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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST

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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript - 6/14/2017

Q: Can you provide an explanation on the usage of 'having + verb'

A: The quick version is that ""having + verb" ("having been", "having studied," "having eaten," etc.) is sort-of just another "-ing" modifier, but the timeline has to be correct.
Just like any other "-ing" modifier, it has to make sense with the noun it modifies. But the added twist is that the timeline has to make sense, too. The "having + -ing" has to occur before some other action. Sort of like past perfect tense.
Ex: 1) Having been sick all day today, Amber called in sick to work this morning.
Here’s the problem: the timeline is wrong in #1. The "having + verb" needs to be the first action, followed by another action. That’s not happening here. Logically, she wasn’t sick "all day today" before she called in sick this morning.
2) Having eaten dinner already, Amber immediately began drinking heavily at the dinner party.
This one actually gets the timeline right. She ate dinner first, and then started drinking at the dinner party. That’s perfectly fine logically.
To be honest, I can’t think of any official questions that use this "having + verb" construction in a correct answer. It’s not inherently wrong, but GMAT doesn’t seem to use it much.
In that sense, it’s sort of like "being" -- mostly used in wrong sentences, but there’s no reason why it couldn’t be used correctly.


Q: But is 2 not redundant?
A: yes, in some sense the verb tenses already clarifies the timeline, so "already" is arguably redundant. But for a teaching example, I’m trying to be super-clear about the logical timeline, so that’s why I put it in there.

Q: Galileo did not invent the telescope, but on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made, he quickly built his own device from an organ pipe and spectacle lenses.

(A) Galileo did not invent the telescope, but on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made, he

(B) Galileo had not invented the telescope, but when he heard, in 1609, of such an optical instrument having been made,

(C) Galileo, even though he had not invented the telescope, on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made, he

(D) Even though Galileo did not invent the telescope, on hearing, in 1609, that such an optical instrument had been made,

(E) Even though Galileo did not invent the telescope, but when he heard, in 1609, of such an optical instrument being made, he

(A) looks OK to me

(B) is missing "he"! Also, the past perfect tense doesn’t work very well here -- there’s no good reason to use it. And the "having been" is unnecessary, too.

(C) is still a full sentence, not a fragment. That last part beginning with "he" is an independent clause. Bigger problem here is the use of past perfect tense. The sentence has three actions: "had not invented the telescope", "instrument had been made", "he quickly built." That implies that Galileo first did not invent the telescope, and then he built one. That doesn’t really make sense -- he NEVER invented the telescope, so why would we use past perfect tense, which suggests an action that ended before some other action?

(D) Repeats the error in B (missing 'he')

I think there’s a point about redundancy in (E), but there are plenty of other problems there, too. Absolutely no good reason to use "being" in (E).

Verb tenses also make more sense in (A): heard that the instrument HAD BEEN MADE... and then he BUILT his own. Textbook use of past perfect tense with simple past tense.


Q: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

(A) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering
(B) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(C) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(D) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders
(E) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering


A: Refer - https://gmatclub.com/forum/about-5-mill ... l#p1869892

Q: I have picked up a bad habit of removing the line placed between two commas and thinking is the sentence right should I keep this practice or can it be fatal.

A: I think I might have said something about that in an earlier chat, but I’m not sure. Quick version: it’s really dangerous to "remove" entire chunks of a sentence. Sure, temporarily ignoring little pieces of the sentence can help you see what’s really happening, especially with subject-verb issues, or sometimes with comparisons or modifiers. But the key is "temporarily". Everything in the sentence is in there for a reason, and could very welll affect the grammar or structure or meaning.

Q: Can you throw some light on the usage of 'that' and 'which' modifying a distant noun

A: The traditional rule: when used as noun modifiers, "that" and "which" must modify the immediately preceding noun. And that’s correct most of the time.
Silly example: "My favorite restaurant is in Brooklyn, which serves delicious bhindi masala." - Wrong, because Brooklyn doesn’t serve bhindi masala.
Traditional rule about "that" and "which", part 2: "that" isn’t preceded by a comma, "which" always is. "That" is an essential modifier, "which" is non-essential.
The GMAT really doesn’t spend a lot of time testing the distinction between essential and non-essential modifiers, and it definitely doesn’t spend any time testing you on comma rules. It’s actually really hard to test whether it’s better to use "that" or "which"...
1) The GMAT book, which is on the table, is useless.
2) The GMAT book that is on the table is useless.
Both are fine. Which one is better? It just depends on whether you think that "on the table" is extra information, or if I’d have a hard time identifying the book if you didn’t point out that it was on the table. So the vast majority of the time, the GMAT is interested in whether you can figure out if the modifier makes logical sense -- the difference between "that" and "which" doesn’t matter much
And I can’t find any official GMAT questions that are concerned with comma rules, either. So yes: "which" is generally preceded with a comma, like any other non-essential modifier. "That" generally isn’t preceded with a comma when it’s used as a noun modifier. But there are exceptions, and you shouldn’t worry too much about the comma. That’s rarely, if ever, the thing you should be focused on.
Same with dashes, by the way -- they really don’t matter much. Experts disagree about the correct way to use dashes. When you see them on the GMAT, look for other issues. The dash isn’t the determining factor.
One last thought (for now!) on "that" and "which": both of them can occasionally reach back a little bit further. 95% of the time, they have to "touch" the noun being modified -- but there are exceptions. They’re rare, but they exist. There has to be a really, really good reason for "that" or "which" to "reach further back" into the sentence. Usually a prepositional phrase of some sort. Again, here’s one of the best examples: https://gmatclub.com/forum/for-many-rev ... -5903.html


Q: I need help in understanding the way they are solved

A: I think I have enough time for a quick wisecrack on weaken/strengthen questions. To be honest, there’s really not much to them from a logical perspective. I think you probably know what it means to weaken or strengthen something, at least in theory. The reason most people make mistakes on them: you’re not 100% clear about what you’re trying to weaken...
The key is to be crystal-clear about how, exactly, the argument is constructed in the passage. Identify the conclusion, and make sure that you understand the EXACT language of that conclusion.
If you tweak the language in the conclusion just a little bit, you can distort its meaning. And then you’re far more likely to make a mistake if you’re trying to weaken a conclusion that isn’t EXACTLY the same as the conclusion in the passage. It’s natural to paraphrase when you read, but it’s also really dangerous, in some sense, on CR. It’s all about precision: do you understand EXACTLY what the author’s conclusion is, or are you putting words in the author’s mouth? Honestly, that’s the heart of strengthen/weaken/assumption questions: precision in understanding the conclusion and the author’s support for that conclusion. Not terribly exciting, but that’s really it.


Q: Can you please provide me an approach to solve RC questions?


A: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Vyshak wrote:
Q: About 5 million acres in the United States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering rangeland worthless.

(A) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displacing grasses and other cattle food and rendering
(B) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia, with milky sap, that gives mouth sores to cattle and displaces grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(C) States have been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia having milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering
(D) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia with milky sap that gives mouth sores to cattle, displaces grasses and other cattle food, and renders
(E) States, having been invaded by leafy spurge, a herbaceous plant from Eurasia that has milky sap giving mouth sores to cattle and displacing grasses and other cattle food, rendering

[Space for permalink] - Explanation will be updated later


I'm not afraid to admit that I screwed this question up pretty thoroughly during our chat. :oops: :oops: :oops: As penance, I wrote a detailed explanation here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/about-5-mill ... l#p1869892

Nasty little question that deals with some subtleties of meaning and modifier placement. I like it! :-D
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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript - 6/21/2017

Q: In some species of cricket, the number of chirps per minute used by the male for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve as an approximate thermometer.

A. for attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and they can in fact serve.
B. for attracting females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, which can in fact serve
C. in attracting females rise and fall in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.
D. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, and it can in fact serve.
E. to attract females rises and falls in accordance with the surrounding temperature, in fact possibly serving.

Here ’it’ refers to ’number’ right? How can a number serve as a thermometer?


A: Think of it as "number of chirps per minute". "number of chirps per minute... can in fact serve as an approximate thermometer". For anybody who missed Monday’s session, we talked about the fact that in a sentence with two clauses -- either one dependent and one independent, or two independent clauses -- if the subject of the second sentence is a pronoun, it can unambiguously refer back to the subject of the first clause.
So in (D), that "it" looks ambiguous (does it refer to temperature? cricket? number?) -- but it unambiguously refers back to "number of chirps per minute" in (D).

Q: But E seems to convey the meaning better by providing the result of the action - ’rise and fall’

A: I’m not so sure about that. It’s the number of chirps that could be mapped onto temperature -- not just the rising and falling of the chirps. And the last little bit "in fact possibly serving" isn’t ideal, either -- seems to say that it actually may serve as a thermometer in practice, instead of saying that it CAN in fact serve as a thermometer if you wanted it to.

Q: Can you please advise us on the modifier touch rule, especially when which/that is used?

