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# The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion

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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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01 Feb 2016, 02:38
mmagyar wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
A primer on subgroup modifiers:

Six different forms of subgroup modifiers are frequently observed. These forms are illustrated using the example above - the first 3 forms are correct and the last three wrong.

1. The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds,.... Correct

2. The stars, some at tremendous speeds,.... Correct

3. The stars, some of which are at tremendous speeds,... Correct

4. The stars, of which some are at tremendous speeds,... Wrong

5. The stars, some of which at tremendous speeds,... Wrong

6. The stars, some of them which are at tremendous speeds,... Wrong

I disagree with this usage because it has an incorrect meaning. When the modifier says "at tremendous speeds", it is referring the stars being "in motion", not to an inherent characteristic of "the stars". Thus, the following is incorrect:

• The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion - implies that the "tremendous speeds" is a characteristic of stars separate from their motion

To fix this, we need to keep the speeds about the motion. The following are correct:

• The stars, some of them moving at tremendous speeds, are in motion - awkward because we repeat the idea of motion, but not incorrect
• The stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, - much better

In other words, we have to be careful that the modifier both is grammatically correct and has the correct relationship to that which it modifies in terms of meaning. The difference in meaning in this example is subtle, but it is an important one for the GMAT.

Excellent observation, thank you for the post! I see your point and do agree with you. It is better to place the subgroup modifier after motion. Nevertheless, my intent for the post was to highlight the various possible uses, some of them correct and some wrong, of subgroup modifiers.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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01 Feb 2016, 04:11
The issue about the ambiguity of ‘they’ i.e., whether the term refers to the planets or stars, can be verified by the replacement test.
B) Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they (planets) are so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.
One may see that this gives a negative twist to what the text intends to say. These days one can not only observe these planets with telescopes anytime but also visit some of them in our lifetime, for instance, Venus in just fifteen months, Mars in 7 months and so on.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2016, 02:29
Though I liked the option B because for comparing noun, Like is always preferred on GMAT. when further reading the option B ,I found a pronoun "they" which is ambiguous ( stars/ planets)
I was down to A or B ...I ended up selecting A , because I was sure B had a flaw.
While in A , I thought 'being'would do .
This was like choosing among the flawed options.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2016, 03:05
I chose B.

A was the second-best option.

A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

The improvable aspects that I found were:

- "some of them at tremendous speeds" should have been after "in motion", not before.
- It is unclear what subject does the verb "yet being" refers to. Does it refer to stars or to planets?

Hence, discarded. However, it was a good runner-up.

What do you think about the 2 reasons mentioned above?

However, I think that, in option B, it is not totally clear what does "they" refer to.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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16 Jun 2016, 10:36
EBITDA wrote:
I chose B.

A was the second-best option.

A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

The improvable aspects that I found were:

- "some of them at tremendous speeds" should have been after "in motion", not before.
- It is unclear what subject does the verb "yet being" refers to. Does it refer to stars or to planets?

Hence, discarded. However, it was a good runner-up.

What do you think about the 2 reasons mentioned above?

However, I think that, in option B, it is not totally clear what does "they" refer to.

If a pronoun is subject of a clause and has two possible antecedents, one of them the subject of another clause within the sentence, then the pronoun would unambiguously refer to that subject antecedent.

The stars are in motion, but they....
The subject pronoun "they" clearly refers to the subject noun "stars", and not any other noun ( planets), by virtue of parallelism.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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16 Jun 2016, 23:34
Hi sayantanc2k,

Could you explain this in a clearer way by putting an example, for instance?

"If a pronoun is subject of a clause and has two possible antecedents, one of them the subject of another clause within the sentence, then the pronoun would unambiguously refer to that subject antecedent."

I do not think that what you are stating is always the case.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2016, 13:33
EBITDA wrote:
Hi sayantanc2k,

Could you explain this in a clearer way by putting an example, for instance?

