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# Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost

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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 00:34
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53% (01:18) correct 47% (01:20) wrong based on 217 sessions

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Project SC Butler: Day 195: Sentence Correction (SC2)

Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

A) only partially are so

B) only in part

C) only partially

D) or only in part

E) or are only partially so

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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 00:37
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OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Project SC Butler: Day 195: Sentence Correction (SC2)

Quote:
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so

A) only partially are so
B) only in part
C) only partially
D) or only in part
E) or are only partially so

• HIGHLIGHTS

Meaning?

Although the remains of some specimens have almost turned to stone because minerals have invaded the bone,
most [of the remains] either are not mineralized or are only partially mineralized.

1) SO, a word that can substitute for a word, phrase, or clause, means "mineralized." I discuss the word so below.
2) the words some and most mark off groups that are different. Whatever this "only partially" idea is in the options belongs with the "most" group. Members of the some group are a disaster. Members of the most group are not a disaster or are only a partial disaster.
-- some of the remains are like stones because the bones have been mineralized,
but
-- most [of the remains] are not like stones because the bones are not [at all] mineralized or the bones are only partially mineralized.

THE PROMPT
Quote:
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

some and most are the subjects, plural, of the sentences, plural (two sentences exist)

Most are not ruined [mineralized] or are only partially ruined [mineralized] makes sense.

Most are not mineralized, __________[something about partly or partially]
A) only partially are so
B) only in part
C) only partially
D) or only in part
E) or are only partially so

Whatever goes in that blank is tied to the subject "most."
The placement of the missing language suggests that it belongs with the group "most."
The logic of the options—some quality is "only in part"— places the answer with the subject "most."
(Both not mineralized and partially mineralized stand in heavy contrast to the first sentence, in which "some" are a near-total disaster).

All of the pairings in the options use only and some form of partially. "Only partially"? Meaning?
"Only partially" means no more than partially mineralized, or slightly mineralized.

• Split #1: we need a conjunction

We need a conjunction because the two subgroups of most have different characteristics; we need a conjunction to join the adjective phrases that describe the two subgroups.
(Jargon: We need a conjunction because the subject "most" has two subject complements that are alternatives, i.e., that do not co-exist.)

-- Most are not mineralized (at all)
or
-- are mineralized only partially.

We have no way of giving the subject most its two subject complements (not X, slightly X) without a conjunction.
Wrong: Most are not [at all] mineralized, only partially mineralized.
Correct: Most are not [at all] mineralized, or are only partially mineralized.

Eliminate options A, B, and C because they all lack the conjunction or.

• Split #2: Parallelism

D) . . . most are not mineralized, or only in part.
Huh? "Or only in part" has no clear meaning.
→ X and Y should be parallel and are not.
X = are not mineralized
Y = only in part

Check E.

E) . . . most are not mineralized, or are only partially so.
X = are not mineralized
Y = are only partially mineralized [so]
That option works.

Eliminate D.

• NOTES

USE THE STRUCTURE OF THE SENTENCE

Even if you did now know that "so" meant "mineralized," the structure of the sentence could have helped you choose E.
Though signals contrast.
Contrast requires at least two things.
Contrast means that one group or object will have characteristics that are different from the other group or object, or that the two groups will do something in contrasting ways.

Most is a new subject, and as predicted, "most" are different from "some."
The end-of-sentence placement for "only partially" strongly suggests that the characteristic belongs with the group "most," not the group "some."

Whether you whittled the answers down to A and E or to D and E, the next question would have been: is this answer parallel?
Options A and E give clues that "only partially" needs a verb.
Neither option A nor option D is parallel to the language in the prompt.

Because we have a not in "Most are not mineralized," we must repeat the verb are in order to avoid the "not."

Wrong: The berries are not ripe or only partially. Nonsense.
Correct:The berries are not ripe or are only partially ripe.
Correct: The berries are not ripe or are only partially so.

Parallelism is one of the basics in SC (along with S/V agreement, pronoun agreement, and complete sentences).

The word SO

The word SO can substitute for a word, phrase, or clause in English.