A: Warning: The abusive language that is used is solely for demonstrating the modifier touch rule and is not intended to offend any person or sentiments. It is upto the user to open the spoiler and learn the rule ;)
[Reveal] Spoiler:
[color=#f26522]The son of a bitch that spilled my beer deserves to die. So I would look at that sentence and think, "the bitch that spilled my beer" -- that’s wrong, because it wasn’t the bitch that spilled my beer. It was the son. So what’s the issue here? We have two modifiers in a row: "of a bitch" modifies "son" -- and logically, so does "that spilled my beer". The intended meaning is that the "son of a bitch" spilled my beer and deserves to die. So it LOOKS like "that" is misplaced. But there really isn’t a better way to say it because there are two consecutive modifiers.
You wouldn’t want to say "the son that spilled my beer of the bitch..."
We don’t really have a choice here, so this sentence is actually fine. I think some people call it a "mission critical modifier" -- not sure who popularized that term, but a few have asked about it here. "of a bitch" can’t be separated from "son" -- so there’s really no way for "that" to touch the thing it modifies.



Q: Also, we can not use which here, is it compulsory for which to always touch the subject/object it is modifying?

A: "that" and "which" basically work the same way on the GMAT: yeah, they generally have to be as close to the noun as possible. Most of the time, they’ll "touch" the noun being modified. But there are exceptions for both. Search for "Emily Dickinson" on GMAT Club, and you’ll find a notorious example that uses "which."
Here’s the thing, though: we’re talking about an exception here, and it’s really hard to know when it’s OK to have the exception. As far as I know, the "exception to the touch rule" generally applies only when there are prepositional phrases in the way.
And in general, the GMAT is mostly concerned with this: which of these sentences most clearly expresses the intended meaning of the sentence? So if the modifier placement seems unclear, there’s a good chance that it’s wrong. If there’s an exception to the "touch rule", there has to be a really good reason for it.


Q: Sir can you explain this example::Between 1892 and 1893, Claude Monet produced a series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral, which he revised in his studio in 1894 and which the French public received..

A: I’m not convinced by the example, though: "Between 1892 and 1893, Claude Monet produced a series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral, which he revised in his studio in 1894 and which the French public received..." I guess the "which" could "reach back" to the paintings, but I’m a little bit uncomfortable with it. This sort of thing is often wrong on the GMAT. If this were one of my answer choices on a real, official question, I wouldn’t automatically eliminate it -- but odds are good that there would be something better. Maybe this IS the best of the bunch on the Magoosh question, though.

Q: what about comma usage while using which and that?

A: this comes up a lot in the forums. I have two thoughts on commas with that and which.
1) as most of you know, "which" is a non-essential modifier, and is preceded by a comma; "that" is essential, and is not preceded by a comma
2) it’s almost impossible for the GMAT to test that distinction. And in general, the GMAT doesn’t test comma placement much. Style experts disagree about many comma rules, and the GMAT tends to steer clear of those issues.
In this particular case, consider these two sentences:
A) The GMAT book, which is on the table, is useless.
B) The GMAT book that is on the table is useless.
Both are fine. Different meanings: in A, the location of the book is extra information, and you would presumably know which book I’m talking about if I didn’t point out the location. In B, you presumably need to know the location in order for the sentence to make sense. Perhaps there’s another book in the refrigerator or something. Or in the oven -- many New Yorkers actually store their books in the oven, because the apartments are so small. Not making this up.


Q: But 'that' can also be preceded by a comma right - in case of a non-essential modifier coming in between

A: absolutely. Or if you have a list of modifiers beginning with "that", it’s possible to have commas between them. You definitely don’t want to get too mechanical with commas on the GMAT. It just isn’t a priority on the exam. And again, experts often disagree about comma placement rules, anyway. If the commas somehow impact meaning, great. But other than that, they’re generally a non-issue.
And you’ve all heard me say this before, but you’re never looking for a right answer. You’re looking for four wrong answers. The least-worst is the correct answer. Correct GMAT sentences are rarely "good." They’re wordy and awkward, in my opinion. But that doesn’t matter -- the GMAT makes the rules here. Least-worst is your winner.
While we’re on the topic of modifiers and "touch rules": if anything, the placement rules are even LESS strict for modifiers other than "that" and "which." For example, "-ing" and "-ed" modifiers need to be as close as possible -- and they need to make sense! -- but they don’t necessarily have to "touch" anything.
Friendly reminder: it’s "verbal reasoning", not "reading and grammar." So they’re testing you on your ability to connect meaning and structure. I wish that there were more absolute rules that applied to SC, but modifier placement is much more about logic and being LITERAL with your interpretation of the sentence than it is about absolute rules.


Q: can you give an example about the -ing and -ed and can you make the point you made up there more clear with the help of an example


A: "The politician who lost Tuesday’s election, which was the most expensive and closely-watched US House race in history, decided to hide from the public all night, crying silently in his bedroom."
Who is it that’s crying silently in his bedroom? The politician -- waaaaay at the beginning of the sentence. But that’s fine -- we could argue that "crying silently in his bedroom" modifies that entire clause "the politician decided to hide from the public all night." After all, "crying silently in his bedroom" is giving us extra information about what he was doing when he was hiding from the public. But the "-ing" isn’t terribly close to "the politician." And that really isn’t a big deal, as long as the sentence still makes sense logically. And I think it does here.


Q: can we discuss more on the order selection though - is it a good idea to start with verbal?

A: I can’t imagine that anybody missed the news, but if you have missed refer here: https://gmatclub.com/forum/big-gmat-cha ... 42718.html
You can choose the order of your GMAT sections starting July 11. Makes me happy. And I say that as somebody who really struggles to give a crap at the end of a 4-hour exam. Seriously, the hardest thing for me as always been verbal, just because I’m tired and don’t care anymore by the time I get to the end. Here’s what I think the selection order choice boils down to: do you need a warmup, or are you more worried about fatigue? IR works as a nice warmup for some people. If that’s the case, there’s no harm in keeping the conventional order. If you’re more worried about fatigue, put the IR and AWA at the end. Personally, I’m more worried about fatigue. Most people who struggle with verbal will probably want to put verbal 1st or 2nd. But I do have students who get a little bit jittery and out of sorts when they walk into the exam room, and the not-very-meaningful AWA and IR sections help them settle in. And if verbal is really easy for you, then the conventional order is probably fine. If quant is a warmup for you, then that’s perfect.
GMATPrep will be "fixed" at the end of July if that isn’t too late. MGMAT and Veritas and other companies have incorporated the changes already. You could also do what I call "fake tests" using the GMATPrep Question Pack. Basically, you can put the software in "random" and "exam" mode as you do practice questions, and it’ll feel like a real test. (The real thing is obviously adaptive, but it feels really, really random sometimes.) If you’re a high scorer, select medium and hard questions only. That way, you can do the sections in whatever order you’d like.


Q: Could you please suggest something about my issue - However much hard I try, I am not able to increase my text processing speed in CR and RC - if I take 180% of the test time, my accuracy becomes 90+%, but withing a time frame of 75 minutes, it is not more than 50%. Please suggest what to do?

A: yeah, that’s a common question: how do I improve my speed on CR and RC without having my accuracy fall apart?
I think the key is to distinguish between speed and efficiency...
Speed: to a large degree, your visual processing speed is innate, especially once you hit adulthood. We probably can’t make you a fundamentally faster reader, unless you’re still learning English. But certainly in your native language -- or any language you’ve spoken for a long time -- your reading speed is already pretty much fixed. If you try to speed up, your accuracy will fall apart.
But that’s not the same as efficiency. The question is: are you somehow wasting time in your approach to CR and RC?
On RC, you might be over-obsessing about details as you initially read the passage, and that can slow you down. The important thing is to grasp the big picture -- WHY the author has written each paragraph, and how those paragraphs connect -- before you jump into the answer choices. I won’t rehash all of that here, but check this article out for more on this issue: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html
Too much detail? A waste of time. But if you don’t understand the passage well enough, you’ll also waste time going back and forth between the answer choices.
I’d make a similar argument on CR: if you don’t understand the structure of the argument BEFORE you look at the answer choices, you’ll waste a ton of time going back and forth between them. You want to invest wisely and efficiently in the passage itself on CR -- if you’re not catching the author’s structure and his/her exact language choices on CR, you’ll be really slow on the answer choices.
Something I hear all the time: "I’m down to two answer choices on the ones I miss. That means I’m close!" No, not really. It probably means that you missed something in the passage, and that’s why those last two choices are indistinguishable from each other. Plus, the question-writers often have one GREAT idea for a tempting wrong answer. But the other three are often filler. :)
It’s funny, I’ve been arguing with myself for at least a decade on the issue of whether it’s worthwhile to read the question first. And I’m still not 100% sure that it matters much, one way or another...
Ultimately, CR is about the precision of your reading. If you miss some little modifier, you could be in huge trouble, right? One word can swing the whole passage.
The argument against reading the question first: maybe it’ll make you "cherry-pick" the passage (looking TOO hard for, say, an assumption), and then you might do a lousy job of figuring out EXACTLY what the passage is saying.
The argument for reading the question first: if you know that the passage will definitely have a conclusion (in weaken, strengthen, assumption questions, for example) or a discrepancy or a paradox, then you’ll maybe be a little bit sharper at seeing the structure of the passage.
Honestly, I’ve mostly stopped telling my students what to do on this issue. If they’re more comfortable reading the question first, I think that’s totally fine. If they seem to have a hard time reading EXACTLY what’s on the page because they’re eagerly looking for something specific, then I might make them stop reading the question first... but that’s rare.
I don’t think it matters much. On CR, it’s all about the precision of your reading and logic. Reading the question first -- or not reading it first -- isn’t going to affect that much.


