Last visit was: 23 Jul 2024, 13:58 It is currently 23 Jul 2024, 13:58
Close
GMAT Club Daily Prep
Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track
Your Progress

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History
Not interested in getting valuable practice questions and articles delivered to your email? No problem, unsubscribe here.
Close
Request Expert Reply
Confirm Cancel
SORT BY:
Date
Director
Director
Joined: 29 Jun 2017
Posts: 776
Own Kudos [?]: 401 [1]
Given Kudos: 2198
Send PM
Tutor
Joined: 07 Oct 2019
Posts: 26
Own Kudos [?]: 19 [0]
Given Kudos: 6
Send PM
Tutor
Joined: 07 Oct 2019
Posts: 26
Own Kudos [?]: 19 [0]
Given Kudos: 6
Send PM
EMPOWERgmat Instructor
Joined: 23 Feb 2015
Posts: 1690
Own Kudos [?]: 14761 [10]
Given Kudos: 766
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
6
Kudos
4
Bookmarks
Expert Reply
Hello Everyone!

Let's tackle this question, one thing at a time, and narrow down our options quickly so we know how to answer questions like this when they pop up on the GMAT! To begin, let's take a quick look at the question and highlight any major differences between the options in orange:

Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal bones in amber could provide important clues of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies.

(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

(B) in the determination of how and when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals

(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

(D) for determining when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals and how they were

(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

After a quick glance over the options, there are a couple key differences we can focus on to narrow down our options:

1. of determining / in the determination of / to determine / for determining (Idioms)
2. “mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies” / “the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals” (Active vs. Passive Voice)


Since #2 on our list is an “either/or” split, let’s start there. No matter which way we go, we’ll eliminate 2-3 options rather quickly. We know that the GMAT always prefers active voice whenever possible, so let’s eliminate any options that use passive voice:

(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

(B) in the determination of how and when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals

(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

(D) for determining when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals and how they were

(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

We can eliminate options B & D because they use passive voice, which is not preferable on the GMAT. Now that we have it narrowed down, let’s tackle #1 on our list, which is an idiom issue. Both “for determining” and “to determine” are okay to use, but any other option is not. Let’s eliminate any options that don’t use the idiom correctly:

(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

We can eliminate option A because “of determining” is not idiomatically correct. Now that we have it narrowed down to 2 options, we need to look at each one more closely for problems:

(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did
This is INCORRECT for a couple reasons. First, this is overly wordy - “how...and when they did” isn’t necessary. Just saying “how and when” covers it. Second, the pronoun “they” isn’t 100% clear or necessary to add in.

(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies
This is CORRECT! It’s clear, concise, and uses active voice - all things the GMAT is looking for!

There you have it - option E is our winner!

Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.
Current Student
Joined: 24 Jul 2014
Posts: 10
Own Kudos [?]: [0]
Given Kudos: 4
Location: India
Schools: Babson (A$)
GMAT 1: 630 Q48 V28
GPA: 2.78
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
Hi,
In option D
Since "they" is a pronoun, which can only refer to the nearest noun entity which is mammals in this case then why there is pronoun-antecedent ambiguity.
Please explain
Target Test Prep Representative
Joined: 24 Nov 2014
Status:Chief Curriculum and Content Architect
Affiliations: Target Test Prep
Posts: 3480
Own Kudos [?]: 5210 [0]
Given Kudos: 1431
GMAT 1: 800 Q51 V51
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
Expert Reply
shivamlohiya007 wrote:
Hi,
In option D
Since "they" is a pronoun, which can only refer to the nearest noun entity which is mammals in this case then why there is pronoun-antecedent ambiguity.
Please explain

A pronoun does not have to refer to the nearest noun of the same number. It can refer to any reasonably close noun. In fact, in many cases, a pronoun does not refer to the nearest noun of the same number.

For example:

    The laws of the two states regulated interstate trade, but they were written in very confusing ways.

Clearly, "they" refers to the further away plural noun "laws," rather than to the closer noun "states."
Manager
Manager
Joined: 31 Jul 2018
Posts: 98
Own Kudos [?]: 15 [0]
Given Kudos: 76
Location: India
GMAT 1: 700 Q49 V36
GPA: 3
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
abhik1502 wrote:
daagh wrote:
Besides being incomplete, but more importantly in C and D, what does the pronoun -they - stand for? Is it - the West Indies or the islands or the mammals? - A pronoun should not only stand for its true referent logically but also seem to stand for the due referent unambiguously. So I would rather rule out C and D, notwithstanding other extant errors in these two choices. But E tactfully avoids the pronoun equivocation, uses active voice and employs the right idiom - for determining – and thus is the indisputable choice.



