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# The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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05 Jul 2016, 10:25
TheLostBear wrote:
Hi Mike,

Thank you for the great explanation! I made the mistake of looking for verb tense error, but I see why looking for parallelism is more efficient. For my own education, can you please analyze the verb tense error, if there is any, of each answer choices?

Dear TheLostBear,
I'm happy to respond.

Just scanning the problem, I notice a great deal of changes between the simple past and the present perfect.
The zoning commission countered = simple past
The zoning commission has countered = present perfect

These two have very similar meanings. The difference is in the subtlety of emphases. The use of the simple past implies: action done and over. The use of the present perfect implies: the literal action is in the past, but the effects still linger in a meaningful way. Neither one is "wrong" --- it's simply a difference in emphasis. Because these are so close in meaning, this problem is a bad place to look for verb tense errors.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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06 Jul 2016, 11:03
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TheLostBear wrote:
Got it, thank you! I checked verb tenses because they were the first thing I noticed while scanning the answer choices. Under what circumstances will checking verb tenses be better idea than checking parallelism?

Dear TheLostBear,
I'm happy to respond.

Verb tenses are not a particularly common area of mistake tested on the GMAT. I can think of extremely few official questions in which verb tense mistakes play a major role in the splits, and these are never the deciding split of a question. Subject-verb agreement is far more common, and parallelism is one of the most widely tested concepts on the GMAT SC. I will say, it's hard to "look" for parallelism, only because parallelism can take such a bewildering variety of forms.

My friend, it sounds as if you are looking for a recipe or formula for interpreting the GMAT SC, and that is an approach that will not be successful. It is impossible to arrive at GMAT SC purely by learning some mythical complete list of rules. While it's important to learn and study rules, you need to develop intuition. When I read a GMAT SC, before I start I never know what to expect, but as I read the prompt and choices, I begin to notice errors or things that "don't feel right." The best way to develop this intuition is to develop a rigorous habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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06 Jul 2016, 21:32
mikemcgarry wrote:
TheLostBear wrote:
Got it, thank you! I checked verb tenses because they were the first thing I noticed while scanning the answer choices. Under what circumstances will checking verb tenses be better idea than checking parallelism?

Dear TheLostBear,
I'm happy to respond.

Verb tenses are not a particularly common area of mistake tested on the GMAT. I can think of extremely few official questions in which verb tense mistakes play a major role in the splits, and these are never the deciding split of a question. Subject-verb agreement is far more common, and parallelism is one of the most widely tested concepts on the GMAT SC. I will say, it's hard to "look" for parallelism, only because parallelism can take such a bewildering variety of forms.

My friend, it sounds as if you are looking for a recipe or formula for interpreting the GMAT SC, and that is an approach that will not be successful. It is impossible to arrive at GMAT SC purely by learning some mythical complete list of rules. While it's important to learn and study rules, you need to develop intuition. When I read a GMAT SC, before I start I never know what to expect, but as I read the prompt and choices, I begin to notice errors or things that "don't feel right." The best way to develop this intuition is to develop a rigorous habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,

You read my mind; I definitely have been approaching SC as I would with Quant. The signs were all there, but I guess I need someone to tell me not to do it.

The problem with me using intuition is that I tend to get distracted by long sentences, and I guess this is by GMAT-design. Also, even though I live in the States, I did not speak English until I was 17, so I am not as good at "feeling" that an answer sounds wrong as my native speaker friends are. It shows in my SC performance, is there a way to remedy the situation?

Thank you for the article! I like the idea of reading ~1 hour a day. Scientific topic in RC really get to me sometimes, so Scientific American is just what I need.
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2016, 18:00
Can someone please explain what is wrong with (C)? Particularly, why the construction "threat of the accidental releases" is wrong?