Q: Ok - I don’t know what I do- I try reading the question first and then stem but some quesitons I have solved the other way round and still took the same time and got same accuracy

A: exactly! That doesn’t surprise me at all - I just don’t think it’s all that important, one way or the other. But it sells test-prep books, so you tend to see it in them. But it’s not super-important. Do whatever works for you, or whatever feels right, and don’t be too shocked if the results are similar either way.

Q: Subconsciously is time a factor on how accurate your answers are in Gmat RC.

A: Absolutely. The worst thing you can do is be so worried about time that you cheat yourself out of an extra ~15 seconds that might be the difference between "sort-of understanding the passage" and PRECISELY understanding the author’s structure and purpose. Sometimes, an extra little investment of a few seconds is awesome. But psychologically, it can be hard to do if you know that the timer is pounding away.

Q: So shall I conclude that to improve the processing speed on RC, I should read the question stem first?

A: No. You can only see one question at a time on RC, anyway. And your processing speed has virtually nothing to do with whether you read the question first or not. If reading the question helps with that, it won’t help much.

Q: Ok, so the question still remains open - how to improve my processing speed


A: right. It’s hard. If you’re a non-native speaker and you’re still working on getting better at English, then great -- your fundamental reading speed could still improve. Otherwise, strive for efficiency in the ways that we’ve discussed, since your processing speed might be basically "fixed" at this point.

Q: What is the difference between the 2 statements: "the option qualifies the claim that ....blah blah" and "the option supports the claim that ...blah blah"

A: well, one of them would strengthen a claim, and "qualifies" just means that it could strengthen or weaken. Or maybe affect it in some other way besides just strengthening/supporting. to "qualify" an argument just means that you’re altering it in some way -- perhaps strengthening, perhaps weakening. It’s just less specific than "support" or "strengthen."


Q: In virtually any industry, technological improvements increase labor productivity, which is the output of goods and services per person-hour worked. In Parland’s industries, labor productivity is significantly higher than it is in Vergia’s industries. Clearly, therefore, Parland’s industries must, on the whole, be further advanced technologically than Vergia’s are.

The argument is most vulnerable to which of the following criticisms?

(A) It offers a conclusion that is no more than a paraphrase of one of the pieces of information provided in its support.
(B) It presents as evidence in support of a claim information that is inconsistent with other evidence presented in support of the same claim.
(C) It takes one possible cause of a condition to be the actual cause of that condition without considering any other possible causes.
(D) It takes a condition to be the effect of something that happened only after the condition already existed.
(E) It makes a distinction that presupposes the truth of the conclusion that is to be established.

How can I answer the question under time pressure?


A: The quick version of the way I would break down this passage: if there’s a conclusion, I always start there. "Parland’s industries must, on the whole, be further advanced technologically than Vergia’s are."
Then I always ask myself: is there anything I should notice about the author’s exact choice of language? Any modifiers that would tweak the scope or the strength or the magnitude? Interesting: "on the whole."
Then figure out how they got there. In our QOTD explanations, you’ll notice that we generally use the same structure: start with the heart of the passage (conclusion, for example, in the author’s EXACT words, with an eye on the author’s language choices and modifiers), and then you’ll see some bullet points outlining the author’s evidence.
No reason to move onto the answer choices until the author’s structure and reasoning is 100% clear.
I’ve been threatening this for weeks, but we really do have a "CR for beginners" Topic of the Week coming up soon. It’s taken some time to make it appropriately succinct and awesome... but it is coming soon.



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New post 21 Jun 2017, 19:22
My timings don't match with the verbal chat :(

Thanks for the MoM Vyshak.

GMATNinja, The example quoted to explain the 'touch' rule - is that accurate? Based on my understanding, SoB is a person and we cannot use 'that' to refer back to a person unless you are referring to a female dog :P :lol: :lol: :lol:

Last edited by bb on 21 Jun 2017, 19:52, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jun 2017, 18:52
warriorguy wrote:
My timings don't match with the verbal chat

Noooooooooooooo! :(

warriorguy wrote:
GMATNinja, The example quoted to explain the 'touch' rule - is that accurate? Based on my understanding, SoB is a person and we cannot use 'that' to refer back to a person unless you are referring to a female dog

So this is more interesting than I thought it would be. warriorguy, you sent me down a crazy sinkhole on this!

According to "normal" rules of English grammar and usage, "that" can refer to either people or things. (Every style guide on my shelf agrees on this point. And yes, I'm a dork with multiple style guides on my bookshelf.) But the interesting thing is that I couldn't really find GMAT questions that use "that" to refer to people. In theory, it's fine, but apparently it's not something that the GMAT really does -- at least not that I could find.

The only real exception was a wrong answer choice on this thread: https://gmatclub.com/forum/authoritativ ... 81108.html. But the OG explanation doesn't explicitly say that "that" is wrong -- (B) is a mess for other reasons.

If it helps, though, my point about SoB would still be valid if we change "that" to "who." :P
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New post 23 Jun 2017, 23:40
Thanks GMATNinja. I have trained my mind as per GMAT rules. :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: I forgot 'that' can refer to people under standard usage.

I'll definitely attend the chat this Wednesday. :twisted:

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Parsing through extremely long (sometimes dense) sentences under time constraint :P
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Q: I am facing a difficulty with verb tense sequencing. How to know whether two actions are related or they are independent?

A: For most people, the only verb tense that is worth special attention is past perfect tense: "had been", "had done", "had studied," etc.
And I suspect that most of you know how that one works: it has to describe an action in the past that happened BEFORE some other "marker" that happened later in the past. Usually, that "marker" is another past tense action in simple past. And from there, it’s just a question of making sure that the logic of the sentence is sound.
"I had been a real jerk until I ate my second breakfast." --> "had been" happened first, "ate breakfast" happened later. No problem -- that makes sense.
Not as good: "I had been a real jerk but now I am a nice guy." --> nope, because the only other action is in the present. There’s no need for past perfect.
And past perfect is the relatively easy case. From there, I don’t think that there’s a lot of "technical" or "grammatical" stuff that will help much with verb tenses (unless, of course, you just aren’t familiar with English verb tenses in general). It’s just a question of following the logic of what the sentence is trying to say, and figuring out whether the mix of verb tenses actually makes sense.
"I have eaten 14 burritos since sunrise." -- "have eaten" suggests an action that starts in the past and continues into the present. In other words, it spans both the past and the present.
GMAT example: "The fossil has been dated at 35 million years old." vs. "The fossil was dated at 35 million years old." I don’t know -- I feel like it should be the latter. Isn’t "dating" (i.e., carbon dating) a process that scientists perform once in a lab, and then it’s over? But the GMAT uses "has dated." That’s fine, I guess -- it’s just that there’s some grey area between present perfect and past tense, and it’s a stylistic choice by the author or speaker.


Q: so later event in sequence is always past tense and earlier in past perfect

A: that’s correct. Though there are rare cases where there could be some other "marker" besides a simple past action. For example, "By noon yesterday, Charles had already eaten 14 burritos." Fine -- "by noon" gives us some other marker in the past, and the past perfect "had eaten" just indicates that the eating happened before that other "marker" in the past. But that usage is pretty rare on the GMAT.

Q: Construction of the Roman Colosseum, which was officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, began in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian, was completed a decade later, during the reign of Titus, who opened the Colosseum with a one hundred-day cycle of religious pageants, gladiatorial games, and spectacles.
(A) which was officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, began in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian,
(B) officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, begun in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian, and
(C) which was officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, began in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian, and
(D) officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater and begun in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian it
(E) officially known as the Flavian Amphitheater, which was begun in A.D. 69, during the reign of Vespasian, and
My query is regarding usage of correct past participle with helping verb (ie. had begun) since the subject- Construction of the Roman Colosseum- has verbs - began and completed - out of which ideally began happened first and then construction was completed. Do you agree that sequencing of events (begin of construction and completion of construction) makes logical sense here?


A: It’s interesting: construction began before it was completed, right? But "had begun" isn’t even an option. I guess it’s because both actions are so far in the past that we don’t really care about the sequence -- or at least, the sequencing isn’t something that needs to be emphasized in order to make sense of the sentence?
What I usually tell my students is that they want the past perfect to jump out at them, since it has such a straightforward rule attached. In this case, it’s not an option -- and the verb tenses aren’t really much of an issue the way the question is written, since they don’t give us the option of past perfect.


Q: So how do we know whether two actions can be sequenced when a complex SC is given?

A: Here’s my thinking: if you see past perfect tense, great -- start there. It has very specific rules. Same with "having + verb." From there, don’t worry too much about the verb tenses unless you see some sort of split. Two answer choices say "began" and three say "have begun"? Great: there’s a chance that the split is irrelevant (and yes, that happens on the GMAT!), but it’s more likely that there’s a clue somewhere. For example, "since 1996" would tell you that you need "have begun"; "in 1996" would indicate simple past. That sort of thing. And if THAT doesn’t do the trick, then it’s just a question of trying to figure out if the actions in the sentence need to happen in some sort of sequence. In general, if two actions are in the same verb tense, then they’re more or less simultaneous; if they’re in different tenses, then they aren’t. And sometimes that’s just a question of being really clear about what the sentence is trying to say.

Q: If we are using begun, does it need a helping verb?

