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

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

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New post 20 Jun 2018, 23:20
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56% (00:47) correct 44% (00:56) wrong based on 1655 sessions

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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

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

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New post Updated on: 11 Jul 2018, 21:00
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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.

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Originally posted by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 25 Jun 2018, 16:27.
Last edited by EMPOWERgmatVerbal on 11 Jul 2018, 21:00, edited 2 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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New post 02 Jul 2018, 13:43
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There are several reasons to eliminate A and choose B.

so X as to Y implies that Y SEEMS TO BE TRUE.
Official examples:
Climatic shifts are so gradual as to be indistinguishable from ordinary fluctuations in the weather.
The features of the idealized sculpture portrait are so unrealistic as to constitute what one scholar calls an "artificial face."
In each case, the blue portion is something that SEEMS TO BE TRUE about the preceding subject in red.

so X that Y implies that Y ACTUALLY HAPPENS.
An official example:
Everyday life is so brisk that it hampers the ability of some children to distinguishing discrete sounds.
Here, the blue portion is something that ACTUALLY HAPPENS -- an action that is actually performed by the preceding subject in red.

A key difference between the two idioms:
Whereas in the second idiom Y can serve to express an actual action, in the first idiom it cannot.
In the first idiom, Y must serve to express not an actual action but merely something that SEEMS TO BE TRUE about the preceding subject.

A: so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character
Here, so X as to Y incorrectly serves to express the action in red.
As noted above, Y in this idiom must serve to express not an actual action but merely something that seems to be true about the preceding subject.

Moreover, the usage of so X as to Y implies that the portion in red does not actually happen.
Not the intended meaning.
A person can DROWN in quicksand.
Thus, quicksand actually DOES acquire the character of a liquid.
To express this meaning, we should use so X that Y, as in the OA:
"Quicksand"...is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid.

Another issue:

A dog's eyes can reveal much about its temperament.
Here, the phrase in blue implies that every dog has UNIQUE eyes -- eyes that can reveal much about the dog's temperament.

A: a liquid's character
This phrase seems to imply that every liquid has a UNIQUE character.
Not the intended meaning.
The intention here is to discuss the general nature of any given liquid.
The OA correctly expresses this meaning:
"Quicksand"... is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid.
Here, THE CHARACTER of a liquid = the general nature of any given liquid.

For all these reasons, eliminate A.


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

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New post Updated on: 22 Jun 2018, 06:16
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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--- more ideal than B as it avoids the prickly pronoun issue.

B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid-- 'it' may refer to either the term quicksand or just sand.

C. that is saturated with water enough to acquire the liquid characteristics --- Liquid characteristics means different from the character of a liquid.

D. saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid--- so as to acquire in a stretch isn't acceptable. 'So adjective as to' is the correct idiom.

E. saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character-- liquid character changes the meaning.
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Originally posted by daagh on 21 Jun 2018, 07:05.
Last edited by daagh on 22 Jun 2018, 06:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Jun 2018, 07:58
Answer A.

Correct construction of

So (adj) + as to + verb


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

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 04:37
IMO B.

to+verb is used to denote aim/purpose/intention. The sand does not acquire water to become like liquid. Therefore, B.

Also, there is no pronoun ambiguity as water cannot acquire a liquid's character as it already is a liquid.

Not very sure, waiting for the OA.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 09:49
One more for B.

Main split seems to be between A and B.

So saturated with water as to = incorrect construction I feel

In A 'it' is not ambiguous.It clearly refers to sand since a TERM cannot acquire liquid characteristics.
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Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 03 Sep 2018, 23:33
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IMO, B makes sense.
Other options say "as to acquire" liquid's character (which could be one particular type of liquid) or characteristics of liquid, means sand itself want to acquire those characteristics by enough saturation of water. However, in general, quicksand is a condition where sand behaves like a liquid when it is saturated with enough water. Also "so X that Y" is correct
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Originally posted by SWAT09 on 22 Jun 2018, 11:27.
Last edited by SWAT09 on 03 Sep 2018, 23:33, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 22 Jun 2018, 12:38
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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. ;)

Originally posted by neptune28 on 22 Jun 2018, 11:50.
Last edited by neptune28 on 22 Jun 2018, 12:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 12:30
It will be very helpful if the OE is shared along with OA since A uses possessive form aptly (liquid's character = character of liquid going by the rules of possessive pronouns) and E uses Noun adjective for the entity (liquid character = character of liquid). Although two choices might be incorrect for other reasons, since both usages sound correct, is there a preference between the two? What if there is a choice between possessive and noun adjective in some question? Will be helpful if someone with clarity on concepts exemplifies a bit.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 12:49
urvashis09 wrote:
It will be very helpful if the OE is shared along with OA since A uses possessive form aptly (liquid's character = character of liquid going by the rules of possessive pronouns) and E uses Noun adjective for the entity (liquid character = character of liquid). Although two choices might be incorrect for other reasons, since both usages sound correct, is there a preference between the two? What if there is a choice between possessive and noun adjective in some question? Will be helpful if someone with clarity on concepts exemplifies a bit.