He was very angry, and he told me so. SO = was very angry
I'm going to London next week, or at least I hope so. SO = that I am going to London
You shouldn't really stop work before six, but you can do so today. SO = stop work
Examples taken from here

So can stand in for an adjective, as it does in this sentence.
Most are not mineralized or are only partially so.
Some of the oil paintings are partly dry, but others are completely so.

You may see do so, does so, and did so on the GMAT.
Do/does/did can substitute for almost any verb (two exceptions), and so can substitute for almost any phrase.

Commas
The comma before are only partially so is not standard.
When a subject has a compound predicate (two verbs), typically we do not put a comma before the second verb.
Except in the case of a comma splice, do not let a comma be the reason for eliminating an option.
If you are thinking about commas for more than 10 seconds, you are thinking too much about commas.

Writers cannot be completely consistent about commas.
Commas are used to mimic speech patterns or to clarify a sentence..
In this case, the sentence is clearer and thus better with the non-standard comma.

Okay, so the question took some of you a little while.

Next time that you get stuck, maybe you will stop for 5 seconds, take a breath, and ask, "Am I missing any basics?"
Parallelism is one of the basics.

Don't get stuck on comma usage (except: no comma splices and use the Oxford comma to help you figure out how many items are in a GMAC list).
(Every expert who has commented on commas says the same thing as I. We sound like broken records.)

Another basic: the word OR is usually a parallelism marker.

This question is hard. Nice work.
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 01:36
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I like this question, and I think it's (E).

most are not mineralized, only partially are so.
The intended meaning is that most are not mineralized, or are only partially mineralized
- parallelism: must have "are ...are..." -> B, C and D are out
- meaning: must have "or" -> A is out
- So (E): or are only partially so -> "so" stands for "mineralized"
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 01:45
1
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so. If we remove the middlemen (still not required), the sentence doesn't makes sense.

A) only partially are so - Does not make sense but still let's hold it.

B) only in part - Sentence is not balanced and distorts the meaning.

C) only partially - Sentence is not balanced and distorts the meaning.

D) or only in part - Sentence seems balanced but usage of prepositional phrase is awkward.

E) or are only partially so - Sentence is balanced and maintains parallelism. Seems better than option A.

Imo. E
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 04:21
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My choice is (E). This is a tough question. I spent most of the time debating between (D) and (E).

The original sentence is not clearly written with regard to "only partially are so". It does not make much sense. So, it probably took me 15 seconds to figure out the intended meaning, which is portrayed in option (D) or (E). The intended meaning is: Some specimens are almost mineralized, but most are not or only partially mineralized.

The answer is either D or E. It is hard to pick one over the other.

For one thing, the comma before either D or E is suspicious. Comma + FANBOYS strongly suggests that what follows after comma is a complete clause. Here D does not even contain a verb; E is not a clause itself.

For another, I am not sure what "so" means in E.

At the very end, I have to read the 2 versions and pick me that sounds better. I found that E sounds better.
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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 09:25
1
Ah! toughie.

I went into meaning, to solve this one. 1:27 time.

Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

The sentence is saying that remains of some of HS have turned to stone due to some reason, however most are not mineralized or maybe partially.

I am not very confident but I think, or would be needed here to show that most of hominid specimens have not mineralized or may have only partially been mineralized.

Hence between D and E, I think the answer should be "E", as the "so" in the end works like a pronoun and refers back to mineralized.

E correct IMO.
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 10:03
1
Quote:
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

We need a conjunction between "most are not mineralized" and "only partially are so"
D and E provide that.

The usage "most are mineralized, only partially are so" does not convey any clear intended meaning. Also, I am not very sure on what is the independent clause here. From what I could make sense, the initial non underlined part servers as IC.

Quote:
A) only partially are so
B) only in part
C) only partially

Between D and E:
Quote:
D) or only in part In part what? In part mineralized? but we have to assume that? Or in part something else?
E) or are only partially so Seems like the best out of the lot and conveys clear meaning (at least to us ).

IMO E.
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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 23 Nov 2019, 12:45
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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

Meaning: Although the remains of some hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most [hominid specimens] are not mineralized, or are only partially so[mineralized].

