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The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his

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The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly from previous works.


(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved

(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but they were slowly evolved


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 128: Sentence Correction


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The Official Guide for GMAT Review 10th Edition, 2003
Practice Question
Question No.: SC 22
Page: 656

Originally posted by skim on 18 Jul 2009, 00:57.
Last edited by Bunuel on 28 Sep 2018, 05:54, edited 5 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Jun 2012, 13:34
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This question tests parallelism. Indeed most of the wrong answers can be eliminated simply because of lack of parallelism (see below).

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly from previous works.

(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

'Not in a Noun Phrase but in a Noun Phrase' is violated by the use of the verb 'evolved.'

(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

Same problem as in (A), but this time because of 'were slowly evolved.'

(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

'Did not 'Verb Phrase + Prepositional Phrase but 'Verb Phrase + PP' is maintained here. The Answer.

(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved

The use of past perfect, 'had...evolved' is unnecessary.

(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

Use of the passive construction, 'were slowly evolved' invalidates this answer choice.


Hope that helps :)
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QOTD: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Oct 2017, 15:53
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Quote:
(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

Hopefully, the “not… but” construction absolutely leaps off the page at you whenever you see it. It’s often treated as an idiom in GMAT test-prep books, but I think that’s a mistake: think of “not… but” phrases as strict demands for parallelism. Basically, the word “not” and the word “but” need to be followed by the same parts of speech (nouns, verbs, prepositions, modifiers, etc.) or else the sentence is wrong. (The same, of course, is true of “not only” and “but also”: whatever follows those two phrases need to be parallel to each other.)

And in this case, we have “not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly.” “Not” is followed by a prepositional phrase, and “but” is followed by a verb. That’s unambiguously wrong, so (A) is gone.

Quote:
(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

(B) has almost exactly the same error as (A): “not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved.” “Not” is followed by a preposition, “but” is still followed by a verb. That’s still wrong. (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

This one seems to work! “Did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly…” Cool, the “not” and “but” are both followed by verbs, and they’re both in the past tense. That makes sense: they both happened in the past, and there’s no reason why those two actions should be in different tenses. We can keep (C).

Quote:
(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved

Now we get into some subtle stuff about verb tense and meaning. (And we did a whole YouTube webinar on verb tense and meaning, so check this out if you’re interested: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxANHcxwbeM.) The past perfect tense (“had slowly evolved”) only makes sense if it describes an action that happened in the distant past, before some other “time marker” – usually a later action in simple past tense.

Superficially, we’re OK here: “had slowly evolved” is accompanied by the simple past action “did not spring to life.” But wait: the timeline is nonsense. This is literally saying that Edison’s inventions first “had evolved slowly” and THEN they “did not spring to life.” Huh? It makes much more sense to just use the simple past for both actions here.

So (D) can be eliminated.


Quote:
(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but they were slowly evolved

And now we’re back to a nice, straightforward parallelism error: “not” is followed by the verb “spring”, while the “but” is followed by “they were slowly evolved” – a clause that begins with a noun. Those things aren’t parallel, so (E) is gone, and (D) is our answer.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2012, 08:39
d)did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved

what is wrong with option d
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jun 2012, 11:34
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In D, the use of past perfect 'had evolved' to describe the nature of a phenomenon is erroneous. The springing and evolving are concurrent happenings and so there is no need to sequence them as one before the other. That is why D loses
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 06 Aug 2012, 07:20
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"srikirs007"]But if we need to maintain parallelism, spring is just in base form where as evolved is past tense . Can someone please explain this?


(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

Notice that "did" appears before "spring". Hence we cannot write "sprang" because we cannot write two past tenses in same sentence. Note that "did not spring" = "sprang" which is parallel to past tense "evolved". The structure of the sentence is such that "spring" and "evolved" cannot be identically parallel. But both the verb tenses are in simple past tense. And that is why they are parallel.

Hence, it is not always necessary that all the entities in a list must be identically parallel. They should be made identically parallel only when it is possible to do so. In an e-gmat course concept namely Parallelism - Helpful Tips, we discuss how far entities can be parallel in the list.

Hope this helps.

Thanks.

Shraddha
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Originally posted by egmat on 01 Aug 2012, 10:11.
Last edited by egmat on 06 Aug 2012, 07:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Nov 2012, 02:30
1
ChrisLele wrote:
This question tests parallelism. Indeed most of the wrong answers can be eliminated simply because of lack of parallelism (see below).

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly from previous works.

