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Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya

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Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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A
B
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D
E

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Question Stats:

74% (01:08) correct 26% (01:47) wrong based on 1666 sessions

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Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.


(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete

(B) Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it

(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

Note: GMAT revised the question from old revision.

The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 62
Page: 682


First Glance

The very long underline signals likely Structure, Meaning, Modifier, or Parallelism issues.

Issues

(1) Modifier: rivaling the pyramids

The original sentence begins with a modifier: rivaling the pyramids or the cities as achievement. The information is talking about something that has not yet been mentioned. What is rivaling the pyramids?

The pyramids of Egypt are works of art. What else in the sentence is a work of art or can be described as an achievement? An army of terra-cotta warriors makes sense and should be placed right after comma, so the original sentence is fine. The other answers offer various other illogical options as the noun following the comma:

(B) Qin Shi Huang (a person is not a work of art)
(C) it (referring to how long the warriors look to make)
(D) artisans (people are not works of art)
(E) 36 years (a length of time is not a work of art)

Eliminate answers (B), (C), (D), and (E) because each uses an illogical noun following the comma.

(2) Meaning

The sentence contains a lot of modifier; the placement of some modifiers in answers (B) and (C) confuse the meaning.

In answer (B), the pronoun it refers to the army, so that the sentence reads: an army that was created by artisans who took 36 years to complete the army. This is an equivalent example: the cake that was created by the chef who spent 3 hours to make the cake. As though the second cake is a different cake!

The sequence of modifiers in answer (C) is confusing:

(C) to create an army of warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Huang

What happened more than 2,000 years ago? The army was created. The warriors didn't just appear, nor were they protected 2,000 years ago. The modifier should more clearly point o the action that occurred more than 2,000 years ago. Further, the placement interrupts another noun and modifier pair: the warriors (more than 2,000 years ago) that would protect Qin Shi Huang. The two halves not in parentheses should be right next to each other; the warriors, not some years ago, are the ones who would protect Huang.

Eliminate answers (B) and (C) for confusing modifier placement.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (A) is the only one that completes the opening modifier structure correctly: rivaling the pyramids as an achievement, the army of warriors. Further, the placement of the many modifiers is logical.

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Originally posted by gmatter0913 on 02 Aug 2013, 05:38.
Last edited by Bunuel on 12 Aug 2019, 07:05, edited 3 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Aug 2013, 06:49
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gmatter0913 wrote:
Question:
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
(B) Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it
(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife


Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlifeis more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

subject is: army
there are 2 verbs for this subject==>is and took

created : in this sentence==>this is not acting as a verb here ..here it is acting as a verb -ed modifier==>describing ARMY.

HOPE IT HELPS
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Aug 2013, 10:47
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Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya s an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

A. the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
Correct.
- The main subject is "the army of terra-cotta warriors" which is collective noun ==> singular.
- You do not need to repeat pronoun "it" after complete because it creates redundant error (X took 700,000 artisans more than 36 year to complete X) <== redundant.
- Other options commit to Modifier problem. Please see the beginning of the sentence. "Rivaling the pyramids.." what rivals the pyramids ==> Should be "the army of terra-cotta".

B. Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terra-cotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it.
Wrong.
- Modifier problem: "Rivaling the pyramids.." what rivals the pyramids ==> Should be "the army of terra-cotta", NOT "Qin Shi Huang"
- "it" at the end is redundant. X (an army) that was created by Y who took more than 36 years to complete X <== "X" is not necessary.

C. it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
Wrong.
- Modifier problem: "Rivaling the pyramids.." what rivals the pyramids ==> Should be "the army of terra-cotta", NOT "it".
- it took X 36 years to create Y (an army) more than 2000 years THAT would....... <== awkward.
- Misplace modifier "that".

D. more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
Wrong.
- Modifier problem: "Rivaling the pyramids.." what rivals the pyramids ==> Should be "the army of terra-cotta", NOT 700,000 artisans.

