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To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously

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New post 21 Jun 2018, 01:32
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To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.

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https://www.nytimes.com/1996/03/05/science/age-of-universe-is-now-settled-astronomer-says.html

Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because of the lack of a single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

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New post 21 Jun 2018, 07:03
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To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --- 1. 'a lack of a single yardstick' is wordier than 'no single yardstick' in B. 2. Unidiomatic end of the sentence with a preposition.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. --Estimating is a gerund used as part of a substantive noun phrase followed by its verb 'is.' Correct construction.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --- 'A lack of a single yardstick' is troublesome.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --- is lacking by which' is a problem. It might mean that 'by which' modifies ' is lacking' rather than a yardstick.

E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.--- Meaning change, The text means to say that there is no single yardstick' but E says that a single yardstick(even if present) cannot measure all distances.
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New post 26 Jun 2018, 10:34
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Hello Everyone!

Let’s tackle this question, one problem at a time, to narrow it down to the right answer!

After a quick scan of each answer, there are a few major differences between each answer. Let's tackle them one at a time, and we will come to the correct answer quickly!

You may already be familiar with the rule that you shouldn't end questions with a preposition. Did you know that also applies to other sentences and clauses too? Take a closer look at each answer, and find any sentences or clauses that end with a preposition:

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --> WRONG
(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. -> OK
(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --> WRONG
(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --> OK
(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured. --> OK

There you go - we can bump off answers A and C because they both have clauses that end in prepositions, which is a major no-no in English!

Now that we're left with B, D, and E, let's take a closer look at intended meaning. Focus on finding the most clear and concise answer possible:

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

This is CORRECT! Everything is clear and concise. The structure of the sentence is clear (X is a problem because Y), and each phrase is cut down to only the most important words to convey meaning.

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

This is INCORRECT because it's overly wordy and potentially confusing to readers. By saying "A problem is X because Y" puts the focus on the word "problem," and not the actual problem at hand. Also, the phrase "a single yardstick is lacking" sounds awkward, and might lead readers to think there IS a yardstick to measure distance, but that it's flawed in some way. Saying "there is no single yardstick" would be clearer and more concise for readers.

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.

This is INCORRECT because the phrase "by no single yardstick" changes the meaning! Instead of meaning there is no one method to measure distance that exists, this means that all distance cannot be measured by one literal yardstick alone. Of course all distance cannot be measured by one little yardstick - who is going to take it deep into space and use it? ;-) That's not the intended meaning at all, so this is wrong. It also uses the structure "It is a problem to X because Y," which changes the focus from the actual problem (estimating the expansion rate of the universe) to some mysterious "It." There is no need for this extra "it" to be here - just tell us what the problem is and get on with it!

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New post 21 Jun 2018, 05:36
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To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.
- distorts the meaning.

Answer A. Conveys the meaning & tone of the idea, better than the other options.

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New post 24 Jun 2018, 11:32
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To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.
To estimate is incorrect - in the current sentence usage.
a lack of a single yardstick - can be written precisely as "no single yardstick".
Incorrect

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.
Gerund at the start of sentence is acceptable. It correct all the errors in A.

(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.
there is a lack of a single yardstick - can be written precisely as "no single yardstick" Incorrect

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.
It distorts the original meaning of the sentence and presents ambiguous meaning

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.
by no single yardstick can all distances be measured - Makes it incorrect

IMO- B
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New post 16 Aug 2018, 09:59
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septwibowo wrote:
daagh wrote:
To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --- 1. 'a lack of a single yardstick' is wordier than 'no single yardstick' in B. 2. Unidiomatic end of the sentence with a preposition.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. --Estimating is a gerund used as part of a substantive noun phrase followed by its verb 'is.' Correct construction.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --- 'A lack of a single yardstick' is troublesome.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --- is lacking by which' is a problem. It might mean that 'by which' modifies ' is lacking' rather than a yardstick.

E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.--- Meaning change, The text means to say that there is no single yardstick' but E says that a single yardstick(even if present) cannot measure all distances.


Thank you daagh for this explanation. However, regarding answer A: can we use "To estimate the expansion..." as a subject? I'm just curious.


