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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the

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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.


(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

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Originally posted by sacmanitin on 27 Oct 2009, 07:18.
Last edited by Bunuel on 04 Oct 2018, 04:10, edited 3 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2011, 11:01
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Since you have posted a doubt on C and E, lets consider choices A, C, and E only:

Meaning Analysis - (Choice A)


• The sentence talks about a person X - who is nephew of Pliny the Elder
• Person X wrote the only eyewitness account.
• This account is of the great eruption of Vesuvius
• He wrote the account in two letters
• The letters were written to the historian Tacitus

Errors Analysis of Choice A


The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Logically the modifier in “red” should provide additional information about the action – wrote – where did he write this only eyewitness account. But its placement after “eruption of Vesuvius” implies that the “eruption took place in two letters”. This is illogical. This is the error in choice A.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice C


The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

First of all this choice only communicates partial meaning:
• It is not clear that the “only eyewitness account” is of the great eruption of Vesuvius”. This sentence seems to imply that the ONLY eyewitness account is in the letters that contain an account of the eruption of Vesuvius. This is clearly not what we want to communicate. We want to talk specifically about the ONLY eyewitness account of eruption of Vesuvius.

Secondly, the expression “nephew …writing to the historian Tacitus..” non-sensically describes the nephew and somehow gives the sense that the nephew is still writing the letters. This should instead express a one- time action done by the nephew.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice E


In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
This sentence correctly communicates the meaning.

Your statement that "nephew of Pliny the Elder" seems to refer to historian Tacitus.” is not correct. Note that the modifier is not “historian Tacitus”. The complete modifier is “in two letters to the historian Tacitus”. Now this prepositional modifier provides more information about the action – wrote. Where did the nephew write? In the 2 letters to historian Tacitus.

I hope this answers your questions.

Take-away

– Focus on the meaning of the sentence and pay close attention to how the sentence structure of the sentences.:)

Payal
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QOTD: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Feb 2018, 10:47
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Quote:
(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

I’ll be honest: I don’t immediately see any completely horrible problems with (A). So I wouldn’t eliminate it immediately... but I would immediately think of beer, because Pliny the Elder is pretty tasty. The beer, not the Roman philosopher. Maybe he was tasty too, but judging by the pictures, he wasn't really my type.

This explanation is already off the rails. Let's keep (A) for now, and we’ll line it up with the other tempting choice before we pick a final answer. :)

Quote:
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(B) is basically a diaper fire. (Not that I’ve ever seen or smelled a diaper fire. But I’ve been around a lot of diapers lately, and a diaper fire can’t be good.)

For starters, I can’t figure out why the phrase “to the historian Tacitus” would appear before “the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters.” Why not just say that the nephew “wrote two letters to the historian Tacitus”…?

The bigger problem is the phrase beginning with “being.” It’s a hot mess: I guess “being” is trying to act as a modifier for “two letters.” But since it comes after a comma, “being” is acting as an “-ing” modifier for the previous clause, “the nephew… wrote two letters”, and that doesn’t make any sense, since the nephew is the subject of the clause, and the nephew can’t possibly be “the only eyewitness accounts.”

In other words: why not just say “two letters that were the only eyewitness accounts”, instead of messing with that ugly “being” modifier?

So (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

(C) is also pretty darned confusing. The biggest problem is that “the only eyewitness account” is the subject of the sentence, and it’s nowhere near the phrase “an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.” So now the sentence arguably says that the only eyewitness account – like, of anything, EVER – was in the two letters. And that makes no sense.

A smaller issue is the phrase “… in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus…” For starters, you could argue that it sounds like the letters are doing the writing, and that doesn’t make sense. And even if you’re not sure about that part, there’s absolutely no reason to use the word “writing” there at all – of course the letters were written by somebody.

So we can ditch (C).

Quote:
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

This isn’t completely horrible, but it’s not great, either. For starters, the “eyewitness account” is a long way from the phrase “eruption of Vesuvius”, and that makes the sentence much less clear: as you read the beginning of the sentence, it sounds like Pliny’s nephew might have written the only eyewitness account of anything, EVER. Or at the very least, it’s not clear what event the “eyewitness account” is describing until we’re much deeper into the sentence.

I’m also uncomfortable with the phrase “Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius…” That literally sounds like Pliny’s nephew might have somehow caused the eruption (consider the phrase “poor planning accounted for the firm’s failure to achieve profitability”, for example). You definitely wouldn’t use the phrase “accounted for” just to say that he wrote a description of the eruption.