(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

'Not in a Noun Phrase but in a Noun Phrase' is violated by the use of the verb 'evolved.'

(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

Same problem as in (A), but this time because of 'were slowly evolved.'

(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly

'Did not 'Verb Phrase + Prepositional Phrase but 'Verb Phrase + PP' is maintained here. The Answer.

(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved

The use of past perfect, 'had...evolved' is unnecessary.

(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

Use of the passive construction, 'were slowly evolved' invalidates this answer choice.


Hope that helps :)


(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

Use of the passive construction, 'were slowly evolved' invalidates this answer choice.


Hi Chris,
You mention the above as the reason why E is wrong.
So, Do we need the voices ( passive/active ) to be parallel in a x but y structure?

Regards,
Sach
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2012, 08:45
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Hi Sachin,

In the construction “not X but Y”, X and Y should be parallel, but it is not necessary for the voices to be the same if the context demands so. For example:

The beggars did not get any money but were helped in other ways.

In this sentence, “did not get” is in active voice but “were helped” is in passive. It is so because here both the entities cannot be identically parallel. If we make both the voice active, the meaning will be violated.

However, this is not the case with the OG question. Choice E reads:

E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

In this choice we can make both the entities identically parallel without violating the meaning of the sentence. We can easily say:

Did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but slowly evolved…

The takeaway is that we must keep the entities as parallel as possible. When we can have identically parallel entities to convey the intended logical meaning, we must keep them that way. The list can be made non-identical only if the logical meaning cannot be conveyed by making the entities absolutely parallel.

Hope this helps. :)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2013, 22:53
Buddha wrote:
[1] I want to disect and unerstand answer choices of this question - the use of did - i picked A as verbs were in past tense parallel ;
[2] Can someone help me with the link that points to Verbal Review -2 complete error analysis posts/thread ?

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva
Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life
not in a fl ash of inspiration but evolved slowly from
previous works.
(A) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(B) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
were slowly evolved
(C) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(D) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
had slowly evolved
(E) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
they were slowly evolved


I'm no help on your question 2, but I will respond to your first question about 'did'.

This is a great meaning question around the difference between "sprang to life not in a flash" and "did not spring to life in a flash". The intent of the sentence is to show that Edison's inventions were not the result of a flash of inspiration but rather were the result of an evolutionary process. By saying his inventions "sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly" you are actually setting up a contradictory statement because you are saying his inventions sprang to life through evolution, but evolution is slow and certainly does not "spring to life". By changing the statement to read "his inventions did not spring to life but evolved slowly" you get the proper meaning that this was not a quick, 'spinging' action but rather a slow evolutionary process.

Does that help?

KW
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 31 May 2013, 02:08
Buddha wrote:
I want to disect and unerstand answer choices of this question - the use of did - i picked A as verbs were in past tense parallel ;
Can someone help me with the link that points to Verbal Review -2 complete error analysis posts/thread ?

You mention that you picked A because verbs were in past tense and parallel. For one thing, tense does not need to be same between various parts of the sentence. For example:

Buddha has studied hard for GMAT and will surely score well on GMAT.

This is a valid sentence, though the tenses are not same (first part uses present perfect and second part uses simple future).

Nevertheless, even going by your thought process, you mention that both verbs are parallel. I am assuming you mean that sprang and evolved are parallel in A. So, let us dissect the sentence at these verbs:

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically:

(a) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration
BUT
(b) evolved slowly from previous works.

So, the mini-sentences we have here are:

(a) The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration
(b) The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically evolved slowly from previous works.


Hopefully you see the issue with (a). We would not say:

He prepared for GMAT not with a hope of scoring 650.

We would rather say:

He did not prepare for GMAT with a hope of scoring 650.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 04 May 2014, 17:58
KyleWiddison wrote:
Buddha wrote:
[1] I want to disect and unerstand answer choices of this question - the use of did - i picked A as verbs were in past tense parallel ;
[2] Can someone help me with the link that points to Verbal Review -2 complete error analysis posts/thread ?

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva
Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life
not in a fl ash of inspiration but evolved slowly from
previous works.
(A) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(B) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
were slowly evolved
(C) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(D) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
had slowly evolved
(E) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
they were slowly evolved


I'm no help on your question 2, but I will respond to your first question about 'did'.