Can "still" function as a verb? In which case, "to still" will be parallel to "to protect" and (C) can be the right answer?
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2016, 10:02
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manhasnoname wrote:
Can someone please explain what is wrong with (C)? Particularly, why the construction "threat of the accidental releases" is wrong?

Can "still" function as a verb? In which case, "to still" will be parallel to "to protect" and (C) can be the right answer?

Dear manhasnoname,

I'm happy to respond. I'm not a big fan of this particular question, but I am happy to answer you questions about it.

Look at (C)
. . . not just for emergency and cleanup workers but to prepare for outbreaks of dangerous viruses and still another growing threat of the accidental releases of nanoparticles . . . .
As often happens with official questions, the problem with a choice may not be evident from looking at the underlined part in isolation; instead, we have to look at how each underlined option "plugs in" to the rest of the sentence.

Choice (C) creates the impression that the noun "still another growing threat . . ." is the object of the closest preposition, the preposition "of." In that reading, the workers would have prepare for two things:
1) prepare for outbreaks of dangerous viruses
2) prepare for outbreaks of still another growing threat of . . .

This is not the intended meaning. It is not really logical to say "outbreaks of still another growing threat" The noun "still another growing threat of ..." is the object of which preposition? Logically, we know it should be the object of "for," not the object of "of," but a sentence is no good if we have to resort to logic to resolve grammar ambiguities. Because this is less than clear from the grammatical set-up, this answer is incorrect.

As for your suggestion that "still" be read as a verb--that is a fascinating and highly original suggestion!! Ironically, I think this is a suggestion that could be made only by an exceptionally intelligent person who has learned English as a second language. First of all, the construction "still another X" is so deeply idiomatic that I think every native speaker would simply default to that understanding. Furthermore, the verb "still" has a slightly different connotation, a connotation of delicacy or tenderness. We would "still" something personal--still my beating heart, still the tears of a child. A powerful speaker might "still" an audience for a moment with profound words. The word connotes a minimum of activity to create an immediate emotional effect. For something such as the "growing threat of that are starting to be used in electronics, food, medicine, and more"--that's not something I could do by myself in one go. It's a major project, requiring the concerted effort of hundred or even thousands of individuals over an extended period of time. The sheer busyness of the effort required to fight this threat makes "still" the wrong choice of verb. So, the bad news is: on this particular point, reading "still" as a verb would not work. The good news, though, is that the brilliance, creativity, and insight that you demonstrated in making this suggestion will certainly serve you well on the GMAT and in the future.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2016, 15:04
mikemcgarry,

Didn't know so much about "still". Thanks for such detailed explanation and thanks for your kind words. Now I'm totally able to see why (C) is incorrect.

However, there is one thing that is not very clear to me. How can "still another X" play a role as a noun. Could you please elaborate on this? Possibly by sharing some other examples.
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2016, 14:44
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manhasnoname wrote:
mikemcgarry,

Didn't know so much about "still". Thanks for such detailed explanation and thanks for your kind words. Now I'm totally able to see why (C) is incorrect.

However, there is one thing that is not very clear to me. How can "still another X" play a role as a noun. Could you please elaborate on this? Possibly by sharing some other examples.

Dear manhasnoname,

I'm happy to respond.

The "another" is a tricky word, because it can function both as a pronoun and as a adjective. It's in a category known as indefinite words. See:
GMAT Sentence Correction: Indefinite Pronouns and Agreement
GMAT Sentence Correction: Indefinite Pronouns and Logic

When a noun follows it, the word "another" acts as an adjective, as a noun modifier. The word "still" is an adverb that modifies the adjective. When we have "still another [noun]" we have [adverb][adjective][noun]. If we are assigning grammatically roles to words in isolation, those are the grammatical roles of those three words. Similar structures:
the very intelligent student
a quite lucrative career

Each of these is of the form [article][adverb][adjective][noun]. Again, if we are going to dissect down to the level of individual words, that what we have.