"If a pronoun is subject of a clause and has two possible antecedents, one of them the subject of another clause within the sentence, then the pronoun would unambiguously refer to that subject antecedent."

I do not think that what you are stating is always the case.

Let us take option B as an example:

Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.

"If a pronoun is subject of a clause..": They is the subject of a clause (they are so far away from the Earth ....).
"..has two possible antecedents..": The pronoun they has two possible antecedents - planets and stars.
"..one of them the subject of another clause..": Stars is the subject of another clause (the stars are in motion...).
"...pronoun would unambiguously refer to that subject antecedent": The pronoun they refers to the SUBJECT antecedent stars.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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09 Aug 2016, 04:31
Could someone please explain, why in the correct answer choice B), "them" and "they" unambiguously refers to stars, and not planets?
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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12 Aug 2016, 04:33
manlog wrote:
Could someone please explain, why in the correct answer choice B), "them" and "they" unambiguously refers to stars, and not planets?

If a pronoun that is the subject of a clause has two possible antecedents, one of which is the subject of another clause within the sentence, the pronoun would, by virtue of parallelism, unambiguously refer to the subject antecedent.

Here "they" is the subject of a clause and so is the antecedent "stars". Hence this reference is unambiguous.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2016, 08:08
beckee529 wrote:
The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.

A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

B) Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

D) As the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

E) The stars are in motion like the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion but

to me they all sound retarded...

In B, is 'the stars are in motion' modifier' or 'appositive'? if not, then WHY we block off 'the stars are in motion' by comma?
If I say:
Like you I'm the member of GMAT Club. So, should I use comma after 'you' like bellow:
Like you, I'm the member of GMAT Club.
also, 'them' and 'they' refers to what? Does it refer 'planets' or 'stars'?
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2016, 08:25
sayantanc2k wrote:
manlog wrote:
Could someone please explain, why in the correct answer choice B), "them" and "they" unambiguously refers to stars, and not planets?

If a pronoun that is the subject of a clause has two possible antecedents, one of which is the subject of another clause within the sentence, the pronoun would, by virtue of parallelism, unambiguously refer to the subject antecedent.

Here "they" is the subject of a clause and so is the antecedent "stars". Hence this reference is unambiguous.

So, HOW do we understand that x (stars) is antecedent of y (they), and p (planets) is antecedent of q (them)?
Thanks expert...
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2016, 08:39
1
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Expert's post
iMyself wrote:
beckee529 wrote:
The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.

A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

B) Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

D) As the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

E) The stars are in motion like the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion but

to me they all sound retarded...

In B, is 'the stars are in motion' modifier' or 'appositive'? if not, then WHY we block off 'the stars are in motion' by comma?
If I say:
Like you I'm the member of GMAT Club. So, should I use comma after 'you' like bellow:
Like you, I'm the member of GMAT Club.
also, 'them' and 'they' refers to what? Does it refer 'planets' or 'stars'?

1. "The stars are in motion" is the main clause. It is not blocked off. It is preceded by a prepositional phrase ("Like the planets"), which is separated by the comma before "the". Again the main clause is succeeded by a subgroup modifier ("some of them..."), which is again separated by a comma after "motion".

2. A comma is generally recommended after "like X".

3. The pronouns "them" and " they" refer to "stars". There are two ways to confirm in this case why these pronouns refer to "stars" and not "planets".
a. If a pronoun that is the subject of a clause has two possible antecedents, one of which is the subject of another clause within the sentence, the pronoun would, by virtue of parallelism, unambiguously refer to the subject antecedent. "Stars" is the subject of a clause and so is "they".
b. The pronoun "them" is within a subgroup modifier. Therefore it must refer to the group (i.e. "stars") that the sub-group modifier is modifying.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2016, 08:44
1
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Expert's post
iMyself wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
manlog wrote:
Could someone please explain, why in the correct answer choice B), "them" and "they" unambiguously refers to stars, and not planets?

