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RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2014, 07:43
Still having a few issues with who vs whom. Is this case, can't we do the she/her test: the National Press Club elected her, so we use whom?

Can someone clarify please?

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2014, 08:06
Not sure! Tricky one :|

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2014, 09:30
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souvik101990 wrote:
In 1971, pioneering journalist Helen Thomas, who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member, delivered an inspirational speech to the Club’s male members when they gathered to congratulate her after the votes were counted.

(A) who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member

(B) whom the National Press Club just elected as its first female member

(C) who had just been elected by the National Press Club as its first female member

(D) whom the National Press Club elected as its first female member

(E) who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member

[textarea][align=center]Day 5 Question of the Verbal Contest: Race Against the GMAT Club Timer


The who v. whom dichotomy only rules out A and E. Each of them is describing "Helen Thomas", but "who" is the subject form (she is performing the action) and "whom" is the object form (she is the object of the action). This is different than active v. passive. Let's take a look at B and C, which both use it correctly, and then A, which doesn't:

  • (B) whom the National Press Club just elected as its first female member

    Here, "whom" is referring to Helen Thomas as the object of the action. "The national Press Club" is the subject of the verb "elected". In other words, this clause is "The National Press Club just elected (her) as its first female member". The use of "whom" is correct here.

  • (C) who had just been elected by the National Press Club as its first female member

    Here, "who" is referring to Helen Thomas as the subject of the action. In other words, this clause is "(She) had just been elected by the National Press Club as its first member". The use of "who" is correct here.

  • (A) who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member

    Here, "who" is referring to Helen Thomas as the subject of the action. That means she must have just done the act of electing someone or something. This creates a problem, because the verb "had ... elected" already has a subject, "the National Press Club". The use of "who" is incorrect here.

  • Let's make another answer that incorrectly uses "whom": (F) whom had just been elected by the National Press Club as its first female member

    Here, "whom" is referring to Helen Thomas as the object of the action. This creates a problem because we now don't have a subject for "had ... been elected".

Review: What we see here is that it is possible to use both "who" and "whom" in the same modifier to describe the same person, but you must then switch the verb from active to passive to make sure that "who" describes the person as a subject and "whom" describes the person as the object. One neat little trick here is to replace "who" with another subject pronoun, such as "she" or "he". If it works with the sentence because it is the subject of the verb (i.e. there is no other competing subject), then it is proper. If you have "whom", replace it with an object pronoun, such as "her" or "him", and place it after the verb as an object. If it works with the sentence because there is a subject doing the action, then it is proper. Of course, also check the meaning.

Another example of a question with such a fake who/whom split is OG 12 SC #1 (though, all versions of "who" and "whom" work in that problem). Honestly, the GMAT doesn't seem to test pronoun case all that often, so be careful that any differences aren't there just to make you think that one is a problem (the GMAT likes to offer alternate options that are still okay to try to trick you).

So what about this question then?

A and E are wrong because "who", which makes "Helen Thomas" a subject, is followed by a different subject.

B and D aren't horrible (and whether or not "just" is there isn't that big of an issue, even though it should probably be kept), but they both lack the clear time marker of the past perfect verb ("had ... (been) elected").

C is correct because "had ... been elected" makes the order of the events very clear. First, she was elected, and then afterwards she delivered. Yes, it is obvious to the reader that the events are in this order, but you should still use the past perfect to make it clear grammatically. Why else do we even have verb tense? Otherwise, we would just say "I do the action yesterday".

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RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 28 Oct 2014, 22:47
mmagyar wrote:

B and D aren't horrible (and whether or not "just" is there isn't that big of an issue, even though it should probably be kept), but they both lack the clear time marker of the past perfect verb ("had ... (been) elected").

C is correct because "had ... been elected" makes the order of the events very clear. First, she was elected, and then afterwards she delivered. Yes, it is obvious to the reader that the events are in this order, but you should still use the past perfect to make it clear grammatically. Why else do we even have verb tense? Otherwise, we would just say "I do the action yesterday".


The comment as I have highlighted in the quote is plain wrong.

Refer (example and related comments as below (in blue)) MGMAT SC Chp. 7 pg. 108

Right: Laura LOCKED the deadbolt before she LEFT for work.

We already know that locked happens before left because of the word before. The words 'before' and 'after' indicate the sequence of events clearly and emphatically enough to make the use of the Past Perfect unnecessary.