On the other hand, the poet William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850) said, "We murder to dissect." When you focus too much on the grammatical role of each word in a sentence in isolation, you miss the gestalt, the sense of the whole. When we start looking at how the sentence functions as unit, it becomes clear that the any noun plus all its modifiers act as a kind of unit. In this sense, we would refer to this entire string of words as a noun, because together, they play a noun-role in the large sentence, even though each individual word may or may not be a noun by itself. Consider the sentences:
1) The very intelligent student gave the professor a nuanced answer, suggesting that ....
2) A quite lucrative career for young MBA graduates is ....
It's not incorrect to say that the noun that plays the role of the subject is "the very intelligent student" in #1 and "a quite lucrative career" in #2. In each case, that collection of words as a unit acts a noun in the sentence, and in fact, each acts as the subject in its sentence. This is a more holistic way to think about grammar. The reductionistic method is to look at each individual word separately.

From the purely reductionistic view, holism is wrong. From the holistic view, reductionism misses the forest for the trees. A student who can look at a sentence both holistically and reductionistically will have that much deeper an understanding of the sentence.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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11 Oct 2016, 17:27
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souvik101990 wrote:
The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process was exhaustive, that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and with other community organizations, and that none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise.

I love, but in the same time hate, such type of questions!
You need to be very, very, very attentive not to miss anything.

Let's understand the meaning first.
The ZC said smth. What exactly? (starting a list with 3 entities)
1. that its consultation process was exhaustive
2. that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with (another list here - oh boy! right? :D )
c) and other community organizations.
3. and that none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise.

looks good so far...let's get to the POE!

A. has countered that its consultation process was exhaustive, that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and with other community organizations, and that none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise
this damn "with" might be easily overlooked! this single word makes the inside list not parallel. As a result, the answer choice A is incorrect...

B. has countered that its consultation process has been exhaustive, that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and that none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise
alright..this one changes the tense from "was exhaustive" to has been exhaustive - not a big difference..ok..
list 1 is ok
list 2 is ok
looks like we have a winner...better check the other ones as well just to make sure.

C. has countered that its consultation process has been exhaustive, it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and none of the issued permits ought to come as a surprise
1st error - 1st list is not correct. twice the same error...2nd entity and 3rd entity
2nd error - we have an IC in the middle. this IC is not connected properly to anything...good bye C!

D. countered that its consultation process has been exhaustive, that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, with business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and that none of the issued permits ought to have come as surprises
oups!
we either use with for all entities of the list or not use it at all for 2nd and 3rd...
D is out.

E. countered that its consultation process was exhaustive, that it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise
again..a missing that in the third entity of the first list makes this choice incorrect...

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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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20 Dec 2016, 07:38
All options are wrong . Even B .
Let's see how the verbs are parallel or make sense .
The sentence talks about why the permits that have been already issued (past tense ) should not come as a surprise . And then gives the reasons for those .
In B , it says that the zoning commission has countered that the consultation process has been exhaustive. This should be simple past , as the consultation process for the permits issues (already happened) also happened in the past .
The verb form is incorrect .

For cases when then verb form is correct , the parallelism is flawed .

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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 04:09
mikemcgarry wrote:
282552 wrote:
Mike another one on the same lines.What would be your pick. I picked C

Dear 282552,

Here is a modified version of this question:
Several Pentagon contractor firms are working on a new class of ventilator masks, not just for emergency and cleanup workers but to prepare for outbreaks of dangerous viruses and still another growing threat: the accidental releases of nanoparticles, which are the infinitesimal, engineered fibers that are starting to be used in electronics, food, medicine, and more.