Yes, Infinitives can be used as a subject in a sentence. In fact, both infinitives and gerunds can be used as subject or objects in a sentence.

More info @ https://www.fluentu.com/blog/english/ge ... finitives/
https://www.ef.com/english-resources/en ... nfinitive/
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New post 21 Jun 2018, 06:26
[quote="Bunuel"]To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured. - I hope E is also correct but it might be due to its Passive voice construction and wordiness , I preferred B .
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New post 25 Jun 2018, 00:22
We can eliminate C,D and E at the first place. Between A and B, the correct construction is of B.
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New post 15 Aug 2018, 15:02
daagh wrote:
To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --- 1. 'a lack of a single yardstick' is wordier than 'no single yardstick' in B. 2. Unidiomatic end of the sentence with a preposition.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. --Estimating is a gerund used as part of a substantive noun phrase followed by its verb 'is.' Correct construction.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --- 'A lack of a single yardstick' is troublesome.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --- is lacking by which' is a problem. It might mean that 'by which' modifies ' is lacking' rather than a yardstick.

E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.--- Meaning change, The text means to say that there is no single yardstick' but E says that a single yardstick(even if present) cannot measure all distances.


Thank you daagh for this explanation. However, regarding answer A : can we use "To estimate the expansion..." as a subject? I'm just curious.
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New post 16 Aug 2018, 18:01
Please explain why "no single" is the correct grammatical usage.
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New post 26 Feb 2019, 02:26
[quote="Bunuel"]To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.

choice E suffer big error.
it is dificult problem to estimate
there is no patern of this kind in English. even if "it" refers to a noun but is not a fake subject, there is no pattern of this kind.

problem to do
can exist in English. but this phrase means that "problem " is object of "to do".
it is dificult to estimate
"it" in this sentence is fake subject , which refers to no noun. this is good.

Am I correct ?

another good pattern is
the dificult problem is to estimate the rate.
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New post 12 Mar 2019, 01:00
what i mean is that
in choice E, ".it is problem to do" is wrong pattern. if we use this pattern, "it" must refer to a specific noun. there is no such noun. so, this is wrong

it is difficult to do
is correct because "it" here is a fake subject, which refer to no noun

**'
choice E mean
all distances can be measured by no single yardstick

this means all distances can not be measured . it is wrong.

woa, it is hard.
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New post 01 Apr 2019, 09:09
daagh wrote:
To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.


A. To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --- 1. 'a lack of a single yardstick' is wordier than 'no single yardstick' in B. 2. Unidiomatic end of the sentence with a preposition.

B. Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. --Estimating is a gerund used as part of a substantive noun phrase followed by its verb 'is.' Correct construction.

C. Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --- 'A lack of a single yardstick' is troublesome.

D. A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --- is lacking by which' is a problem. It might mean that 'by which' modifies ' is lacking' rather than a yardstick.


E. It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.--- Meaning change, The text means to say that there is no single yardstick' but E says that a single yardstick(even if present) cannot measure all distances.





Can we perhaps do it in another way without recognition of that single yardstick thing, its hidden in a way that a normal person will always miss it in the first trial.
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New post 30 May 2019, 07:26
To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by.

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. ( Wrong: Lack of single yardstick)

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.( Correct)

(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem.( Wrong: Lack of single yardstick)

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.( Wrong: Lack of single yardstick)

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.( It seems to be correct but in passive form)
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Re: To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Oct 2019, 06:13
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

Let’s tackle this question, one problem at a time, to narrow it down to the right answer!

After a quick scan of each answer, there are a few major differences between each answer. Let's tackle them one at a time, and we will come to the correct answer quickly!

You may already be familiar with the rule that you shouldn't end questions with a preposition. Did you know that also applies to other sentences and clauses too? Take a closer look at each answer, and find any sentences or clauses that end with a preposition:

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --> WRONG
(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. -> OK
(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --> WRONG
(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --> OK
(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured. --> OK

There you go - we can bump off answers A and C because they both have clauses that end in prepositions, which is a major no-no in English!