So it’s safe to eliminate (D), especially since (A) and (E) are better options.

Speaking of (A) and (E)…

Quote:
(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

Both of these do a nice thing: they make it clear that the eyewitness account is of the great eruption of Vesuvius, and that makes them better options than the other three answer choices.

The only difference between (A) and (E) is the placement of the phrase “in two letters to the historian Tacitus” – and that phrase should logically describe “the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote…” And the sentence is just a little bit clearer if the modifier “in two letters to the historian Tacitus” appears right at the beginning of the sentence. In (A), the modifier is just too far away from phrase “the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote…”

So (E) is our winner.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2009, 10:57
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I don't think there is anything technically wrong with A. It has proper subject-verb agreement, there are not any issues with plural / singular nouns and verbs. The problem I have with A is that it is so wordy. Look at how many prepositional phrases are used. "of Pliny the Elder", "of the great eruption", "of Versuvius", "in two letters", "to the historian Tacitus." That's a lot of prep phrases. E has about the same number, but the phrases are better organized.

I like the way E uses the appositive in the beginning to "set the stage".

E seems like a more consice, clear sentence as opposed to A. Once you narrow it to A or E, it's not an easy choice.

sacmanitin wrote:
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

Experts Explain

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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2009, 00:54
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jallenmorris , in terms of concisesness ,both are equally worded ,if you see you ll find an extra "," in E ,but as per my understanding the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus. ,is trying to sense it like the eruption occured in two letters !!,whereas in E it is clearly stated that it is the first object ,subject wrote ,make sense ??
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2009, 06:39
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A looks like a run on sentence. Eruption in two letters or wrote in two letters?
E is answer IMO.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2009, 08:17
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If you ll see the option A it will look like eruption in two letter instead of wrote in two letter
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Nov 2010, 23:59
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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
This sentence makes it seem that The eruption occurred in two letters.

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
The nephew was not the eyewitness account. The letters were. This sentence does not clearly point that out.

(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
Repetition of 'account'. The account wasn't in the letters, the letters were the eyewitness account.

(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
The tenses of 'writing' and 'accounted for' do not agree. Again repetition of 'account'

(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius
Best answer in my view.

We can reverse the order of the sentence and it still makes sense.
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius In two letters to the historian Tacitus.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Nov 2010, 01:04
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The problem here is the awkward placement of the phrase - the eruption of Vesuvius in two letters, - giving the feeling that the eruption took place in two letters; on this count, the A and D can be eliminated.
B has the untouchable participle – being - ; in addition - the only eyewitness accounts - should be - the only eyewitness account-
C. - nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to – as if he is just now writing. Wrong diction

E is the best, bringing out in simple terms the intended meaning
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2012, 00:04
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egmat wrote:
Since you have posted a doubt on C and E, lets consider choices A, C, and E only:

Meaning Analysis - (Choice A)


• The sentence talks about a person X - who is nephew of Pliny the Elder
• Person X wrote the only eyewitness account.
• This account is of the great eruption of Vesuvius
• He wrote the account in two letters
• The letters were written to the historian Tacitus

Errors Analysis of Choice A


The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Logically the modifier in “red” should provide additional information about the action – wrote – where did he write this only eyewitness account. But its placement after “eruption of Vesuvius” implies that the “eruption took place in two letters”. This is illogical. This is the error in choice A.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice C


The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

First of all this choice only communicates partial meaning:
• It is not clear that the “only eyewitness account” is of the great eruption of Vesuvius”. This sentence seems to imply that the ONLY eyewitness account is in the letters that contain an account of the eruption of Vesuvius. This is clearly not what we want to communicate. We want to talk specifically about the ONLY eyewitness account of eruption of Vesuvius.

Secondly, the expression “nephew …writing to the historian Tacitus..” non-sensically describes the nephew and somehow gives the sense that the nephew is still writing the letters. This should instead express a one- time action done by the nephew.

Answer Choice Analysis – Choice E


In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
This sentence correctly communicates the meaning.

Your statement that "nephew of Pliny the Elder" seems to refer to historian Tacitus.” is not correct. Note that the modifier is not “historian Tacitus”. The complete modifier is “in two letters to the historian Tacitus”. Now this prepositional modifier provides more information about the action – wrote. Where did the nephew write? In the 2 letters to historian Tacitus.

I hope this answers your questions.

