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Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full

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Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2018, 18:34
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Question Stats:

83% (00:55) correct 17% (00:56) wrong based on 83 sessions

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Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the third full moon of a season with four full moons—a season is delimited by the equinoxes and solstices.

A. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the
B. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, which is popularly thought, but the
C. refers not to the second full moon of a month, as is popularly thought, but to the
D. refers not to the second full moon of a month, which is what is popularly thought, but the
E. refer not to the second full moon of a month, as would be popularly thought, and does refer to instead the

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Re: Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2018, 18:56
aragonn wrote:
Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the third full moon of a season with four full moons—a season is delimited by the equinoxes and solstices.

A. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the
B. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, which is popularly thought, but the
C. refers not to the second full moon of a month, as is popularly thought, but to the
D. refers not to the second full moon of a month, which is what is popularly thought, but the
E. refer not to the second full moon of a month, as would be popularly thought, and does refer to instead the


+1 for C

A. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the --> Pronoun 'they' is ambiguous.
B. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, which is popularly thought, but the --> Modifier error
C. refers not to the second full moon of a month, as is popularly thought, but to the --> Rectifies pronoun and modifier error. Uses the correct idiom Not X but Y
D. refers not to the second full moon of a month, which is what is popularly thought, but the --> Modifier error
E. refer not to the second full moon of a month, as would be popularly thought, and does refer to instead the
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Re: Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2018, 06:25
POE as follows:

A. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the : They do not have antecedent.
idiom not verb but verb should be used.

B. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, which is popularly thought, but the: Which is a noun modifier.
wrongly modifying month. Idiom error persists.

C. refers not to the second full moon of a month, as is popularly thought, but to the : Not.. but.. correctly used. Proper meaning is conveyed. Keep C.

D. refers not to the second full moon of a month, which is what is popularly thought, but the : Again use of 'which' is wrong.

E. refer not to the second full moon of a month, as would be popularly thought, and does refer to instead the : SV error, tense error. E is out.

C is the best choice.
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Re: Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2018, 08:46
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Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the third full moon of a season with four full moons—a season is delimited by the equinoxes and solstices.

A. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, as they popularly think, but to the
B. does not refer to the second full moon of a month, which is popularly thought, but the
C. refers not to the second full moon of a month, as is popularly thought, but to the
D. refers not to the second full moon of a month, which is what is popularly thought, but the
E. refer not to the second full moon of a month, as would be popularly thought, and does refer to instead the

Gong purely grammar of correlative parallelism 'not to… but to', only A and C stay. However, A is gone for using the loosely hanging pronoun' they.' C remains

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Re: Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Sep 2018, 19:27

Official Explanation


A question about blue moons.

Split #1: the Inside/Outside rule

One important rule about parallelism is the Once Outside, Twice Inside rule. This rule comes into effect when we have correlated conjunctions—that is, a coupled pair of conjunctions marking the two halves of the parallelism: examples include “both X and Y,” “neither X nor Y,” “not X but Y,” and “not only X but also Y.” When any of these are used, the parallelism has a clear start at the beginning of the first word. Anything that is within the “both X and Y” structure is “inside,” and anything that comes before or after it is “outside.” Now, suppose a preposition applies to words in both branches of the parallelism. We have two options:

Once Outside: to both X and Y

Twice Inside: both to X and to Y

In the first, the preposition “to” appears once “outside,” that is, before the parallelism begins. In the second, a “to” follows each of the correlated conjunctions, “inside” the parallelism.

Common mistake patterns are “once inside” or “once outside, once inside.”

In this question, it’s a verb, “refer,” that is the element that may fall inside or outside. In all five choices, the “to” falls inside the parallelism in the first branch and needs to be repeated.

Choice (A): the verb “refer” occurs only once inside; this choice is incorrect.

Choice (B): the structure “refer to” occurs only once inside; this choice is incorrect.

Choice (C): the verb “refer” occurs once outside, and “to” occurs twice inside; this is error-free

Choice (D): the verb “refer” occurs once outside, but “to” occurs only once inside; this choice is incorrect.

Choice (E): the structure “refer to” occurs once inside and once inside; this choice is incorrect.

On the basis of that single split, we have isolated a single correct answer. For the sake of understanding the grammar of other parts of the sentence, I will explore a second split.



Split #2: popular thought

What is the correct idiomatic way to talk about popular thought? Here are how these five answer choices handle it:

Choice (A): “as they popularly think”—the pronoun “they” has no clear antecedent, so this choice is incorrect.

Choice (B): “which is popularly thought”—the antecedent of pronoun “which” is the action of the preceding clause; a pronoun cannot refer to an action, so this choice is incorrect.

Choice (C): “as is popularly thought”—this elegant phrase is common in higher-quality writing; this is error-free.

Choice (D): “which is what is popularly thought”—repeats the pronoun mistake of (B); this choice is incorrect.

Choice (E): “as would be popularly thought”—this is grammatically correct, but illogically it is hypothetical, suggesting that it is speaking about something contrary-to-fact. This does not match the situation. This choice is incorrect.

As both splits have made clear, the only possible answer is (C).
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Simple strategy:
“Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

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My Notes:
Reading comprehension | Critical Reasoning | Absolute Phrases

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Re: Traditionally, the term “blue moon” does not refer to the second full &nbs [#permalink] 17 Sep 2018, 19:27
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