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# The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2016, 02:12
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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21 Apr 2016, 13:51
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Thursdays with ron covered this question in this episode/session (skip to 29 mins)

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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09 May 2016, 13:25
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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 dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the use to which primitive peoples put the caves, the reason for their decoration, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals

A) has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
B) have been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
C) have been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is
D) has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
E) are been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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09 May 2016, 15:58
Alex75PAris wrote:
The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleolithic people has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the use to which primitive peoples put the caves, the reason for their decoration, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals

A/ has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
B/ have been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
C/ have been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is
D/ has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
E/ are been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

Dear Alex75PAris,
I'm happy to respond.

I'm not a big fan of this particular question. It's a simple test of SVA, and rhetorically, it not admirable in its structure. It doesn't feel GMAT-like.

Split #1:
subject "the period" = singular
We need a singular verb.
(A) has been = singular
(B) have been = plural and incorrect
(C) have been = plural and incorrect
(D) has been = singular
(E) are been = freakshow wrong
Choice (E) here is a completely embarrassing choice. It's hard to imagine who would pick that.

Split #2:
The final subject "the use . . . , the reason ...., and the meaning ..." is plural. We need a plural verb.
I actually would argue that both verbs should be plural in the second half of the sentence:
" . . . but what are much more difficult to determine are the X, Y, and Z."
This is not an option. I suspect that the question author had some picayune SVA technicality in mind when he wrote the question. This is NOT a GMAT-like question: the GMAT does not search out picayune distinctions such as this. The author of the question was trying to write a hard question without really understanding what make the GMAT hard.

I don't know whether the author would argue that (A) or (D) is a better answer, and I am not really interested in their argument.

Here's a much more GMAT-like SC practice question:
The FDA enacted

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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09 May 2016, 22:37
Hello Mike,

A was so embarrassed between A and D...

Thanks again !

Alex

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2016, 07:28
Ah so the language following "decoration" elaborates on the reason. I thought there were 3 things that are difficult to determine...

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2016, 18:46
The period.......people has been established, but what .....is the reason for X , Y & Z.

So Two singular clauses in parallel. In 1st clause it is very clear that The period...can't be plural so we need a singular clause after but. And the Noun clause are anyways always singular.

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2016, 18:47
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The period.......people has been established, but what .....is the reason for X , Y & Z.

So Two singular clauses in parallel. In 1st clause it is very clear that The period...can't be plural so we need a singular clause after but. And the Noun clause are anyways always singular.

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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25 Jul 2016, 07:45
cano 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
[Reveal] Spoiler:
OA is B

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Can anybody explain what verb we need here??
but what is much more difficult to determine are/is - the reason for their decoration(1), the use to which primitive people put the caves(2), and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals(3).

Do we take the 3 clauses after the underlined verb as 1 plural predicate, or just as singular? For me, having it singular serves for the 1st following clause only, and I feel like we need a verb again for the other 2 clauses.
I'm not satisfied with the OA explanation which is very short and doesn't address this point, so if any of you could explain it I'd appreciate it. Thanks!!

'The period' need singular verb- 'has' . C, D and E are out.

'and' between 'the reason' and 'the meaning' requires plural verb 'are'. B is out.

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2016, 00:04
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Hi mikemcgarry, egmat, maybe we should try to figure out this question again? I encountered it in Practice Exam 2 of GmatPrep (see attached picture).
Official Guide has similar (the-period-when-the-great-painted-caves-at-lascaux-and-93734.html) question which has an obvious answer, but this modified version... I can't understand the logic.
Attachments

Screen Shot 2016-10-30 at 3.59.50 PM.png [ 149.05 KiB | Viewed 926 times ]

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2016, 10:35
1
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Expert's post
pkudinov wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry, egmat, maybe we should try to figure out this question again? I encountered it in Practice Exam 2 of GmatPrep (see attached picture).
Official Guide has similar (the-period-when-the-great-painted-caves-at-lascaux-and-93734.html) question which has an obvious answer, but this modified version... I can't understand the logic.

Dear pkudinov
I'm happy to respond.

Here's the text of the question:
The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleolithic people has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are the use to which primitive peoples put the caves, the reason for their decoration, and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals

A) has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
B) have been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are
C) have been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is
D) has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is
E) are been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

You know, it's funny. Almost all official questions leave me speechless with admiration. This is one of the few that leave me a bit queasy about what it is doing.

