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# Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit

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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2018, 20:02
neptune28 wrote:
Well, well—turns out the answer is B after all.

If someone could post the explanation too, that would be extremely helpful. I thought "a liquid's character" in choice A sounded very strange, but it would be interesting to know if that was indeed the deal breaker.

I guess the slight pronoun ambiguity in B wasn't considered a big deal.

You can check the solutions above. For example, here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/technically- ... l#p2084021
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2018, 20:50
Bunuel wrote:
You can check the solutions above. For example, here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/technically- ... l#p2084021

Thanks, Bunuel, but if you read my response to that post, the claim that the "so X as to Y" structure isn't idiomatic is puzzling. I also provided an official question in which that structure is considered idiomatic. So it seems nothing less than an explanation from the OG is going to do.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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28 Jun 2018, 21:25
neptune28 wrote:
Bunuel wrote:
You can check the solutions above. For example, here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/technically- ... l#p2084021

Thanks, Bunuel, but if you read my response to that post, the claim that the "so X as to Y" structure isn't idiomatic is puzzling. I also provided an official question in which that structure is considered idiomatic. So it seems nothing less than an explanation from the OG is going to do.

Hope this might help

The idiom "So + Adj + that + Clause (Sub+verb) - expresses cause & result

The idiom "So + Adj + as to + Verb - expresses the extreme nature of whatever you are talking about

The OG example quoted by you has the idiom of the form

"So + Adj + as to + (be+ Adj)" - is used to strengthen a description for e.g. so pale as to be translucent

In the question topic, Choice A i think is wrong for the use of possessive "liquid's character"

Possessive nouns are used to describe parts of living things or something that belongs to a living thing.

e.g. unicorn's horn, bird's feathers, etc.

for inanimate objects we do not use the possessive form

e.g. we don't say "door's handle", we say "door handle"

I hope this clarifies.

Experts please correct me if i am wrong. The above explanations are from my notes collected from various sources.

You can refer to RonPurewal explanation to " So....as to" here https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/forums/idioms-so-x-as-to-y-vs-x-enough-to-y-t1711.html

Thanks,
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 00:53
Well I already read the official explanation for this question and found out that the issue here is really subtle meaning between "so...as to" and "so...that"
The original sentence is
Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.
The intended meaning of this sentence is to explain quicksand as the sand saturated with water at a certain degree. The issue being tested here is how to correctly convey the degree of saturation.

A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character
This structure "so...as to" failed to explain what degree of saturation that make sand become quicksand. This choice failed to explain the clause that states that condition. "to acquire a liquid's character" <-- Lack of subject what acquire that character??

B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid
This option is better than (A) since the part after "that" contains proper statement and "it" logically refers to sand

For me the idiom "so...as to" and "so...that" are really confusing. Can anyone explain the correct usage of these two?
Some of OG problem accept "so...as to". For example

Often major economic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable at first from ordinary fluctuations in the financial markets

(A) so gradual as to be indistinguishable
(B) so gradual so that they can be indistinguishable
(C) so gradual that they are unable to be distinguished
(D) gradual enough not to be distinguishable
(E) gradual enough so that one cannot distinguish them

A recording system was so secretly installed and operated in the Kennedy Oval Office that even Theodore C. Sorensen, the White House counsel, did not know it existed.
(A) A recording system was so secretly installed and operated in the Kennedy Oval Office that
(B) So secret was a recording system installation and operation in the Kennedy Oval Office
(C) It was so secret that a recording system was installed and operated in the Kennedy Oval Office
(D) A recording system that was so secretly installed and operated in the Kennedy Oval Office
(E) Installed and operated so secretly in the Kennedy Oval Office was a recording system that

I would be really appreciate if anyone can clarify the usage of these idioms.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 11:41
chippoochan wrote:
Well I already read the official explanation for this question and found out that the issue here is really subtle meaning between "so...as to" and "so...that" . . . .

A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character
This structure "so...as to" failed to explain what degree of saturation that make sand become quicksand. This choice failed to explain the clause that states that condition. "to acquire a liquid's character" <-- Lack of subject what acquire that character??

Interesting. So the problem is that the subject of "to acquire" could be either "sand" or "water"?

