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The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their

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The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led to improvements in film, television screens, and windows.


(A) that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led

(B) that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading

(C) that plastic can be made to be electrically conductive, and this advance led

(D) of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading

(E) of plastic being able to be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 166: Sentence Correction


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Originally posted by ykaiim on 22 Jun 2010, 09:33.
Last edited by Bunuel on 30 Nov 2018, 02:35, edited 3 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 00:25
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1
So you might be wondering: why the heck did we pick THIS thing for a QOTD?

Well, we just finished a big ol' live webinar on the joys of commas, dashes, colons, and semicolons. We didn't cover this particular question, but here's the big takeaway from the webinar: dashes aren't usually worth worrying about on the GMAT, because they're rarely the deciding factor in a question -- and style experts disagree about the exact uses of dashes, anyway.

So on something like this question, don't get too distracted by the dashes, and concentrate on finding other goodies if at all possible.

Quote:
A. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led

I can’t complain much about (A). The first phrase beginning with "that" is very reasonably modifying the preceding noun ("...discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive..."), and the second "that" is fine, too ("... an advance that has led to improvements..."). Might as well keep (A).

And in case you ARE worried about how dashes work: in this case, everything that follows the dash is a modifier -- specifically, a noun that modifies another noun -- that tells us more about the "discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive." That's no problem at all, since the phrase after the dash ("an advance that has led to improvements...") is a perfectly reasonable definition of the discovery.

(And plastic can be made electrically conductive?! Mind. Blown.)

Anyway, let’s keep (A).

Quote:
B. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading


I don't think that (B) is WRONG, exactly, but it's far less elegant than (A). The only real difference between (A) and (B) isn't the dash itself; it's the stuff that follows the dash, which is intended as a modifier that tells us more about "their discovery." I think it's easier to see the problem if we put (A) and (B) side-by-side:

    (A) ... the discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led to improvements...
    (B) ... the discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading to improvements...

Again, the part after the dash is just trying to give us a nice, clear description of “the discovery.” (A) does this much more elegantly, by giving us a definition of “the discovery”: it’s “an advance that has led to improvements…” Structurally, it’s harder to make sense of (B): I might be OK with just “leading” instead of “this advance leading” (especially if we tweaked the punctuation), but I can’t figure out why we would have a noun (“this advance”) followed by a participle (“leading”) in this situation. (Or in any situation, to be honest.)

It’s subtle, but (B) is definitely weaker than (A).

Quote:
C. that plastic can be made to be electrically conductive, and this advance led

(C) isn’t horrible, but it’s not great, either – especially when we compare it to (A). In (A), the stuff after the dash is clearly just a modifier that tells us more about “the discovery.” But in (C), the phrase beginning with “and this advance led…” is structured as a brand-new clause, parallel to the first (independent) clause in the sentence.

In this situation, we have to ask ourselves: which is more appropriate? Are we trying to state two separate, independent, parallel facts (which is what A does)? Or should the last part (beginning with “an advance” or “this advance”) just modify “the discovery”? I’d argue strongly for the latter: there’s absolutely no reason to start up a brand-new, parallel clause in this case, when you think about the meaning of the sentence.

So it’s still pretty subtle, but (C) isn’t as good as (A), either.

Quote:
D. of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading

There are two little problems with (D). First, it’s awfully weird to talk about “the discovery of plastic’s ability” in this case. Literally, that sentence suggests that plastic inherently has the ability to be electrically conductive, and scientists just happened to discover that inherent ability. And that doesn’t make sense: what we’re really trying to say is that plastic can be made electrically conductive – presumably with some modifications or whatever.

Second, this seems like a classic, crappy use of “with.” The word “with” suggests some sort of accompaniment (“I eat burritos with Tapatio sauce” or “Mike went to the movies with his non-girlfriend”), and I can’t figure out why we would use “with” here. Especially since we have a much clearer alternative in answer choice (A), that gives us a very clear modifier that gives us more information about “the discovery”.

So (D) isn’t a total disaster, but it’s also inferior to (A).

Let’s line up (A) and (E) side-by-side, since they aren’t all that different from each other:

Quote:
A. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led
E. of plastic being able to be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led

That first part of the underlined portion in (E) is pretty ugly. At the very least, it’s far less elegant than (A), and there’s no good reason to use the phrase “being able to be made” when we could just use “can be made.”

