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# The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made

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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
I was confused between A and E, the remaining answers are not what the author is implying. However, im not sure i completely agree with your logic of using present tense, since if the discovery was in the past and it still holds true, it would not be simple present rather it would be present perfect has/have+ past participle but none of the choices give us that.
Any other reasoning to choose A over E
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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scbguy wrote:
I was confused between A and E, the remaining answers are not what the author is implying. However, im not sure i completely agree with your logic of using present tense, since if the discovery was in the past and it still holds true, it would not be simple present rather it would be present perfect has/have+ past participle but none of the choices give us that.
Any other reasoning to choose A over E

Present perfect is not, strictly speaking, about something that happened in the past and still holds true. That is often the case, but the stricter definition is this: present perfect is a present tense that refers to past events with some sort of anchoring reference in the present moment. This generally takes the form of a consequence:

- "I've been bleaching my hair for years!" given as a response to someone noticing that my hair is platinum blonde and badly damaged (the consequence)

- "I've lived in Paris for four years!" when a Frenchman notices that although I have an accent I speak French very well (the consequence)

- "I've lived in Florida before!" when a friend from across town tells me that he plans to move to Florida (as a consequence of my having lived there already, I am equipped to relate to his present/future experience)

The present perfect, by itself, does imply something finite about the action in question. Thus you would never say, "The apparent disappearance of matter in flames has been an illusion" because this is a scientific FACT, true for all time.
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
GMATNinja @mikemgarry @e-gmat

Although I picked option A as the correct answer, I am not clear why option C is wrong? How does it change the meaning?

Full-sentence with underlined portion replaced by option C: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made in 1774 when Lavoisier recognized that the disappearance of matter in flames is apparently an illusion.

Here the meaning is perfectly clear to me: (the disappearance of matter) is an illusion

Why is this meaning not in line with the original sentence?
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
junii wrote:
GMATNinja.
Can you please explain why B is incorrect here?
The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made in 1774 when Lavoisier recognized that the apparent disappearance of matter in flames is an illusion.

(A) the apparent disappearance of matter in flames is an illusion

(B) the matter that apparently disappears in flames is an illusion

(C) the disappearance of matter in flames is apparently an illusion

(D) it was an illusion that there is an apparent disappearance of matter in flames

(E) it was an illusion that matter apparently disappears in flames

There is a subtle meaning difference between (A) and (B). In (A), "the apparent disappearance of matter in flames" is the illusion. In (B), "the matter that apparently disappears in flames" is the illusion.

But it's not the matter itself that is the illusion -- it's the apparent disappearance of that matter (it only seems like the matter disappears, but it really doesn't -- the disappearance is an illusion).

Grammatically, (B) doesn't look bad, but it has a glaring meaning issue. That makes (A) the better choice.

I hope that helps!
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The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]

How is it changing the meaning of the sentence?
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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Vatsal7794 wrote:

How is it changing the meaning of the sentence?

Hello Vatsal7794,

We hope this finds you well.

Having gone through the question and your query, we believe that we can help clear up your doubt.

The difference in meaning between A and C rests on their use of the adjective "apparent" and the adverb "apparently", respectively.

In Option A, "apparent" modifies "disappearance"; in this context "apparent" means that something seems to be real or true but may not be. Thus, it serves to reinforce the idea that the disappearance of the matter is an illusion by modifying "disappearance" to imply that it is not real; effectively, Option A conveys the meaning - the disappearance of matter in flame seems real but is actually an illusion.

In Option B, "apparently" modifies the action "is an illusion"; in this context, "apparently" can either mean that something is obvious or that something is true, as per available evidence. Thus, it serves to either clarify that the disappearance of matter in flame is clearly an illusion or to clarify that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion, as far as we can tell. Effectively, Option B conveys one of two possible meanings - that it is obvious that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion or that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion, as far as can currently be ascertained.

We hope this helps.
All the best!
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]

For the proper explanation
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The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
From a stylistic viewpoint, I would say:

The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made
in 1774 when Lavoisier recognized that
the apparent disappearance of matter in flames is an illusion.

where "the key discovery" matches "the apparent disappearance"; "in the scientific effort to understand fire" matches "of matters in flames"; "was made" matches "is an illusion".