Yes, it would be helpful to have more clarification about the differences between the two constructions in question.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 29 Jun 2018, 12:16
GyMrAT wrote:
Hope this might help

The idiom "So + Adj + that + Clause (Sub+verb) - expresses cause & result

The idiom "So + Adj + as to + Verb - expresses the extreme nature of whatever you are talking about

Thanks—that's interesting. But I think you could also say that in this sentence, the "extreme nature" of something is being described. So, unfortunately, I'm not sure this really clears things up. Does the sand's property of extreme saturation "result" in the acquiring of the character of a liquid? I don't think so. Here it seems we're just describing an inherent characteristic. So, I don't see any real cause and effect—it's all just instantaneous.

Quote:
In the question topic, Choice A i think is wrong for the use of possessive "liquid's character"

Possessive nouns are used to describe parts of living things or something that belongs to a living thing.

e.g. unicorn's horn, bird's feathers, etc.

for inanimate objects we do not use the possessive form

e.g. we don't say "door's handle", we say "door handle"

That makes a lot of sense—thanks.

Originally posted by neptune28 on 29 Jun 2018, 11:50.
Last edited by neptune28 on 29 Jun 2018, 12:16, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 11:54
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Water is already a liquid. Therefore, there is no question of it acquiring liquid's character yet again. The logical subject of 'to acquire' is only the otherwise solid sand, which becomes a swampy medium.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 12:01
daagh wrote:
Water is already a liquid. Therefore, there is no question of it acquiring liquid's character yet again. The logical subject of 'to acquire' is only the otherwise solid sand, which becomes a swampy medium.

Good point. OK, so why is choice A definitely wrong then? It would definitely be helpful if someone could post the explanation from the OG verbatim.

Frankly, if there's so much confusion over this question, I don't think it's a very good one.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 12:34
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If the correct choice hinges on a subtlety between two nearly interchangeable idioms, then doesn't it go against the ethos of the GMAC, which not long ago said that it wouldn't bind the teat-takers on idioms? The latest official guide should walk the talk.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 13:28

The GMAT question was confusing so much as for the official answer's reasoning not to be understood by anyone.

(A) confusing so much as for the official answer's reasoning not to be understood by anyone
(B) confusing enough that officially the answer by no one reasoning was understood
(C) so confusing as to prevent the official understanding by anyone of the answer's reasoning
(D) so confusing that nobody understood the reasoning of the official answer
(E) sufficiently confusing that officially anyone reasoning did understand the answer not

The official answer will be revealed on July 1.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 17:10
2
Bunuel wrote:
Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character

NEW question from GMAT® Official Guide 2019

(SC00971)

https://www.nytimes.com/1986/04/15/science/q-a-262786.html

Does quicksand really suck in its victims? A. Dr. Stanley Schumm, a professor of geology at Colorado State University, said that contrary to superstition, quicksand does not draw in its victims. The human body will not sink out of sight in quicksand, he said, because the density of the quicksand is greater than that of the body. Most of the people who perish in quicksand, however, do drown after losing their balance from struggling to get out, he said. Quicksand is the term for sand that is so saturated with water that it loses its supporting capacity. As water beneath the surface is forced upward through the sand, the grains are pushed apart and the sand swells, acquiring the character of a liquid.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2018, 22:07
neptune28 wrote:

The GMAT question was confusing so much as for the official answer's reasoning not to be understood by anyone.

(A) confusing so much as for the official answer's reasoning not to be understood by anyone
(B) confusing enough that officially the answer by no one reasoning was understood
(C) so confusing as to prevent the official understanding by anyone of the answer's reasoning
(D) so confusing that nobody understood the reasoning of the official answer
(E) sufficiently confusing that officially anyone reasoning did understand the answer not

The official answer will be revealed on July 1.

Nice question, IMO D!

So X that Y used correctly.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2018, 09:47
Hello,

You mention students study while assassins train. what is the difference between studying and training for the GMAT?

EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

This may seem like an easy question because it’s so short, but on the GMAT, short answers can be tricky! Let’s break this down, one problem at a time, to find the right answer! After a quick scan of the answers, there are a few differences between each answer we need to focus on:

1. How they begin: “that is so saturated” vs. “saturated”
2. Idiomatic structure: “so X that Y”
3. “So saturated” vs. “saturated enough”

Let’s start with #2 on our list because it will be the easiest way to knock off a few wrong answers quickly. Most of these answers follow some form of the following idiomatic structure: “sand” that is so X that Y

A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character → WRONG
B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid → CORRECT
C. that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics → Doesn’t use idiom…save for later
D. saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid → Doesn’t use idiom…save for later
E. saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character → WRONG

We can eliminate answers A and E because they use the idiomatic structure incorrectly. This leaves us with answers B, C, and E. Let’s see which one is the best answer:

B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid

This is CORRECT! Everything is concise, follows idiomatic structures, and conveys the proper meaning.

C. that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics

This is INCORRECT because the phrase “to acquire” suggests that the sand acquires liquid characteristics from some outside force or person other than the sand or water. It’s much clearer to say “it acquires” something, like in answer B.

D. saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid

This is INCORRECT because the phrase “so as to acquire” could apply to either the sand or the water. The GMAT doesn’t like vagueness, so this can’t be the best answer.

Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.

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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2018, 03:02
neptune28
neptune28 wrote:
It's definitely between A and B. I personally think the phrase "a liquid's character" is very awkward. Because of that, I lean toward B. On the other hand, the "it" in B is somewhat ambiguous, even though B sounds more natural than A overall.

As pedantic as the people who write these tests seem to be, something tells me the answer will end up being A, which is clunky but has no real technical problems.

Hi, can you help me explain why you think CDE are definitely wrong? Thanks.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2018, 15:48
ryanchow92 wrote:
neptune28
neptune28 wrote:
It's definitely between A and B. I personally think the phrase "a liquid's character" is very awkward. Because of that, I lean toward B. On the other hand, the "it" in B is somewhat ambiguous, even though B sounds more natural than A overall.

As pedantic as the people who write these tests seem to be, something tells me the answer will end up being A, which is clunky but has no real technical problems.

Hi, can you help me explain why you think CDE are definitely wrong? Thanks.

See below:

Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character. Clearly wrong. "As to" acquire is downright incorrect. You're going from something that is "... so saturated" which would automatically require "that" to "as to".

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid. Correct. X is so saturated with water that it requires blah blah

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics. What's the role of "enough" here? You're missing "that". See A above.

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid. "So as to" is wrong English in this context. Read it out loud and see if it sounds correct.

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character. Again "as to". Same as D.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2018, 06:56
Hi guys,
IN option B
Logically it refers to sand but technically pronoun it has to refer the nearest noun right..?
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Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2018, 09:11
Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character

I often come across the notion that your ear is your enemy when you do SC, or something to this effect.

However, it helped me out in this case.

I was stuck between A and B….then read A in my mind a couple of times and each time I read it it did not sound quite right. When I read it once again I found what was wrong. I thought that A would be much better if it was worded like this “Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as it acquires a liquid's character”. And I chose B

EMPOWERgmatVerbal perfect explanation
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Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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27 Oct 2018, 21:01
1
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

Even though the stats for this question show it's a tricky one, we can narrow down to the right option by exploiting the error type clues.

Let's start by looking at the differences in the options:

1. that is so saturated / saturated enough
2. acquires / to acquire
3. character / characteristics

Verb tenses are often an easy place to start narrowing down options, so definitely let's start by tackling #2 on our list: acquires vs. to acquire.

When we use the to+verb combination, it implies intention. This means that when we say the sand wants "to acquire" the characteristics of water, it is a thinking, breathing, intentional being that chooses to go out and get the characteristics of water. We know that sand isn't a living thing that has intentions of its own. Therefore, it isn't appropriate to say "to acquire." Here are some examples:

I want to acquire the rights to that song for my movie. = CORRECT (I'm a person with thoughts and intentions, so it's okay.)

The chair is so short as to acquire the perfect balance for short children. = WRONG (A chair can't want "to acquire" balance from somewhere - it's either balanced or it's not. The chair can't decide for itself what it wants to be!)

The school acquires new students every fall. = CORRECT (Just saying "acquires" doesn't imply intention is involved. It just happens, so it's okay.)

Now, let's use that understanding and we'll be able to decimate the incorrect options. Check it out:

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character

There we have it. The only answer that doesn't imply that sand or quicksand "chooses" to take on the characteristics of a liquid is answer B.

Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.