This may not directly answer what you're asking, but using a possessive is not always appropriate. For instance, take this sentence:

The measure of a man is the way he treats other people.

On the other hand, this sentence is awkward:

A man's measure is the way he treats other people.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 13:04
neptune28 wrote:
urvashis09 wrote:
It will be very helpful if the OE is shared along with OA since A uses possessive form aptly (liquid's character = character of liquid going by the rules of possessive pronouns) and E uses Noun adjective for the entity (liquid character = character of liquid). Although two choices might be incorrect for other reasons, since both usages sound correct, is there a preference between the two? What if there is a choice between possessive and noun adjective in some question? Will be helpful if someone with clarity on concepts exemplifies a bit.


This may not directly answer what you're asking, but using a possessive is not always appropriate. For instance, take this sentence:

The measure of a man is the way he treats other people.

On the other hand, this sentence is awkward:

A man's measure is the way he treats other people.


Hi,

Thank you for sharing an interesting example to help understand the concept better. But, I have a doubt.
Doesn't the difference in meaning in the said example come from the usage of different articles, definite for first, indefinite for second?

If we keep the articles same, say "the", the meaning stays the same in my understanding. Your thoughts?

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

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New post 22 Jun 2018, 13:59
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urvashis09 wrote:
Thank you for sharing an interesting example to help understand the concept better. But, I have a doubt.


No problem, urvashis09.

Quote:
Doesn't the difference in meaning in the said example come from the usage of different articles, definite for first, indefinite for second?


Not really. In the second example, "a" still modifies "man." The difference is that the "the" is implicit rather than explicit.

Quote:
If we keep the articles same, say "the", the meaning stays the same in my understanding. Your thoughts?


That changes the meaning:

The man's measure is the way he treats other people.

This is now a statement about a particular man, not a man in general.

I guess one way to say this is that "the measure of a man" is more or less idiomatic, whereas "a man's measure" doesn't sound natural. In the question above, "a liquid's character" sounds a bit off to me.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2018, 04:30
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urvashis09 wrote:
IMO B.

to+verb is used to denote aim/purpose/intention. The sand does not acquire water to become like liquid. Therefore, B.

Also, there is no pronoun ambiguity as water cannot acquire a liquid's character as it already is a liquid.

Not very sure, waiting for the OA.


I think there is a subtle difference in meaning between A & B.Lets have a re-look at the options.

A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character
In A, 'liquid' works to replace 'water'.
So option A could be read as : that is so saturated with water as to acquire a water's character.

B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid
In B, 'liquid' do not acts as a replacement of 'water'. It means that 'quicksand' acts as a 'liquid'

IMO, sentence intends to convey that 'quicksand' works as 'water' and not just a 'liquid'.

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

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New post 23 Jun 2018, 05:44
sqube wrote:

I think there is a subtle difference in meaning between A & B.Lets have a re-look at the options.

A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character
In A, 'liquid' works to replace 'water'.
So option A could be read as : that is so saturated with water as to acquire a water's character.


Did not understand this part. IMO had the article been "the" instead of "a" before liquid, then it would have been possible to replace liquid with water.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2018, 08:39
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
so saturate with water as to acquire . to + acquire --> denotes intention . Incorrect

B. that is so saturated with water that it acquires the character of a liquid
so saturated that it acquires. At one moment, it looks that "it" is ambiguous in this sentence.
But I feel "it" properly refers to "sand". It doesn't refer to quicksand .


C. that is saturated with water enough to acquire liquid characteristics
to + acquire --> denotes intention. Illogical meaning. Incorrect.

D. saturated enough with water so as to acquire the character of a liquid
to + acquire --> denotes intention. Illogical meaning. Incorrect.

E. saturated with water so much as to acquire a liquid character
to + acquire --> denotes intention. Illogical meaning. Incorrect.

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

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New post 26 Jun 2018, 12:47
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
A. that is so saturated with water as to acquire a liquid's character → WRONG

We can eliminate answers A and E because they use the idiomatic structure incorrectly.


How exactly does choice A use the idiomatic structure incorrectly?

Here's another question from this forum (https://gmatclub.com/forum/often-major- ... 35fe8f5497), and the correct answer is A:

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

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 02:12
Can somebody please provide the OE from the OG2019?

B is apparently the OA but I can't really understand why we would pick it over A.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2018, 09:54
Plzzzzz provide the OA ... I hate this thing seriously. Have to wait for over a week to get the OA's and when the OAis posted , we already forget about the questions. Please for God's sake stop this, or at least reduce the suspense duration. In need for a discussion many of us actually forget about the question.Please give this a serious thought. People who are keen to reply or discuss will do it anyway. Please give this a serious thought. POST THE OA.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2018, 13:00
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.
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Re: Technically, “quicksand” is the term for sand that is so saturated wit &nbs [#permalink] 28 Jun 2018, 13:00

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