If a pronoun that is the subject of a clause has two possible antecedents, one of which is the subject of another clause within the sentence, the pronoun would, by virtue of parallelism, unambiguously refer to the subject antecedent.

Here "they" is the subject of a clause and so is the antecedent "stars". Hence this reference is unambiguous.

So, HOW do we understand that x (stars) is antecedent of y (they), and p (planets) is antecedent of q (them)?
Thanks expert...

Both "they" and "them" refer to "stars". A basic rule about pronouns is that all "they","them","their" and "theirs" must refer to the same antecedent. ( So is true for all he/him/his or she/her/hers etc.)
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2016, 09:44
sayantanc2k wrote:
iMyself wrote:
beckee529 wrote:
The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.

A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

B) Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

D) As the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

E) The stars are in motion like the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion but

to me they all sound retarded...

In B, is 'the stars are in motion' modifier' or 'appositive'? if not, then WHY we block off 'the stars are in motion' by comma?
If I say:
Like you I'm the member of GMAT Club. So, should I use comma after 'you' like bellow:
Like you, I'm the member of GMAT Club.
also, 'them' and 'they' refers to what? Does it refer 'planets' or 'stars'?

1. "The stars are in motion" is the main clause. It is not blocked off. It is preceded by a prepositional phrase ("Like the planets"), which is separated by the comma before "the". Again the main clause is succeeded by a subgroup modifier ("some of them..."), which is again separated by a comma after "motion".

2. A comma is generally recommended after "like X".

3. The pronouns "them" and " they" refer to "stars". There are two ways to confirm in this case why these pronouns refer to "stars" and not "planets".
a. If a pronoun that is the subject of a clause has two possible antecedents, one of which is the subject of another clause within the sentence, the pronoun would, by virtue of parallelism, unambiguously refer to the subject antecedent. "Stars" is the subject of a clause and so is "they".
b. The pronoun "them" is within a subgroup modifier. Therefore it must refer to the group (i.e. "stars") that the sub-group modifier is modifying.

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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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08 Oct 2016, 00:22
Dear experts,
Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime

is "some of them at tremendous speeds" an absolute phrase, which modifies the preceding clause.

Quote:
C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

experts,
like + noun works as a phrase in although clause, does it valid?
what I see mostly is that like + noun works as a comparison, in front of entire sentence.
this is first time for me, I am not sure whether it is valid and none discussed in this thread,
appreciate if clarify

thanks a lot
have a nice day
>_~
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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08 Oct 2016, 07:57
zoezhuyan wrote:
Dear experts,
Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime

is "some of them at tremendous speeds" an absolute phrase, which modifies the preceding clause.

Quote:
C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

experts,
like + noun works as a phrase in although clause, does it valid?
what I see mostly is that like + noun works as a comparison, in front of entire sentence.
this is first time for me, I am not sure whether it is valid and none discussed in this thread,
appreciate if clarify

thanks a lot
have a nice day
>_~

"Some of them at tremendous speeds" is a special type of modifier called subgroup modifier. I have discussed about this type here:

the-stars-some-of-them-at-tremendous-speeds-are-in-motion-54399-20.html#p1637254

Structurally, constructions such as "like the planets the stars are in motion" may be used as an independent clause by itself or used within a dependent clause - "Although like the planets the stars are in motion...."
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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25 Mar 2017, 09:15
Dear e-gmat Team,

Can you please comment on how "them" is not calling for any pronoun ambiguity in the correct choice (B)? I went with B, but I'm still thoroughly confused about how there is no ambiguity; it could refer to "stars" or "planets".

Best,
S

egmat wrote:
kiranck007 wrote:
Hi,

Are you saying "being" is not at all a verb? My wordweb dictionary reports it as a verb too

Hi kiranck007,

“be” is an auxiliary verb, is/am/are/war/were/will etc. are different helping verbs in different forms.