I found the below explanation from a GMAT expert on another site -

The explanation is that “to acquire” indicates the purpose/intention of “sand”. Since “sand” cannot have an intention, this option is incorrect.

However, this explanation is incorrect. In this “so x as to verb y” construction, “to verb” doesn’t denote purpose or intention. “to verb y” part indicates the extent of “x”.

For example:
-The numbers coming out of Exxon Mobil XOM 0.37% were so good as to be slightly embarrassing. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-more-ti ... 1517589782)
-Potential penalties would be so low as to have no relevance for financial markets. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/investor-t ... 1536256548)
-The company’s descriptions of the partnership dealings were so complicated as to be practically indecipherable. (https://jp.wsj.com/articles/SB1011560211577333280)

In all the above sentences, the subjects of the sentences cannot have an intention. Still, the sentences are correct. There are hundreds of other similar sentences on WSJ.com and NYTimes.com. Unless we consider all these sentences incorrect, we cannot agree with the above explanation.

Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character - the phrase a liquid's character is incorrect because we want to discuss the general nature of any given liquid

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid - Correct

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics - “enough” word is misplaced. It should come before “water”. The construction should be “that is saturated with enough water to…”

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid -- so as to acquire -- Doesn't it mean intention?

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character - ‘a liquid character’ doesn’t necessarily mean the character of a liquid. It could mean a character which is liquid or malleable

2- Also, can we eliminate options based on saturated enough(which specifies a threshold) or so saturated(which specifies a high value) here?
3 - In option D, doesn't "so as to acquire" mean intention?

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , MagooshExpert , GMATGuruNY , VeritasKarishma , DmitryFarber , RonPurewal other experts -please enlighten and provide an explanation for the question
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2018, 12:40
Skywalker18 wrote:
I found the below explanation from a GMAT expert on another site -

The explanation is that “to acquire” indicates the purpose/intention of “sand”. Since “sand” cannot have an intention, this option is incorrect.

However, this explanation is incorrect. In this “so x as to verb y” construction, “to verb” doesn’t denote purpose or intention. “to verb y” part indicates the extent of “x”.

For example:
-The numbers coming out of Exxon Mobil XOM 0.37% were so good as to be slightly embarrassing. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/no-more-ti ... 1517589782)
-Potential penalties would be so low as to have no relevance for financial markets. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/investor-t ... 1536256548)
-The company’s descriptions of the partnership dealings were so complicated as to be practically indecipherable. (https://jp.wsj.com/articles/SB1011560211577333280)

In all the above sentences, the subjects of the sentences cannot have an intention. Still, the sentences are correct. There are hundreds of other similar sentences on WSJ.com and NYTimes.com. Unless we consider all these sentences incorrect, we cannot agree with the above explanation.

Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character.

(A) that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character - the phrase a liquid's character is incorrect because we want to discuss the general nature of any given liquid

(B) that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid - Correct

(C) that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics - “enough” word is misplaced. It should come before “water”. The construction should be “that is saturated with enough water to…”

(D) saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid -- so as to acquire -- Doesn't it mean intention?

(E) saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character - ‘a liquid character’ doesn’t necessarily mean the character of a liquid. It could mean a character which is liquid or malleable

2- Also, can we eliminate options based on saturated enough(which specifies a threshold) or so saturated(which specifies a high value) here?
3 - In option D, doesn't "so as to acquire" mean intention?

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , MagooshExpert , GMATGuruNY , VeritasKarishma , DmitryFarber , RonPurewal other experts -please enlighten and provide an explanation for the question

Hi Skywalker18,

Great due diligence here!

There are actually two different idioms being discussed here. When we see:

"so as to X"

"so as to" means "in order to". This usage doesn't make any sense here -- we would not want to say "saturated with water in order to acquire the characteristics of a liquid", because that does imply intention/purpose, which would be incorrect. This is the idiom used in D, so D is incorrect.

This idiom:

"so X as to Y"

is a totally different idiom, which is actually a comparison. See this article (under "Clause of consequence") for more examples of this idiom. The examples that you quoted are examples of this construction, not the "so as to X" construction. The "so X as to Y" structure is used in choice A, and GMATGuruNY gave a great explanation above of why that construction is incorrect here.

Hope that helps!
-Carolyn
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit &nbs [#permalink] 28 Oct 2018, 12:40

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