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Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)


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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

(A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

(B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

(C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

(D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and

(E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who

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New post 17 Jun 2019, 21:52
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OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)



Highlights

• Modifiers that don't make sense

This question contains a really long introductory phrase:
Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963
Watch. :grin:
Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963
The only word we need in this phrase is wary, which is an adjective that means cautious.

Okay, a person is wary or some people are wary.
The next thing we should be reading about is a person or some people.

An introductory phrase that begins with an adjective must modify the subject of the subsequent clause.

(Introductory phrases can begin with lots of things: an adjective, a noun + noun modifiers, a past participle, a present participle, a preposition, and more.
In this post, here, I describe six kinds of introductory phrases and what each kind must modify.)

An epic drama is not wary.

Whenever we see "misplaced modifier" or "modifier error," the phrases just mean that we have a description of something (a "modifier"), but that something is unclear, the wrong something, or too far away from the description.

• when people are involved and they are not part of a collective noun such as committee, we use WHO, not which
Correct: The corporate executives, who believed in transparency, were unusual.
Wrong: The corporate executives, which believed in transparency, were unusual.

• verb tenses? I did not bother with the verb tense in E. I compared E to D.
E's inverted structure is convoluted, ambiguous, and unnecessary. D is better.
If you do not quite trust yourself to make a call based on structure, the verb tense in E is not as effective as that in D.
The verb and object of E are
were spurning epic dramas
Jargon: that verb tense is called present continuous or present progressive.

• stuck? compare. Forget the rules. We are stuck because we don't remember the rules or the rules don't help.
Search for the option with the better meaning.

THE PROMPT AND THE OPTIONS

Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

Quote:
(A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

• Wary . . . should modify studio executives. The modifier "wary of . . ." is misplaced or its noun is misplaced.
Epic dramas are not wary.
Epic dramas are the subject of this clause, and (see above), introductions that begin with adjectives modify the subject of the immediately following clause.

Quote:
(B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

• Same problem as that in A: epic dramas are the wrong subject to be described with the word "wary." Epic dramas are not wary.
• Human beings who are not in a collective noun group such as committee, commission, staff, jury, and others never take which as a relative pronoun (as the word that starts a clause that will tell us about the noun being described).
The modifier for people is WHO.

Quote:
(C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

• initially, I kept this option. If I cannot eliminate an option in 2 seconds I move on.
• I compared C to D
-- "but instead" is not automatically incorrect.
-- The phrase is similar to Not X but rather Y.
(In fact, as a poster noted, a similar idiom exists: Not X but instead Y. I have not seen the latter on the GMAT.)

It may seem as if we have two contrast words. Yes and no.
-- rather and instead are intensifiers that make but stand out or be more emphatic.
Correct: He thought she would choose red roses, but instead she chose pink freesia.
Correct: He thought she would choose red roses, but she chose pink freesia instead.

• Compare
D: [Wary of huge motion pictures], executives spurned epic dramas and instead sought out independent films.
C: [Wary of huge motion pictures], executives spurned epic dramas, but instead sought out independent films.
Well, spurned means that they did not choose epic dramas. "but instead" could work, as in the example above.

-- The logical problem, though, is that in the flower example, we have a choice that is contrary to expectation.
When we intensify but with instead, we are intensifying the contrary-to-expectation choice of pink freesia.
-- It is no surprise that as they spurned epic dramas, executives sought out indie films.
-- The events were nearly simultaneous. The second event does not seem contrary to expectation.
Executives spurned big budget films AND looked for low budget films.
(D) is more logical.
Quote:
(D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and

This one looks good.
Compare C and D after checking E

Quote:
(E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who

• what does this thing say? Does it mean
-- that studio executives were spurning epic dramas (in which case the right noun, studio executives, is described by wary)
-- or that spurning epic dramas were studio executives? (No. I can tell in a heartbeat that such a construction is absurd. But this absurd possibility just made E unattractive).
• even if we overlook the ambiguity because this construct is almost certainly inversion, we should . . .
• compare to D: no contest.

Answer D

COMMENTS

CJWORK , shridhar786 , and anchalnarula1995 , welcome. :)

Wow. Many of these explanations are impressive! I like the sidebars. And I like the fact that there is disagreement among you, though everyone chose the correct answer.
Why do I like this disagreement? I like it because language is not mathematics. Some things are just 100% wrong, such as subject/verb agreement. But most of the time we are dealing with gray areas.
The discussion on this topic thread both covers those gray areas and gives people a chance to see how reasonable minds can differ about sentence correction—it's not an exact science.

