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

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

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05 May 2010, 18:14
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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

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

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05 May 2010, 21:49
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Off the bat, we can eliminate choice E because "are established" is awkward in this context.

From the remaining 4 choices, we have a choice of subject-verb agreements in two different places.

has been/have been - The first portion of the sentence is stating that THE PERIOD is known. From the word "when" onwards is just a modifier, basically describing THE period. This is singular, thus HAS BEEN.

The second instance:

is/are - The sentence wants to say what is much more difficult to determine, and then follows that with a list.

the reason
the use
the meaning

In this instance, because it is a list, and it is parallel, we make the verb agree with the first noun, or "the reason" - singular

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

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11 May 2010, 20:53
honestly could not understand the reason.. shouldn't the sentence itself have 'reasons'.. are we just trying to justify the answer here???
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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19 May 2010, 09:15
Yes, I'm still not sure I understood it. I'll ask a couple of friends of mine and post the explanation later if I'm lucky enough to understand it.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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19 May 2010, 13:57
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should be B.

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 - 'period' is singular and so we need singular 'has'. Also, 'reason' is singular and so we need 'is'
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating，but what is much more difficult to determine is - 'period' is singular and so we need singular 'has'. Also, 'reason' is singular and so we need '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
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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19 May 2010, 21:35
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Ok, I asked my friend who works as an editor, and he confirms that we should use 'is' instead of 'are'. We take in consideration the first noun 'reason' only.

I was extremely confused because I read in MGMAT that when you have doubts about singular vs plural, just flip the order of the clauses. But reading again, I realize that it applies for subjects only. If it was subject it's ok because 2 or more nouns with the word 'and' become a plural subject. But this is not the case it seems.

Well, still a little confused. Accepted the fact by faith and will move forward. I hope that I won't make the same mistakes and that will make sense soon. Ohhhh, if I was just born in an English speaking country....
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 00:20
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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
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Last edited by scheol79 on 05 Nov 2010, 09:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 01:44
Essentially this passage has two clauses and two subjects 1. [highlight]The period[/highlight]and 2 [highlight]the reason.[/highlight] Both are singluar. Hence the period entails the singular - [highlight]has[/highlight]– and the reason entails – [highlight]is[/highlight]- . B is the only choice that befits this norm.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 02:01
daagh wrote:
Essentially this passage has two clauses and two subjects 1. [highlight]The period[/highlight]and 2 [highlight]the reason.[/highlight] Both are singluar. Hence the period entails the singular - [highlight]has[/highlight]– and the reason entails – [highlight]is[/highlight]- . B is the only choice that befits this norm.

Why do you think the reason alone is the subject for the second clause?

If you think that the part after is or are is the subject, wouldn't the subject be the reason, the use, and the meaning?

A, B, and C: collective nouns which are plural.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 08:04
In that case, it will not be - what is much more difficult to determine - but -what are much more difficult to determine - There is no choice that says what are much more difficult to determine-Hence the question of a compound plural subject for the second part is ruled out.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 09:13
daagh wrote:
In that case, it will not be - what is much more difficult to determine - but -what are much more difficult to determine - There is no choice that says what are much more difficult to determine-Hence the question of a compound plural subject for the second part is ruled out.

But I'm afraid that your reasoning is flawed.

Second clause requires 'is' simply because subject phrase 'what is ~' is considered singular.

ex) Whatever they want to do is fine with me. MGMAT pg42.

I wasn't firm on the the concept, but after reading Ron's post on MGMAT forum I'm convinced that the object part has nothing to do with the verb form.

I don't want to quote Ron word by word, so here's the link. Let me know if you think otherwise.

http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/pai ... 94-15.html
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 14:46
S-V agreement..
S: The period is singular.......verb "has" and "is" need to be used.
hence B
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 19:52
Two subjects here
1) Period
2) What is much more difficult to determine

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

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01 Jun 2011, 12:10
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Period...has. Eliminate C,D and E.

Between B and A choose B. Why? Think about it this way:

The reason why I painted this painting IS...
The reasons why I this painting ARE..

In the original sentence reason is singular. So choose B.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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03 Jun 2011, 17:29
bong1993 wrote:
I am still not satisfied with the is/are at the end... can somebody explain why "is" is correct instead of "are" since the are 3 things that are "difficult to determine"?

It is difficult to determine the "REASON", which is singular.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2011, 09:11
In the question , we have to choose singular plural at starting and at end of the underlined sentence.
The People will take singular verb so we are left with A and B . The reason will be treated as singular so it will take singular verb as well . So the answer is B.
(B) has been established by carbon-14 dating，but what 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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22 Jun 2011, 17:18
"reason" is the subject -- so the verb is "is"!

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

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28 Oct 2012, 21:01
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The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleaolithic peoples 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 established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I marked answer as A. But was surprised to see the OA as D. The ques is from GMat Prep, and hence am totally confused why GMat has marked the OA as D. This clearly is a backward construction and here the subject is a compound subject, thereby requiring a plural verb.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2012, 21:33
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The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleaolithic peoples 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.

ERROR ANALYSIS
DIVIDE THE WHOLE SENTENCE INTO TO CLAUSES N THEN TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE S-V PAIR , YOU WILL FIND THE CORRECT ANSWER .
1.The period
2.when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were occupied by Upper Paleaolithic peoples
1.has been established by carbon dating,
3.but
4.what is much more difficult to determine (Singular Subject)
3.are (IS) the use to
5.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 (IS) :WRONG
B. have (HAS) been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine are (IS) :WRONG
C. have (HAS) been established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is :WRONG
D. has been established by carbon dating, but what is much more difficult to determine is :CORRECT
E. are (IS) established by carbon dating, but that which is much more difficult to determine is :WRONG
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2012, 21:46
Now read what you have mentioned:

what is much more difficult to determine (IMO, this is not the subject. Listen to Ron Purewal's first video on Compound Subject, Actually this ques is discussed there)

3.(is the use to) which primitive peoples put the caves
(is the use to) the reason for their decoration
and (is the use to) the meaning of the magnificently depicted animals.

IMO D is wrong. Need an expert to answer this question.
Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira were o   [#permalink] 28 Oct 2012, 21:46

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