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# The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol

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The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
Hi Mike,

In option C, I am struggling to understand how "The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day's supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud...." is correct. I was under the impression via the Manhattan Prep Sentence Correction book that any "comma - ing," structures are adverbial modifiers, but "involving the single day's supply of oil" seems to be modifying the story of Hanukkah and therefore needs to be a noun modifier.

Any insight or explanation you could provide on this are would be much appreciated. Thanks!
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The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
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mikemcgarry wrote:
(C) The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud, although the events that place this story in context are described in the two books of the Maccabees, which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament

mweber wrote:
Hi Mike,

In option C, I am struggling to understand how "The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day's supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud...." is correct. I was under the impression via the Manhattan Prep Sentence Correction book that any "comma - ing," structures are adverbial modifiers, but "involving the single day's supply of oil" seems to be modifying the story of Hanukkah and therefore needs to be a noun modifier.

Any insight or explanation you could provide on this are would be much appreciated. Thanks!

mweber , Mike may not see this post for awhile,
but I will tag MagooshExpert (anyone from Magoosh is excellent).

In the meantime, a comma followed by a participial modifier (a present participle, sometimes written comma + verbING)
can modify both the entire previous clause or phrase
OR the subject of the preceding clause or phrase.

The phrase "involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days"
is an appositive that describes (modifies) the core story of Hanukkah.
Story is the noun and subject in the phrase; the other words in the phrase describe which and what part of the story.

The phrase "involving..." is also a parenthetical [words interjected but not necessary to the meaning of the sentence]
that should be set off by commas.

The Manhattan SC book to which you refer does not say that
comma + ING can be used only as an adverbial modifier.
The author of the book implies that the construction often is an adverbial modifier.

I know that one major test prep company teaches that
comma + ING must modify the entire previous clause.

I disagree.

comma + ___ING modifiers do not have to be adverbial.
True, more often than not on the GMAT,
the comma + ING construction is an adverbial modifier.

Not always.
A new official question from the Official Guide Verbal Review 2019, here, provides a good example.
(There are other examples. I remembered this one first.)

SC # 228 , which you can find here, involves the issue you raise.

The completion in 1925 of the Holland Tunnel, linking Manhattan with New Jersey's
highways and permitting 2,000 cars to pass through each tube every hour, was hailed
as the decade's \$48 million engineering masterpiece.

In the official explanation for this correct answer (C), the author writes,
"The complex phrase linking . . . hour correctly exhibits parallelism between two
participial phrases and modifies the Holland Tunnel.

Hope that helps.
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
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generis wrote:
mweber , Mike may not see this post for awhile,
but I will tag MagooshExpert (anyone from Magoosh is excellent).

In the meantime, a comma followed by a participial modifier
(comma + verbING)
can modify both the entire previous clause or phrase
OR the subject of the preceding clause or phrase.

The phrase "involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days"
is an appositive that describes (modifies) the core story of Hanukkah.
The phrase is also a parenthetical [words interjected but not necessary to the meaning of the sentence]
that should be set off by commas.

The Manhattan SC book to which you refer does not say that
comma + ING can be used only as an adverbial modifier.
The author of the book implies that the construction often is an adverbial modifier.

I know that one major test prep company teaches that
comma + ING must modify the entire previous clause.

I disagree.

comma + ___ING modifiers do not have to be adverbial.
True, more often than not on the GMAT,
the comma + ING construction is an adverbial modifier.

Not always.
A new official question from the Official Guide Verbal Review 2019, here, provides a good example.
(There are other examples. I remembered this one first.)

SC # 228 , which you can find here, involves the issue you raise.

The completion in 1925 of the Holland Tunnel, linking Manhattan with New Jersey's
highways and permitting 2,000 cars to pass through each tube every hour, was hailed
as the decade's \$48 million engineering masterpiece.

In the official explanation for this correct answer (C), the author writes,
"The complex phrase linking . . . hour correctly exhibits parallelism between two
participial phrases and modifies the Holland Tunnel.

Hope that helps for now.

Great explanation! I agree with everything you said here

-Carolyn
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
Since this is a wordy question that is completely underlined, some students might find it easier to spot the errors and if they "trim the fat" at first, and focus on one of the most obvious keywords the GMAT tests: the ",WHICH"

(A) The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil lasting eight days, although placing this story in context are events described by the two books of the Maccabees, appearing only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament instead of in the Jewish and Protestant bibles

(B) The Talmud, briefly recounting the core story of Hanukkah, with the single day’s supply of oil lasting eight days, and only Roman Catholic Old Testament contains the two books of the Maccabees, which places this core story in context, unlike the Jewish and Protestant bibles

Can the "two books of the Maccabees" "places"? No! We would say "books place" not "books places." This has a Noun-Verb issue, and we can cross off (B).

(C) The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud, although the events that place this story in context are described in the two books of the Maccabees, which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament

Can the "two books of the Maccabees" "appear"? Yes! This meaning is logical and the noun-verb agree.

(D) The core story of Hanukkah involves the single day’s supply of oil which last eight days, appearing briefly in the Talmud, while the events to place this story in context, described in the two books of the Maccabees, which does not appear in the Jewish and Protestant bibles, but instead in the Roman Catholic Old Testament

Can the "two books of the Maccabees" "does not appear"? No! We would say "books do appear" not "books does appear." Like (B), this has a Noun-Verb disagreement, and we can cross (D) off.

(E) Appearing neither in the Jewish bible nor the Protestant bible, but in the Roman Catholic Old Testament, the two books of the Maccabees provide the context for the core story of Hanukkah, and involves the single day’s supply of oil which last eight days, while it appears briefly in the Talmud.