Nicely done. Kudos to all.
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 22:12
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From the modifer, we can eliminate A,B and E out. We need people to be the subject.

Choice C introduces "but" and "comma" implying independent clause. And "but" changes the meaning. So C is out

Hence D is the answer.
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 22:27
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generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)


For SC butler Questions Click Here


Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and instead sought low-budget independent films.

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who



A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who
since dramas can't be wary of films ....modifier is modifying studio executives

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which
same as A.... which is also wrong here which and that are not used to modify people

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but
the use of but is wrong here we are not trying to present a contrast

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and instead sought low-budget independent films.
modifier correctly modifying studio executives and correct parallelism (correct)

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who
same as A
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 22:30
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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

Figuring out the modified entity is the key here.

Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963--> Ask who?

Can epic dramas be wary? Doesn't make sense right. It must be studio executives. It was them who took the action of spurning epic dramas and instead sought low-budget independent films.

A word of caution --> But and instead will be redundant as both intend to play the same role.

Always account for the modifier and modified entity and do they make sense. It will help to deconstruct long sentences pretty quickly.

IMHO D
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New post 17 Jun 2019, 22:55
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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

The modifier "Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963" at the beginning of the sentence should modify studio executives, so A, B and E are eliminated.

Between C and D, I think the conjunction should be "and" - "spurn out epic dramas and low budget films" and so I go with D.
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My answer is D. I always use POE for CR questions. It took me 44 seconds to decide on this question.

(A) Upon reading "Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures", I can immediately see what is wrong with A. The subject of the sentence must be the agent that can be "Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures". Here, subject "epic dramas" is wrong. I can actually see that the correct subject should be "studio executives".
(B) has the same issue as (A). Also, "which" had better be replaced with "who".
(C) and (D) both have the right subject. Actually the difference between the 2 options are at the very end. One issue with C is the comma + but. Such construct is the typical Comma + FANBOYS (B stands for but): After comma, we need an IC (independent clause). Clearly, there is no subject after the comma in C. So, we should choose D.
Now, if we delete the comma in C, will C become equally acceptable (or even preferred) option? This is a hard call for me. My feeling is that: because there is already an "instead", the use of “and" is better than the use of "but". I really would like to hear others' opinions.

(E) I frankly ruled out this option simply because it starts with "spurning epic dramas". this option actually uses inversion so the subject is indeed "studio executives". Does that make E compatible with "Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures"? I am also interested to hear what others have to say.
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 00:58
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generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)


For SC butler Questions Click Here


Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

Sentence-Structure:
Subject - Verb
      Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963,
    studio executives spurned epic dramas and instead sought low-budget independent films.

Issues:
    Who is wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures?
      epic dramas OR studio executives
    The epic dramas CANNOT be wary of anything ----> studio executives.
    A, B and E - Modifier issue

Answer choice analysis:
    A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who
      - Modifier issue

    B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which
      - Modifier issue

    C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but
      comma(,) + F.A.N.B.O.Y.S. demands an independent clause.
      OUT!
    D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and
      The term "instead" is used to bring a contrast between the two actions.
      D is the champ!
    E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who
      - Modifier issue
      - Meaning issue:
      Epic dramas were studio executives !? - Does NOT make any sense.

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New post 18 Jun 2019, 04:20
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generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)


For SC butler Questions Click Here


Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who


A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, whoModifier error, studio executives were wary not epic dramas

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which Modifier error, studio executives were wary not epic dramas + "Executives, which" must be who

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but "But + instead" two contrasts, looks awakward

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and Correct

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who Modifier error, studio executives were wary not spurning epic dramas
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 10:18
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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

Error Analysis: There is modifier error in this sentence
Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963(-wary --? who ? )- So here it should be a person/living thing


A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who - wrong
as mentioned earlier modifier should refer a person here it should be studio executives

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which- wrong
same as above error

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but -wrong
Instead is already used in the sentence so use of but is not appropriate

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and - Correct
Corrects modifier error and also uses the correct conjuction

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who - wrong
contains same error from A
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New post 18 Jun 2019, 14:55
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generis wrote:

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)


For SC butler Questions Click Here


Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and

E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who




Let’s debunk a popular myth about comma and FANBOYS.

