Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC)
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# Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth

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Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2007, 09:18
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Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood

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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2007, 12:02
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
[Unnecessary past perfect construction]

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
[Awkward construction - misplaced modifier]

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
[Misplaced modifier ]

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
[Dont like construction]
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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2007, 12:20
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The answer is A. I dont see any misplaced modifier in A.

Antoine Lavoisier proved that combustion does not release phlogiston. The opening modifier Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century is correctly placed. It shows what scientists believed before Antione proved they were wrong. There is also correct use of past perfect had believed showing what scientists believed before Antione proved them wrong.
The modifier an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood is correctly modifying phlogiston.
eyunni wrote:
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Correct

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Needs the past perfect had believed

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
Misplaced modifier. Opening modifier should not modify phlogiston

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
Misplaced modifier. Opening modifier should not modify phlogiston

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Passive construction. The active construction in A is much preferrable over E.

[/b]
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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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29 Oct 2007, 16:28
humtum0 wrote:
My Ans - C

eyunni wrote:
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Misplaced Modifier

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Misplaced Modifier

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Misplaced Modifier

I like the had in ans 'C' over 'D'

I think the beginning of the independent clause should start with Phlogiston, so that got me down to just C & D...I believe D is in passive voice, so naturally I am left with C....
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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2007, 05:17
gluon wrote:
The answer is A. I dont see any misplaced modifier in A.

Antoine Lavoisier proved that combustion does not release phlogiston. The opening modifier Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century is correctly placed. It shows what scientists believed before Antione proved they were wrong. There is also correct use of past perfect had believed showing what scientists believed before Antione proved them wrong.
The modifier an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood is correctly modifying phlogiston.
eyunni wrote:
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Correct

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
Needs the past perfect had believed

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
Misplaced modifier. Opening modifier should not modify phlogiston

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
Misplaced modifier. Opening modifier should not modify phlogiston

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
Passive construction. The active construction in A is much preferrable over E.

[/b]

In (A) : many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood

"an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood" is modifying phlogiston but sounds as if the bolded part of the sentence is a fact qualifying phlogistion without saying that it was a misbelief. I am not sure if I am clear but I hope you get my point.

Here is another example:

Many scientists believe that alcohol, an organic compound, is harmful to health.

Does the above sentence explicitly state that scientists believe alcohol to be an organic compound??? No. It only means that scientists believe alcohol to be harmful to health.

Similar is the case with (A). I am not convinced but I might be wrong. Any comments? I can post the OA but would like to bump the thread further for explanations.
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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2007, 07:19
Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century, many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood.

(A) many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
[Correct - use of HAD is correct because two things happened in past, one after another]

(B)many scientists believed that phlogiston was an imaginary substance released by combustion and its properties were not fully understood
[Incorrect - This construct states that scientists were misunderstood whether phlogiston was an imaginary substance but they were misunderstood whether combustion released phlogiston.]

(C)phlogiston was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood and which many scientists had believed was released by combustion
[Incorrect - This construct states that Antoine Lavoisier proved phlogiston to be a real substance and what scientists believed is an additional information only.]

(D)phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood, was believed by scientists to be released by combustion
[Incorrect - had is a better choice instead of was and construct uses passive voice.]

(E)many scientists had believed that phlogiston was released by combustion and was an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood
[Incorrect - This construct uses passive voice and extra use of "and was" that could be replaced by a comma. Therefore A is preferred over E]

Last edited by ontheway on 30 Oct 2007, 07:21, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MGMAT SC: Phlogiston combustion [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2007, 07:20
eyunni wrote:
In (A) : many scientists had believed that combustion released phlogiston, an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood

"an imaginary substance whose properties were not fully understood" is modifying phlogiston but sounds as if the bolded part of the sentence is a fact qualifying phlogistion without saying that it was a misbelief. I am not sure if I am clear but I hope you get my point.

Which is exactly why you would need the opening modifier Until Antoine Lavoisier proved otherwise in the eighteenth century. This modifier shows that the scientists belief was incorrect.

The second modifier is saying that phlogiston is an imaginary substance anyways. The sentence is about the wrong belief of scientists that combustion released phlogiston. This is correctly highlighted by the opening modifier.
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30 Oct 2007, 10:18
What's the OA?

OA is A.
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31 Oct 2007, 02:27
gluon - Thanks. Ur explanation is very very nice.
31 Oct 2007, 02:27
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