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United States Senator Daniel Inouye was appointed to several posts

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Joined: 05 Dec 2014
Posts: 214
Location: India
GMAT 1: 690 Q48 V36
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Re: United States Senator Daniel Inouye was appointed to several posts [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 08:14
mikemcgarry wrote:
Skywalker18 wrote:
United States Senator Daniel Inouye was appointed to several posts within the Democratic party during his first term, that included assistant majority whip and vice-chair of the Democratic Senatorial Committee.

A. that included - usage of comma + that is incorrect
B. which includes - which refers to first term
C. including - Correct
D. some of which were - the "which" is trying to refer to "several posts", which is way too far away from the comma to be acceptable
E. among them being - usage of being

Answer C
Comma + including modifies the preceding noun and thus does not actually work like a verb+ ing . But isn't posts too far away for comma+including to work this way?

Dear Skywalker18,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The short answer is "no," it's not too far.

Here, it's important to appreciate the different between vital vs. non-vital modifiers. See
GMAT Grammar: Vital Noun Modifiers

The word "posts" is generic and nondescript. It needs clarification. Both prepositional phrases are necessary to describe it. This is the entire phrase
" . . . posts within the Democratic party during his first term . . . "
This phrase functions as a single logical unit, and this single logical unit is "touching" the modifier "including" that targets it.

The distance that matters is not a word count. The distance that matter is one of logic & meaning, and in this context, there's really no distance at all between target and modifier.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hi Mike,
I want to know what is wrong with option D. some of which were...........here we have verb were (plural), so which correctly modifies posts and not his first term. Please help.
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Re: United States Senator Daniel Inouye was appointed to several posts [#permalink]

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New post 07 Dec 2017, 11:34
sunny91 wrote:
Hi Mike,
I want to know what is wrong with option D. some of which were...........here we have verb were (plural), so which correctly modifies posts and not his first term. Please help.

Dear sunny91,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friend, I will begin by telling you something shocking. The GMAT SC is NOT a test of grammar. The GMAT SC is a test of the quality of writing, and the quality of writing depends on (1) grammar, (2) logic, and (3) rhetoric; in a well-written sentence, such as a correct answer on the SC, all three of these strands cooperate to support a single clear meaning. The folks who write the GMAT SC questions are concerned with all aspects of the quality of writing.

One direct consequence of these facts is that the GMAT SC often has incorrect answers that are 100% grammatically correct. This is particularly befuddling to non-native students who are focused exclusively on grammar: such answers function as traps for these students. You see, a version of a sentence might be 100% grammatically correct, but illogical or awkward or wordy or etc. etc. There are dozens of ways in which a sentence can fall short of the standards of high quality writing.

In this SC question about the late Sen. Daniel Inouye (a very good man!), choice (D) is precisely such an answer. Choice (D) is 100% correct grammatically, absolutely no grammar flaw at all, and yet, it's not the right answer. Why? consider (C) and (D) side by side:

(C) . . . during his first term, including assistant majority whip . . .

(D) . . . during his first term, some of which were assistant majority whip . . .

Notice that, compared to version (C), version (D) uses one more syllable, 66% more letters, and 300% more words! Whether we are speaking or writing the sentence, it takes more effort & more space to use (D) than (C). The paradox is that if (C) didn't exist, (D) could be a perfectly fine right answer, but compared to (C), (D) looks clunky, swollen, and rambling. This is a subtle point: the GMAT SC is not just about black vs. white, absolutely right vs. absolutely wrong, the way math always is; instead, it is quite explicitly about the "best answer," and this focus means that one choice could be very good but still be beaten out by something better!

It's often hard to give clear simple rules for rhetoric, but one clear rule that the GMAT consistently follows is as follows: if you can say exactly the same thing correctly with more words or fewer, it's always better to say it with fewer. This is one of the many conditions in which a 100% grammatically correct answer would not be the OA.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: United States Senator Daniel Inouye was appointed to several posts   [#permalink] 07 Dec 2017, 11:34

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