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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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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:
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!!
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
If you have any questions
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Re: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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: Painted caves at Lascaux and Altamira [#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 [#permalink]

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17 Sep 2013, 11:41
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Bumping for review and further discussion*.

*New project from GMAT Club!!! Check HERE

Theory on Subject/Verb agreement: subject-verb-agreement-159965.html
Questions on Subject/Verb agreement to practice: search.php?search_id=tag&tag_id=131

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

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18 Sep 2013, 03:01
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．

"The period" is singular so E, C and D are out. "The reason" is singular so A and D are discarded. Auto click B without reading

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

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30 Mar 2014, 12:30
Experts,

I am confused on this one.

I am okay with ..

The period............has been.

But I am not okay with 'to determine is' construction.

What is much more difficult to determine is X,Y, and Z.

Inverted order: X,Y, and Z are difficult to determine.

So why use 'IS' instead of 'ARE'.

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

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31 Mar 2014, 12:31
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If the fragment were "the things that are much more difficult to determine" then you needed an "are" (whether what follows "are" is "reason" or "reasons").

Because the subject (of this fragment) is "what is X" = singular, you need "is."

For e.g.
His contributions ARE doing X, doing Y, and doing Z.
His contribution IS doing X, doing Y, and doing Z.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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14 Apr 2014, 05:05
Actually, I was confused too. But when I asked myself what is C-14 dating actually. Ans came up
Its like:
The era was established by (known by) this technology
Likewise;
The period has been established by a technique (i.e. C-14 dating)

C-14 dating is a technique.

Is the logic correct?
Pls guide
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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14 Apr 2014, 11:43
TGC wrote:
Experts,

I am confused on this one.

I am okay with ..

The period............has been.

But I am not okay with 'to determine is' construction.

What is much more difficult to determine is X,Y, and Z.

Inverted order: X,Y, and Z are difficult to determine.

So why use 'IS' instead of 'ARE'.

Rgds,
TGC!

In the book that I am currently referring to, it says that when the "subject" of a sentence is a "noun clause", it is always "singular". In this case, the subject of the sentence is the clause: What is much more difficult to determine. Hence, it is singular and so, we use "is".
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2014, 11:20
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.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2014, 21:42
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Actually the book I am referring to says that when subject of a sentence is a "noun clause", it is always considered singular.

Here, the subject is "what is much more difficult to determine", which is a clause. So, it will be singular. So, verb "is" would be correct.

Another example (though not official) that the book gives is:

What statements politicians give is important.
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and [#permalink]

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09 Sep 2015, 06:51
My doubt is: when we have a list of actions, phrases or anything, what should we use?

Singular verb or Plural verb ?

IS the noun clause is always singular?

Thanks

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

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02 Nov 2015, 23:59
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

Ans has to be B

1) The period........has [ here the subject is a noun ( the period ) and hence needs a singular verb ( has ).
2) what is much more difficult to determine..........is [ here the subject is a clause ( what is much more difficult to determine ) and whenever a phrase or clause act as a subject will always take a singular verb ( is ).

Moreover, here the verb ( is ) is not referring to the lists but to the clause. There is no doubt that if the the verb refers to a lists it must be plural verb, but here the verb [ is/are] is not referring to a lists rather referring to a clause that is acting as a subject.

Hope it cleared the doubt
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Re: The period when the great painted caves at Lascaux and   [#permalink] 02 Nov 2015, 23:59

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