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Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens

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Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2010, 20:44
1
4
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A
B
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D
E

Difficulty:

  35% (medium)

Question Stats:

64% (01:09) correct 36% (01:11) wrong based on 315 sessions

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Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens’ group seeking to preserve historic buildings, developers announced a revision of plans to tear down the city’s original post office in order to expand a luxury hotel’s parking lot.

(A) its many obstacles had been
(B) its many obstacles had turned out to be
(C) its many obstacles is
(D) their many obstacles had been
(E) their many obstacles is

I don't understand why (E) is incorrect. Either D or E could fit the sentence and be correct. The developers could have announced that they're going to be revising plans due to the current problem of the citizens' group (making E correct), or the sentence could be talking about a time in the past that the developers announced their revision plans, with the revision having already taken place (in which case D would be correct). How are we supposed to surmise this without further context?
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2010, 21:22
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Hey TehJay,

I like your description - the way I'd look at this one is that:

1) Like you noticed, "developers" requires "their" as a pronoun, so you're down to D and E

2) The difference between the two is only "had been" vs. "is", so you have to make a decision. The given portion of the sentence uses the past-tense "announced", so it's hard to argue that "had been" is incorrect for an event that precedes "announced"...I just don't think you can find any problem with D.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Now, let me qualify that...I had written a response almost all the way done before looking back at the sentence, and now I'm pretty convinced you're right. Here's what I had to say (might as well use it, right?):

E, on the other hand, means that "is" is still a problem. So now we have to look at logic...if its obstacle 'IS" a citizens group trying to block the destruction of historic buildings, would the developers still have been able to announce the plans to tear down the old building? It's not likely - and even it that were the case, then the first half of the sentence doesn't really make sense. Why would you report a current problem while announcing a new initiative:

"It is pouring rain. We will hold the parade." --- that doesn't have great context...you'd really need to have a transition like "but" in there to justify having both statements: "it is pouring rain but we will still hold the parade".


In E, the meaning doesn't quite work - if you're going to report about troubles with your plan, you'd need to transition it to make real sense:

Reporting that one of their many obstacles is a protest group, developers NONETHELESS announced plans....

____________________________________________________________________

But actually the sentence does fix that meaning, so I think you're right - they announced "a revision of plans"...not just "plans". So the revision reveals why the announcement was made, and is logical with a current problem with protesters. So I think you're right - I would still pick D because I have a good hunch that whoever wrote it was testing verb tense and I know that the GMAT loves testing the past-perfect, but this question doesn't make a clean requirement for past-perfect over indicative. I suspect that the author was trying to replicate an official problem and just missed that subtle play in logic that the original, official problem had. Without that necessary reason that they'd make this announcement with a problem still ("is") occurring, you'd need to say D and not E. But since that reason is there, D or E really both work. I'd chalk this one up to the difficulty of writing a really good SC question that requires some logical thought. I'll leave my not-quite-perfect description there just to make that point...
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2010, 04:58
Yeah, I agonized over D vs E for a couple minutes before finally going with E, thinking the question might have been trying to trick you into thinking you needed the past perfect. But I do think that both of them are perfectly fine grammatically, and just differ slightly in meaning. Hopefully I won't get any ambiguous problems on the real thing on Friday!
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2010, 08:44
good question TehJay, and Brian thanks for your wonderful explanation.
Now I understand why D and not E....wow!
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2010, 08:56
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Thought of another way to describe why I think both D and E can be correct: in D, by using "had been", it means that there USED to be a problem with the citizens group, but there no longer is. By contrast, in E, the use of "is" means that the problem STILL EXISTS. In either case, the sentence works fine: in D, there was a problem, then the developers announced the plan revision, and the problem went away; in E, the citizens' group is still a problem, and therefore the developers announced a revision to their plans (in hopes of getting rid of or bypassing the problem).
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Dec 2010, 10:27
Hey TehJay,

Yeah, I totally agree - and rest assured that if you do see something like this on test day it will be the experimental! That's why they test those unscored questions...to weed out questions like this one that seem at first to be well-written but actually have a subtle enough flaw that skews the data. Honestly, I doubt that this one would even make it that far, too...they run their official questions through the wringer!

Great catch on this and a terrific explanation...if that's your thought process, I think you should be pretty confident in attacking the official SC question this week.

Good luck!
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Sep 2016, 08:09
TehJay wrote:
Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens’ group seeking to preserve historic buildings, developers announced a revision of plans to tear down the city’s original post office in order to expand a luxury hotel’s parking lot.

(A) its many obstacles had been
(B) its many obstacles had turned out to be
(C) its many obstacles is
(D) their many obstacles had been
(E) their many obstacles is

I don't understand why
(E) is incorrect. Either D or E could fit the sentence and be correct. The developers could have announced that they're going to be revising plans due to the current problem of the citizens' group (making E correct), or the sentence could be talking about a time in the past that the developers announced their revision plans, with the revision having already taken place (in which case D would be correct). How are we supposed to surmise this without further context?



'its' is incorrect pronoun, it should be their.
there are 2 set of events obstacles created by citizens and developers announcing plans.
so we need to use past perfect tense, had been

only D solves all the errors.
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Sep 2018, 04:12
Hi,

I understand that 'developers' requires a plural pronoun but wouldn't it be illogical to say that the developers faced some obstacles? Is it not the plan and not the developers that faced the obstacles? Or is it that the plural 'their' is used because 'reporting' modifies developers?

Someone please clear my doubt.
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Re: Reporting that one of its many obstacles had been a citizens &nbs [#permalink] 21 Sep 2018, 04:12
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