Let's look at our remaining three choices and see if we can spot another "easy" keyword:

(A) The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil lasting eight days, although placing this story in context are events described by the two books of the Maccabees, appearing only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament instead of in the Jewish and Protestant bibles

(C) The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud, although the events that place this story in context are described in the two books of the Maccabees, which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament

(E) Appearing neither in the Jewish bible nor the Protestant bible, but in the Roman Catholic Old Testament, the two books of the Maccabees provide the context for the core story of Hanukkah, and involves the single day’s supply of oil which last eight days, while it appears briefly in the Talmud.

I can see both (C) and (E) use the two-part Idiom "NEITHER X NOR Y" -- this gives us something obvious to check! Parallelism!

In (C) we have "the Jewish" and "Protestant". If I had my way, we'd add "the" before the word "Protestant," but the GMAT isn't anal about articles like "a" and "the" when it comes to Parallelism, so let's keep it.

In (E), however, we have "in the Jewish bible" in Parallel with "the Protestant bible." Uh-oh! On the GMAT, prepositions such as "in," "to," and "of" matter a LOT in Parallelism! This is dead wrong to include the preposition in one part of the idiom but not in the other part. (note: we could have said "IN neither the Jewish nor the Protestant" and that would've been fine.)

So (E) is out.

Getting closer! It's amazing with such a long question that just TWO rules: knowledge of "which" and knowledge of "neither/nor" parallelism have gotten us down to two! Remember to always look for the "low-hanging fruit"!

On to the Final Two! I think these two are both problematic and highly unlikely to be correct options on the actual GMAT, for reasons I get into below. There's something so weird to me about "the single day's supply of oil" and I can't quite put my finger on it. I think it's the article "the." Anyway, I like neither of these choices. Let's see why:

(A) The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil lasting eight days, although placing this story in context are events described by the two books of the Maccabees, appearing only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament instead of in the Jewish and Protestant bibles

No obvious "deal-breaker" as in (B), (D), and (E), so let's get nit-picky with meaning and style! Meaning is decent, but I don't like the insinuation that "events" could be doing the action of "placing this story in context." It feels like something only people can do. I also don't like the meaning that it is the "events" that possibly "appear" only in the Old Testament. It seems like it should be more clearly the "two books" that appear. Again, it's fine, but I don't like it. Style-wise, I hate the passive structure of "placing this story...are events." Again, passive voice can sometimes be correct on the GMAT, but this is problematic. I also thing the double-participle of "involving" and "lasting" so close to one another is unusual for the GMAT, and the "instead of" is weird, though will never be the deal-breaker on the actual exam.

(C) The core story of Hanukkah, involving the single day’s supply of oil that lasts eight days, appears briefly in the Talmud, although the events that place this story in context are described in the two books of the Maccabees, which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament.

I hate "that lasts" and would much prefer the participle "lasting," though no one asked me. There's 4 commas here as opposed to 3 commas in the (A). Clarity is not gained by these extra sub-divisions. "Events that place" is more active than (A), but then the rest of the sentence gets kind of weird, since the idiom should just be "NEITHER X NOR Y" but we're throwing in this "BUT ONLY" at the end of it, as if it is some weird three-part Idiom.

Based on the active voice alone, (C) wins over (A), but honestly, I don't think this (A) versus (C) here is a fair representation of the kind of choice you'd make on the actual exam.

Tl;dr -- I think (B), (D), and (E) have great teachable take-aways, but I don't think examining (A) versus (C) here is worthwhile for most students. It's going to make them overly obsessed with "instead of" and passive voice versus active voice, and honestly, there's bigger fish to fry on GMAT SC.
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The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
MagooshExpert wrote:
Great explanation! I agree with everything you said here

-Carolyn

MagooshExpert - thanks Carolyn! +1

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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
generis Thank you very much for the detailed response! It was very helpful.
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
Hi experts,

Is it valid to say "which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament"?
I doubt whether the "in" in the "in the Roman Catholic Old Testament" is redundant/valid.

They appear in neither A nor B, but C.
They appear neither in A nor in B, but in C.
They appear not in A, but in B.
but,
They appear in neither A nor B, but in C?

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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
nice question ..very confused between A and C but ended up choosing A
Is there anything else except "instead of" wrong in option A ? I
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
I came to this post trying to find the answer to the same thing someone asked previously and hadn't been answered so far =(.

Why is it ok not to respect the "Once outside twice inside rule"?

We see "in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles"

I clearly can see It'd be odd to write "in the neither Jewish nor Protestant bibles", so what I am actually doubting is why it is not mandatory to see "in neither the Jewish nor THE Protestant bibles"

Thanks
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
Isn't parallism broken in C though?
"neither THE Jewish nor Protestant bibles" --> shouldn't this have to be "Neither THE Jewish nor THE Protestant bible"?
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
Tenochtitlan fireagablast

Agreed--the usage in C is not parallel. We should repeat THE before Protestant. There are certainly much more serious issues with the other 4 choices, but this still needs a fix.
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Re: The Talmud briefly recounts the core story of Hanukah, invol [#permalink]
mikemcgarry wrote:
ankushbassi wrote:
Hi Mike,
I believe option C does not follow the correct structure in "which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament".
Neither X nor Y,but Z does not look parallel.

Option B looks more convincing and correctly compares the Talmud with other books.

Dear ankushbassi,
Mike

mikemcgarry

Thankyou Mike for the OE and the link provided was helpful. Though by POE we can arrive at C but I found it difficult to grasp the parallelism because of the "twice in and once out " placement of preposition "in" in the given option choice.

"two books of the Maccabees, which appear in neither the Jewish nor Protestant bibles, but only in the Roman Catholic Old Testament"

Can you explain why it isn't
" which appear in neither Jewish nor protestant Bible,but only Roman catholic old testament. "