(A) still another growing threat: the accidental releases of nanoparticles, which are the infinitesimal,
(B) still another growing threat: the accidental releases of nanoparticles and the infinitesimal,
(C) still another growing threat of the accidental releases of nanoparticles, the infinitesimal and
(D) for still another growing threat: the accidental releases of nanoparticles, the infinitesimal and
(E) to protect against still another growing threat of the accidental releases of nanoparticles and the infinitesimal and

Usually, Veritas writes good questions, but this is not one of their better offerings. Notice, first of all, I altered the underlined section and answer choices, because all five answer choices had similarities at the beginning & the end that could be omitted for shortened answer choices without the loss of any information. That's just exceptionally poor editing.

This is not the best question. Choice (B) changes the meaning to something illogical, so that is out. Choice (C) & (E) are awkward and change the meaning, so they are out. The problem in both of them is that, rather than clearly identify the other "growing threat" with "the accidental releases of nanoparticles," (C) & (E) suggest that there is "another growing threat of the accidental releases of nanoparticles," as if we already knew of some of the threats associated with the accidental releases of nanoparticles and now this is telling us one more. That's a huge change in meaning, to something illogical.

I think choice (A) is good, and so is choice (D), the OA. I think they would say that the parallelism in (A) is unclear, because admittedly there is ambiguity whether "threat" is the object of "for" or of "of." That is a particularly poor split, because either way has much the same meaning. I don't know. I find that a very picayune split, not persuasive and satisfying, not at all in the style of the splits on the GMAT SC question. This questions achieves its splits on the basis of small technicality, which is not really in the spirit of GMAT SC questions. Often Veritas questions impress me, but I am less than impressed by this one.

That's what I think of this question.

My friend, I am more than happy to give my input on other questions, but please find the threads where those questions are already posted, ask your question in those threads, and use the "mention this user" to call my attention to your question.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Don't you think the idiom structure Not Only X but Y requires X and Y to be parallel?
In this case, X is a noun - " workers", whereas Y is an infinitive verb "to prepare". Though this is in the non-underlined portion and is inconsequential to the OA, I believe this is not an accurate construction of this idiom

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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 11:08
rahulkashyap wrote:
You have mentioned that in D, "none of the permits" is a singular entity. However, none is followed by a plural object "permits", which makes this entire entity plural.

For eg- none of the boys are coming.
Some of the cake is missing

Therefore, isn't "none of the permits" a plural enitity?

Dear rahulkashyap,

I'm happy to respond.

The word "none" is tricky. In a way, it originally was a contraction of "not one." True grammatical purists would say that it is always singular. These people would say:
None of the boys is coming.
These say purist would say that "are" in that sentence is wrong. In this way, it's different from the other indefinite pronouns (some, most, many, few, etc.) See:
GMAT Sentence Correction: Indefinite Pronouns and Agreement
Now, this degree of rigor might be too conservative even for the GMAT! I have not seen the GMAT test issues such as "None of the X's is/are ..." Some of the truly rigorous grammatical issues the GMAT tends to sidestep.

Nevertheless, it's good to have this idea of "none" = "not one" in the back of your mind. Setting "none of the X's" equal to some other plural, here "surprises," still sounds awkward.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 13:49
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rahulkashyap wrote:
Don't you think the idiom structure Not Only X but Y requires X and Y to be parallel?
In this case, X is a noun - " workers", whereas Y is an infinitive verb "to prepare". Though this is in the non-underlined portion and is inconsequential to the OA, I believe this is not an accurate construction of this idiom

Dear rahulkashyap,

I'm happy to respond.

The short answer is: what appears in that question is 100% correct--in particularly, it's perfectly correct and particularly sophisticated use of parallelism. This is a very subtle point.

You see, parallelism is NOT a grammatical construction. Parallelism is a LOGICAL construction, a pattern of matching at the level of logic, and the grammar simply has to reflect the pattern in the logic. Grammar always follows logic.

Naturally, in a comparison, we compare like to like, so over 90% of the time, comparing two things that are logically in the same category (two objects, two actions, etc.) requires two sets of words that match grammatically. The grammar is simply following the logic.