A: Yeah, "begun" is the past participle form, so you’ll need a helping verb if you’re using "begun" as a verb.

Q: With an emphasis on color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, art historians have suggested that Impressionism had evolved in response to the advent of black-and-white photography, which allowed precise, albeit monochromatic, pictorial reproduction of a landscape.
• With an emphasis on color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, art historians have suggested that Impressionism had evolved
• Emphasizing color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, it has been suggested by art historians that Impressionism evolved
• Art historians have suggested that Impressionism, with its emphasis on color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, had evolved
• Art historians have suggested that Impressionism, with its emphasis on color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, evolved
• Impressionism, with its emphasis on color and form at the expense of exact duplication of detail, was suggested by art historians to have evolved
Why is ’had evolved’ wrong in the above question?


A: The biggest thing is that the historians "have suggested" -- and that’s not past tense, it’s present perfect. And it wouldn’t make sense to use "had evolved" before an action in present perfect, since "have suggested" is an action that continues into the present...

Q: The use of lie detectors is based on the assumption that lying produces emotional reactions in an individual that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses.
(A) that, in turn, create unconscious physiological responses
(B) that creates unconscious physiological responses in turn
(C) creating, in turn, unconscious physiological responses
(D) to create, in turn, physiological responses that are unconscious
(E) who creates unconscious physiological responses in turn
here that does make a jump over prep phases.


A: yeah, this is a classic case, unless I’m remembering the question incorrectly. No problem to have "that create unconscious psychological responses" modify "emotional reactions in an individual", rather than just modifying the individual alone. And just be careful not to "hallucinate" exceptions to the "touch rule" for these modifiers. The exceptions exist, but you need to have a pretty darned good reason for them. :)
I think of the exceptions to the "touch rule" as an "advanced" topic. If my students are botching basic examples, I’ll keep them away from the exceptions until they really get good at the basic "touch rule." And Americans sometimes really struggle with the basic rule, believe it or not -- we break the rule constantly in normal speech.


Q: Especially in the early years, new entrepreneurs may need to find resourceful ways, like renting temporary office space or using answering services, that make their company seem large and more firmly established than they may actually be.

A) that make their company seem large
B) to make their companies seem larger
C) thus making their companies seem larger
D) so that the companies seem larger
E) of making their company seem large
Has GMAC started using like to depict examples?


A: not that I know of, but notice that "like" isn’t underlined, so you can’t do anything about it. It’s a funny thing -- the GMAT violates its own "rules" constantly in quant, CR, and RC questions. And sometimes in underlined sections of SC questions.

Q: My favorite restaurant is in Brooklyn that serves delicious food.
Here in Brooklyn is a prepositional phrase and since that can not modify Brooklyn it make perfect
sense to jump over prepositional phrase and eventually modify restaurant which is logically and grammatically sound.
why did it make sense to jump over prepositions in the OG example whereas in Brooklyn example it did not


A: There was a verb ’is’ - It cant jump over verbs. "that" and "which" modifiers can "jump" prepositional phrases if it’s absolutely necessary for the meaning of the sentence, but they can’t jump verbs... ever.

Q: so we should not blindly eliminate options wherein like is used to depict examples or was this example an error?

A: at the risk of getting philosophical: there really aren’t all that many ABSOLUTE rules on the GMAT. I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but the section is called "verbal reasoning", not "reading and grammar." That distinction seems silly, but it does tell you something about what the test-makers are thinking. You’re always trying to match structure and meaning in the best way possible -- and that means that there aren’t tons of absolute rules... I’m pretty sure that "like" is still inferior to "such as" when introducing examples. I’m OK eliminating "like" -- there’s a pretty solid history on that issue... ... but a lot of what we’ve been discussing lately is that a lot of GMAT "rules" -- pronoun ambiguity, the noun modifier "touch rule" -- aren’t absolute, 100% rules.

Q: Another query for idioms - we had a discussion yesterday regarding a particular idiom - In comparison with v/s in comparison to --> I feel GMAT considers both correct. Is there any difference between both?

A: hm... I think "compared with" and "in comparison to" both seem OK. I’m not sure about "in comparison with", though. I’d be shocked if you’ll ever be forced to choose among these three, though... but maybe there’s an example out there that I can’t remember. When I see "in comparison..." or "in contrast..." my first thought is that they’re testing the logic of the comparison -- and probably not the choice of preposition. But again, maybe there’s another example out there that proves me wrong. :)

Q: Can you provide some suggestions on timing?

A: On quant, you can sometimes look at a question, and quickly recognize that you have no idea how to solve it. On verbal? You really don’t know whether a question is hard until you invest a ton of time in that question, right? By the time you realize that you’re in trouble, you’ve probably spent something like 80% of the time that you could possibly spend arriving at an answer. Sure, if you’re totally stuck between two answer choices, at some point, you’ll have to just pick one and move on. But in general, it’s hard to save much time by guessing on verbal, unless you’re guessing blindly... ... and blind guessing can destroy you on an adaptive test. Again: if you miss stuff that you’re capable of handling, you risk wrecking your score in a big hurry. If you really can’t get any more efficient at verbal, and you have to guess toward the end, that’s OK -- but wait until the end, and accept your beating at that point.
One of my favorite students from about a decade ago (whoa... that sentence made me feel old!) was really good at verbal once we were done with a couple of months of training, but he was slow. Just a naturally slow reader. Not much we could do about it. He was efficient in his approaches to questions, and he knew his stuff, but his visual processing was just slow.
He could do about 36 questions in 75 minutes. He would crush those 36, and then guess on the rest. It worked just fine -- scored above the 90th percentile on verbal, ended up at Wharton. Of course, the key was that he would do incredibly well on the first 36.


Q: If we wait towards the end won’t it be a disaster? We may end up having a series of incorrect answers

A: yeah, but if you’ve taken care of business on the first ~36 or whatever, those last five will be HARD. And one or two are likely to be experimental. (41 questions, and I think 11 are experimental -- I can double-check those numbers, but I’m close.) Don’t ever try to figure out which ones are experimental. :) But the thing you NEVER want to do is trade, say, question #15 for question #41. Terrible trade. If you guess on #15 to save time... it’s going to affect another 26 questions that follow. That’s going to hurt your score MUCH more than guessing at the end. And again, it’s not ideal, right? In a perfect world, you’ll maximize your efficiency on all three verbal question types, and there won’t be a problem.
And again, it’s not ideal, right? In a perfect world, you’ll maximize your efficiency on all three verbal question types, and there won’t be a problem.


Q: is it ok to then guess on alternate Qs, is penalty paid a bit less than guessing two in a row

A: again: if you’re going to guess, do so at the end of the verbal section. If you answer #11 carefully but then guess on #12, you’re still making a terrible trade: you’re sacrificing #12 -- which will affect another 29 questions -- for #41, which won’t affect anything else. If you take care of business, #41 will be hard, and you can afford to miss it.
Only exception, I guess, is if you’re MUCH slower on some question types than others. But if that’s the case, something has gone wrong -- the questions are designed to take roughly the same amount of time. Most of us are maybe a little bit faster on SC than RC/CR, but guessing on RC passages is dangerous, since they have 3-4 Qs each. So at the very end, I suppose that you could guess on CRs and focus on SCs... but only at the very end, and I don’t think that strategy would make a huge difference, one way or the other.
Here’s the thing: you’ll always see 4 RC passages, with 3 or 4 questions each. (Usually 3 passages with 3 questions each, one passage with 4 questions.) So keep track of them! That way, you’ll know if you still have another RC left toward the end of the test.
Personally, I want nothing to do with RC and CR at the end of the test. I’m tired, and that 4th RC passage is probably not going to be interesting at the end of a 4-hour test. (Selection order changes that, obviously... but for another two weeks, I can whine about verbal fatigue, right?) Psychologically, I feel much better when I’m not blindsided by an RC at question #37. And the order of question types definitely isn’t fixed on the GMAT. On one exam, I think I was done with RC by question #30. On others, my last few questions were RC.
And either way: RC annoys me, so I want to know whether I’m done with them.
Generally, you’ll see 17 SC, 13 RC (4 RC passages), 11 CR, give or take a couple.


Q: Can "absolute phrases" contain verb(s) in them?
Prairie dogs live in tight-knit colonies, called coteries, with roughly a dozen animals, each coterie includes several breeding females that often stay together for their entire lives, one or two breeding males that tend to switch coteries frequently, and the females’ new pups.


A: "each coterie includes............." is not a absolute phrase because of the presence of the verb 'includes'. Absolute phrase should not have a verb and a subject together
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 02:06
May I know the topic of Verbal chat today? Thank you. :)
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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There's no particular topic -- it's completely freeform, and I'll answer whatever everybody is interested in. See you in a minute or so!
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Chat Transcript - 7/5/2017

Q: Any tips to reflect GMAT Prep verbal score in actual GMAT is welcome! After scoring V35-V41 in GMATPrep exam pack 1,2,3, and 4, I scored a terrible V30 on actual GMAT.