Now is/am/are/war/were/will etc. are considered verbs but “be” or “being” juts by itself is never a verb that can complement a Subject. “being” is what is called present participle. Present participles are not verbs that can complement Subjects. For example:

The work is being done.
Joe, being a naughty boy, never finished his homework on time.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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18 May 2017, 19:09
beckee529 wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2017

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 775
Page: 704

The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being so far away from the Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be observed during a single human lifetime.

(A) The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being

(B) Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

(C) Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet

(D) As the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are

(E) The stars are in motion like the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion but

Two problems with A "some of them ..." is awkward . The stars are in motion at tremendous speeds.

Since speed describes the motion, the sentence is easier to understand if we introduce motion first.

"The stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds."and "being" is clumsy, we want a verb here, since we're talking about two qualities of stars, and we introduced the first one with a verb.

"The stars ARE in motion yet ARE so far from Earth that ..."

First Glance

The underline starts immediately; a glance at the beginning of the answers reveals substantial changes. How should the sentence start?

Issues

(1) Meaning / Modifier: at tremendous speeds

The original sentence says that the stars, some of them are tremendous speeds, are in motion. The stars themselves don't occur at tremendous speeds; rather, the motion occurs at tremendous speeds. The modifier should be pointing to the action (motion), not the noun (stars).

Answers (B), (C), and (D) all clearly tie in the motion to the speeds: in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds. Like answer (A), answer (E) muddles the meaning of this modifier: the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion.

Furthermore, in answer (E), the some of which modifier points to the preceding noun, planets, not the stars. This answer, then, says that the planets are in motion. It's already common knowledge that planets are in motion; the point of the original sentence was to highlight that the stars are also in motion even though they seem to be fixed in the sky. Eliminate answers (A) and (E).

(2) Structure

The original sentence consists of an independent clause (the stars are in motion as the planets are) followed by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (yet), setting up the expectation for another independent clause.

Chop out the portion after the coordinating conjunction (being so far that X) and read it on its own: that portion is not a complete sentence. The word being could function as a subject−as in the sentence Being far away from loved ones can cause homesickness−but no verb completes the thought. Eliminate answers (A) and (C) because they are sentence fragments.

Answer (C)'s issue is even more severe. Although like is momentarily confusing (because one indicates contrast and the other similarity) and the use of both although and yet is redundant: only one contrast word is needed. Eliminate answer (C).

(3) Comparison: as

Some of the answers contain the comparison marker like: others use the marker as. Like is used to compare two nouns directly; as is used to compare clauses.

Answer (A) correctly uses as to compare two clauses. Answers (B), (C), and (E) correctly use like to compare two nouns. Answer (D), however, uses as to compare two nouns. Eliminate (D).

Correct answer (B) consists of two independent clauses connected by a comma and a coordinating conjunction. The sentence makes clear that the motion occurs at tremendous speeds.
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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03 Jul 2017, 04:39
The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being so far away
from Earth that their apparent positions in the sky do not change enough for their movement to be
observed during a single human lifetime.

A. The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion just as the planets are, yet being
A verb is required in the second independent clause starting from “yet …”

B. Like the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are
Correct option

C. Although like the planets the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, yet
“comma” is missing after “the plants” and before the “the stars”
Also, a subject is missing after “yet” to clarify what is so far from the earth..

D. As the planets, the stars are in motion, some of them at tremendous speeds, but they are
Usage of ‘as” to compare nouns “planets and stars” is incorrect

E. The stars are in motion like the planets, some of which at tremendous speeds are in motion but
Modifier “some of which” incorrectly modifies to “planets”
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Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion [#permalink]

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03 Jul 2017, 06:41
I think "they" in B is not ambiguous because you see the in the other half of the sentence that "their" is also present, so I think B is fine.
Re: The stars, some of them at tremendous speeds, are in motion   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2017, 06:41

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