E. more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warrios that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
Wrong.
- Modifier problem: "Rivaling the pyramids.." what rivals the pyramids ==> Should be "the army of terra-cotta", NOT "more than 36 years"

Hope it's clear.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2013, 13:11
I was reviewing Official Guide and came across this question. Do not the two verbs in a compound sentence have to agree in tense(Parallelism)?
The answer is (A). Thanks for your clarification.

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the armv of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang. China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2.000 years old and took 700.000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete
(B) Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terra cotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it
(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors, more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2013, 13:36
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ayousefi wrote:
I was reviewing Official Guide and came across this question. Do not the two verbs in a compound sentence have to agree in tense(Parallelism)?
The answer is (A). Thanks for your clarification.

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2.000 years old and took 700.000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.


Let's strip away everything from the sentence so we can better understand what's going on here.

"..., the army of terra-cotta warriors ... is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete."

Now we have the basics here. We can see that we have two verbs: "is" and "took." Now, it's great that you are thinking about parallelism here, but actually these two parts are parallel. Parallelism applies to the structure of the sentence, the order of the words, not the tenses. Since we are talking about two different events in time, we need to use two different verb tenses. The first verb is in present tense because the author is stating a fact about the army. The second verb is about something that was done in the past and ended in the past. So we only need a simple past tense verb to convey this idea.

I hope that you find this explanation helpful. :)
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2014, 22:25
laxieqv wrote:
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya s an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
A. the same
B. Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terra-cotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it.
C. it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
D. more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
E. more than 36 years wre needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warrios that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.


Q Can`t there be 2 modifiers back to back modifying the subject?
Here in option D, why both Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya s an achievement and more than 2,000 years ago, do not modify 700,000 artisans
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2014, 05:37
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jrashish wrote:
laxieqv wrote:
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya s an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
A. the same
B. Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terra-cotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it.
C. it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
D. more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.
E. more than 36 years wre needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warrios that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife.


Q Can`t there be 2 modifiers back to back modifying the subject?
Here in option D, why both Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya s an achievement and more than 2,000 years ago, do not modify 700,000 artisans


Hi Ashish,

"Rivaling" can't refer to "artisans" because the meaning is illogical. The artisans themselves don't rival the pyramids or the Mayan cities. It's their work, the terra-cotta warriors, that rivals the pyramids and cities.

Hope this helps with your doubt.

Regards,
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2014, 15:27
Hi Experts,

Can someone please explain me how is it logical to say that "army took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete " ?
A monument or a pyramid can be completed by artisans ... but how can army be completed by artisans ?
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Mar 2014, 03:39
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freakygeek wrote:
Hi Experts,

Can someone please explain me how is it logical to say that "army took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete " ?
A monument or a pyramid can be completed by artisans ... but how can army be completed by artisans ?


Hi there,

Thank you for posting your query here.

This sentence isn't talking about human soldiers; it's talking about an 'army' of terracotta soldiers. It is perfectly logical to say that these terracotta statues were created by artisans.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2014, 13:23
Could anyone explain why is "the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect" correct?
I think it should be "the army of terra-cotta warriors was created to protect"
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New post 18 Jul 2014, 13:46
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vad3tha wrote:
Could anyone explain why is "the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect" correct?
I think it should be "the army of terra-cotta warriors was created to protect"


Hi there,

In order to understand why use of "was" after ""the army of terra-cotta warriors", let's get rid of all the modifiers used in this sentence and get to the core structure:

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(blue = Subject, green = Verb)

So as we can see, the Subject of this sentence is "the army of terra-cotta warriors". This Subject has two verbs - "is" and "took". They are correctly connected to each other with "and". Now if we add "was" after the Subject, this is what we will get:

Now "created" in this sentence acts a s Verb-ed modifier that correctly modifies the Subject as the army of terra-cotta warriors was created to protect Qin Shi Huang. The insertion of "was" will not probably make the sentence grammatically incorrect, but it will certainly make it awkward because of the use of the tenses -> past, present, and past. This jump in tenses will certainly make the sentence awkward.

