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# The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled

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Director
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The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled [#permalink]

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31 Dec 2008, 18:14
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The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,

(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only

(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,

(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,

(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,

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31 Dec 2008, 19:41
billyjeans wrote:
The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,

(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only

(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,

(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,

(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,

1. Neither ...nor, so D and E out
2. the permission applied to everyone, but A and B cannot convey the meaning "the permission applying to everyone", only "a commoner" or 1 person. A and B out

C remains
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09 Oct 2009, 22:28
Got the answer.C it is.But a lilttle confused by the sentence itself,especially the phrase "on pain of death."
The sentence generally means that nobody is allowed to enter the forbidden city without permission..what is pain of death doing in there (except confusing us )??
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20 Apr 2010, 17:27
I think the correct answer is B.
the message of this sentence should be "A commoner and foreigner could enter without any permission only if they do not hesitate to die."
This is a though question because the answer choises of A,B,C are all plausible.

(A)incorrect-I cannot point out gramatical error other than that of meaning.
(B)correct-This provides clearest sentence structure and meaning.
(C)incorrect-the same reason as (A)
(D)incorrect-wrong idiom, neither or awkward sentence
(E)incorrect-wrong idiom, neither or awkward sentence

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02 May 2010, 01:17
billyjeans wrote:
The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,

(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only

(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,

(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,

(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,

I think C is the best written answer. The others are awkward/wordy, confusing the meaning of the sentence.

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02 May 2010, 01:24
tejal777 wrote:
Got the answer.C it is.But a lilttle confused by the sentence itself,especially the phrase "on pain of death."
The sentence generally means that nobody is allowed to enter the forbidden city without permission..what is pain of death doing in there (except confusing us )??

I agree that GMAT always tries to confuse us. But I think that the sentence is clear. It doesn't mean that nobody is allowed to enter. Only commoners and foreigners needed a special permit. I guess the royal class and members of the government could enter. The phrase "on pain of death" just mentions the consequences of violating the law. It means that the penalty was very serious. You couldn't get away with a fine or time on jail. You would pay with your life. That serious was the law. And that phrase just means to put emphasis on that.

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02 May 2010, 11:02
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Hey All,

Just to make it clear, the only real issue in this question is idiomatic, not strictly grammatical.

The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,
PROBLEM: "Without permission" is the idiom, not "without any permission". Permission is kinda like water. You can't have a water (or a permission). "Any" is indefinite, just like "a", and it's wrong.

(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only
PROBLEM: The wording here makes it sounds as if they COULD enter as long as they DID NOT have permission. That's totally wrong. They can only enter WITH permission. Also, what is the "only" doing there? It should modify "enter", if anything. Here, it modifies "permission".

(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,

(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,
PROBLEM: It's unclear what "without permission" is modifying (should be enter). Also, the "only" is confusingly placed again.

(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,
PROBLEM: This one is just ridiculous.

Hope that helps!

-tommy
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22 Jun 2010, 21:10
TommyWallach wrote:
Hey All,

Just to make it clear, the only real issue in this question is idiomatic, not strictly grammatical.

The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,
PROBLEM: "Without permission" is the idiom, not "without any permission". Permission is kinda like water. You can't have a water (or a permission). "Any" is indefinite, just like "a", and it's wrong.

(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only
PROBLEM: The wording here makes it sounds as if they COULD enter as long as they DID NOT have permission. That's totally wrong. They can only enter WITH permission. Also, what is the "only" doing there? It should modify "enter", if anything. Here, it modifies "permission".

(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,

(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,
PROBLEM: It's unclear what "without permission" is modifying (should be enter). Also, the "only" is confusingly placed again.

(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,
PROBLEM: This one is just ridiculous.

Hope that helps!

-tommy

Thanks for the explanation Tommy.
Can you also please explain why "on pain of death" in option C is not a dangling modifier?

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23 Jun 2010, 00:41
Even I have have the same question - on pain of death (what???)

I guess there was a typo. It should be "or" - or pain or death.

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07 Jul 2010, 09:10
i cant answer on the dangling modifier question.

But I agree that it should be C.

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07 Jul 2010, 09:25
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Hey All,

"On pain of..." is an idiomatic expression. You'll have to look it up to get all the various details. It is a modifier that modifies whatever action was prohibited in the sentence. From a meaning perspective, it just means "If you do [whatever was prohibited in the sentence], you'll be punished with [whatever comes after the idiomatic expression]". It's not modifying a noun, it's modifying a clause, so it doesn't need to touch anything in particular, so it isn't "dangling" in any way.

It is definitely NOT a typo ("or pain of death"), just an idiomatic expression with a VERY specific meaning. Here it is in my mac dictionary:

on (or under) pain of the penalty for disobedience or shortcoming being

Hope that helps!

-tommy
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07 Jul 2010, 10:28
For me C. The "on pain of death" doesn't really negate the previous clause.

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31 Jul 2010, 16:10
How can "which" appear without a comma?
Thanks.
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18 Dec 2010, 09:41
noboru wrote:
How can "which" appear without a comma?
Thanks.

Nobody is going to clarify this?
I think that it actually violates one of the most basic "which"/GMAT principles!
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20 Dec 2010, 13:37
noboru wrote:
noboru wrote:
How can "which" appear without a comma?
Thanks.

Nobody is going to clarify this?
I think that it actually violates one of the most basic "which"/GMAT principles!

One more try.- could you explain this?
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14 Jan 2011, 07:42
what is the source of this question? C is my pick.
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15 Jan 2011, 11:38
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it is B.
on pain of death, as explained is a punishment. A punishment will be given if a commit a crime(here , entering the city without any permission)..... it is like saying if u enter there is a death penalty...others are leaving out the "on pain" part
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SC:: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors [#permalink]

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17 Jan 2013, 09:27
757. The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heavenly mandate, was a site which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission, on pain of death.

(A) which a commoner or foreigner could not enter without any permission,
(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only
(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission,
(D) which, without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could only enter,
(E) which, to enter without permission, neither commoner or foreigner could do,

Please explain the structure of the sentence , what is the role of "on pain of death"??
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled [#permalink]

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17 Jan 2013, 11:59
Hi shikhar,

I have merged your post as the question is already present in the forum, please see the explanation above. It has got expert replies.

If you still have any questions let me know..

Vercules
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26 Jan 2013, 01:19
manoharpln wrote:
I think the correct answer is B.
the message of this sentence should be "A commoner and foreigner could enter without any permission only if they do not hesitate to die."
This is a though question because the answer choises of A,B,C are all plausible.

(A)incorrect-I cannot point out gramatical error other than that of meaning.
(B)correct-This provides clearest sentence structure and meaning.
(C)incorrect-the same reason as (A)
(D)incorrect-wrong idiom, neither or awkward sentence
(E)incorrect-wrong idiom, neither or awkward sentence

When Option B read clearly, states " A commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission" . whereas the actual argument states that a foreigner/commoner could not enter without permission.........die.

Let me know if this clarifies

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Re: SC-The forbidden city   [#permalink] 26 Jan 2013, 01:19

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