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Sentence Correction ~ Appositive

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Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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The U.S. Revolutionay war rolls, a collection of records kept by the National archives, lists only individuals who fought for the colonies in the american revolutionary war.

What is the main subject and what is the appositive over here?
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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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New post 14 Aug 2017, 16:51
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ng2 wrote:
The U.S. Revolutionay war rolls, a collection of records kept by the National archives, lists only individuals who fought for the colonies in the american revolutionary war.

What is the main subject and what is the appositive over here?

Dear ng2,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friend, I see this is your first post. Welcome to GMAT Club! Good luck in your preparations for the GMAT! :-)

As a general rule, any structure in a sentence set off on both sides by a comma is optional, something extra, and the flow of the sentence would be grammatically correct without it. Thus, the phrase "a collection of records kept by the National archives" is set-off by commas and optional: this could not be the subject, but it could be an appositive. We also have to correct the verb, which is wrong in the version you give: we have to make it a plural verb. Here's the short version, with the strictly necessary pieces.
The U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls list only individuals who fought for the colonies in the American Revolutionary War.
Thus, clearly, "The U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls" is the subject. Now, we can look at the full sentence.
The U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls, a collection of records kept by the National Archives, list only individuals who fought for the colonies in the American Revolutionary War.
Indeed, the phrase set off by commas is the appositive phrase.

You can read more at this blog article:
GMAT Grammar: Appositive Phrases

Feel free to ask for my help anywhere on GMAT Club, by using my user name mikemcgarry and the "mention this user" button.

Does all this make sense?
Mike:-)
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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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Hey. Thanks for the reply. I have another query. Shouldnt 'US revolutionary war rolls' be singular since its a collective entity. like it says in the appositive that it is a collection of records.
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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 10:12
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ng2 wrote:
Hey. Thanks for the reply. I have another query. Shouldnt 'US revolutionary war rolls' be singular since its a collective entity. like it says in the appositive that it is a collection of records.

Dear ng2,

My friend, that's a very thoughtful and perceptive question. I'm happy to respond. :-)

You know, my friend, there's an element of language that is inherently illogical. Yes, technically, the term "U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls" (every word of which should be capitalized) not only denotes a single thing but also is identified by the appositive as another single thing: "a collection of records." In a purely logically consistent way, we can construct a strong argument about why it should be singular. Nevertheless, the term is written as a plural, so the default is to treat it grammatically as a plural. That's the rough and ready rule.

The opposite is also true: collective nouns (e.g. "the company," "the government," "the football team," etc.) are composed of many individuals, but because these words are in singular form, they demand singular verbs and singular pronouns.

With exceedingly few exceptions unlikely to be tested on the GMAT, we can say: forget about what would logically make sense--if it looks plural, treat it as plural, and if it looks singular, treat it as singular. You can give yourself bad headaches if you worry about all the ways that the English language is not logically consistent.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2017, 13:49
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mikemcgarry wrote:
You know, my friend, there's an element of language that is inherently illogical. Yes, technically, the term "U.S. Revolutionary War Rolls" (every word of which should be capitalized) not only denotes a single thing but also is identified by the appositive as another single thing: "a collection of records." In a purely logically consistent way, we can construct a strong argument about why it should be singular. Nevertheless, the term is written as a plural, so the default is to treat it grammatically as a plural. That's the rough and ready rule.


An interesting source on this is SC 101 in the 2015 Verbal OG. (It looks like this is the problem that this one is based on.) The official explanation for that problem reads as follows:

"...Although the work is sometimes referred to by the title The Federalist Papers, the fact that papers is not capitalized indicates that in this case it is intended as a descriptive reference to the collection of papers, not as a title. Thus, it should have a plural verb."

That seems to imply that if the whole title was capitalized, the GMAC would consider the whole thing a singular noun. Because it isn't, it's plural.
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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive [#permalink]

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New post 28 Sep 2017, 10:01
ng2
can you please post the full questions with options over here? Seems like an interesting question.

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Re: Sentence Correction ~ Appositive   [#permalink] 28 Sep 2017, 10:01
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