A: Actually, I’ll make this more generic. Reasons why your test scores might not match:
1) you’re repeating the exams
2) non-official tests are unbelievably inaccurate, so those rarely tell us anything
3) you get nervous -- whether you’re conscious of it or not -- during your test
4) you get more fatigued during the real exam because you "know that it counts this time" -- and so you’re being more intense throughout, and run out of steam on verbal
5) you’ve done a lot of practice materials that are based on the GMATPrep exams -- especially if you’ve been doing a lot of the questions here on GMAT Club that come from those tests
6) you’re fundamentally inconsistent: if your scores are bouncing around a lot anyway, then a disappointing test result isn’t all that shocking -- even if they’re lower than your averages
7) you aren’t well-rested or you aren’t eating right on test day
8) the question banks intermingle a little bit on the GMAC tests: #1 & #2 share questions, #3 & #4 share questions, etc. So that can inflate your GMATPrep average scores a little, even if you aren’t explicitly repeating tests.


Q: Any specific tips to improve on RCs and CRs ?

A: CR - https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 43170.html
RC - https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html


Q: I took mocks a few weeks ago for my first attempt. now I don’t have mocks for the second attempt - I mean no official mocks - what do u suggest?

A: ugh, that’s a tough spot. A couple of things: 1) it’s OK to repeat them if you absolutely have to, it’s just that you have to assume that the timing issues will be worse on your actual exam. 2) if you haven’t exhausted the GMATPrep Question Pack, there’s a way to use those to create what we call "fake tests" -- and we’ll post this week’s Topic of the Week on that. 3) if you’re only running out of time a little bit at the end of the section, that’s not necessarily a big deal! Hang onto that question pack! You can use it to create tests that roughly mimic the actual test-day experience. It’s not perfect -- and not adaptive -- but it’ll give you some practice under time pressure.

Q: the question banks intermingle a little bit on the GMAC tests: #1 & #2 share questions, #3 & #4 share questions, etc. So that can inflate your GMATPrep average scores a little, even if you aren’t explicitly repeating tests. what's the approx ’hidden’ pool of Qs, that are new when I reset in Gmat prep software.

A: I think there’s a thread somewhere that discusses the exact number of questions in the "original" GMATPrep tests (#1 & #2) and in the GMATPrep Exam Packs -- I can’t remember the exact numbers, but the question banks are MUCH smaller in the exam packs than in the original, free tests.

Q: can you share few tips to reduce anxiety and how to be un nerved on D day?

A: if we’re talking about why real test scores don’t match practice test scores, that’s probably the biggest issue. Test anxiety might literally be my least favorite thing, period. And I’ve spoken to tons of psychologists about it, along with some hypnotists, acupuncturists, and meditation experts. :)
The biggest thing you can do in terms of test-prep: make sure that you have 100% consistent approaches to everything. On RC, for example, some people read more intensely some days, and less intensely other days. Or sometimes, they take tons of notes, and sometimes they don’t. That’s terrible, because if you get even a little bit nervous on test-day, you’ll probably start doing random stuff, and you’ll get yourself into all sorts of trouble. Develop consistent approaches and consistent strategies -- that way, the "right approach" is automatic, even if you’re a little bit jittery.
And this is totally not interesting, but sleeping and diet and exercise are a really, really big deal, especially as you approach your test date. If you’re sleep-deprived, your ability to deal with anxiety plummets. Same thing if your blood sugar is low. So in that last week or two, you really have to take care of your body. Good health won’t cure anxiety, but poor health choices will increase your anxiety enormously.
Ego and stubbornness are a really, really big thing, too. I think they play more of a role on quant. It’s really easy to get stubborn because you think you "should" get a certain question right. In reality, you’re probably going to miss a bunch of quant questions -- and if you get stubborn, you’re in trouble. Same is true for verbal, but I generally find that people are less egotistical and stubborn on verbal for some reason. But yes: you’re going to miss some questions. So if you get stuck, at some point, you have to shrug, and say "good job, GMAT, you got me!" and move on.
You can’t spend 5 minutes on question #10 -- whatever it is, it’s not worth it. Pick your battles wisely. Especially since a whole bunch of the questions are experimental and don’t count, anyway.


Q: Do you think practising mocks in AWA-IR-Q-V order and taking real GMAT in any other order will impact our score?

A: In general, I’m a believer in the idea that you should try to make everything in your practice tests as similar to the real thing as possible. Including section order. But I’m not sure that it’s a big deal, one way or the other. I think that we’re all assuming that it’s best to stick AWA & IR at the end of our tests, and I’m not sure that it’s ideal for everybody to do it that way. If you need to warm up a little bit, then the "normal" order is actually a good thing. Some people really benefit from having an hour to settle into the test environment. If this is true for you, then it might be a problem to do your tests in the old order, and then switch it for the real test. But otherwise, I doubt that it’s going to cause much trouble.

Q: my gut feeling in GMAT scoring shall improve with V at start and competition get even tougher. What does your experience pitch in here?

A: I really don’t think that the selection order is going to inflate average scores by much. Sure, if you get fatigued on verbal, switching the order will help -- enormously. But again, some people really need that warmup at the beginning, so I think that some people will lose that extra hour to get comfortable, and that could have the opposite effect. But both effects will be really small on average, I think.

Q: Can you guide us on selecting the section order?

A: Refer to the following chat transcript: https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... l#p1873748

Q: Books in European libraries last longer than books in libraries in the United States because, although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subjected to the extremes of temperature and humidity that damage collections in the United States.

A. because, although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subjected to the extremes of temperature and humidity that

B. because, although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subject of the extremes of temperature and humidity as those that

C. because, although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subjected to the extremities of temperature and humidity as

D. because the climate in Europe is fairly humid, but still libraries there are not subject of the extremes of temperature and humidity as

E. because the climate in Europe is fairly humid, but libraries there are not subjected to the extremities of temperature and humidity such as those that


A: So here’s one thing I’d ideally want you to notice here: the pronoun "those." Actually, let me give you two of the answer choices:
A) Books in European libraries last longer than books in libraries in the United States because, although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subjected to the extremes of temperature and humidity that damage collections in the United States.
B) Books in European libraries last longer than books in libraries in the United States although the climate in Europe is fairly humid, libraries there are not subject of the extremes of temperature and humidity as those that damage collections in the United States.
My eyes immediately go to "that" and "those." In B), I guess those refers to "extremes"? It’s the nearest plural. So B) gives us "libraries there are not subject of the extremes of temperature and humidity as the extremes that damage collections in the U.S."
I have no idea why we would need the pronoun "those", to be honest -- A) is much cleaner.
And the comparison in B) doesn’t make much sense, either: I can’t really make sense of why we’re using an "as" comparison there. European collections are not subject to the extremes of temperature and humidity that damage US collections -- that makes sense. But there’s no good reason to use "as" there.
If you’re hesitant about (A), this is a classic "son of a bitch" or "son of a gun" exception. (Or mission critical modifier, as some call it.) "Extremes of temperature and humidity that damage collections in the U.S." -- "that damage collections" is, in some sense, "reaching behind" the prepositional phrases here. It’s not just the humidity that damages collections. It’s the entire phrase: "extremes of temperature and humidity."
Everybody comfortable with that example? And I’ll leave C, D, and E for your enjoyment on the forum thread: https://gmatclub.com/forum/books-in-eur ... 84345.html
Feel free to tag me in the forum thread if you have any lingering questions -- there are already some good responses on the thread.


Q: In the question above I have a small query about those, i think it makes sense to replace it with extremes.

A: yeah, "those" refers back to "extremes", and that’s not completely horrible. We know what the referent is. The trouble is, it’s completely unnecessary. We’re fine with just "that", as in (A).

Q: I was wondering why do we have a preference for "to determine" when "for determining" also works just fine.

A: yeah, I would wonder the same thing. Full disclosure: sometimes I’m honestly not sure about idioms, either. Often, there are several different ways to say the same thing, and native speakers might use them interchangeably, other than some regional variations (London English vs. New York English vs. Southern U.S. English, for example). There might be some subtle cases when I’d prefer one of those idioms over the other, but both seem perfectly OK to me.

Q: The three women, liberal activists who strongly support legislation in favor of civil rights and environmental protection, have consistently received labor’s unqualifying support.

(A) have consistently received labor’s unqualifying support
(B) are consistently receiving the unqualifying support of labor
(C) have consistently received the unqualified support of labor
(D) receive consistent and unqualified support by labor
(E) are receiving consistent and unqualified support by labor


A: I think of SC as having two "halves": there’s grammar/usage "rules", and then there’s "meaning." The two are inseparable, if we’re being honest about it. But most of us spend our SC study time thinking about grammar and rules. So how do you even begin to "study" meaning on the GMAT? And this question is a nice, classic example of some meaning issues. I don’t think that any of the answer choices are grammatically WRONG, exactly. These are 100% about meaning.
unqualifying = not meeting standard, while unqualified = not limited
Only "unqualified" makes sense here. But it’s pretty subtle, and there’s no master list of stuff like this. "Economic" vs. "economical" is a similar issue that comes up occasionally. But the GMAT could come up with limitless supplies of these sorts of little distinctions.
OK, so we’re left with C, D, and E.
(C) have consistently received the unqualified support of labor
(D) receive consistent and unqualified support by labor
(E) are receiving consistent and unqualified support by labor
(C) have consistently received the unqualified support of labor --> "have received" is present perfect tense, so the action starts in the past, and continues into the present. Makes sense: the women must have received that support in the past, right? And also the present.
(D) receive consistent and unqualified support by labor --> present only. Plus, I’m not sure why we’re saying that the support is consistent. In (C), they receive the support consistently -- it makes a little bit more sense that way. (And yes, "support of labor" is better than "support by labor", too.)
(E) are receiving consistent and unqualified support by labor --> "are receiving" is present progressive tense, emphasizing that the action is going on right now. But why would we emphasize that? It makes a whole lot more sense to use present perfect, as in (C). Also, issues with "consistent" and "by labor" are the same as in (D).
I think we might have discussed verb tenses very briefly last week, but the bottom line is that it’s all about matching the meaning to the tenses. Three different tenses in this particular question. And none of them are grammatically WRONG, exactly -- but each of them tweaks the meaning just a little bit. And it’s a question of figuring out which meaning is the most reasonable. That’s classic GMAT.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately, but the section is called "verbal reasoning" and not "reading and grammar." It’s a silly distinction, in some ways, but it does tell you something about what the test-makers are asking you to do. If you try to memorize your way to an awesome score, that probably won’t work -- even on SC, which is the most "mechanical" or "formulaic" part of the verbal section.