The opening split is interesting. We need the singular "has been" to agree with the singular subject "the period." Choices (A) & (D) are the only ones that survive this split. (B) & (C) have the plural form, and (E) is completely bizarre, something that no native speaker would ever pick. It surprises me to have an answer that wrong in an official question. This is not typical.

Choices (A) & (D) are identical up to the last words. A relative pronoun, such as "what" can be either singular or plural; the relative clause begun by that pronoun takes the number of the pronoun. If the "what" is singular, then all verbs referring to it or the clause should be singular, and if plural, vice versa. In all five answer choices, we get a singular verb after the word "what" inside the relative clause: "what is much more difficult to determine." That identifies the relative pronoun as singular, which makes the entire relative clause singular, and so we have to pick (D), which has the singular verb at the end. This allows us to come to an unambiguous answer.

My complaint about the question is that the word "what" ultimately refers to the three separate items listed at the end of the sentence. I feel the word "what" should be plural. That would require both verbs to be plural. Thus, I would write: "...but what are much more difficult to determine are..." Technically, I believe that would be the most correct version, but it may be that on this point I am being even more grammatically conservative than the GMAT itself. It's funny. The vast majority of questions on the GMAT accord with my conservative grammatical predilections. This is one of the few that don't.

Nevertheless, it's straightforward to find the OA of this question. Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2016, 12:30
88 responses, 0 incorrect. Amazing

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2016, 07:54
I wonder whether this is really a sub-600 level question though...

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2016, 12:33
pkudinov wrote:
I wonder whether this is really a sub-600 level question though...

Dear pkudinov,

My friend, that's a good question. I guess one could argue that since this question tests only relatively straightforward issues of SVA, it is easier than many questions that test multiple issues simultaneously. It's true that the harder questions tend to have those incorrect choices that are 100% grammatically correct but rhetorically off.

Then again, I'm deeply skeptical about the entire enterprise of assigning "score values" to individual questions. See:
Is this a 700+ level GMAT question?

I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any further questions.

Mike
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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02 Nov 2016, 15:04
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mikemcgarry,

"This is one of the few that leaves me a bit queasy"

In the quote above, I think the highlighted portion is a typo, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Shouldn't that be "leave" plural verb.?

I know this is 180 to the discussion, but very tempted to ask.

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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03 Nov 2016, 09:08
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Expert's post
manhasnoname wrote:
mikemcgarry,

"This is one of the few that leaves me a bit queasy"

In the quote above, I think the highlighted portion is a typo, but please correct me if I'm wrong. Shouldn't that be "leave" plural verb.?

I know this is 180 to the discussion, but very tempted to ask.

Dear manhasnoname,

Good catch! Yes, you are perfectly correct. When I was writing it quickly, I was thinking of a "vital noun modifier" construction, but that doesn't withstand logical analysis. Of course, it's the few that bother me, not simply this one in isolation. A very perceptive catch. I corrected this mistake in the post above. Thanks!

Mike
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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03 Nov 2016, 23:12
pkudinov wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry, egmat, maybe we should try to figure out this question again? I encountered it in Practice Exam 2 of GmatPrep (see attached picture).
Official Guide has similar (the-period-when-the-great-painted-caves-at-lascaux-and-93734.html) question which has an obvious answer, but this modified version... I can't understand the logic.

You may find the discussion here is useful.

http://www.beatthegmat.com/two-similar- ... 83262.html

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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29 Jan 2017, 23:16
kinjiGC wrote:
This question was first question in GMATPrep Mock1.

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

Rest of the options are just junk.

mikemcgarry : Can you please help me here. I knew about substantive clause and even after knowing I got confused. I took the construction for the inverted sentence.
I normally get the inverted constructions wrong and I try to invert the sentence to determine the Subject - Verb agreement.

Any pointers for the same and some practice question as always.

Hi @E-gmat

could you please provide your comments for option A and option B. As I also have the same doubts as mentioned by Kinjal.

Here we are referring following as subject. then it should be plural.

their decoration
the use to which primitive people put the caves
and the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals

Thanks

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2017, 22:37
Hi Experts,

Could you please provide your comments for subject-verb issue. what is the subject for second clause is it reason or the clause (What is much more difficult to determine)

Thanks

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2017, 10:33
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Expert's post
PathFinder007 wrote:
Hi Experts,

Could you please provide your comments for subject-verb issue. what is the subject for second clause is it reason or the clause (What is much more difficult to determine)

Thanks

The subject is "what is much more difficult to determine", and therefore singular verb "is" is correct.

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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o   [#permalink] 06 Mar 2017, 10:33

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