Hi Daagh Sir,

WIll you pls suggest why usage of "They" is ambiguous out here ?

As per my understanding They do have clear antecedent as Mammals, especially in C

how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

Garamatically in option C they can refer to Mammals i.e. subject of previous clause. Again these two sentences are parallel and joined by And. SO subject of first sentence is doer of action and same should be doer for "THey did" also.

Pls suggest !
Thanks in advance !


to indicates purpose Subject is "The discovery" We need animate object for to. Hence eliminate ?
Retired Moderator
Joined: 25 Mar 2014
Status:Studying for the GMAT
Posts: 219
Own Kudos [?]: 490 [0]
Given Kudos: 251
Location: Brazil
Concentration: Technology, General Management
GMAT 1: 700 Q47 V40
GMAT 2: 740 Q49 V41 (Online)
WE:Business Development (Venture Capital)
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
How about idioms, is there any diference between to and for?
Director
Director
Joined: 28 Sep 2018
Posts: 710
Own Kudos [?]: 573 [0]
Given Kudos: 248
GMAT 1: 660 Q48 V33 (Online)
GMAT 2: 700 Q49 V37
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal bones in amber could provide important clues of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies.

Meaning Analysis: Scientists have made a claim. What claim? They claim that the discovery of the first mammal bones in amber could provide important clues. What are these clues going to help us in? Well, these clues could help us determine when these mammals colonized the West Indies island and how did they do so.

Sentence Structure:
Scientists (subject)
claim (verb)
that (connector)
the discovery (subject)
of the first authenticated mammal bones in amber (prepositional phrase modifying the subject "the discovery")
could provide (verb)
important clues (object of the sentence)
of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies. (prepositional phrase modifying the object of the sentence) (the additive phrase "in addition to" is used, this states that the information "how mammals occupied the islands" is more like additional information. In other words, it is not essential information)


Quote:
(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

I don't think of in "could provide important cluesof determining" is correct. I guess "provide for" is the correct idiom.

On a broader aspect, the structure of this sentence is not the best way to convey the intended meaning. For native speakers, this choice would be easy to eliminate.

Quote:
(B) in the determination of how and when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals

I don't see any grammar error in this choice. However, like (A), this choice too seems not the best way to convey the intended meaning. We could hold onto this choice till we get a better option.

Quote:
(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

I am okay with the "to" in "could provide important clues to determine" but I am not comfortable with the latter part of this sentence "when they did". It seems as if the sentence is incomplete. It feels as if the sentence is going to tell us something more about what happened when the mammals colonized the islands.

E.g. The discovery could provide clues to determine when the mammals colonized the islands and when they did reach a population bottleneck.

Quote:
(D) for determining when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals and how they were

I am happy with the usage of "for" in "could provide important clues for determining" but again, the latter part of the sentence seems off. "And how they were"? what is the author trying to say? "how they mammals were feeling after the colonization?" "how they were behaving with each other?" The ending clearly seems off.

Quote:
(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

This sentence converts the additional information of "the how aspect" to a vital information by using the connector "and" and that is completely fine. The meaning is conveyed with correct usage of grammar + the sentence structure is simple and nothing seems incomplete or too off.

Correct choice: (E)

Note - This is a clear example that during SC we need to choose the best choice that conveys the meaning. Just because an answer choice appears to be grammatically correct doesn't make the choice automatically correct.
Manager
Manager
Joined: 27 Dec 2016
Posts: 51
Own Kudos [?]: 64 [0]
Given Kudos: 59
Location: Bangladesh
GMAT 1: 610 Q43 V32
GRE 1: Q155 V145
GPA: 3.85
Send PM
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
First glance

The five answer choices begin with different prepositions: of, in, to, or for. This part of the sentence is likely testing idioms or parallelism.


Issues

(1) Idiom: provide clues of / clues in the determination of

The construction provide clues of is incorrect. Eliminate choice (A). It’s acceptable to say provide clues for, as in answers (D) and (E). It is also acceptable to say provide clues to, as in choice (C). In some circumstances, it can be possible to say provide clues in determining, but not provide clues in the determination of; eliminate choice (B).