This is a great meaning question around the difference between "sprang to life not in a flash" and "did not spring to life in a flash". The intent of the sentence is to show that Edison's inventions were not the result of a flash of inspiration but rather were the result of an evolutionary process. By saying his inventions "sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly" you are actually setting up a contradictory statement because you are saying his inventions sprang to life through evolution, but evolution is slow and certainly does not "spring to life". By changing the statement to read "his inventions did not spring to life but evolved slowly" you get the proper meaning that this was not a quick, 'spinging' action but rather a slow evolutionary process.

Does that help?

KW

Hey Kyle
Can you please explain why option E is wrong.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 06 May 2014, 11:01
282552 wrote:
KyleWiddison wrote:
Buddha wrote:
[1] I want to disect and unerstand answer choices of this question - the use of did - i picked A as verbs were in past tense parallel ;
[2] Can someone help me with the link that points to Verbal Review -2 complete error analysis posts/thread ?

The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva
Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life
not in a fl ash of inspiration but evolved slowly from
previous works.
(A) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(B) sprang to life not in a fl ash of inspiration but
were slowly evolved
(C) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
evolved slowly
(D) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
had slowly evolved
(E) did not spring to life in a fl ash of inspiration but
they were slowly evolved


I'm no help on your question 2, but I will respond to your first question about 'did'.

This is a great meaning question around the difference between "sprang to life not in a flash" and "did not spring to life in a flash". The intent of the sentence is to show that Edison's inventions were not the result of a flash of inspiration but rather were the result of an evolutionary process. By saying his inventions "sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly" you are actually setting up a contradictory statement because you are saying his inventions sprang to life through evolution, but evolution is slow and certainly does not "spring to life". By changing the statement to read "his inventions did not spring to life but evolved slowly" you get the proper meaning that this was not a quick, 'spinging' action but rather a slow evolutionary process.

Does that help?

KW

Hey Kyle
Can you please explain why option E is wrong.


Hi,

I see that there is still some confusion regarding this choice. Shraddha has done a good analysis of the errors in choice E in her post here:http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-voluminous-personal-papers-of-thomas-alva-edison-reveal-81030-20.html#p1148384

However, to solidify your understanding of the intended meaning of the author and the errors in various choices for this question, please refer to our detailed video solution of this question here:
https://e-gmat.com/blogs/?cat=45&paged=11

:)

Regards,
Neeti.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 17 May 2017, 05:54
Can any one explain why ansewr choice 'D' is incorrect ??? I was confused between C & D . Anyway chose D.
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New post 17 May 2017, 06:03
merajul wrote:
Can any one explain why ansewr choice 'D' is incorrect ??? I was confused between C & D . Anyway chose D.


D is incorrect because it uses "had", which is unnecessary.

As per the meaning of the sentence, it says Papers revealed that his inventions evolved slowly rather than in a flash of inspiration.

So, We don't need any "had" here. Also, spring in a flash and evolved slowly should be in the same tense form. But in D, it is not so.
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Re: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2017, 08:04
Quote:
The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva Edison reveal that his inventions typically sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly from previous works.
(A) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly
(B) sprang to life not in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved
(C) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but evolved slowly
(D) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but had slowly evolved
(E) did not spring to life in a flash of inspiration but were slowly evolved

abhimahna wrote:
merajul wrote:
Can any one explain why ansewr choice 'D' is incorrect ??? I was confused between C & D . Anyway chose D.


D is incorrect because it uses "had", which is unnecessary.

As per the meaning of the sentence, it says Papers revealed that his inventions evolved slowly rather than in a flash of inspiration.

So, We don't need any "had" here. Also, spring in a flash and evolved slowly should be in the same tense form. But in D, it is not so.

Correct... the past perfect tense ("had evolved") cannot be used because we do not have two past actions occurring at different times.
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Re: QOTD: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2018, 01:31
Hi, I understand that there is a need for parallelism but I do not understand how some inventions can 'evolve slowly' by themselves? I thought evolve is like animals evolving but inventions are not creatures, they need to be created and improved on by someone else? Am I misunderstanding something?

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Re: QOTD: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2018, 02:33
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@Ywp

'Evolve' simply means to transform for better either by itself or by somebody's effort. So many inanimate things evolve. For example, we say the volcanoes have evolved slowly over time. However, did anyone evolve them? They evolved by themselves.

How do inventions evolve by themselves? When the field is ripe with a lot of designs, the prior inventions open up a ready synergy for many inventors to create more and unique devices. That is the reason that we have so many new inventions springing up especially in scientific fields. This subtle momentum is the evolution of inventions.
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Re: QOTD: The voluminous personal papers of Thomas Alva &nbs [#permalink] 07 Jul 2018, 02:33
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