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The price of a bushel of corn has fallen so drastically [#permalink]
mikemcgarry wrote:
bkpolymers1617 wrote:
mikemcgarry : Hey Mike, I was wondering whether you would have some time to answer this. Can you please throw some light on why answer choice E is wrong. I read one of your posts on progressive tense and understand that this particular verb form is used when something is happening right at this very moment. So is Choice E wrong because there is a sudden tense shift from past to present continuous(Has fallen to are finding).

Also, I was doubting that D is correct because it had this vague and ugly "It". I know this It is just a placeholder and not the typical It we use for pronoun reference. But this type of construction is often seen on gmat questions- are there any blogs or thoughts around how this particular It construction works. Let me know if this is really relevant from a GMAT perspective.

Many Thanks for all your help.

Dear [url]bkpolymers1617[/url],

I'm happy to respond. :-)

First of all, there are several problems with (E).
1) the shift to the present progressive is a bit unusual, but that's not reason to disqualify this answer
2) poor parallelism. Every comparison contains implicit parallelism. What are we comparing in (D): "the destruction" to "the making of." Awkward.
3) The complex gerund at the end—"the making of the effort to get them to market"—is atrocious! No native speaker would ever put this combination of words together. This is 100% unnatural.
4) We are trying to compare two actions. Verbs and verb forms, such as the infinitive, are the most powerful way to express actions. We alway run into trouble when we try to put actions into noun forms.

By contrast, (D) is concise and elegant. It is 100% correct. It frames the actions as infinitives and correctly compares to infinitive in parallel. The "it" is also correct: this is a structure that regularly blows the minds of non-native speakers, especially non-native speakers who have an excessively rule-based understandings of grammar. This is called the "empty it." I discuss it in this blog article:
The Empty ‘It’ on the GMAT Sentence Correction

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)



Hey Mike- I read your blog, and I must admit that now I have a precise and a clear understanding of why Option D is right. As your blog rightly mentions that we use the empty It construction to emphasize a fact that is contrary to the norm or typical. For example, in choice D, the fact that destroying the crops would be cheaper than the effort to get them to market seems to be unexpected(something that a person would not normally consider true.)

As far as E is concerned, I agree that the phrase "the making of the effort to get them to market" is utterly atrocious and awkward- But honestly, I rarely use awkwardness to ear as a means to eiliminate the answer choice(thanks to your amazing Magoosh Video Lessons). Plus, I know as a fact that complex gerund phase(one that uses an of construction) and action nouns can be parallel. For example, see below:

The rebels demanded the withdrawal of government forces from disputed regions, significant reductions in overall troop levels, THE raising OF the rebel flag on holidays, AND a general pardon

So, while I was solving this question, I still felt that I really can't eliminate E on parallelism, even though it just did not seem right. Now after your reply, in addition to elegancy, D also justifies a perfect usage of It Clause, so it seems to be a much much better option.

Let me know if you agree with me on this. Thanks always Mike
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Re: The price of a bushel of corn has fallen so drastically [#permalink]
Expert Reply
bkpolymers1617 wrote:
Hey Mike- I read your blog, and I must admit that now I have a precise and a clear understanding of why Option D is right. As your blog rightly mentions that we use the empty It construction to emphasize a fact that is contrary to the norm or typical. For example, in choice D, the fact that destroying the crops would be cheaper than the effort to get them to market seems to be unexpected(something that a person would not normally consider true.)

As far as E is concerned, I agree that the phrase "the making of the effort to get them to market" is utterly atrocious and awkward- But honestly, I rarely use awkwardness to ear as a means to eiliminate the answer choice(thanks to your amazing Magoosh Video Lessons). Plus, I know as a fact that complex gerund phase(one that uses an of construction) and action nouns can be parallel. For example, see below:

The rebels demanded the withdrawal of government forces from disputed regions, significant reductions in overall troop levels, THE raising OF the rebel flag on holidays, AND a general pardon

So, while I was solving this question, I still felt that I really can't eliminate E on parallelism, even though it just did not seem right. Now after your reply, in addition to elegancy, D also justifies a perfect usage of It Clause, so it seems to be a much much better option.

Let me know if you agree with me on this. Thanks always Mike

Dear bkpolymers1617,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friend, I believe we are in complete agreement on all of this. I want to commend you for all the hard work you put in to deepen your understanding on these issues!

Mike :-)
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Re: The price of a bushel of corn has fallen so drastically [#permalink]
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Re: The price of a bushel of corn has fallen so drastically [#permalink]
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