To solve this SC question, I had to be completely literal about where an adverbial phrase has to be positioned when it modifies a non-transitive verb. Mineralized is a non-transitive verb hence it requires an auxiliary verb. I will focus on the main clause of the sentence. So refers to mineralized, hence I will replace so with mineralized. Also, I relied on parallelism to eliminate some of the options.

Quote:
A: Most[hominid specimens] are not mineralized, only partially are mineralized.

The problem with A is that only and partially are adverbs that modify mineralized. They must, therefore, be positioned next to mineralized. It is not proper to place adverbs before the helping verb for a non-transitive verb. The right placement is between the auxiliary verb, in this case, are and mineralized. Even if option A had the adverbial phrase rightly positioned, it still has an issue of joining two main clauses with a comma. We need a subordinator after the comma. Eliminate A.

Quote:
B: Most[hominid specimens] are not mineralized, only in part.

This option is incomplete. Most are not mineralized, a clause, is not parallel to most only in part, a noun phrase. Eliminate B.

Quote:
C: Most[hominid specimens] are not mineralized, only partially.

This option is also incomplete. Most are not mineralized, a clause, is not parallel to most only partially, a noun phrase. I'm not so sure its a noun phrase, but it's a phrase of some sort. Eliminate option C.

Quote:
D: Most[hominid specimens] are not mineralized, or only in part.

Just as in B and C, D is incomplete. Most are not mineralized, a clause is not parallel to most only in part, a noun phrase. Eliminate option D.

Quote:
E: Most[hominid specimens] are not mineralized, or are only partially mineralized.

The adverbial phrase only partially is positioned rightly between are and mineralized in this option. In addition, Most are not mineralized, a clause is rightly parallel to most are only partially mineralized, a clause.

The answer is, therefore, option E.

Originally posted by eakabuah on 23 Nov 2019, 12:22.
Last edited by eakabuah on 23 Nov 2019, 12:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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23 Nov 2019, 12:44
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Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

A) only partially are so

B) only in part

C) only partially

D) or only in part

E) or are only partially so

The original sentence needs a connecting word, without it the sentence sounds incomplete and ambiguous. Only option D and E have a connecting word 'or'. Like some and most, in option E partially acts as subject of the verb are. but in option D in part has no verb, which makes it incorrect. IMHO, E is correct.
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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24 Nov 2019, 21:02
The official explanation is here
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Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost  [#permalink]

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24 Nov 2019, 22:05
generis wrote:
OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Project SC Butler: Day 195: Sentence Correction (SC2)

Quote:
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so

A) only partially are so
B) only in part
C) only partially
D) or only in part
E) or are only partially so

• HIGHLIGHTS

Meaning?

Although the remains of some specimens have almost turned to stone because minerals have invaded the bone,
most [of the remains] either are not mineralized or are only partially mineralized.

1) SO means "mineralized." I discuss the word so below.
2) examine the words some and most closely. They mark off groups that are different.
-- In this case,
(1) some of the remains are like stones because the bones have been mineralized,
but
(2) most [of the remains] are not like stones because either the bones are not mineralized or the bones are only partially mineralized.

THE PROMPT
Quote:
Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost turned to stone as molecules of minerals have saturated the bone, most are not mineralized, only partially are so.

some and most are the subjects, plural, of the sentences, plural (two sentences exist)

Some are nearly 100% Xed — some are almost totally ruined.
By contrast, most are not ruined, ______.
Most are not ruined or are only partially ruined makes sense.
Look at the last part of the sentence.
Most are not Xed, __________[something about partly or partially]
A) only partially are so
B) only in part
C) only partially
D) or only in part
E) or are only partially so

Mentally insert each option into that blank.
Whatever goes in that blank is tied to the subject "most."
No option gives us a third subject, and "only partially" fits with what we know about most (and some).
-- Some of the specimens have been mineralized almost completely.[The specimens are nearly ruined.)
BUT most of the specimens are not mineralized [at all] (opposite of above) . . . OR are only partially mineralized (also opposite of above)

All of the pairings in the options use only and some form of partially. Meaning?
-- No more than partly ____ / No more than in part _______.
Most are not mineralized [at all], OR most are just slightly mineralized.

