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Question concerning Sentence Correction Strategy

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Question concerning Sentence Correction Strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Dec 2018, 07:51
Hi Dear all,

I've recently read a post on this website, and it talks about how the intentional meaning of the question is actually the original option (answer choice A). So is it always true that we can find the intentional meaning from looking at answer choice A and eliminate the answer choices that do not convey the same meaning as answer choice A?
Thank you !
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New post 31 Dec 2018, 04:51
I've recently read a post on this website, and it talks about how the intentional meaning of the question is actually the original option (answer choice A). So is it always true that we can find the intentional meaning from looking at answer choice A and eliminate the answer choices that do not convey the same meaning as answer choice A?
Thank you !
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New post 31 Dec 2018, 10:10
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I'd be really careful with that (personally I think it's terrible advice, although functionally it doesn't come up *that* often). For example, consider if A began:

Originally constructed in 1835, Charlie lives in a house...

That's a modifier error, obviously (the house is the only thing that could logically have been constructed in 1835), but if you look at its meaning the way it's written it technically says that Charlie was originally constructed in 1835. So do you go to B-E trying to preserve that illogical meaning?

A great many Sentence Correction errors are errors precisely because they create vague/unclear or illogical meanings. So if A has an error, A may very well have a flawed meaning, so you'd be looking for choices that protect the mistake. Or it may have an incomplete/unclear meaning, so if you're looking for your understanding of the intended meaning, you might have the wrong meaning and miss the right answer this way.

I've always used this official problem - https://gmatclub.com/forum/using-a-doppler-ultrasound-device-fetal-heartbeats-can-be-54006.html - to make this point in classes. The right answer introduces a doctor, who doesn't appear in the passive-voice-heavy original. But the whole problem with the original is that you don't have a valid entity that could use this ultrasound device, so you have to "change" the meaning in order to have a valid, complete thought:

Using a Doppler ultrasound device, fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy.

(A) Using a Doppler ultrasound device, fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy.
(B) Fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy, using a Doppler ultrasound device.
(C) Detecting fetal heartbeats by the twelfth week of pregnancy, a physician can use a Doppler ultrasound device.
(D) By the twelfth week of pregnancy, fetal heart-beats can be detected using a Doppler ultrasound device by a physician.
(E) Using a Doppler ultrasound device, a physician can detect fetal heartbeats by the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Now, like I said it doesn't come up a ton so it's probably just 'bad' advice and not 'terrible' advice. But "protect the original meaning" doesn't appear anywhere in the instructions, and there are cases where doing so will lead to wrong answers or frustrating thought processes, so I'd avoid that.
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New post 01 Jan 2019, 04:52
VeritasPrepBrian wrote:
I'd be really careful with that (personally I think it's terrible advice, although functionally it doesn't come up *that* often). For example, consider if A began:

Originally constructed in 1835, Charlie lives in a house...

That's a modifier error, obviously (the house is the only thing that could logically have been constructed in 1835), but if you look at its meaning the way it's written it technically says that Charlie was originally constructed in 1835. So do you go to B-E trying to preserve that illogical meaning?

A great many Sentence Correction errors are errors precisely because they create vague/unclear or illogical meanings. So if A has an error, A may very well have a flawed meaning, so you'd be looking for choices that protect the mistake. Or it may have an incomplete/unclear meaning, so if you're looking for your understanding of the intended meaning, you might have the wrong meaning and miss the right answer this way.

I've always used this official problem - https://gmatclub.com/forum/using-a-doppler-ultrasound-device-fetal-heartbeats-can-be-54006.html - to make this point in classes. The right answer introduces a doctor, who doesn't appear in the passive-voice-heavy original. But the whole problem with the original is that you don't have a valid entity that could use this ultrasound device, so you have to "change" the meaning in order to have a valid, complete thought:

Using a Doppler ultrasound device, fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy.

(A) Using a Doppler ultrasound device, fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy.
(B) Fetal heartbeats can be detected by the twelfth week of pregnancy, using a Doppler ultrasound device.
(C) Detecting fetal heartbeats by the twelfth week of pregnancy, a physician can use a Doppler ultrasound device.
(D) By the twelfth week of pregnancy, fetal heart-beats can be detected using a Doppler ultrasound device by a physician.
(E) Using a Doppler ultrasound device, a physician can detect fetal heartbeats by the twelfth week of pregnancy.

Now, like I said it doesn't come up a ton so it's probably just 'bad' advice and not 'terrible' advice. But "protect the original meaning" doesn't appear anywhere in the instructions, and there are cases where doing so will lead to wrong answers or frustrating thought processes, so I'd avoid that.


Hi there,

Thank you so much for the help.
Sometimes when I narrowed down to two choices (eliminated the choices that were grammatically incorrect) , it usually seemed to me that the two options meant the same. For example, one option uses the passive voice, while the other one uses active voice. Therefore, it is a good idea that I shall refer back to answer choice A for the intended meaning (if answer choice A has no big grammar issue) or shall I seek the answer choice that makes the most sense logically?

Thank you !
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Re: Question concerning Sentence Correction Strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jan 2019, 11:28
Hi gmatgood,

You ask a great question, the answer to which is key for Sentence Correction success. You should evaluate all sentence versions on their own merits. The idea that you should seek to match some "intended meaning" that is found in choice A is a myth. To correctly answer a Sentence Correction question, simply choose the sentence version that most effectively conveys the most logical meaning.
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Re: Question concerning Sentence Correction Strategy  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jan 2019, 08:52
ScottTargetTestPrep wrote:
Hi gmatgood,

You ask a great question, the answer to which is key for Sentence Correction success. You should evaluate all sentence versions on their own merits. The idea that you should seek to match some "intended meaning" that is found in choice A is a myth. To correctly answer a Sentence Correction question, simply choose the sentence version that most effectively conveys the most logical meaning.


Thank you so so much!
Now I will correct myself and seek for the best option regardless of the intended meaning of "option A".
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Re: Question concerning Sentence Correction Strategy   [#permalink] 06 Jan 2019, 08:52
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