Likewise, the usage of 'had' in our sentence can definitely be done away with as it is PLAIN REDUNDANT. The sentence has the word 'after' as the time-marker to suggest the sequence of events, a fact I already pointed out in my earlier post.

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 04:23
Hi, can anyone explain me why D is not the correct answer?

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 10:59
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itzmyzone911 wrote:
mmagyar wrote:

B and D aren't horrible (and whether or not "just" is there isn't that big of an issue, even though it should probably be kept), but they both lack the clear time marker of the past perfect verb ("had ... (been) elected").

C is correct because "had ... been elected" makes the order of the events very clear. First, she was elected, and then afterwards she delivered. Yes, it is obvious to the reader that the events are in this order, but you should still use the past perfect to make it clear grammatically. Why else do we even have verb tense? Otherwise, we would just say "I do the action yesterday".


The comment as I have highlighted in the quote is plain wrong.

Refer (example and related comments as below (in blue)) MGMAT SC Chp. 7 pg. 108

Right: Laura LOCKED the deadbolt before she LEFT for work.

We already know that locked happens before left because of the word before. The words 'before' and 'after' indicate the sequence of events clearly and emphatically enough to make the use of the Past Perfect unnecessary.


Likewise, the usage of 'had' in our sentence can definitely be done away with as it is PLAIN REDUNDANT. The sentence has the word 'after' as the time-marker to suggest the sequence of events, a fact I already pointed out in my earlier post.


I am sorry and I don't mean to come off as rude here, but I think you are wrong for two reasons.

1.) Assuming your understanding of past perfect is correct and that we must avoid redundancy in these situations, the actions in this example that are relevant to the analysis of using "had" in C are "elected" and then "delivered". She "had ... been elected" and then afterwards she "delivered" the speech. However, you are analyzing "after the votes were counted" and saying that the presence of "after" here shows the order of two other actions. That is wrong because it is about a different sequence of events.

The example you quoted from MGMAT (and see point #2 about that) says that you can use past instead of past perfect when "before" or "after" are present to obviously signal the order of events. However, "after" in this question only indicates that "they gathered" after the votes "were counted". This does not tell us about the order of events between "elected" and "delivered". Maybe votes were counted for something else, they congratulated her for something else, she delivered the speech, and then, afterwards, she was elected as the first female member of the National Press Club. While we all know that sequence is probably not the case, the order of events here is not very clear and is definitely not as clear as the example you gave from MGMAT. Therefore, including "had" is not redundant, as you keep saying, and instead nicely helps to clarify that she was elected first and then she delivered the speech.


2.) While it is permissive to use past simple in some cases in which the order of events is obvious, this is not required - using past perfect in these cases does not make it redundant. Let's look at some examples of correct answers from GMAT Prep:

  • "Galileo did not invent the telescope, but on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made, he quickly built his own device from an organ pipe and spectacle lenses."
    galileo-did-not-invent-the-telescope-but-on-hearing-in-111155.html

    Even though "on hearing" shows us an obvious order of events, GMAT still used past perfect "had been made"

  • "Retailers reported moderate gains in their November sales, as much because their sales a year earlier had been so bad as because shoppers were getting a head start on buying their holiday gits."
    retailers-reported-moderate-gains-in-their-november-sales-108200.html

    Even though "a year earlier" shows us a clear order of events, GMAT still preferred using "had been"

With very limited searching, I did not find a great example with "after" or "before", so I concede that I haven't fully proven that GMAT thinks it is okay to still use past perfect in these cases. However, I have never seen the GMAT consider an answer wrong for doing so. I suggest that you find an example of it on GMAT before worrying about it so much, mostly because I think such thinking will discourage you from properly choosing a past perfect answer when it is useful/needed (as happened here). That being said, I really am interested in seeing one if you find it, so please PM me if you do.

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2014, 22:11
mmagyar wrote:
I am sorry and I don't mean to come off as rude here, but I think you are wrong for two reasons.

1.) Assuming your understanding of past perfect is correct and that we must avoid redundancy in these situations, the actions in this example that are relevant to the analysis of using "had" in C are "elected" and then "delivered". She "had ... been elected" and then afterwards she "delivered" the speech. However, you are analyzing "after the votes were counted" and saying that the presence of "after" here shows the order of two other actions. That is wrong because it is about a different sequence of events.