But I think there’s also a meaning argument here, similar to the argument I made for eliminating (D): the phrase “discovery of plastic being able to be made…” sounds like scientists either just discovered plastic itself, or just discovered plastic’s inherent ability to be electrically conductive. And that’s not quite right: scientists just discovered that plastic can be made electrically conductive – again, perhaps with some innovative modifications. But (E) seems to suggest that plastic inherently can be made conductive, and that doesn’t work.

So (A) is the best we can do.
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2011, 02:52
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Few words about this SC.
let us remember what is present perfect tense.

The present perfect is a grammatical combination of the present tense and the perfect aspect, used to express a past event that has present consequences

In this SC you have to realize that X happened and now this dicovery has present consequences. Now guess what tense should you use ?! good.

based on the above you may cross out all except for A and E. just compare them and find out that E is very wrong using "being able to be".


The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led to improvements in film, television screens, and windows.

A. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led
B. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading
C. that plastic can be made to be electrically conductive, and this advance led
D. of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading
E. of plastic being able to be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jul 2014, 06:32
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The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led to improvements in film, television screens, and windows.

A. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led
B. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading - WHY IS THIS WRONG?
C. that plastic can be made to be electrically conductive, and this advance led - Uses and to describe cause-effect
D. of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading -WHY IS THIS WRONG?
E. of plastic being able to be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led - being is red-flag

Why is B & D wrong?
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jul 2014, 04:46
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amenon55 wrote:
Why is B wrong?

B says: that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading

Generally speaking, when this (a demonstrative pronoun) refers to something within the sentence itself, it is almost always incorrect. For example, in this case, this advance is referring to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: that plastic can be made electrically conductive.

Basically it seems to be a matter of stylistic preference of GMAT. I did a quick scan of OG-13 and found 3 more such instances of incorrect options:

#51 option C
A new study suggests that the conversational pace of everyday life maybe so brisk that it hampers the ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words and, the result of this, they are unable to make sense of speech.

Notice that this refers to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: the hampered ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words.

#81 option C
Fossils of the arm of a sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles Islands

Notice that this refers to an entity already mentioned within the sentence: sloth.

#115 option D
Because even tiny islets can be the basis for claims to the fisheries and oil fields of large sea areas under provisions of the new maritime code, this has already stimulated international disputes over uninhabited islands.

Notice that this refers to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: Because even tiny islets can be the basis for claims to the fisheries and oil fields of large sea areas under provisions of the new maritime code.

amenon55 wrote:
Why is D wrong?

D says: of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading

This obviously totally changes the meaning of the original sentence. Scientists did not discover plastic's ability; they discovered something about plastic: that plastic can be made electrically conductive.
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2014, 09:45
EducationAisle wrote:
amenon55 wrote:
Why is B wrong?

B says: that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading

Generally speaking, when this (a demonstrative pronoun) refers to something within the sentence itself, it is almost always incorrect. For example, in this case, this advance is referring to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: that plastic can be made electrically conductive.

Basically it seems to be a matter of stylistic preference of GMAT. I did a quick scan of OG-13 and found 3 more such instances of incorrect options:

#51 option C
A new study suggests that the conversational pace of everyday life maybe so brisk that it hampers the ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words and, the result of this, they are unable to make sense of speech.

Notice that this refers to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: the hampered ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words.

#81 option C
Fossils of the arm of a sloth that was found in Puerto Rico in 1991, was dated at 34 million years old, making this the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles Islands

Notice that this refers to an entity already mentioned within the sentence: sloth.

#115 option D
Because even tiny islets can be the basis for claims to the fisheries and oil fields of large sea areas under provisions of the new maritime code, this has already stimulated international disputes over uninhabited islands.

Notice that this refers to a fact already mentioned within the sentence: Because even tiny islets can be the basis for claims to the fisheries and oil fields of large sea areas under provisions of the new maritime code.

amenon55 wrote:
Why is D wrong?

D says: of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading

This obviously totally changes the meaning of the original sentence. Scientists did not discover plastic's ability; they discovered something about plastic: that plastic can be made electrically conductive.



so using this when referring to something withing the sentence is generally incorrect?
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2014, 09:50
amenon55 wrote:
so using this when referring to something withing the sentence is generally incorrect?