Take-away

– Focus on the meaning of the sentence and pay close attention to how the sentence structure of the sentences.:)

Payal


Hey egmat
In Choice E, I came to conclusion that the phrase "In two letters to the historian Tacitus" is modifying "the nephew of Pliny the Elder", which is the subject of next clause as well. I scratched the choice E while answering this and now I am scratching my head wondering the principle behind prepositional Modifier logic used here. MGMAT explicit says that a modifying phrase should pair up with the closest noun it is associated with. WIth that in mind, I visualized that "the nephew is in two letters" and selected A upon E. What am I missing here?
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2012, 10:19
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joshnsit wrote:
Hey egmat
In Choice E, I came to conclusion that the phrase "In two letters to the historian Tacitus" is modifying "the nephew of Pliny the Elder", which is the subject of next clause as well. I scratched the choice E while answering this and now I am scratching my head wondering the principle behind prepositional Modifier logic used here. MGMAT explicit says that a modifying phrase should pair up with the closest noun it is associated with. WIth that in mind, I visualized that "the nephew is in two letters" and selected A upon E. What am I missing here?


Hi @joshnsit,

Prepositional phrases are very versatile modifiers. They can modify nouns as well as verbs. When a prepositional phrase modifies a noun, then it must be placed as close to the noun it modifies as possible. This is important to avoid any ambiguity in modification and to keep the intended meaning of the sentence clear.

So whenever we come across a prepositional phrase, we must first ascertain whether it is modifying a noun or a verb. So let’s bring in the OG question here and identify the entity the prepositional phrase should modify.

The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The sentence says that the nephew of Pliny the elder was the only eyewitness to the great eruption of Vesuvius. So he wrote this eyewitness account in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The meaning of the sentence helps us determine which identity the prepositional phrase should modify. Here the prepositional phrase “in two letters” should modify the verb “wrote”. Where did the nephew of Pliny the Elder write his eyewitness account? He wrote it in two letters. So this prepositional phrase is modifying the verb “wrote”.

Now notice that “in two letters” is placed close to “the great eruption of Vesuvius”. Since prepositional phrases can also modify nouns, in choice A it seems that this modifier is actually modifying “eruption”. The modification seems to suggest that the eruption actually took place in two letters. Hence, the placement of “in two letters” is not correct in choice A.

Now let’s analyze choice E:

In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

The opening modifier in this choice is correctly modifying the following main clause. It is correctly modifying that what happened in tow letters. In two letters, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote what he saw. Hence, choice E is the correct answer.

Take Away:
1. Prepositional phrases can modify both nouns and verbs.
2. First ascertain the entity the prepositional phrase should modify and then see if their placement is correct.
3. If the prepositional phrase should modify a noun entity then place it after that noun entity.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 24 Jul 2012, 04:18
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egmat wrote:
joshnsit wrote:
Hey egmat
In Choice E, I came to conclusion that the phrase "In two letters to the historian Tacitus" is modifying "the nephew of Pliny the Elder", which is the subject of next clause as well. I scratched the choice E while answering this and now I am scratching my head wondering the principle behind prepositional Modifier logic used here. MGMAT explicit says that a modifying phrase should pair up with the closest noun it is associated with. WIth that in mind, I visualized that "the nephew is in two letters" and selected A upon E. What am I missing here?


Hi @joshnsit,

Prepositional phrases are very versatile modifiers. They can modify nouns as well as verbs. When a prepositional phrase modifies a noun, then it must be placed as close to the noun it modifies as possible. This is important to avoid any ambiguity in modification and to keep the intended meaning of the sentence clear.

So whenever we come across a prepositional phrase, we must first ascertain whether it is modifying a noun or a verb. So let’s bring in the OG question here and identify the entity the prepositional phrase should modify.

The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The sentence says that the nephew of Pliny the elder was the only eyewitness to the great eruption of Vesuvius. So he wrote this eyewitness account in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The meaning of the sentence helps us determine which identity the prepositional phrase should modify. Here the prepositional phrase “in two letters” should modify the verb “wrote”. Where did the nephew of Pliny the Elder write his eyewitness account? He wrote it in two letters. So this prepositional phrase is modifying the verb “wrote”.

Now notice that “in two letters” is placed close to “the great eruption of Vesuvius”. Since prepositional phrases can also modify nouns, in choice A it seems that this modifier is actually modifying “eruption”. The modification seems to suggest that the eruption actually took place in two letters. Hence, the placement of “in two letters” is not correct in choice A.

