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Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the

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Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 19 Aug 2013, 10:15
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Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the enormous sculpture The Gates of Hell and saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape like black holes in the universe.

(A) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape
(B) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths were gaping
(C) saw figures clawing at the gates, with eyes and mouths gaping
(D) seen figures who claw at the gates, their eyes and mouths gaping
(E) seen figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths have gaped

Originally posted by gmatter0913 on 19 Aug 2013, 07:57.
Last edited by gmatter0913 on 19 Aug 2013, 10:15, edited 2 times in total.
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New post 19 Aug 2013, 09:45
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Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the enormous sculpture The Gates of Hell and saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape like black holes in the universe.

(A) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape
(B) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths were gaping
(C) saw figures clawing at the gates, with eyes and mouths gaping
(D) seen figures who claw at the gates, their eyes and mouths gaping
(E) seen figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths have gaped

In E, whose is ambiguous, it can refer to both gates and figures as IMO whose can refer to both things and people.

In D, the pronoun WHO makes it clear that its "the figures clawing at the gates" who have their eyes and mouths gaping, their is a personal pronoun , it refers to a particular person/thing

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New post 20 Aug 2013, 00:04
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animanga008 wrote:
Can someone explain seen vs saw?


Hi animanga

"seen" is correct to make a sentence parallel. Let see the non-underlined part

Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the enormous sculpture The Gates of Hell and seen figures clawing at the gates............

"and" is parallel marker ==> have examined || and (have) seen. (present perfect tense)

If you use "saw", you mean simple past tense --> The sentence is not parallel.

Hope it's clear.
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New post 19 Aug 2013, 19:52
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gmatter0913 wrote:
Yes, I understand that "whose" can refer to things and people.

But, on the GMAT, we many times (especially in cases of pronoun as it is not an absolute rule) check if the antecedent makes sense or not. There are many official examples where it is said as "as A an antecedent doesn't make sense, it is B that the pronoun is referring to...)

So, I thought as "gates" cannot have eyes and mouths, it has to modify "figures".


HI gmatter

Technically, modifier should provide a CLOSEST noun. So to tackle modifier problem, we should follow "touch" rule first. In this question, even though gates do not have eyes, the present of a middle man - gates - makes a sentence's meaning ambiguous.

As you said: we have to check the antecedent to make sure it makes sense. Yes, you're correct. But before that the sentence's grammar must be correct first.

Hope it's clear.

Similar question to practice:
visitors-to-the-park-have-often-looked-up-into-the-leafy-10435.html
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New post 10 Apr 2017, 15:23
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VyshakhR1995, that's correct: "who" can only be used to modify people, not things. But keep in mind that "whose" is just a possessive modifier that can refer to people or things. So both of these would be OK:

    The man whose hair is grey was happy before he started studying for the GMAT.
    The house whose paint is peeling can be purchased for just $80,000.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 21 Aug 2013, 03:46
I chose E wrongly for the below reasons:

1. "figures clawing at the gates" (verb-ing without comma) obviously modifies "figures".
2. "whose eyes and mouths have gaped" modifies "figures" because gates cannot have eyes and mouths.
3. Moreover, the only other possible option D has pronoun ambiguity. it is not clear if "their" is referring to "visitors" or "figures"...

Originally posted by gmatter0913 on 19 Aug 2013, 10:21.
Last edited by gmatter0913 on 21 Aug 2013, 03:46, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 19 Aug 2013, 11:22
mnm21234 wrote:
In E, whose is ambiguous, it can refer to both gates and figures as IMO whose can refer to both things and people.




In option E, whosecertainly refers to gates.
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New post 19 Aug 2013, 12:29
Yes, I understand that "whose" can refer to things and people.

But, on the GMAT, we many times (especially in cases of pronoun as it is not an absolute rule) check if the antecedent makes sense or not. There are many official examples where it is said as "as A an antecedent doesn't make sense, it is B that the pronoun is referring to...)