In this case, we are talking about two purposes for action. There are a variety of ways for me to express the purpose of my action. I could use a prepositional phrase:
I bought groceries for my sick friend.
I bought groceries for supplies during the upcoming storm.
I could also use an infinitive of purpose.
I bought groceries to help my sick friend.
I bought groceries to stock up before the upcoming storm.
Those are grammatically different but logically equivalent.

In parallelism, the two branches always must be logically equivalent. Once again, 90% of the time, that also means they will be grammatical equivalents, but this is one example, expressions of the purpose of an action, in which two completely different grammatical forms can be logically equivalent.

By contrast, we easily could construct a sentence in which the elements match grammatically but not logically----
I cooked dinner with enthusiasm, with fresh parsley, and with my friend Chris.
Those three prepositional phrases in parallel match grammatically, but it's a complete mismatch logically. In terms of parallelism, that sentence is a complete train wreck, but the problem doesn't show up at the level of grammar.

You see, you can't afford to be fundamentalist about parallelism---the GMAT will punish that kind of thinking. You can't get through GMAT SC at the level of literalism. You always have to be thinking about logic and meaning. All language is about conveying meaning! That's the single most important thing in language, so it's the single most important thing in the GMAT SC. The student who gets stuck on the grammar and ignores the meaning misses the boat!

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 22:43
mikemcgarry

thank you!
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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29 Mar 2017, 19:38
AnthonyRitz, VeritasPrepKarishma, GMATNinja, Could verbal expert help to explain the "THAT" clause in this question?

1. The zoning commission has countered THAT its consultation process has been exhaustive, THAT it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and THAT none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise.

2. The BELIEF THAT the Earth is flat is contradicted by EVIDENCE THAT the Earth is round and the DISCOVERY THAT the Earth circles the Sun.

3. Some buildings THAT were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year had been constructed in violation of the city’s building code. [Taken from Official Guide Verbal Review 2017 Question 39]
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2017, 06:05
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ziyuen wrote:
AnthonyRitz, VeritasPrepKarishma, GMATNinja, Could verbal expert help to explain the "THAT" clause in this question?

1. The zoning commission has countered THAT its consultation process has been exhaustive, THAT it coordinated and participated in over 250 meetings with leadership councils, business-empowerment boards, and other community organizations, and THAT none of the issued permits ought to have come as a surprise.

2. The BELIEF THAT the Earth is flat is contradicted by EVIDENCE THAT the Earth is round and the DISCOVERY THAT the Earth circles the Sun.

3. Some buildings THAT were destroyed or heavily damaged in the earthquake last year had been constructed in violation of the city’s building code. [Taken from Official Guide Verbal Review 2017 Question 39]

I'm flattered to be mentioned alongside such distinguished authorities! The word "that" can function as a relative pronoun or as a subordinating conjunction (a type of connector). In the first form, "that" begins a relative clause modifier that (usually) describes the adjacent noun (with some small set of exceptions). In the second form, "that" connects a dependent clause to the independent clause that follows, setting up and contextualizing the main idea of the sentence.

In (1), "that" acts as a subordinating conjunction in each appearance (set in parallel by the "and"); the statements that follow are independent clauses.

In (3), "that" acts as a relative pronoun that modifier the immediately proceeding noun in each instance.

In (2), I think relative pronoun.

I hope this helps!

Last edited by AnthonyRitz on 30 Mar 2017, 19:28, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2017, 06:30
Expert's post
Top Contributor
Yup, Anthony has it right!

In #1, "that" just subordinates the clause(s) that follow.

In #2 & #3, "that" functions as a relative pronoun. In other words, "that" just introduces modifiers for the preceding nouns (belief, evidence, discovery, buildings).
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2017, 18:09
Merging topics! Please, search questions before posting them.
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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2017, 19:02
sallysea wrote:
Merging topics! Please, search questions before posting them.

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Re: The zoning commission has countered that its consultation process   [#permalink] 30 Mar 2017, 19:02

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