What would you say?
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
GMATNinja can you tell why E is wrong?
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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hiteshdusseja wrote:
GMATNinja can you tell why E is wrong?

Hello hiteshdusseja,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, the primary error in Option E is that it incorrectly uses the simple past tense verb "was" to refer to a statement of universal fact; please remember, statements of universal fact are best conveyed through the simple present tense.

We hope this helps.

All the best!
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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hiteshdusseja wrote:
GMATNinja can you tell why E is wrong?

Take another look at (E):

Quote:
The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made in 1774 when Lavoisier recognized that it was an illusion that matter apparently disappears in flames.

The "it" jumps out to me here. What was an illusion? There's no noun that fits. If we had the noun "disappearance," that could work, but instead we have the verb "disappears," and a pronoun can't refer to a verb.

Contrast that with (A), which eliminates the problematic "it" entirely, and uses the noun phrase "the apparent disappearance," to describe the "illusion." Much clearer and more logical, so we can get rid of (E) on that basis.

I hope that helps!
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The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
egmat

Could you please explain why C is wrong?
I seem to remember that your POE starts from meaning analysis. If we compare the meaning of C with that of A, then we can immediately rule out C. Is my analysis correct?
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
bojunk wrote:
egmat

Could you please explain why C is wrong?
I seem to remember that your POE starts from meaning analysis. If we compare the meaning of C with that of A, then we can immediately rule out C. Is my analysis correct?

Hello bojunk,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your question, you are correct; C can be eliminated because it changes the intended meaning of the sentence.

The difference in meaning between A and C rests on their use of the adjective "apparent" and the adverb "apparently", respectively.

In Option A, "apparent" modifies "disappearance"; in this context "apparent" means that something seems to be real or true but may not be. Thus, it serves to reinforce the idea that the disappearance of the matter is an illusion by modifying "disappearance" to imply that it is not real; effectively, Option A conveys the meaning - the disappearance of matter in flame seems real but is actually an illusion.

In Option C, "apparently" modifies the action "is an illusion"; in this context, "apparently" can either mean that something is obvious or that something is true, as per available evidence. Thus, it serves to either clarify that the disappearance of matter in flame is clearly an illusion or to clarify that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion, as far as we can tell. Effectively, Option C conveys one of two possible meanings - that it is obvious that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion or that the disappearance of matter in flame is an illusion, as far as can currently be ascertained.

We hope this helps.
All the best!
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The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
Hi all,

I am facing a lot of issues in meaning based SC.
In this question, I thought that apparent (as far as one knows or can see) is modifying illusion. So the intended (wrong) meaning according to me is the illusion was not true.
Can someone help me with two things :
1. To understand what is wrong in my interpreation
2. How to improve on meaning based SC.
Have gmat in a month, with limited time to study due to office hours.

(would have given 1000 kudos, if gmatclub allowed me to the person reverting on this)

I am tagging the expert as well, unfortunately I have limited memory to tag all legends
GMATNinja KarishmaB EMPOWERgmatRichC EMPOWERgmatVerbal
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svasan05
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Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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Rickooreo wrote:
Hi all,

I am facing a lot of issues in meaning based SC.
In this question, I thought that apparent (as far as one knows or can see) is modifying illusion. So the intended (wrong) meaning according to me is the illusion was not true.
Can someone help me with two things :
1. To understand what is wrong in my interpreation
2. How to improve on meaning based SC.
Have gmat in a month, with limited time to study due to office hours.

(would have given 1000 kudos, if gmatclub allowed me to the person reverting on this)

I am tagging the expert as well, unfortunately I have limited memory to tag all legends
GMATNinja KarishmaB EMPOWERgmatRichC EMPOWERgmatVerbal
ExpertsGlobal5
svasan05

Hello Rickooreo,

We hope this finds you well.

To provide a bit of clarity, in Option A, "apparent" modifies "disappearance", conveying that the disappearance of matter in flame seems real but is actually an illusion.

Please keep in mind that adjectives will typically touch the noun or noun phrase that they modify; if a noun immediately follows an adjective, the most logical interpretation is that the adjective modifies that noun.

We hope this helps.
All the best!
Experts' Global Team
Re: The key discovery in the scientific effort to understand fire was made [#permalink]
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