So, I thought as "gates" cannot have eyes and mouths, it has to modify "figures".
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New post 19 Aug 2013, 23:49
Can someone explain seen vs saw?
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New post 20 Aug 2013, 00:08
Ah, I see. Parallelism. Thanks for the feedback.
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New post 20 Aug 2013, 20:11
Isn't the usage of "their" in option D a spot of concern? I thought it is definitely not clear if "their" is referring to "visitors" or "figures".

Also, can somebody point me to some good articles on "they" and "them".

Because all I know about "they" and "them" is that they are gender-neutral and strictly plural pronouns. But, it looks like I need to understand them more carefully, especially their usage in long sentences.
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New post 22 Aug 2013, 08:28
Could somebody help me on the above query, please?
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New post 23 Aug 2013, 16:29
I chose E because I was under the impression that the relative pronoun "who" can only modify people. While reading the sentence, I wasn't sure if "the figures" were people or sculptures. Is this poor reasoning? Can we assume that these "figures" are people because they're being described as "clawing", an action word?
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New post 12 Jun 2015, 11:56
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Isnt their in option D ambiguos.??
It shouldn't be the right answer choice.
Am i correct??
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New post 12 Jun 2015, 20:30
Shree9975 wrote:
chetan2u
souvik101990
Isnt their in option D ambiguos.??
It shouldn't be the right answer choice.
Am i correct??


hi Shree9975,
Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the enormous sculpture The Gates of Hell and saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape like black holes in the universe.

(A) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape
(B) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths were gaping
(C) saw figures clawing at the gates, with eyes and mouths gaping
(D) seen figures who claw at the gates, their eyes and mouths gaping
(E) seen figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths have gaped

i'll give you two reasons why it is correct..
1) all other choices are clearly worse and this choice stands out as the correct answer. remember, we are told that we have to choose best available answer..
2) now specific to your question. why "their" is correctly refering back to figures...
here we have two nouns : one is subject-Visitors to the Rodin Museum. and second is object- figures...
"their" can be taken correctly referring to figures because their is a posssesive pronoun(therefore should refer to object in this case) and the construction of the sentence too points to this..
Ofcourse when we have only one noun, a subject, then 'their' would refer back to the subject if the meaning conveys so..
example:-
1) Visitors to the Rodin Museum have taken their luggage with them. correct
2) Visitors to the Rodin Museum were mesmerized by their ability to establish such a huge museum.Here , there is only one noun but clearly their does not refer to that noun.
hope it helps
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New post 12 Jun 2015, 21:46
thanks a lott chetan2u.
Got the point!!!
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New post 12 Jun 2015, 23:41
Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the enormous sculpture The Gates of Hell and saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape like black holes in the universe.

(A) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths gape - verb tense error
(B) saw figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths were gaping verb tense error
(C) saw figures clawing at the gates, with eyes and mouths gaping verb tense error
(D) seen figures who claw at the gates, their eyes and mouths gaping - Correct
(E) seen figures clawing at the gates, whose eyes and mouths have gaped - verb tense error and antecedent of whose is ambiguous
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New post 13 Jun 2015, 03:16
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New post 10 Apr 2017, 11:55
Can who refer back to figures in gmat?? I agree no other options fit in...In actual exam Who wont be referring to things right??
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New post 19 Dec 2018, 19:04
Hello Sir,

Then how D can be correct choice because figures are not people here.

GMATNinja wrote:
VyshakhR1995, that's correct: "who" can only be used to modify people, not things. But keep in mind that "whose" is just a possessive modifier that can refer to people or things. So both of these would be OK:

    The man whose hair is grey was happy before he started studying for the GMAT.
    The house whose paint is peeling can be purchased for just $80,000.

I hope this helps!
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Re: Visitors to the Rodin Museum have often examined the   [#permalink] 19 Dec 2018, 19:04

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