For meaning reasons, the official solution objects to clues to determine in choice (C) but says that clues to help determine would be acceptable. While this point is technically valid, it’s extremely hard to spot; most people would not notice this. It may be better to look for a different reason to eliminate (C).

(2) Meaning: in addition to how

Meaning: when they did / how they were

In the original sentence, the placement of in addition to how makes the meaning hard to decipher. Other choices indicate that the sentence is trying to say the clues can help to determine both how and when something occurred. Because in addition to how is placed between two commas, though, it’s not immediately apparent whether these words apply to of determining (before the first comma) or when mammals colonized (after the second comma). Eliminate choice (A) for ambiguous meaning.

Check the other choices to see how they convey the how and when information. Answers (B) and (E) are fine: How and when are placed together and the remainder of the sentence is clear.

Answers (C) and (D) are problematic however:

(C) how mammals colonized ... and when they did. (When they did what?)

(D) when the islands … were colonized … and how they were. (How they were what?)

In both cases, it’s not immediately clear what the final verb refers to. In choice (C), this problem could be fixed by adding the word so: when they did so. The addition of so would allow the second part to refer back to the action earlier in the sentence: when they did so (= when they colonized the islands). Choice (D) would need to add the word colonized (how they were colonized). Eliminate choices (C) and (D) for ambiguous meaning.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (E) uses an acceptable idiom (clues for) and clearly and unambiguously conveys the two things that those clues might help to determine: how and when mammals colonized the islands.
Intern
Intern
Joined: 02 May 2015
Posts: 5
Own Kudos [?]: 8 [0]
Given Kudos: 296
Location: Bangladesh
Concentration: Finance, Accounting
GPA: 3.45
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
C: I believe that option C is wrong because the subject of the infinitive ( to determine ), which is logically"Scientists", is not clear.
It is not clear who to determine. Ex: I am ready to help you. In this sentence "I" is the person who will perform the action(help).
VP
VP
Joined: 11 Aug 2020
Posts: 1245
Own Kudos [?]: 208 [1]
Given Kudos: 332
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
1
Kudos
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal bones in amber could provide important clues of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies.


(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies
-of is the wrong preposition, ‘for determining’ is idiomatic
-‘in addition to how’ is terrible style

(B) in the determination of how and when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals
-‘in the determination of’ is needlessly wordy

(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did
-to determine is not idiomatic here

(D) for determining when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals and how they were ?
-this choice expresses an incomplete though…’how they were…’ Were what?

(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies
Correct
Manager
Manager
Joined: 26 Dec 2019
Posts: 57
Own Kudos [?]: 27 [0]
Given Kudos: 112
Location: India
Concentration: Strategy, Operations
GMAT 1: 600 Q49 V22
GMAT 2: 670 Q49 V31
GPA: 4
WE:Research (Manufacturing)
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
Quote:
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal bones in amber could provide important clues of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies.

(A) of determining, in addition to how, when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies
(B) in the determination of how and when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals
(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did
(D) for determining when the islands of the West Indies were colonized by mammals and how they were
(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies

I would not recommend eliminating options based on preposition usage only.

Here is my approach:
the pronoun "they" is not having a proper antecedent to refer to.
they can be scientists, mammals, etc.
Hence C and D are out.

B is having passive voice, though it is not a wrong approach, but the usage of preposition "in" and noun "determination" makes it weaker compared with other options. Other options are better than B. B is out.

Between A and E, the {comma + when} usage makes when an RPM and it got no noun to refer.
A is out.

Hence E is clear win
Intern
Intern
Joined: 09 Mar 2018
Posts: 3
Own Kudos [?]: 7 [0]
Given Kudos: 21
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
egmat wrote:
Hi Sachin,

Choice B is incorrect because it is very wordy. It does not have any grammatical error, but it certianly is lot more wordy. Choice E is concise.

Well, there are no rules for awkwardness because it is a stylistic issue and not a grammatical issue.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Is the use 'in determination of' correct within the given context? I thought it means that the clues would be found during determination rather than clues being used for determining.