As I mentioned, I did a scan in OG and this indeed seems to be the case.

However, if you (or someone else) do come across any official sentence where this observation does not hold true, do highlight, as it will be interesting to see. For the most part however, this indeed seems to be the case.
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2014, 19:22
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Not completely true. The OG examples quoted use "this" as a pronoun. In this question, "this" is used as an adjective to the noun "advance".

The GMAT doesn't prefer the use of "this" as a pronoun. But there's no such rule or preference regarding the use of "this" as an adjective.

Here is a perfectly valid construction (in terms of grammar; meaning-wise, it still doesn't cut it):
The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive, and this advance has led to improvements in blah-blah.

Let's take a simpler example:
He read The Book of Secrets, a book that has given him much knowledge.
He read The Book of Secrets, this book giving him much knowledge.

The abstract "a book" is the preferred modifier. You would need a conjunction or a preposition before "this".

The other problem with B relates to the use of tense. The participle "leading" "takes on" the tense of the main clause. Assuming the use of "this" in B is correct, the use of "leading" yields the following meaning: the discovery "led" to improvements in blah-blah.

Now go back and note the sequence of events. The discovery occurred first. The prize was awarded later. Using the simple past tense "led" makes it unclear when the improvements occurred. The only other event in the simple past tense in the sentence (directly mentioned) is "was awarded", so "led" might go with it -- but the subject of "led", "this advance", i.e. the discovery, occurred earlier.

The use of the present perfect tense in A yields the logical meaning: the improvements started with the discovery and continue to occur.


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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 13 Jul 2014, 22:07
Quote:
The other problem with B relates to the use of tense. The participle "leading" "takes on" the tense of the main clause. Assuming the use of "this" in B is correct, the use of "leading" yields the following meaning: the discovery "led" to improvements in blah-blah.

Now go back and note the sequence of events. The discovery occurred first. The prize was awarded later. Using the simple past tense "led" makes it unclear when the improvements occurred. The only other event in the simple past tense in the sentence (directly mentioned) is "was awarded", so "led" might go with it -- but the subject of "led", "this advance", i.e. the discovery, occurred earlier.

If this was indeed correct, then I don't believe there is any tense issue in B. Participial phrases neatly depict cause and effect. So, advance is the cause, while leading is the effect.

Quote:
The use of the present perfect tense in A yields the logical meaning: the improvements started with the discovery and continue to occur.

I don't believe that present perfect here in any way suggests that improvements continue to occur.
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Originally posted by EducationAisle on 06 Jul 2014, 20:26.
Last edited by EducationAisle on 13 Jul 2014, 22:07, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 06:40
The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their discovery that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led to improvements in film, television screens, and windows.

A. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led - Correct
B. that plastic can be made electrically conductive—this advance leading - "this advance leading" is wrong
C. that plastic can be made to be electrically conductive, and this advance led - to be is wrong; and is wrongly used
D. of plastic's ability to be made electrically conductive, with this advance leading -discovery that is correct; modifier can't start with "with"
E. of plastic being able to be made electrically conductive—an advance that has led -discovery that is correct; being able to is very awkward
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Nov 2017, 15:05
Hello everyone,

I have read all the analyses so far, and almost of them say that use of pronoun this is incorrect in Choice B because it has no antecedent.

However, this is not the case.

This is a demonstrative pronoun that has been correctly used in Choice B as it has been followed by the noun entity it is supposed to refer to - advance.

Like Choice A, Choice B also uses Noun + Noun Modifier this advance leading to... in which this advance = Noun and leading to... = Noun Modifier.

The real trouble with Choice B is the usage of the verb-ing modifier leading to. If we were to write equivalent verb for leading to, it would be leads to.

Usage of leading to... suggests that it is the general characteristic of the advance to lead to improvements in film, television screens, and windows.

However, from the context of the sentence, it is clear that improvements took place at a particular point in time. This meaning has been correctly conveyed by the usage of the verb has led to in Choice A, the usage that makes Choice A the winner.



Hope this helps. :-)
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 21:46
GMATNinja, Can you help with the difference in meaning between made and made to be here? And also, is it wrong to use made to be in this sentence?

Thanks :)
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Re: The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded to three scientists for their &nbs [#permalink] 12 Nov 2018, 21:46
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