The example you quoted from MGMAT (and see point #2 about that) says that you can use past instead of past perfect when "before" or "after" are present to obviously signal the order of events. However, "after" in this question only indicates that "they gathered" after the votes "were counted". This does not tell us about the order of events between "elected" and "delivered". Maybe votes were counted for something else, they congratulated her for something else, she delivered the speech, and then, afterwards, she was elected as the first female member of the National Press Club. While we all know that sequence is probably not the case, the order of events here is not very clear and is definitely not as clear as the example you gave from MGMAT. Therefore, including "had" is not redundant, as you keep saying, and instead nicely helps to clarify that she was elected first and then she delivered the speech.


2.) While it is permissive to use past simple in some cases in which the order of events is obvious, this is not required - using past perfect in these cases does not make it redundant. Let's look at some examples of correct answers from GMAT Prep:

  • "Galileo did not invent the telescope, but on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made, he quickly built his own device from an organ pipe and spectacle lenses."
    galileo-did-not-invent-the-telescope-but-on-hearing-in-111155.html

    Even though "on hearing" shows us an obvious order of events, GMAT still used past perfect "had been made"

  • "Retailers reported moderate gains in their November sales, as much because their sales a year earlier had been so bad as because shoppers were getting a head start on buying their holiday gits."
    retailers-reported-moderate-gains-in-their-november-sales-108200.html

    Even though "a year earlier" shows us a clear order of events, GMAT still preferred using "had been"

With very limited searching, I did not find a great example with "after" or "before", so I concede that I haven't fully proven that GMAT thinks it is okay to still use past perfect in these cases. However, I have never seen the GMAT consider an answer wrong for doing so. I suggest that you find an example of it on GMAT before worrying about it so much, mostly because I think such thinking will discourage you from properly choosing a past perfect answer when it is useful/needed (as happened here). That being said, I really am interested in seeing one if you find it, so please PM me if you do.

Hmm that was an oversight on my part..my bad :oops:

The only verb that would have been impacted because of 'after' is 'counted'...'...after the votes had been counted'..Due to the presence of 'after', 'had been counted' can be conveniently replaced by 'counted'...but 'elected' cannot for the reasons cited by you

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RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2015, 08:17
In 1971, pioneering journalist Helen Thomas, who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member, delivered an inspirational speech to the Club’s male members when they gathered to congratulate her after the votes were counted.

(A) who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member

(B) whom the National Press Club just elected as its first female member

(C) who had just been elected by the National Press Club as its first female member

(D) whom the National Press Club elected as its first female member

(E) who the National Press Club had just elected as their first female member

Club is singular so its is correct. not their
There are two past events here
1. Helen was elected as a member of National Press Club.
2. She gave a speech.

Past perfect tense is needed here. I selected C among B, C and D
Just elected changes the time-frame here and implies as if she got elected recently after she gave speech.
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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2016, 01:14
can you please illustrate why its not D ???

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 09 Mar 2016, 03:35
Emaco wrote:
can you please illustrate why its not D ???


D is expressed in simple past tense without indicating the order of events.

Since Past perfect tense is needed here to specify the order of events as above, the correct answer cannot be D.
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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 22 May 2016, 06:59
Can someone please explain this question. I had a really hard time eliminating choices :'(

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RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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powellmittra wrote:
Can someone please explain this question. I had a really hard time eliminating choices :'(


A. Wrong - Relative pronoun error. For referring to an object, the relative pronoun "whom" is used, not "who". The National Press had elected Helen Thomas. Helen Thomas is the object of this clause. hence "who" is the wrong relative pronoun here.

B. Wrong - tense error. The simple past tense "elected" is wrong. The action "electing" happened before another verb in the past "delivered". Hence past perfect "had elected" is required in order to depict that the election occurred before the delivery of speech.

D. Wrong - Same error as B (tense error)

E. Wrong - Same error as A (relative pronoun error).

C. Correct - Since passive voice is used in the clause, Helen Thomas becomes the subject of the clause - therefore use of "who" is correct. Moreover the tense is past perfect (in passive form) - "had been elected". Thus both the errors (relative pronoun error and tense error) have been rectified in this option.

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas [#permalink]

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New post 15 Apr 2017, 09:34
Hi I got the correct answer. Please confirm if my following statement on who vs whom is correct w.r.t. the above question:

Choices B, C and D use who and whom correctly !!

Kindly confirm.

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Re: RAGCT Day 5: pioneering journalist Helen Thomas   [#permalink] 15 Apr 2017, 09:34

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