Thanks in advance.
Manager
Manager
Joined: 31 Jan 2020
Posts: 230
Own Kudos [?]: 15 [1]
Given Kudos: 139
Send PM
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
1
Kudos
GMATNinja wrote:
Hi GMATNinja ,
I have some queries here.
Quote:
(C) to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did
I think there is no problem with "they" as according to parallelism , "they" must refer to mammals.
Quote:
(E) for determining how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies
Is there ellipsis here like :
for determining how (mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies) and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies .
Is it right to have ellipsis before ?

Thanks





If I put "so" after "did" in choice C, will it be correct ? "to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did so"


PS. Thank you, GMATNinja your explanation is very clear, and I always find your explanation first.
VP
VP
Joined: 11 Aug 2020
Posts: 1245
Own Kudos [?]: 208 [0]
Given Kudos: 332
Send PM
Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
sanch93 wrote:
egmat wrote:
Hi Sachin,

Choice B is incorrect because it is very wordy. It does not have any grammatical error, but it certianly is lot more wordy. Choice E is concise.

Well, there are no rules for awkwardness because it is a stylistic issue and not a grammatical issue.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha


Is the use 'in determination of' correct within the given context? I thought it means that the clues would be found during determination rather than clues being used for determining.

Thanks in advance.


"For determining" is idiomatic and more concise.

B is also written in the passive voice.
GMAT Club Verbal Expert
Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Status: GMAT/GRE/LSAT tutors
Posts: 6991
Own Kudos [?]: 64575 [2]
Given Kudos: 1824
Location: United States (CO)
GMAT 1: 780 Q51 V46
GMAT 2: 800 Q51 V51
GRE 1: Q170 V170

GRE 2: Q170 V170
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
2
Kudos
Expert Reply
Quote:
If I put "so" after "did" in choice C, will it be correct ? "to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did so"


PS. Thank you, GMATNinja your explanation is very clear, and I always find your explanation first.

Thank you for the kind words!

As for whether (C) would be improved if we tacked on a "so" at the end, I suppose you could argue it would be a little clearer, but the real question is whether this new version of (C) would then be clearer and more logical than (E). And even with this adjustment (E) is still better.

First, (C) unnecessarily introduces a new clause at the end of the sentence. To see more on why this is problematic, check out this post.

Also, (C) tosses in a confusing pronoun, which, while it isn't definitively wrong, isn't ideal either. (E) eliminates the pronoun, gets rid of the unnecessary clause and is generally clearer and more concise than the altered version of (C), so (E) is still our winner.

Takeaway: the broader point here is that SC is often about pinpointing definitive errors, but other times it's about making a side-by-side comparison and asking yourself which is better. By improving (C), we're essentially sliding it from the domain of "error" to the domain of "not wrong, but still not as good as an alternative answer."

I hope that helps!
Intern
Intern
Joined: 20 Jun 2021
Posts: 25
Own Kudos [?]: 1 [0]
Given Kudos: 5
GPA: 4
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
egmat what is the error in the original questionas per your error analysis?
Experts' Global Representative
Joined: 10 Jul 2017
Posts: 5128
Own Kudos [?]: 4694 [0]
Given Kudos: 38
Location: India
GMAT Date: 11-01-2019
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
Expert Reply
arnav532 wrote:
egmat what is the error in the original questionas per your error analysis?


Hello arnav532,

We hope this finds you well.

Having gone through the question and your query, we believe we can help resolve your doubt.

The main error in Option A is the use of the phrase "clues of determining", which leads to an incoherent meaning; the intended meaning is that the discovery of certain bones could provide important clues that could help determine how and when mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies. Further, Option A uses the passive and needlessly wordy phrase "in addition to how, when", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

We hope this helps.
All the best!
Experts' Global Team
Intern
Intern
Joined: 30 May 2020
Posts: 16
Own Kudos [?]: 1 [0]
Given Kudos: 215
Location: India
Send PM
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
egmat

Can you please help in ruling out option C?

Option C - to determine how mammals colonized the islands of the West Indies and when they did

Per my understanding, 'They' can not logically refer to islands or West indies. The only logical referent is Mammals. SO pronoun ambiguity should not be an issue here. Is option C incorrect because of incorrect idiom 'to determine'. I believe the difference between 'to determine' and 'for determining' in the context of this question is too subtle to be considered a basis for elimination

Thanks, Devansh
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Scientists claim that the discovery of the first authenticated mammal [#permalink]
   1   2   3   
Moderators:
GMAT Club Verbal Expert
6991 posts
GMAT Club Verbal Expert
236 posts