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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jul 2017, 08:35
Thanks for your quick action, Vyshak

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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 06 Jul 2017, 12:18
Vyshak wrote:
Chat Transcript - 5/24/2017

Q: Can you point out the difference between 'due to' and 'because of' ?
A: Here, I have two examples:
1) The picnic was canceled due to rain.
2) Souvik’s incredible GMAT score was due to his hard work.
Basically, you’ll want to ask yourself: what does the "due to _____" phrase modify?
1) The picnic was canceled due to rain. --> what does "due to rain" modify?
"due to rain" doesn’t modify "rain", yes -- it modifies the cancelation.
Trouble is, the word "cancelation" doesn’t appear -- it just says "was canceled". That’s a verb.
And "due to" can’t modify a verb or verb phrase -- just nouns


Q: I read on egmat that always replace due to by 'caused by'. If it sounds right then fine. Is this approach wrong?
A: Yeah, but I’ve found that a lot of people tell me that "The picnic was canceled caused by rain" sounds OK, and "Souvik’s success on the GMAT was caused by his hard work" sound bad. So it doesn’t work for everybody.

Q: So 'Souvik’s success on the GMAT was because of his hard work' is not correct?
A: Souvik’s incredible GMAT score was due to his hard work. --> what does "due to his hard work" modify?

Q: Does it modify Souvik’s action or work?
A: No, "due to his hard work" does not modify "work." The "due to _____" phrase indicates some sort of causality. You want to ask yourself what is affected by the "due to ____" phrase. In this case, it’s the GMAT score that’s "caused" or "affected by" or "due to" Souvik’s hard work.
Bottom line on "due to": the phrase "due to _______" must logically modify a noun, not a verb phrase.


Q: One confusion. If we state a reason for something, we use because of. So, in this question can’t we say the reason for his score is his hard work. I agree that His score is caused by his hard work but reasoning concept has confused me now.
A: The weird thing about "due to" and "because of" (and "caused by", I suppose) is that they all mean basically the same thing. But the distinction is grammatical. The only thing that the GMAT really seems to test is the fact that "due to" can NEVER modify a verb or a verb phrase -- just a noun.
This sentence "makes sense", but it’s wrong: "The game was postponed due to rain."


Q: I am still not clear. How to identify due to is modifying noun or verb phrase?
A: "due to rain" -- what happens "due to rain"? What is being modified by "due to rain"? You wouldn’t say that "the game is due to rain." The thing that "due to rain" modifies is "was postponed" -- it’s the postponing that happens "due to rain." And that can’t work: "was postponed" is a verb phrase. That’s really all. You’ll never see anything other than a noun after "due to" anyway, so that’s a non-issue. And I wouldn’t overthink "because of" -- I’ve never seen an official GMAT question that requires you to think too deeply about "because of", at least not that I can think of.



Hello GMATNinja,

One query regarding the usage: Is below one correct?

From the helicopter, I saw a 6-mile long traffic jam due to the overturned truck.
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2017, 11:24
Quote:
Hello GMATNinja,

One query regarding the usage: Is below one correct?

From the helicopter, I saw a 6-mile long traffic jam due to the overturned truck.

This doesn't quite look right to me. Structurally, the sentence seems to be trying to say that "I saw" the traffic jam "due to the overturned truck" -- so "due to the overturned truck" seems to modify the verb phrase "I saw." And that's both grammatically wrong ("due to ____" can only modify a noun, not a verb phrase) and nonsensical.

I guess you could argue that "due to the overturned truck" is trying to modify the traffic jam, but it's hard to imagine why you'd construct the sentence that way. Why not make that modifier much more explicit? "From the helicopter, I saw a 6-mile long traffic jam that was caused by the overturned truck." That way, there's zero doubt that the phrase about the overturned truck is modifying the traffic jam.

This would be OK, though: "The horrific, 6-mile long traffic jam was due to the overturned truck."

I hope this helps!
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jul 2017, 11:31
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
Hello GMATNinja,

One query regarding the usage: Is below one correct?

From the helicopter, I saw a 6-mile long traffic jam due to the overturned truck.

This doesn't quite look right to me. Structurally, the sentence seems to be trying to say that "I saw" the traffic jam "due to the overturned truck" -- so "due to the overturned truck" seems to modify the verb phrase "I saw." And that's both grammatically wrong ("due to ____" can only modify a noun, not a verb phrase) and nonsensical.

I guess you could argue that "due to the overturned truck" is trying to modify the traffic jam, but it's hard to imagine why you'd construct the sentence that way. Why not make that modifier much more explicit? "From the helicopter, I saw a 6-mile long traffic jam that was caused by the overturned truck." That way, there's zero doubt that the phrase about the overturned truck is modifying the traffic jam.

This would be OK, though: "The horrific, 6-mile long traffic jam was due to the overturned truck."

I hope this helps!



Thanks for the clarification GMATNinja.

I had the same thought but Ron mentioned the sentence as correct in one of his video series ("Thursdays with Ron").
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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript - 7/12/2017

Important Points Discussed:



1. If you’re going off of "sound", you’ll get yourself into all sorts of trouble.
2. If you ignore the non-underlined portion, you can get into trouble
3. Pronoun ambiguity

Q . How would you go about practising verbal during the last 14 days before taking the actual test? I am trying to strategise a plan that would be both efficient and effective.

A. I’m not sure that a lot would need to change in those last two weeks. Usual principles apply: focus on official questions, and spend extra time on anything that’s a disproportionate weakness. In theory, I guess I’d argue that CR and RC take longer to improve than SC, so you’re more likely to make progress on SC in a short amount of time -- but you obviously can’t lose your mojo on CR and RC, either. And start sleeping well now. Sleep deprivation is cumulative -- so this is the week when I start pushing my students to get extra sleep, pay attention to diet, get some exercise. At some stage, your ability to focus and think clearly is going to matter MUCH more on verbal than that last grammar rule you cram into your head the night before the exam.

Honestly, I’m still fine at quant when I’m a little bit tired. But my verbal sharpness fades quickly if I’m not 100%. And I think most people are that way. And you’ve saved a couple of good, official GMATPrep tests for these last couple of weeks, I hope?


Q: I see what you mean, definitely makes sense. Yes, I have saved 3 prep tests. I have been taking the Manhattan ones recently but I reckon I should move on to the prep tests now.

A. Yes, exactly -- the MGMAT can be good for getting used to the timing and all of that (especially since you can choose your section order on MGMAT!), but you want an official-only diet toward the end. I think we covered this a little bit last week, but if you’re worried about stamina on verbal, then you definitely don’t want the default order -- it’s easy to get fatigued at the very end, and that might affect the precision of your reading. But if you need to "warm up" before doing the sections that matter, then the default order isn’t so bad, because you can "settle in" for an hour on stuff that doesn’t really matter. If you’re looking for absolute perfection on verbal, then sure: you should probably know all of the 25,000 idioms in English. In practice, you can MOSTLY dodge them without having it hurt your score much. And there are too many to memorize.

Q. wouldn’t guessing in the end do harm to my score, in case i picked the wrong answer?
A. if you can only answer 37 questions well in 75 minutes, then of course you’re going to have to guess on some of them. It’s either that, or you’ll end up rushing through a ton of questions, and then you risk missing FAR more than just those last 4. Guessing on the last 4 won’t hurt you that badly on an adaptive test, as long as you’ve taken care of business on the first 37.

Q. For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

(A) providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(B) providing them with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(C) provided with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing
(D) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, the Holstein cow produces
(E) provided with high-energy feed, and milked regularly, Holstein cows will produce

How many of you are looking at the non-underlined portion of the sentence?


A. So here’s what I’m seeing pretty often, both from my students and on the forum: a little bit of tunnel-vision. If you focus ONLY on the underlined part, you’ll miss the pronoun. And that’s probably the easiest part of the sentence to deal with, in this case.

So now, you’re hopefully noticing that B & D are all out. Because of the "them", "cow" is wrong.

So friendly reminder: don’t get TOO obsessed with the underlined portion. It’s really easy to make that mistake.
(I’m mean like that. If you’re awesome and volunteer an answer, I’ll ask you to explain. Did I mention that I used to be a high school teacher?)

Any thoughts on the parallelism?

Because "providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly" this is wrongly made parallel with producing...

Cool, what should "providing/provided" and "milking/milked" be parallel to?

