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The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and

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The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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28 Jul 2009, 04:01
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The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleolithic people has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the reason for their decoration, the use to which primitive people put the caves, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals.
(A) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(C) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(D) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(E) are established by carbon-14 dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

Guys I am seriously messed up with my singular/plural concepts:(
Ok,so I understood by the official explanation that since "period" is singular it requires "has"...agreed."What is much more difficult to determine " again is singular and therfore requires "is".Allright but while solving it I keep getting distracted by Lascaux and Altamira were occupied .. "and" and "were" are plural so while solving I keep choosing "have"..does'nt the plural parts have any thing to do here?
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28 Jul 2009, 04:25
tejal777 wrote:
The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleolithic people has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the reason for their decoration, the use to which primitive people put the caves, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals.
(A) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(C) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(D) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(E) are established by carbon-14 dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

Guys I am seriously messed up with my singular/plural concepts:(
Ok,so I understood by the official explanation that since "period" is singular it requires "has"...agreed."What is much more difficult to determine " again is singular and therfore requires "is".Allright but while solving it I keep getting distracted by Lascaux and Altamira were occupied .. "and" and "were" are plural so while solving I keep choosing "have"..does'nt the plural parts have any thing to do here?

Whenever I see a long sentence in which the first half is to be corrected, I always assume that that first half correction is dependent on the phrase or clause mentioned in second half.

Same is the case here!!! "what is much more difficult to determine ____ the reason for..."

It clearly states that the word reason is dependent on the verb "are" or "is". Now if you are a non native english speaker, still you can understand that the suitable word will be "is".

Now you have determined that "is" will be the last word of the corrected phrase so eliminate, A & D.

"The period" is singular noun so "have" is also gone, means "C" is gone.

Out of "B" & "E", "B" is the best as "E" also violates subject verb agreement (The period ...are)

Kindly let me know if my understanding is wrong.
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28 Jul 2009, 04:43
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tejal777 wrote:
Guys I am seriously messed up with my singular/plural concepts:(
Ok,so I understood by the official explanation that since "period" is singular it requires "has"...agreed."What is much more difficult to determine " again is singular and therfore requires "is".Allright but while solving it I keep getting distracted by Lascaux and Altamira were occupied .. "and" and "were" are plural so while solving I keep choosing "have"..does'nt the plural parts have any thing to do here?

Its just the way GMAT tricks. Generally they will add long modifiers between the subject and the verb.

What I do in such situations is to eliminate the modifier and concentrate on the skeleton of sentence. Modifiers can be identified when you see phrases starting with which, that, when, -ing form etc.
E.g. the skeleton here would be "The period ..... has been established...., but...."

But again the tricky part can be to identify if the verb itself is part of the modifier.
E.g. "were occupied" which is followed by "Lascaux and Altamira", and all this in the modifying phrase.

And probably you also got confused that "has been established" is referring to "Lascaux and Altamira". In such cases again use the skeleton method, by removing the modifier. Since we are assuming "has been established" is referring to "Lascaux and Altamira", it should be part of modifier and hence should be removed in the skeleton.
The skeleton structure would be :
"The period ....., but what is...."

Notice the problem ? There is no verb with "The period..." leading to sentence fragmentation. That means necessarily "has been established" is referring to "the period"
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28 Jul 2009, 14:03
agree it's B, period has been established, what is....is the reason...

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28 Jul 2009, 19:17
Gr8 explanation bigoyal!Thnx!
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29 Jul 2009, 17:14
+1 for B.

Very nicely explained bigoyal...!!!

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15 Apr 2010, 12:07
should be (B).

The <SUBJECT> period </SUBJECT> when the great painted <SUBJECT> caves </SUBJECT> at Lascaux and Altamira <VERB> were </VERB> occupied by Upper Paleolithic people <VERB> has </VERB> been established by carbon-14 dating, <COORDINATING CONJUNCTION> but </COORDINATING CONJUNCTION> what is much more difficult to determine <VERB> are </VERB> the <SUBJECT> reason </SUBJECT> for their decoration, the use to which primitive people put the caves, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals.

(A) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are - "are" is incorrect with singular "reason"
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is - correct
(C) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is - "have" is incorrect with singular "period"
(D) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are - "have" is incorrect with singular "period" and "are" is incorrect with singular "reason"
(E) are established by carbon-14 dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is - "are" is incorrect with singular "period"

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16 Apr 2010, 11:53
The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleolithic people has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the reason for their decoration, the use to which primitive people put the caves, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals.
(A) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(C) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
(D) have been established by carbon-14 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
(E) are established by carbon-14 dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

Some thoughts:
1. The period when X, Y, and Z happened is important.
=> Here, the subject is the period, and the "when X, Y, and Z happened" is the modifier. So, the verb "is" should follow the period.
=>> This rule eliminates C, D, and E.
2. If a clause is used as the subject of a verb, that clause is always treated as the singular noun. In that case, the verb of the clause will be singular.
=> This rule eliminates A.

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Re: carbon-14 dating   [#permalink] 16 Apr 2010, 11:53
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