Now let’s analyze choice E:

In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.

The opening modifier in this choice is correctly modifying the following main clause. It is correctly modifying that what happened in tow letters. In two letters, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote what he saw. Hence, choice E is the correct answer.

Take Away:
1. Prepositional phrases can modify both nouns and verbs.
2. First ascertain the entity the prepositional phrase should modify and then see if their placement is correct.
3. If the prepositional phrase should modify a noun entity then place it after that noun entity.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

Hey egmat/Shraddha
This was certainly helpful. I found something which is worth sharing and I can draw a parallel with what you describe. I found it on http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/prepositionalphrase.htm

A prepositional phrase will function as an adjective or adverb. (This becomes parallel with your first take away: Prepositional phrases can modify both nouns and verbs because they modify by qualifying verbs and nouns in the sentence.)

What explained next is really good. :lol:
As an adjective, the prepositional phrase will answer the question Which one?
The book on the bathroom floor is swollen from shower steam.
Which book? The one on the bathroom floor!

The sweet potatoes in the vegetable bin are green with mold.
Which sweet potatoes? The ones forgotten in the vegetable bin!

As an adverb, a prepositional phrase will answer questions such as How? When? or Where?
Freddy is stiff from yesterday's long football practice.
How did Freddy get stiff? From yesterday's long football practice!

Before class, Josh begged his friends for a pencil.
When did Josh do his begging? Before class!

The second example for prepositional phrase here explains the choice E here.

Your example has definitely reinforced what I found. The method of splitting sentence as used by you for choice A is really a good approach for identifying the nature of preposition(noun/adjective or verbal/adverb). Thanks a lot for explaining this.

Originally posted by joshnsit on 17 Jul 2012, 15:27.
Last edited by joshnsit on 24 Jul 2012, 04:18, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jul 2012, 09:11
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The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacit us.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacit us. ---- The eruption of Vesuvius in two letters is wrong word order; After all, the eruption did not occur in two letters


(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius. ---- is it the accounts or account? The plural term -accounts - is wrong in this context. In addition, the letters being called as eyewitness accounts distorts the meaning. Do letters witness?

(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius. ----- The shift of tense to present –is- is not acceptable. In addition, if a present participle does not have a comma before it, it is supposed to modify the noun it touches. If the writing refers to Pliny the Elder, who actually wrote the letters?


(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.---- same error as in A; In addition - accounted for –is wrong diction: It may also mean be responsible for and that the nephew took responsibility for the eruption


(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius; the best


Very often, in convoluted and complex structures, You will find some easy grammar clues to tide over the jumble. You can keep this in mind as a handy tool
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Sep 2012, 09:13
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OK, I'll trust the OG explanation here, and I think I can clarify.

Think about this sentence:

I play musical instruments for a living in Carnegie Hall.

The phrase "in Carnegie Hall" can describe one of three things:
(1) where I play
(2) where the musical instruments are located
(3) where my living is

(1) is legal, and is my intended meaning: that I play musical instruments for a living, and that I do so in Carnegie Hall.

(2) is apparently legal, and is the real issue I'm getting at. Could the instruments be located in Carnegie hall? Well technically, yes they could. So I might be trying to say "There are musical instruments in Carnegie Hall, and those are the ones I play for a living."

(3) is not legal! Meaning eliminates #3! My living is an intangible concept, not a real thing, and so it can't be in Carnegie Hall.

Now think about this sentence:

I play musical instruments for an audience in Carnegie Hall.

The phrase "in Carnegie Hall" can describe one of three things:
(1) where I play
(2) where the musical instruments are located
(3) where the audience is located

Now, (3) is legal! The audience could be located in Carnegie Hall, so I might be saying that I play musical instruments, but only for one particular audience found in Carnegie Hall.

My point is that you can't decide whether a prepositional phrase is OK just by looking at structure. You have to look at meaning too!

OK, now let's look at the question:

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

The phrase "in two letters..." can describe one of three things:
(1) where Pliny's nephew wrote something
(2) the location of the account
(3) where Vesuvius is located

(1) is the meaning that we want - that Pliny wrote, in two letters, the only eyewitness account.

(2) is, according to the GMAT, the problem - we are saying that Pliny's account is the only eyewitness account in these two letters, but there might be other eyewitness accounts out there in someone else's letters!

(3) is eliminated by meaning, as per the earlier example: Mount Vesuvius cannot be located within a letter.