Myth: comma + FANBOYS construction always requires an independent sentence behind.
Fact: Not necessarily.

First, do we know the difference between sufficient and necessary? What part of my speech is necessary or sufficient when I say – If today is Valentine’s Day, then it is February?

Well, the sufficient part is – If today is Valentine’s Day. In other words, if we know that today is Valentine’s Day, then that’s sufficient to conclude that it is currently the month of February. On the other hand, knowing that today is February doesn’t necessarily mean it is Valentine’s Day. However, it is necessary that today be in the month of February in order for today to be Valentine’s Day. Therefore, the necessary part is – then it is February. Please, don’t confuse.

If we need to connect two complete sentences, then we can use comma + FANBOYS. So, what is sufficient or necessary here? Similarly, the need to connect two sentences is sufficient to require comma + FANBOYS. On the other hand, comma + FANBOYS construction doesn’t necessarily require an independent sentence to follow. In simple words, comma + FANBOYS doesn’t always need an independent sentence behind. An example from GMAT Prep:

The health care company became one of the largest health care providers, but then proved unable to handle the increase in business.

Egmat: The use of comma before "but" actually provides that much needed pause in the sentence to understand that the first part is talking about the positive aspect. So this comma actually enhances our reading in order to understand the meaning better.

James tried to sneak back into the house at 5 a.m. without waking his parents, but climbed through a window directly into the room where his father was already getting dressed. (Ron’s example)

Ron: the comma is sometimes employed when "but" is used to connect units smaller than clauses, if those units are so long that the sentence becomes difficult to read without the comma. Try taking out the comma; if you do, the sentence becomes an unreadable blob.

Another common misconception: but instead is a superfluous construction.
Fact: not X but Y, not X but instead Y, and not X but rather Y are all correct idioms (MGMAT SC guide). An example from GMAT Prep:

The human mind is not a "blank slate" but instead comprises specialized mental mechanisms.

Hence, it is unwarranted to consider C incorrect as a result of but instead construction and because we need an independent clause (did you notice how I used because and as a result in parallel? The latter is followed by subject and verb while the former is followed just by a noun. Is it correct parallelism? A kudo for a correct answer and explanation :-D ). What makes C incorrect is irrelevant contrast. When executives got rid of epic dramas and sought low-budget films they acted similarly in both cases – they avoided expensive motion pictures. So no contrast is needed.

Small conclusion: While reading a rule, we need to carefully figure out what the rule is about to say.
Bigger conclusion: Almost every rule has an exception. The meaning we want to convey is more important than rules because that is meaning what brings about those exceptions in rules.

generis thank you for such a wonderful question. Your efforts are much appreciated and comments are always welcome :angel:
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New post 19 Jun 2019, 12:26
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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

(A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who ----> who were wary? The studio executives were wary and not the epic dramas, therefore, "," should be followed by the subject i.e. studio executives.

(B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which ----> same as A

(C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but----> but and instead have the same meaning, therefore redundant

(D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and---->correct

(E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who---->makes no sense
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New post 19 Jun 2019, 16:41
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The official explanation has been posted HERE.


JonShukhra wrote:
thank you for such a wonderful question. Your efforts are much appreciated and comments are always welcome

You are very welcome.

zhanbo wrote:
Does that make E compatible with "Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures"? I am also interested to hear what others have to say.

I addressed the issue. I think we can safely say that the structure is inverted.
In that case, yes, an introduction that begins with an adjective must modify the subject of the subsequent clause.
But a quick comparison of E and D (and the ability to articulate why D is better, however briefly) should make eliminating E fairly easy. (I understand that you are thinking out loud.)
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New post 19 Jun 2019, 18:56
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generis wrote:
OFFICIAL EXPLANATION

Project SC Butler: Day 126: Sentence Correction (SC2)



Highlights

• Modifiers that don't make sense

This question contains a really long introductory phrase:
Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963
Watch. :grin:
Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963
The only word we need in this phrase is wary, which is an adjective that means cautious.

Okay, a person is wary or some people are wary.
The next thing we should be reading about is a person or some people.

An introductory phrase that begins with an adjective must modify the subject of the subsequent clause.

(Introductory phrases can begin with lots of things: an adjective, a noun + noun modifiers, a past participle, a present participle, a preposition, and more.
In this post, here, I describe six kinds of introductory phrases and what each kind must modify.)

