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# The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu

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Manager
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The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 16 May 2019, 07:50
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Question Stats:

57% (01:22) correct 43% (01:30) wrong based on 395 sessions

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The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

(A) a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount

(B) a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite number

(C) the means of reducing for comprehending the nearly infinite number

(D) the means that reduces, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount

(E) the means for reducing in order to comprehend the nearly infinite amount

Originally posted by trulyblessed on 14 Sep 2005, 02:00.
Last edited by Bunuel on 16 May 2019, 07:50, edited 3 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2017, 03:38
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Top Contributor
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Stimulus is the singular word for the plural 'stimuli'. As a thumb rule, all plurals are countable.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2005, 02:19
1
It's B right? I attacked it from the other end. guess stimuli is countable.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2005, 02:22
GMATT73, between A and B, how did you determine that stimuli is countable? Or is this just common knowledge?

GMATT73 wrote:
It's B right? I attacked it from the other end. guess stimuli is countable.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2005, 02:32
Stimuli can be broken down, categorized, labeled, and archived = countable.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2005, 03:16
yes, stimulus is in fact a countable noun.

what got me thinking about amount was the word infinite but is should be
number of stimuli
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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10 Jul 2018, 06:00
1
If you cannot determine whether it is countable or uncountable, look for clues in the part that's not underlined in the sentence. In this question, we have "reach", which is for plural. Hence we can see that "stimuli" is plural in this sentence. Hope that helps
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2018, 09:46
Hi, can a moderator add underline? It was a bit tough to understand the question without it.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2018, 09:47
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Hi, can a moderator add underline? It was a bit tough to understand the question without it.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2018, 11:20
Mankodim wrote:
Hi, can a moderator add underline? It was a bit tough to understand the question without it.

Posted from my mobile device

Done that, thanks for pointing out KUDOS added.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2018, 17:42
The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

I have a question here...

Why comma is required between
...comprehend,the nearly....

Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

a)a means to reduce
b)the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment

daagh GMATNinja generis

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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29 Aug 2018, 19:34
1
Harshgmat wrote:
The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

I have a question here...

Why comma is required between
...comprehend,the nearly....

Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

a)a means to reduce
b)the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment

daagh GMATNinja generis

Harshgmat , this sentence is well-written and very complicated in grammar lingo. I can understand why you are curious about it!

I have never seen punctuation this sophisticated tested by GMAC in ANY OG question.*

The commas before and after "in order to comprehend" are needed to indicate that we are shifting for a moment to insert a SEMI-parenthetical explanation.

A true "parenthetical aside": Professor Melnyk, of course, laughed at the student's funny comment.
A true aside in the middle of an expression is always set off by two commas and can be removed from the sentence without altering its meaning.

The phrase "in order to comprehend" is a bit more than a parenthetical aside. Removing the phrase changes the meaning. But the phrase does interrupt.

Let's try the sentence without the commas.

The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce in order to comprehend the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

To reduce WHAT? Without a comma, we have no indication that "in order to comprehend" is an interruption (is a shift in THOUGHT and LOGIC). At that point, "to reduce" looks as if it has no direct object or a very elusive one.

Without a boatload of jargon and a sentence diagram, the best way to explain all the commas is this: if there is a distinct shift in the sentence, thought process, or logic, use a comma.

The phrase "in order to comprehend" and its commas indicate that we are interrupting the flow of the sentence to explain why the brain must first reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli.

So we need a comma before and after "in order to comprehend":

1) to signal that the preceding verb "to reduce" is connected to the direct object "number," which immediately follows "comprehend"; and

2) to indicate that we are interrupting a verb phrase to explain WHY the brain needs to reduce the number of stimuli. That's a shift in thought.

Finally, the commas clarify meaning. The sentence is a bit unorthodox. Good prose often is unorthodox.

Are you confused by the meaning of the sentence?

Below is a very ugly version of the meaning of this sentence. Words in brackets indicate exactly that which the commas suggest without saying a word. I would rather read the sentence in the prompt (with the correct option B inserted).

MEANING:
The brain is [a type of] a stimulus reduction system.
[In other words, the brain is] a means to reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.
[The brain functions as a means to reduce the number of stimuli] in order to comprehend [a then-manageable number of] the stimuli.

Quote:
Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

If I were to explain all the modifiers in this sentence, I would be writing for days.

The question doesn't test modifiers. It tests

-- countability: Stimuli can be counted. We can have an infinite NUMBER of stimuli.
Eliminate A, D, E

(C) the means of reducing for comprehending
--idiom: THE as a definite article in (C) ruins an otherwise idiomatic construction.

-- verbs: the verbs in this option make no sense. "Reducing" is a TRANSITIVE verb in participle form that needs an object. (Reducing WHAT?) "For comprehending" is not an object.
Eliminate C

*Just to clear any concern that you or others may have -- punctuation this intricate would not be tested.
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Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2018, 01:28
1
generis wrote:
Harshgmat wrote:
The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

I have a question here...

Why comma is required between
...comprehend,the nearly....

Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

a)a means to reduce
b)the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment

daagh GMATNinja generis

Harshgmat , this sentence is well-written and very complicated in grammar lingo. I can understand why you are curious about it!

I have never seen punctuation this sophisticated tested by GMAC in ANY OG question.*

The commas before and after "in order to comprehend" are needed to indicate that we are shifting for a moment to insert a semi-parenthetical explanation. (Parenthetical asides in the middle of a dependent clause always have commas before and after them, but this phrase is a bit more than a parenthetical, which can be removed from the sentence without altering its meaning. The common aside "of course" is a parenthetical.)