With the Verb-ed modifier "created, the choice remains concise and avoids the awkward jump between past and present tense verbs.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Sep 2014, 02:46
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This question should take way less than a minute. Reason being there is only 1 option among all which has "the army of terra-cotta warriors" in the beginning. What is "rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of Maya"? It is the figures of "the army of terra-cotta warriors". A is the only choice!

Hope that helped.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 03 May 2016, 03:52
souvik101990 wrote:
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete

(B) Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it

(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife

(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife

(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife


"Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement" is a big modifier and we need the subject after this.
What rivaled the pyramids? - the terracotta warriors.

Of the given options, only A places the subject correctly.
Correct Option: A
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Aug 2016, 06:02
NaeemHasan wrote:
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.
(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete
(B) Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it
(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife
(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife
(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor, in his afterlife


Meaning : In order to get the pyramids or ancient cities, the army of TC was created by the emperor.

Remember: When we have ing-verb at the start of the sentence it should correctly modify the subject and that must preceded with comma. ( Ing-verb... , subject ) - This is the correct form.

Rivaling is an ing-verb starting in the sentence and it is correctly modifying the army of terra-costa. Hence A is correct as per meaning wise.

B) Qin Shi was protected...this is passive form and sentence starting with rivaling is active, both must be in same form.
C) ing-verb form is not correctly referring to the subject.
D) ing-verb form is not correctly referring to the subject.
E) ing-verb form is not correctly referring to the subject.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2017, 02:25
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gmatter0913 wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 62
Page: 682

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(B) Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it

(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife


First Glance

The very long underline signals likely Structure, Meaning, Modifier, or Parallelism issues.

Issues

(1) Modifier: rivaling the pyramids

The original sentence begins with a modifier: Rivaling the pyramids or the cities as an achievement. The information is talking about something that has not yet been mentioned. What is the rivalling the pyramids?

The pyramids of Egypt are works of art. What else in the sentence is a work of art or can be described as an achievement? An army of terra-cotta warriors makes sense and should be placed right after the comma, so the original sentence is fine. The other answers offer various other various other illogical options as the noun following the comma:

(B) Qin Shi Huang (a person is not a work of art)
(C) it (referring to how long the warriors took to make)
(D) artisans (people are not works of art)
(E) 36 years (a length of time is not a work of art)

Eliminate answers (B), (C), (D), and (E) because each uses an illogical noun following the comma.

(2) Meaning

The sentence contains a lot of modifiers; the placement of some modifiers in answers (B) and (C) confuse the meaning.

In answer (B), the pronoun it refers to the army, so that the sentence reads: an army that was created by artisans who took 36 years to complete the army. This is an equivalent example: the cake that was created by the chef who spent 3 hours to make the cake. As though the second cake is a different cake!

The sequence of modifiers in answer (C) is confusing:

(C) to create an army of warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Huang

What happened more than 2,000 years ago? The army was created. The warriors didn’t just appear, nor were they protected 2,000 years ago. The modifier should more clearly point to the action that occurred more than 2,000 years ago. Further, the placement interrupts another noun and modifier pair: the warriors (more than 2,000 years ago) that would protect Qin Shi Huang. The two halves not in parentheses should be right next to each other; the warriors, not some years ago, are the ones who would protect Huang.

Eliminate answers (B) and (C) for confusing modifier placement.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (A) is the only one that completes the opening modifier structure correctly: rivaling the pyramids as an achievement, the army of warriors. Further, the placement of the many modifiers is logical.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2018, 09:27
Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete

(B) Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it

(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife


Answer A.

Rivaling.......<Should modify>....the army of terra-cotta warriors

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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Oct 2018, 04:26
Blah blah blah modifier..blah blah blah... sentence..blah blah grammar...

Questions says Pyramids vs Ancient cities vs what?
Answer Pyramids vs Ancient cities vs the Army
choice A
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Dec 2018, 15:41
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Hello Everyone!