If you’re going off of "sound", you’ll get yourself into all sorts of trouble. That’s never a good strategy. Keep an eye on the SC forum in the next couple of days -- I’ll post a topic of the week that discusses why your ear is not your friend.

Let’s break this down a little bit.

I’m going to start with (C), for no particular reason:

For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, providing them with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing an average of 2,275 gallons of milk each per year.

(C) provided with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing

So whenever you’re looking at parallelism, start with the trigger that indicates that something is parallel. In this case, the trigger is "and". What follows "and" in C? "milking."

OK, so what’s that parallel to: provided? That doesn’t really work: "For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, provided with high-energy feed, and milking them regularly, Holstein cows are producing...."

So (C) is out. Down to (A) and (E).

And what’s happening in (E)? Pop quiz: what part of speech is "milked"? A noun? A verb? A modifier?

"milked" and "provided" are actually parallel to another adjective: "cool."
So (E) might not SOUND parallel, but it’s perfect, once you recognize that this is just a bunch of parallel adjectives:
"For the farmer who takes care to keep them cool, provided with feed..., and milked regularly, the Holstein cows..."

Great case of two things: 1) if you ignore the non-underlined portion ("them"!), you can get into trouble, 2) parallelism isn’t about sound. It’s about matching structure to meaning.

Q. What if we had no comma before "and milking them" in Option A?
A. AkshayKS21 asked a hypothetical earlier, and I’m going to address it with a different example:

1) Amber traveled the world, ate dodgy street food, and contracted gastrointestinal diseases.
2) Amber traveled the world, eating dodgy street food and contracting gastrointestinal diseases.

What do you think? Both right? Both wrong? One right and one wrong? Same meaning? Different meaning? :)

In example #1, we’re basically saying that these are three "equal" actions that Amber performed. They don’t necessarily depend on each other in any way. In #2, "eating" and "contracting" are giving us more information about what Amber did while traveling -- which I think makes a little bit more sense. But #1 isn’t necessarily wrong.

So again: parallelism isn’t really about "sound". We could argue that #1 SOUNDS more parallel than #2. But #2 is totally fine -- and maybe a little bit better.

There’s no magic formula for getting good at breaking down tough passages, unfortunately, but the article has some advice on how to get started at getting better.

some of you have seen me make some embarrassing errors in here. "Perfect" is impossible on this, and there’s always more room to learn and get better.


Pronoun ambiguity is NOT an absolute rule. Ron is right about that. But it’s still important. And to be honest, most things on GMAT SC aren’t absolute rules, anyway. For example, the "touch rule" for noun modifiers ("which", "that", etc.) -- that’s not an absolute rule, either. Same is true for pronoun ambiguity.

Basic advice for pronouns: as soon as you see "them", for example, look for a plural noun that "they" could refer back to. One of four things could happen:

1) there are no plural nouns --> then it’s just wrong
2) there are one or more plural nouns, but none of them make logical sense --> wrong
3) there’s only one plural noun, and it makes perfect sense --> right
4) there are multiple plural nouns, and one of them makes logical sense --> potentially ambiguous

You don’t want to AUTOMATICALLY eliminate an answer choice because of pronoun ambiguity. Make sure that one of the other answer choices "fixes" the ambiguity somehow -- as long as the other answer choice doesn’t contain a more severe error.

You’re always looking four the "least awful" of the five answer choices. Find the four that are the "most wrong." The fifth might still have some flaws -- and pronoun ambiguity isn’t usually one of them, but it definitely does happen.

you just don’t want to get TOO mechanical with the pronoun ambiguity. It’s often a major issue. It’s just that it’s not an absolute rule that applies 100% of the time.

1) Amber’s husband eats so much that she calls him a pig. --> wrong, because non-possessive pronoun "she" can’t refer back to possessive noun "Amber’s"


Q. Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than are fungi, in the form of carbon dioxide, and converting it to energy-rich sugars.

(A) Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than are fungi
(B) Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi
(C) Plants are more efficient than fungi at acquiring carbon
(E) Plants acquire carbon more efficiently than fungi


Theme of the day: look at the non-underlined portion. (And yes, I removed (D) to save time. It was garbage.)

A. This one torments my students. The comparison is tricky, right? Should it be "than are fungi" or just "than fungi"? "Acquire more efficiently" or "are more efficient at acquiring"? So much to think about!!

It’s the placement of "in the form of carbon dioxide" that makes the question potentially easy... but if you’re not looking at that part of the sentence? It’s brutal.

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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jul 2017, 23:36
Vyshak wrote:

Q: My favorite restaurant is in Brooklyn that serves delicious food.
Here in Brooklyn is a prepositional phrase and since that can not modify Brooklyn it make perfect
sense to jump over prepositional phrase and eventually modify restaurant which is logically and grammatically sound.
why did it make sense to jump over prepositions in the OG example whereas in Brooklyn example it did not


A: There was a verb ’is’ - It cant jump over verbs. "that" and "which" modifiers can "jump" prepositional phrases if it’s absolutely necessary for the meaning of the sentence, but they can’t jump verbs... ever.



Hi GMATNinja,

In one of the chat sessions it was mentioned that 'that' or 'which' will never jump over verbs. But strangely in the below OG2018 SC question 'which' jumps over the verb 'builds' in the correct answer choice. Can you please take this question on in the chat session tomorrow.

Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.

A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and
B. ushering in a seasonably cool air mass into the region and a broad area of high pressure will build that
C. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass to the region, a broad area of high pressure building, and
D. ushering a seasonably cool air mass in the region, with a broad area of high pressure building and
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Vyshak wrote:
Vyshak wrote:

Q: My favorite restaurant is in Brooklyn that serves delicious food.
Here in Brooklyn is a prepositional phrase and since that can not modify Brooklyn it make perfect
sense to jump over prepositional phrase and eventually modify restaurant which is logically and grammatically sound.
why did it make sense to jump over prepositions in the OG example whereas in Brooklyn example it did not


A: There was a verb ’is’ - It cant jump over verbs. "that" and "which" modifiers can "jump" prepositional phrases if it’s absolutely necessary for the meaning of the sentence, but they can’t jump verbs... ever.



Hi GMATNinja,

In one of the chat sessions it was mentioned that 'that' or 'which' will never jump over verbs. But strangely in the below OG2018 SC question 'which' jumps over the verb 'builds' in the correct answer choice. Can you please take this question on in the chat session tomorrow.

Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.

A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and
B. ushering in a seasonably cool air mass into the region and a broad area of high pressure will build that
C. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass to the region, a broad area of high pressure building, and
D. ushering a seasonably cool air mass in the region, with a broad area of high pressure building and
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will

I love it when the GMAT changes its mind about stuff! No problem, we'll cover this tomorrow. See you then!
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Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja and @GMATNinjaTwo in your post.

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How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

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Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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Chat Transcript - 7/19/2017

Q: Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena’s father, and giants.

(C) According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress
(D) Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed
(E) Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing


A: First thing you always want to do when you’re dealing with parallelism: find the trigger. That’s usually "and" or "or", though there are obviously others.
And then you’ll always want to ask yourself: what follows the parallelism trigger?
Notice that "and" in the second line of the question.
What follows the "and"? "that", so something else needs to be parallel to the "that" clause.
(E) doesn’t have anything that could possibly be parallel to the "that" clause -- so (E) is out.
In C: "each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that... this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena’s father, and giants." Huh? That doesn’t make sense. In (D): "Records from ancient Athens indicate that... this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena’s father, and giants."
Think of it this way: the thing that follows the "and" is the end of a list -- in this case, a list of two phrases.
So think of parallelism as a list of some sort -- two or more things that have to be in the same grammatical structure.


Q: that is followed by dependent clause or phrases?

A: In D, here are your two phrases: 1) that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe, 2) (follows AND) that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena’s father, and giants.
And there’s some "stem" that comes before all of that stuff, and the stem has to make sense with EVERY item in the list. In this case, the "stem" that precedes the parallelism is "Records from ancient Athens indicate..."
So here’s your ideal steps for parallelism:
1) find the trigger ("and" and "or" are the most common)
2) figure out what comes immediately after the trigger
^^ that would be the LAST item in the "list"
3) find something that’s parallel to that last item
4) make sure that EVERY item in the list makes sense with the "stem"


Q: C doesn’t make sense. Not parallel?

A: The funny thing is that (C) is sort-of parallel, grammatically. It’s just that it doesn’t make logical sense the way it’s constructed.

Q: is verb-ing correct in C?


A: yeah, I’m OK with the "according to records..." thing. That seems fine.

Q: Faced with an estimated $2 billion budget gap, the city’s mayor proposed a nearly 17 percent reduction in the amount allocated the previous year to maintain the city’s major cultural institutions and to subsidize hundreds of local arts groups.