• Split #1: we need a conjunction

We need a conjunction because the subject most has two subgroups with different characteristics and we need a conjunction to conjoin the adjective phrases that describe the two subgroups.
(Jargon: We need a conjunction because the subject "most" has two subject complements that are alternatives, i.e., that do not co-exist.)

From the structure of the non-underlined portion, we know that
1) some is the subject of the first clause. Some are almost completely mineralized.
2) most is the subject of the second clause. "Most" are not at all X or are only partially X
-- Most are not mineralized (at all)
or
-- are mineralized only partially.

We have no way of giving the subject most its two subject complements (not X, slightly X) without a conjunction.
Wrong: Most are not [at all] X, only partially X.
Correct: Most are not [at all] X, or are only partially X

Eliminate options A, B, and C because they all lack the conjunction or.

• Split #2: Parallelism

D) . . . most are not mineralized, or only in part.
Huh? Most are X or Y.
→ X and Y should be parallel and are not.
X = are not mineralized
Y = only in part

Check E.

E) . . . most are not mineralized, or are only partially so.
X = are not mineralized
Y = are only partially mineralized [so]
That option works.

Eliminate D.

• NOTES

USE THE STRUCTURE OF THE SENTENCE

Even if you did now know that "so" meant "mineralized," the structure of the sentence could have helped you choose E.
Though signals contrast.
Contrast requires at least two things.
Contrast means that one group or object will have characteristics that are different from the other group or object, or that the two groups will do something in contrasting ways.

Most is a new subject, and as predicted, "most" are different from "some."
The end-of-sentence placement for "only partially" strongly suggests that the characteristic belongs with the group "most," not the group "some."

Whether you whittled the answers down to A and E or to D and E, the next question would have been: is this answer parallel?
Options A and E give clues that "only partially" needs a verb.
Options A and D are not parallel.

Because we have a not in "Most are not mineralized," we must repeat the verb are in order to avoid the "not."

Wrong: The berries are not ripe or only partially. Nonsense.
Correct:The berries are not ripe or are only partially ripe.
Correct: The berries are not ripe or are only partially so.

Parallelism is one of the basics in SC (along with S/V agreement, pronoun agreement, and complete sentences).

The word SO

The word SO can substitute for a word, phrase, or clause in English.

He was very angry, and he told me so. SO = was very angry
I'm going to London next week, or at least I hope so. SO = that I am going to London
You shouldn't really stop work before six, but you can do so today. SO = stop work
Examples taken from here

So can stand in for an adjective, as it does in this sentence.
Most are not mineralized or are only partially so.
Some of the oil paintings are partly dry, but others are completely so.

You may see do so, does so, and did so on the GMAT.
Do/does/did can substitute for almost any verb (two exceptions), and so can substitute for almost any phrase.

Commas
The comma before are only partially so is not standard.
Except in the case of a comma splice, do not let a comma be the reason for eliminating an option.
Writers cannot be completely consistent about commas.
In addition to the standard rules, commas are used to mimic speech patterns.
In this case, the sentence is clearer and thus better with the non-standard comma.

Okay, so the question took some of you a little while.

Next time that you get stuck, maybe you will stop for 5 seconds, take a breath, and ask, "Am I missing any basics?"
Parallelism is one of the basics.

Don't get stuck on comma usage (except: no comma splices and use the Oxford comma to help you figure out how many items are in a GMAC list).
(Every expert who has commented on commas says the same thing as I. We sound like broken records.)

Another basic: the word OR is usually a parallelism marker.

This question is hard. Nice work.

Thanks for the great explanation. I have two follow-up questions on two points you made.

(1) Do/does/did can substitute for almost any verb (two exceptions).
Question: What are the two exceptions?

(2) Don't get stuck on comma usage (except: no comma splices and use the Oxford comma to help you figure out how many items are in a GMAC list).
Question: I understand that you are saying that "comma splices" is a sure sign of error. But how about the use of Oxford comma? Do we insist on the use of Oxford comma in GMAC list?

Thanks again!
Re: Though the remains of some of the oldest hominid specimens have almost   [#permalink] 24 Nov 2019, 22:05
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