Let's tackle this question, one problem at a time, and narrow it down to the correct choice! This is an updated version of an old question, so even if you've seen this before, it's going to be slightly different! To begin, here is the original question with the major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

(A) the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete
(B) Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it
(C) it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(D) more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife
(E) more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

If we look over the options, it's clear that each option includes the same information in a totally different order. It's going to be too difficult to tackle every single difference. So what do we do?

Whenever we see a question like this, we should look to the non-underlined portion for a clue to what we should focus on:

Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

The non-underlined portion of this sentence is a modifier! Since that is the only thing that all 5 options has in common, we can focus on that to look for problems. When we focus on modifiers, we must make sure it's placed next to what it's modifying, and it should be clear for readers to understand. Let's see how each option breaks down! To make things easier to spot, I'll include the non-underlined modifier to each option:

(A) Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, the army of terra-cotta warriors created to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife is more than 2,000 years old and took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete.

This is CORRECT! The modifier is referring to the army of terra cotta warriors, and it's clear because both the modifier and its antecedent are right next to each other.

(B) Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, Qin Shi huang, China's first emperor, was protected in his afterlife by an army of terracotta warriors that was created more than 2,000 years ago by 700,000 artisans who took more than 36 years to complete it

This is INCORRECT because Qin Shi Huang isn't what the modifier is referring to - it's referring to the terra cotta army. By putting Qin Shi Huang next to the modifier, readers may mistakenly think that the man himself rivaled the pyramids of Egypt and ancient cities of the Maya, which doesn't really make sense.

(C) Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, it took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors more than 2,000 years ago that would protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

This is INCORRECT because it uses a vague pronoun "it" after the modifier. It's not clear at all what "it" is referring to - what took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to create? Your reader might be able to figure it out after reading the sentence a few times, and that's a bad thing! It should be clear to readers what the modifier is referring to!

(D) Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, more than 2,000 years ago, 700,000 artisans worked more than 36 years to create an army of terra-cotta warriors to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

This is INCORRECT because, again, it's not clear what rivaled the pyramids and cities of the Maya. This sentence also strangely states that the artisans may have rivaled the pyramids and cities of the Maya? It's incredibly vague and confusing, so let's rule this one out!

(E) Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya as an achievement, more than 36 years were needed to complete the army of terra-cotta warriors that 700,000 artisans created 2,000 years ago to protect Qin Shi Huang, China's first emperor, in his afterlife

This is INCORRECT because the modifier isn't placed next to what it's referring to. The sentence is confusing for readers to decipher, which is a big no-no on the GMAT! Modifiers and antecedents should be right next to each other and clear to readers!


There you have it - option A was the correct choice all along! It's the only option that places the modifier and antecedent next to each other!


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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 04:23
What confused me in option A is that there is no object after the phrase "more than 36 years to complete". I thought that there should be some object such as "it" or "the army" so that the sentence looks complete. Could you elaborate more on this?
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jul 2019, 22:27
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AweSome777 wrote:
What confused me in option A is that there is no object after the phrase "more than 36 years to complete". I thought that there should be some object such as "it" or "the army" so that the sentence looks complete. Could you elaborate more on this?
This is a relatively common structure: the infinitive (to complete) does not take an object, because the reader understands that the subject of the sentence is what "completes" the infinitive.

1. This deadline is impossible to meet. ← It is understood here that this deadline is what is impossible to meet.
2. It is impossible to meet this deadline. ← The same thing (different structure, allows us to put the object immediately after the infinitive).

3. This deadline is impossible to meet it. ← However, if we go with (1), we cannot add an object to the infinitive.

This question uses a slightly more complicated structure, but even that eventually is treated the same way:

4. ... the army took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete. ← It is understood here that the army is what was completed.
5. It took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete the army. ← The same thing (different structure, allows us to put the object immediately after the infinitive).

6a. ... the army took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete it. ← This is incorrect.
6b. ... the army took 700,000 artisans more than 36 years to complete the army. ← This is incorrect.
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Re: Rivaling the pyramids of Egypt or even the ancient cities of the Maya   [#permalink] 18 Jul 2019, 22:27

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