An epic drama is not wary.

Whenever we see "misplaced modifier" or "modifier error," the phrases just mean that we have a description of something (a "modifier"), but that something is unclear, the wrong something, or too far away from the description.

• when people are involved and they are not part of a collective noun such as committee, we use WHO, not which
Correct: The corporate executives, who believed in transparency, were unusual.
Wrong: The corporate executives, which believed in transparency, were unusual.

• verb tenses? I did not bother with the verb tense in E. I compared E to D.
E's inverted structure is convoluted, ambiguous, and unnecessary. D is better.
If you do not quite trust yourself to make a call based on structure, the verb tense in E is not as effective as that in D.
The verb and object of E are
were spurning epic dramas
Jargon: that verb tense is called present continuous or present progressive.

• stuck? compare. Forget the rules. We are stuck because we don't remember the rules or the rules don't help.
Search for the option with the better meaning.

THE PROMPT AND THE OPTIONS

Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of Cleopatra in 1963, epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who instead sought low-budget independent films.

Quote:
(A) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, who

• Wary . . . should modify studio executives. The modifier "wary of . . ." is misplaced or its noun is misplaced.
Epic dramas are not wary.
Epic dramas are the subject of this clause, and (see above), introductions that begin with adjectives modify the subject of the immediately following clause.

Quote:
(B) epic dramas were spurned by studio executives, which

• Same problem as that in A: epic dramas are the wrong subject to be described with the word "wary." Epic dramas are not wary.
• Human beings who are not in a collective noun group such as committee, commission, staff, jury, and others never take which as a relative pronoun (as the word that starts a clause that will tell us about the noun being described).
The modifier for people is WHO.

Quote:
(C) studio executives spurned epic dramas, but

• initially, I kept this option. If I cannot eliminate an option in 2 seconds I move on.
• I compared C to D
-- "but instead" is not automatically incorrect.
-- The phrase is similar to Not X but rather Y.
(In fact, as a poster noted, a similar idiom exists: Not X but instead Y. I have not seen the latter on the GMAT.)

It may seem as if we have two contrast words. Yes and no.
-- rather and instead are intensifiers that make rather and instead, respectively, stand out.
Correct: He thought she would choose red roses, but instead she chose pink freesia.
Correct: He thought she would choose red roses, but she chose pink freesia instead.

• Compare
D: [Wary of huge motion pictures], executives spurned epic dramas and instead sought out independent films.
C: [Wary of huge motion pictures], executives spurned epic dramas, but instead sought out independent films.
Well, spurned means that they did not choose epic dramas. "but instead" could work, as in the example above.

-- The logical problem, though, is that in the flower example, we have a choice that is contrary to expectation.
When we intensify but with instead, we are intensifying the contrary-to-expectation choice of pink freesia.
-- It is no surprise that as they spurned epic dramas, executives sought out indie films.
-- The events were nearly simultaneous. The second event does not seem contrary to expectation.
Executives spurned big budget films AND looked for low budget films.
(D) is more logical.
Quote:
(D) studio executives spurned epic dramas and

This one looks good.
Compare C and D after checking E

Quote:
(E) spurning epic dramas were studio executives, who

• what does this thing say? Does it mean
-- that studio executives were spurning epic dramas (in which case the right noun, studio executives, is described by wary)
-- or that spurning epic dramas were studio executives? (No. I can tell in a heartbeat that such a construction is absurd. But this absurd possibility just made E unattractive).
• even if we overlook the ambiguity because this construct is almost certainly inversion, we should . . .
• compare to D: no contest.

Answer D

COMMENTS

CJWORK , shridhar786 , and anchalnarula1995 , welcome. :)

Wow. Many of these explanations are impressive! I like the sidebars. And I like the fact that there is disagreement among you, though everyone chose the correct answer.
Why do I like this disagreement? I like it because language is not mathematics. Some things are just 100% wrong, such as subject/verb agreement. But most of the time we are dealing with gray areas.
The discussion on this topic thread both covers those gray areas and gives people a chance to see how reasonable minds can differ about sentence correction—it's not an exact science.

Nicely done. Kudos to all.


generis thanks for explanation :)
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Re: Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of   [#permalink] 19 Jun 2019, 18:56
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Wary of outrageously expensive motion pictures after the failure of

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