(A) proposed a nearly 17 percent reduction in the amount allocated the previous year to maintain the city’s major cultural institutions and to subsidize

(C) proposed to reduce, by nearly 17 percent, the amount from the previous year that was allocated for the maintenance of the city’s major cultural institutions and to subsidize

(D) has proposed a reduction from the previous year of nearly 17 percent of the amount it was allocating for maintaining the city’s major cultural institutions, and to subsidize

(E) was proposing that the amount they were allocating be reduced by nearly 17 percent from the previous year for maintaining the city’s major cultural institutions and for the subsidization


A: I’m not sure that the parallelism is awful in (E), to be honest. "for maintaining" and "for the subsidization" -- both are prepositional phrases, and I think they’re parallel enough. But whoever mentioned the issue with "was proposing" is correct -- and "for subsidizing" or "to subsidize" make way more sense than "for the subsidization." So (E) is out.
I think the parallelism in (C) SOUNDS lovely
(C) proposed to reduce, by nearly 17 percent, the amount from the previous year that was allocated for the maintenance of the city’s major cultural institutions and to subsidize --> parallel, no?
"and" is your trigger. "to subsidize" is at the end of the list. "to reduce" is parallel with "to subsidize".
But it’s wrong! Why?
So this is GMAT-style parallelism at its nastiest.
Again, I’d argue that (C) is grammatically parallel -- "to subsidize" and "to reduce" are absolutely parallel. No problem there... structurally. But if you think about it in the way that we discussed earlier -- where you really focus on the stem, and on making sure that the stem makes sense with EVERY item in the list -- then (C) falls apart:
Stem: Faced with an estimated $2 billion budget gap, the city’s mayor proposed...
List item #1: to reduce, by nearly 17 percent, the amount...
List item #2: (after the AND trigger) to subsidize hundreds of local arts groups
So putting the stem together with list item #2: "Faced with an estimated $2 billion budget gap, the city’s mayor proposed...to subsidize hundreds of local arts groups." That doesn’t make any sense!
Takeaways from this:
1) parallelism can be a pain in the ass
2) parallelism is never about "sound" -- it’s about linking meaning to structure
3) just because something "sounds parallel" or is grammatically parallel doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s correct -- the meaning has to make sense, too
And as always: the really frustrating thing is that SC isn’t really about grammar. Sure, you need to know some grammar to do well. But you’re probably tired of hearing me say this: the section is called "verbal reasoning", not "reading and grammar," and these guys will mess you up if you get TOO mechanical.
Again: I thought (C) sounded great on that last example. But my ear is not my friend on this test.


Q: Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.

A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and
B. ushering in a seasonably cool air mass into the region and a broad area of high pressure will build that
C. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass to the region, a broad area of high pressure building, and
D. ushering a seasonably cool air mass in the region, with a broad area of high pressure building and
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will


A: I’m going to spoil the surprise and tell you that the answer isn’t what you want it to be here. And it isn’t what I want it to be, either.
Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will
(E) is CLEARLY wrong, yes? There are no other correct answers anywhere with "which" modifying a verb or a verb phrase.
And the exceptions that we’ve discussed to the "touch rule"? The only exceptions I’ve ever seen on the GMAT will allow "that" or "which" to "jump over" a prepositional phrase -- but not a verb.
But (E) is correct -- despite the fact that the "which" phrase is modifying a verb phrase.
"Builds" is definitely a verb, unfortunately.
The goofy thing is that this is how we speak in real life -- all the time. "I ate four burritos while I was waiting for the train, which made me feel fat and happy." Totally normal -- "which" doesn’t modify "trains", it modifies the entire clause. Very few professional editors would object to this sentence -- but it’s always been wrong on the GMAT.


Q: But strangely in the below OG2018 SC question ’which’ jumps over the verb ’builds’ in the correct answer choice?

A: Yeah. The problem is that we’ve never seen anything quite like this on the GMAT. Again: I’d argue that it’s fine in real life. Just like I’d argue that my train example is fine in real life. But the GMAT has been consistent about this... until now.
Here’s the dirty little secret of GMAT preparation that nobody likes to admit: the entire industry is trying to make up rules based on what we see in official GMAT questions. These "rules" don’t necessarily match those of standard English -- most great editors would disagree with a TON of GMAT SC questions. And the worst part? Those "rules" may or may not exist, and they may or may not be fluid. We’re guessing based on the official materials.
You’ll only buy our books and courses if we SOUND certain about "the rules." But very few "GMAT SC rules" are 100% absolute rules that never break. Subject-verb agreement might be one of the very few. And that’s part of why I emphasize the "verbal reasoning" aspect of the test far more than the grammar. Every time they release a new OG edition, one of our "rules" starts to get shaky, or it gets broken entirely. Consider this the funeral for "which" as an ABSOLUTE RULE.
But don’t get me wrong: everything we’ve said about "which" and "that" is still mostly true. It’s just that you have to be careful with it -- if there are worse crimes in other answer choices, apparently it’s OK for "which" to refer to a verb phrase. Not THAT big of a deal, I guess. We only have one exception so far -- and the other four answer choices have really, really severe problems. Fair enough, I guess.


Q: Can you also please go into why A is wrong?
(A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and)


A: Two issues here. "To user in (something) into the region..." Really redundant. Plus, I don’t think the parallelism makes a whole lot of sense in (A).

Q: What about the use of AS vs While? is While the preferred use here?

A: I don’t think it matters much here, to be honest.

Q: generally speaking, when "as" is used in context of "while", will "as" and "while" be presented in 2 different answer choices with no other change?

A: no, I can’t imagine a scenario in which you’d have to choose between "as" and "while", with nothing else as a deciding factor. Maybe I’m just not being creative enough, but I can’t imagine why one of those would be right while the other would be wrong.

Q: I have one interesting Q w.r.t. your expert’s post on SC, why did you lay stress on words that jump out first say that, and and then meaning?

A: Because you’ll drive yourself nuts if you start by focusing on meaning. You’ll start hallucinating meaning errors, and meanwhile, there’ll be a subject-verb error staring you right in the face. There’s certainly some grey area in terms of what qualifies as a DEFINITE error -- but the basic advice holds. If you’re not CERTAIN that an answer choice is grammatically wrong on your first pass through the question, be conservative and hang onto it. And then on your second pass, think more about meaning.

Q: what time would you suggest one should spend on a Verbal question before making a guess and move on?

A: no particular time. But once you realize that you’re not getting anywhere, you have to move on.

Q: We can’t get "THE SCORE" by neglecting RC. I request a whole session for RC please....

A: true! The trouble with RC is that the only real way to teach it is to go through passages together -- and that takes an eternity, and if that passage is too easy or too hard for any particular participant, then the discussion is useless.

Q: How much should one spend on a particular RC?

A: worrying about the exact time you spend on RC is completely missing the point. If you artificially pin yourself to a certain time, then you’ll just read badly -- and that’s the kiss of death on RC. This might help if you haven’t already read it: https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html

Q: I spent too much time on reading the paragraph in RC (~4-5 mins). It helps me increase accuracy but takes time from answering other questions. Do you have any advice? I will take GMAT in 2 months.

A: If that’s what it takes to read the passage correctly, then that’s what it takes. If you start rushing through the passage, then you’ll miss a bunch of easy questions -- and then you’re toast on an adaptive test. Don’t rush through the first 15 questions just so that you can answer #38-41. That’s a bad trade. Work on building efficiency, but if you think of it as "I’m going to speed up", that will do more harm than good. https://gmatclub.com/forum/experts-topi ... 41004.html

Q: That educators have not anticipated the impact of microcomputer technology can hardly be said that it is their fault: Alvin Toffler, one of the most prominent students of the future, did not even mention microcomputers in Future Shock, published in 1970.
(A) That educators have not anticipated the impact of microcomputer technology can hardly be said that it is their fault
(B) That educators have not anticipated the impact of microcomputer technology can hardly be said to be at fault
(C) It can hardly be said that it is the fault of educators who have not anticipated the impact of microcomputer technology
(D) It can hardly be said that educators are at fault for not anticipating the impact of microcomputer technology
(E) The fact that educators are at fault for not anticipating the impact of microcomputer technology can hardly be said


A: the issue with (E) is meaning: it sounds like it’s a FACT that educators are at fault.
(E) doesn’t sound too bad... but the meaning is very slightly messed up.
(A) is a mess for other reasons, but "that" is basically a type of pronoun. Almost like saying "the fact that", but without the overwhelming implication that something is true.
And we are out of time for today, sadly. We’ll be back next Wednesday at the same time and place. If you have questions, feel free to post ’em in advance here! https://gmatclub.com/forum/verbal-chat- ... 78-20.html
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jul 2017, 08:44
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GMATNinja wrote:
I love it when the GMAT changes its mind about stuff! No problem, we'll cover this tomorrow. See you then!


Thanks a lot GMATNinja for clarifying the doubt :). Sorry, I could on attend the chat session on time today as I had to attend a unscheduled call from office. However, I really liked the 2nd SC question discussed on the chat today. Great explanation!
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Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST [#permalink]

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GMATNinja wrote:

Gusty westerly winds will continue to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and bring fair and dry weather for several days.

A. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass into the region, as a broad area of high pressure will build and
B. ushering in a seasonably cool air mass into the region and a broad area of high pressure will build that
C. to usher in a seasonably cool air mass to the region, a broad area of high pressure building, and
D. ushering a seasonably cool air mass in the region, with a broad area of high pressure building and
E. to usher a seasonably cool air mass into the region while a broad area of high pressure builds, which will

I love it when the GMAT changes its mind about stuff! No problem, we'll cover this tomorrow. See you then!



Hello GMATNinja,

Apologies to dig up this question again. Can you please explain a bit more on the parallelism issue (in option A.)?
Re: Verbal Chat with a Tutor every Wednesday at 7:30 AM PST/8 PM IST   [#permalink] 20 Jul 2017, 03:50

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