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The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven

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

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New post Updated on: 19 Mar 2019, 10:48
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A
B
C
D
E

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65% (01:17) correct 35% (01:27) wrong based on 133 sessions

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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,

Originally posted by billyjeans on 31 Dec 2008, 18:14.
Last edited by Bunuel on 19 Mar 2019, 10:48, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2015, 01:00
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B isn't quite as bad as that, Konstantin. Notice that "without any permission" is followed by "only on pain of death." So it's not really the opposite of C. However, there are two problems with B:

1) The word "any" is unneeded. You either have permission or you don't. You can't have a little bit or a lot of permission.
2) Although the overall meaning is the same as elsewhere--you'll be killed if you enter without permission--it is a bit odd to say that you could enter without permission only on pain of death. It sounds like that's the one way that it's okay to enter without permission, almost like you made a deal. "You don't have permission. Are you willing to die?" "Sure." "Okay, come on in."
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 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,
ANSWER: Looks good.

(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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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 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,
ANSWER: Looks good.

(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?
Thanks in advance:)
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 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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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 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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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jan 2013, 11:41
(B) which a commoner or foreigner could enter without any permission only
Construction "without any permission only" is grammatically incorrect. Use of "ONLY" along with "without ANY" is wordy.
(C) which no commoner or foreigner could enter without permission.
This construction is concise and conveys required meaning.
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jan 2013, 18:38
Hi,

The correct answer is C.

B is incorrect because you are changing the meaning of the sentence and ignoring the prohibition on entering. B says it is ok for foreigners and commoners to enter. For this sentence to read correctly, B would have to read "only with permission" -- only would need to be earlier in the sentence.

The problem with the current sentence construction is that there is a double negative by using both NO and WITHOUT

Answer choice C indicates the prohibition on entering without a double negative.

Does this make sense?
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2015, 07:58
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what is the meaning of sentence? i thought only B helped in deducing the correct meaning of the sentence.
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Nov 2015, 15:45
mahakmalik wrote:
what is the meaning of sentence? i thought only B helped in deducing the correct meaning of the sentence.

The meaning of the sentence is that "The Forbidden City in Beijing was a place where no one could enter without permission" B is not correct since it completely changes the meaning, saying than one could enter without permission only
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2015, 23:34
Konstantin1983 wrote:
mahakmalik wrote:
what is the meaning of sentence? i thought only B helped in deducing the correct meaning of the sentence.

The meaning of the sentence is that "The Forbidden City in Beijing was a place where no one could enter without permission" B is not correct since it completely changes the meaning, saying than one could enter without permission only



Dear Konstantin,
I have a doubt, would be really helpful if you clarify.
In option B , it says that you could enter without any permission only on the pain of death. There is no comma here
Whereas in option C what does the modifier "on pain of death "after "," refers to ?
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Nov 2015, 13:40
DmitryFarber wrote:
B isn't quite as bad as that, Konstantin. Notice that "without any permission" is followed by "only on pain of death." So it's not really the opposite of C. However, there are two problems with B:

1) The word "any" is unneeded. You either have permission or you don't. You can't have a little bit or a lot of permission.
2) Although the overall meaning is the same as elsewhere--you'll be killed if you enter without permission--it is a bit odd to say that you could enter without permission only on pain of death. It sounds like that's the one way that it's okay to enter without permission, almost like you made a deal. "You don't have permission. Are you willing to die?" "Sure." "Okay, come on in."

Yes Dmitry perfect explanation. Now i see that the major issue with B is not a meaning. By the way Dmitry i always wanted to ask you: Are you Russian?=))
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Dec 2015, 02:34
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"On pain of death" is an adverbial modifier that modifies the preceding clause ("that no . . . without permission"). If it were a noun modifier, it would have to modify "permission," and permission is not "on pain of death."

This is a fairly unusual idiom that just means "if someone doesn't do the preceding, the punishment is death." We try not to say this too often. :)

And Konstantin, my great-grandparents were from Russia/Lithuania/Ukraine, but my efforts at learning Russian have been rather feeble. Это трудно!
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2018, 07:58
DmitryFarber wrote:
"On pain of death" is an adverbial modifier that modifies the preceding clause ("that no . . . without permission"). If it were a noun modifier, it would have to modify "permission," and permission is not "on pain of death."

This is a fairly unusual idiom that just means "if someone doesn't do the preceding, the punishment is death." We try not to say this too often. :)

And Konstantin, my great-grandparents were from Russia/Lithuania/Ukraine, but my efforts at learning Russian have been rather feeble. Это трудно!



thank you expert.

but this problem test "on pain of death" a seldom used idiom which is a key to answer for this problem. this go against the idea that sentence correction is more on meaning than grammar. i think this problem will not appear on new tests.
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Apr 2018, 23:56
thangvietnam I wouldn't be so sure of that. The GMAT still tests idioms, and on harder questions they may certainly use rarer phrases. However, it's important to notice that in this sentence, "on pain of death" comes at the end, after all the action, and it isn't underlined. In other words, we can ignore it! Grammar and meaning would lead us to the same correct answer even if the sentence ended at the underline and "on pain of death" were simply replaced with a period.
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Re: The Forbidden City in Beijing, from which the emperors ruled by heaven   [#permalink] 30 Apr 2018, 23:56
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