Now I think it's arguable that you could eliminate (2) based on meaning as well, but the GMAT clearly disagrees. However, since there's another answer choice that completely eliminates the ambiguity by using a comma, we should probaby pick that choice. That choice is (E).
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Originally posted by rjacobsMGMAT on 06 Sep 2012, 08:01.
Last edited by rjacobsMGMAT on 06 Sep 2012, 09:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Apr 2014, 04:11
sacmanitin wrote:
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

Guys one more full underline SC ,
my work is as below:

in B letters are said as only eyewitness accounts
C is wordy for using only eyewitness account.......an account
D also looks ackward for using nephew accounted for the great eruption

now for me (A) and (E) are same why to choose one over other???

Experts Explain


What kind of modification does being in Option b plays.
OG Says"the verb phrase that begins
being the only eyewitness accounts modifies the subject of the preceding clause, suggesting nonsensically that the nephew of Pliny the Elder himself was the eyewitness accounts"
Can u give an example of comma+being modifying subject of the clause.
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Apr 2014, 10:58
Hi @abid1986,

Thank you for posting your question. You are correct in stating that the usage of "being" as a modifier in this sentence is incorrect.

I hope you have read our article on correct uses of "Being". If not then please take some time to review that article here. In this article, we have outlined how "being" is used correctly in GMAT sentences.

Do let us know if you have any other doubts.

Happy Learning!

Regards,

Payal
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Feb 2017, 11:26
The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.

Issues: Structure | Meaning

Analysis:
1. This sentence is talking about multiple things, so let's break them apart.
- The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters
- Those letters were written to the historian Tacitus
- Those letters are the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius
The correct choice should connect these thoughts so that proper meaning is conveyed without any ambiguity.


(A) The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
- Illogical as it implying that "great eruption of Vesuvius" occurred "in two letters to the historian Tacitus"

(B) To the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote two letters, being the only eyewitness accounts of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
- "To the historian Tacitus" - fragment
- ", being" incorrectly modifies the whole clause. It should only modify the letters.


(C) The only eyewitness account is in two letters by the nephew of Pliny the Elder writing to the historian Tacitusan account of the great eruption of Vesuvius.
- less preferred passive voice "by the nephew" (however this is not a error which alone can eliminate this option)
- "writing" is incorrect verb form
- "an account...." is connected with previous clause without a conjunction which is ungrammatical


(D) Writing the only eyewitness account, Pliny the Elder’s nephew accounted for the great eruption of Vesuvius in two letters to the historian Tacitus.
- "accounted for" has a different meaning than intended in the sentence.
- Illogical as it implying that "great eruption of Vesuvius" occurred "in two letters to the historian Tacitus"


(E) In two letters to the historian Tacitus, the nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the great eruption of Vesuvius

Answer: (E)
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2018, 22:49
Hi Experts,

I have a question on verb tense in choice C. In some of the posts here, it says that "writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great " -- use of this participle phrase make it seem like the nephew is still writing. Could you tell me how we check tenses in the present participle phrases? My understanding is that if present participle comes with a helping verb then it means it's a present continuous tense, but if it doesn't (example in this question), how do we determine when its usage is correct and when it's not? Thank you!

GMATNinja, sayantanc2k

Thanks much!
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jan 2018, 04:49
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sdlife wrote:
Hi Experts,

I have a question on verb tense in choice C. In some of the posts here, it says that "writing to the historian Tacitus an account of the great " -- use of this participle phrase make it seem like the nephew is still writing. Could you tell me how we check tenses in the present participle phrases? My understanding is that if present participle comes with a helping verb then it means it's a present continuous tense, but if it doesn't (example in this question), how do we determine when its usage is correct and when it's not? Thank you!

GMATNinja, sayantanc2k

Thanks much!


The present participle generally takes up the tense of the main verb of the sentence:

Looking at the site, I could say that something was wrong... (looking occured in past)
Looking at the sun, I can determine direction... (looking occurs in present)
Looking at your peer review, I shall decide whether to promote you. (looking will happen in future).

There is a special type of participle called perfect participle - having + perfect. This form is used to depict that something occured in past AFTER completion of the event in perfect participle.

Having eaten the snacks, we left for the station... (leaving for station ocuured AFTER eating occured- compare with the use of past perfect)
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Re: The nephew of Pliny the Elder wrote the only eyewitness account of the &nbs [#permalink] 30 Jan 2018, 04:49
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