalink] 28 Jun 2017, 21:31

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