Let's try the sentence without the comma.

The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce in order to comprehend the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

To reduce WHAT? Without a comma, we have no indication that "in order to comprehend" is an interruption (is a THOUGHT and LOGIC shift).

At that point, "to reduce" looks as if it has no direct object, or a very complicated and elusive one.

Without a boatload of jargon and a sentence diagram, the best way to explain all the commas is this: if there is a distinct shift in the sentence, thought process, or logic, use a comma.

The phrase "in order to comprehend" indicates that we are interrupting the flow of the sentence to explain why the brain must first reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli.

So we need a comma before and after "in order to comprehend":

1) to signal that the preceding verb "to reduce" is connected to the direct object "number," which immediately follows "comprehend"; and

2) to indicate that we are interrupting a verb phrase to explain why the brain needs to reduce the number of stimuli. That's a shift in thought.

Finally, the commas clarify meaning. The sentence is a bit unorthodox. Good prose often is unorthodox.

Are you confused by the meaning of the sentence?

Below is a very ugly version of the meaning of this sentence. Words in brackets indicate exactly that which the commas suggest without saying a word. I would rather read the sentence in the prompt (with the correct option B inserted).

MEANING:
The brain is [sort of] a stimulus reduction system.
[In other words, the brain is] a means to reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.
[The brain functions as a means to reduce the number of stimuli] in order to comprehend [what is then a manageable number of] the stimuli.

Quote:
Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

If I were to explain all the modifiers in this sentence, I would be writing for days.

The question doesn't test modifiers. It tests

-- countability. Stimuli can be counted. An infinite NUMBER of...
Eliminate A, D, E

idiom - "THE" as a definite article ruins an otherwise idiomatic construction.
In addition, the verbs in this option make zero sense
Eliminate (C) the means of reducing for comprehending
Reducing is a TRANSITIVE verb in participle form that needs an object. "For comprehending" is not an object.

*Just to clear any concern that you or others may have -- punctuation this intricate would not be tested.

generis

Thanks for very detailed and eloborate reply.

This will surely be very helpful to other members also.

Keep it up!!

Posted from my mobile device
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Everything will fall into place…

There is perfect timing for
everything and everyone.
Never doubt, But Work on
improving yourself,
Keep the faith and
It will all make sense.
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Posts: 101
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GPA: 3.22
Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu  [#permalink]

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20 May 2019, 00:14
1
generis wrote:
Harshgmat wrote:
The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce, in order to comprehend, the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

I have a question here...

Why comma is required between
...comprehend,the nearly....

Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

a)a means to reduce
b)the nearly infinite amount of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment

daagh GMATNinja generis

Harshgmat , this sentence is well-written and very complicated in grammar lingo. I can understand why you are curious about it!

I have never seen punctuation this sophisticated tested by GMAC in ANY OG question.*

The commas before and after "in order to comprehend" are needed to indicate that we are shifting for a moment to insert a SEMI-parenthetical explanation.

A true "parenthetical aside": Professor Melnyk, of course, laughed at the student's funny comment.
A true aside in the middle of an expression is always set off by two commas and can be removed from the sentence without altering its meaning.

The phrase "in order to comprehend" is a bit more than a parenthetical aside. Removing the phrase changes the meaning. But the phrase does interrupt.

Let's try the sentence without the commas.

The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to reduce in order to comprehend the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.

To reduce WHAT? Without a comma, we have no indication that "in order to comprehend" is an interruption (is a shift in THOUGHT and LOGIC). At that point, "to reduce" looks as if it has no direct object or a very elusive one.

Without a boatload of jargon and a sentence diagram, the best way to explain all the commas is this: if there is a distinct shift in the sentence, thought process, or logic, use a comma.

The phrase "in order to comprehend" and its commas indicate that we are interrupting the flow of the sentence to explain why the brain must first reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli.

So we need a comma before and after "in order to comprehend":

1) to signal that the preceding verb "to reduce" is connected to the direct object "number," which immediately follows "comprehend"; and

2) to indicate that we are interrupting a verb phrase to explain WHY the brain needs to reduce the number of stimuli. That's a shift in thought.

Finally, the commas clarify meaning. The sentence is a bit unorthodox. Good prose often is unorthodox.

Are you confused by the meaning of the sentence?

Below is a very ugly version of the meaning of this sentence. Words in brackets indicate exactly that which the commas suggest without saying a word. I would rather read the sentence in the prompt (with the correct option B inserted).

MEANING:
The brain is [a type of] a stimulus reduction system.
[In other words, the brain is] a means to reduce the nearly infinite number of stimuli that reach the senses at any given moment.
[The brain functions as a means to reduce the number of stimuli] in order to comprehend [a then-manageable number of] the stimuli.

Quote:
Can someone explain modifiers in the sentence and what is it modifying?

If I were to explain all the modifiers in this sentence, I would be writing for days.

The question doesn't test modifiers. It tests

-- countability: Stimuli can be counted. We can have an infinite NUMBER of stimuli.
Eliminate A, D, E

(C) the means of reducing for comprehending
--idiom: THE as a definite article in (C) ruins an otherwise idiomatic construction.

-- verbs: the verbs in this option make no sense. "Reducing" is a TRANSITIVE verb in participle form that needs an object. (Reducing WHAT?) "For comprehending" is not an object.
Eliminate C

*Just to clear any concern that you or others may have -- punctuation this intricate would not be tested.

you are the man!! brilliant explanation!
Re: The brain is something of a stimulus reduction system, a means to redu   [#permalink] 20 May 2019, 00:14
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