Now that we're left with B, D, and E, let's take a closer look at intended meaning. Focus on finding the most clear and concise answer possible:

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

This is CORRECT! Everything is clear and concise. The structure of the sentence is clear (X is a problem because Y), and each phrase is cut down to only the most important words to convey meaning.

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

This is INCORRECT because it's overly wordy and potentially confusing to readers. By saying "A problem is X because Y" puts the focus on the word "problem," and not the actual problem at hand. Also, the phrase "a single yardstick is lacking" sounds awkward, and might lead readers to think there IS a yardstick to measure distance, but that it's flawed in some way. Saying "there is no single yardstick" would be clearer and more concise for readers.

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.

This is INCORRECT because the phrase "by no single yardstick" changes the meaning! Instead of meaning there is no one method to measure distance that exists, this means that all distance cannot be measured by one literal yardstick alone. Of course all distance cannot be measured by one little yardstick - who is going to take it deep into space and use it? ;-) That's not the intended meaning at all, so this is wrong. It also uses the structure "It is a problem to X because Y," which changes the focus from the actual problem (estimating the expansion rate of the universe) to some mysterious "It." There is no need for this extra "it" to be here - just tell us what the problem is and get on with it!

Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.



Hi! EMPOWERgmatVerbal Great explanation. I was stuck with the use of "by which, which ... by" and your post makes me a bit more clear on this topic; however, I wonder if you have a another example, article explain this concept as well? Will greatly appreciate.
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New post 15 Oct 2019, 11:55
bambenya wrote:
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

Let’s tackle this question, one problem at a time, to narrow it down to the right answer!

After a quick scan of each answer, there are a few major differences between each answer. Let's tackle them one at a time, and we will come to the correct answer quickly!

You may already be familiar with the rule that you shouldn't end questions with a preposition. Did you know that also applies to other sentences and clauses too? Take a closer look at each answer, and find any sentences or clauses that end with a preposition:

(A) To estimate the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is a lack of a single yardstick that all distances can be measured by. --> WRONG
(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured. -> OK
(C) Because there is a lack of a single yardstick to measure all distances by, estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem. --> WRONG
(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured. --> OK
(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured. --> OK

There you go - we can bump off answers A and C because they both have clauses that end in prepositions, which is a major no-no in English!

Now that we're left with B, D, and E, let's take a closer look at intended meaning. Focus on finding the most clear and concise answer possible:

(B) Estimating the expansion rate of the universe is a notoriously difficult problem because there is no single yardstick by which all distances can be measured.

This is CORRECT! Everything is clear and concise. The structure of the sentence is clear (X is a problem because Y), and each phrase is cut down to only the most important words to convey meaning.

(D) A notoriously difficult problem is to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because a single yardstick is lacking by which all distances can be measured.

This is INCORRECT because it's overly wordy and potentially confusing to readers. By saying "A problem is X because Y" puts the focus on the word "problem," and not the actual problem at hand. Also, the phrase "a single yardstick is lacking" sounds awkward, and might lead readers to think there IS a yardstick to measure distance, but that it's flawed in some way. Saying "there is no single yardstick" would be clearer and more concise for readers.

(E) It is a notoriously difficult problem to estimate the expansion rate of the universe because by no single yardstick can all distances be measured.

This is INCORRECT because the phrase "by no single yardstick" changes the meaning! Instead of meaning there is no one method to measure distance that exists, this means that all distance cannot be measured by one literal yardstick alone. Of course all distance cannot be measured by one little yardstick - who is going to take it deep into space and use it? ;-) That's not the intended meaning at all, so this is wrong. It also uses the structure "It is a problem to X because Y," which changes the focus from the actual problem (estimating the expansion rate of the universe) to some mysterious "It." There is no need for this extra "it" to be here - just tell us what the problem is and get on with it!

Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.



Hi! EMPOWERgmatVerbal Great explanation. I was stuck with the use of "by which, which ... by" and your post makes me a bit more clear on this topic; however, I wonder if you have a another example, article explain this concept as well? Will greatly appreciate.


Hi bambenya!

I can't find another question right now that tackles the same grammar issue, but if I do, I'll PM you to let you know!

Glad to help!
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