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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain

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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Oct 2015, 10:03
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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Oct 2015, 10:25
tuanquang269 wrote:
What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.


Kudos added for the excellent question !! :banana

I will go for (D) , though I am with the :stupid2
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2015, 16:15
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tuanquang269 wrote:
What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

Dear tuanquang269,
I'm happy to respond. :-) This is another question that I wrote, and I believe it is reasonably hard. I'll analyze each choice separately.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.
The opening clause, "what the eye sees," is a substantive clause, that is, a noun clause. This is a noun with no role in the sentence. We have noun-thing, then noun-modifier set off by commas, then a whole new clause beginning with "then." This is grammatically incorrect.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.
This is an incredibly colloquial phrasing. This is how not-very-bright high school students might convey the information in the sentence. Furthermore, according to the original sentence, what is "meaningless" is a logical distinction, and this choice does not make this clear. This is incorrect.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.
"a distinction to make [something] different" = redundant; distinctions, by definition, are about differences! Furthermore, "different than" is an incorrect idiom. This is completely incorrect.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.
No obviously flaws. This is promising.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.
This is a mess. The "being different from . . . " phrase is very awkward. It is extremely unclear exactly what is called "meaningless" in this version, but it may be "what the eye sees." That would be a profound departure from the meaning or even the subject of the prompt. The fact that we can't even tell for sure how much the meaning has shifted is a particular poor sign for this choice. This is incorrect.

The only possible answer is (D).

Mike :-)
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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Oct 2015, 06:59
What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

What the eye sees has no role here.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes,to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.
here we are not making anything and this plays the spoilsport giving incorrect meaning.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.
we are not making what the eyes see..................spoilsport

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.
Simple and correct.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes,meaningless.
what the eye sees is meaningless is not the intended meaning.

I hurried after filtering the options to A and D and selected A.
Takeaway: Don't hurry looking at the timer. :)
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2016, 14:49
mikemcgarry wrote:
tuanquang269 wrote:
What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

Dear tuanquang269,
I'm happy to respond. :-) This is another question that I wrote, and I believe it is reasonably hard. I'll analyze each choice separately.

(A) What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless.

The opening clause, "what the eye sees," is a substantive clause, that is, a noun clause. This is a noun with no role in the sentence. We have noun-thing, then noun-modifier set off by commas, then a whole new clause beginning with "then." This is grammatically incorrect.

(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.
This is an incredibly colloquial phrasing. This is how not-very-bright high school students might convey the information in the sentence. Furthermore, according to the original sentence, what is "meaningless" is a logical distinction, and this choice does not make this clear. This is incorrect.

(C) For practical purposes, it is a meaningless distinction to make what the eyes sees different than what the brain visually perceives.
"a distinction to make [something] different" = redundant; distinctions, by definition, are about differences! Furthermore, "different than" is an incorrect idiom. This is completely incorrect.

(D) The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless.
No obviously flaws. This is promising.

(E) What the eye sees, being different from what the brain visually perceives is, for practice purposes, meaningless.
This is a mess. The "being different from . . . " phrase is very awkward. It is extremely unclear exactly what is called "meaningless" in this version, but it may be "what the eye sees." That would be a profound departure from the meaning or even the subject of the prompt. The fact that we can't even tell for sure how much the meaning has shifted is a particular poor sign for this choice. This is incorrect.

The only possible answer is (D).

Mike :-)



Can you elaborate a little on B? "Colloquial" is kind of vague for non native speakers like me.
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2016, 10:34
miushock wrote:


Can you elaborate a little on B? "Colloquial" is kind of vague for non native speakers like me.


The intended meaning of the sentence is as follows:

The eye sees something and the brain visually perceives something different - this difference is meaningless for practical purposes.

The option B conveys a different meaning altogether:

The eye sees something and then someone makes that "something" different from what the brain perceives. It seems that making this change is voluntary and done deliberately so that the brain visually perceives something different. Thus the intended meaning of the sentence is distorted.
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2016, 11:12
miushock wrote:
tuanquang269 wrote:
(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.
This is an incredibly colloquial phrasing. This is how not-very-bright high school students might convey the information in the sentence. Furthermore, according to the original sentence, what is "meaningless" is a logical distinction, and this choice does not make this clear. This is incorrect.

Can you elaborate a little on B? "Colloquial" is kind of vague for non native speakers like me.

Dear miushock,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

I can understand how this would be difficult for a non-native speaker to appreciate. The first order of business when learning English is to learn how people speak it---to be able to communicate, for example, with ordinary Americans. In that process, one learns a certain amount of colloquial English. Once one has mastered the basics of English and is able to communicate clearly as you do, then there is the more difficult problem of discerning well-spoken English from colloquial English. The GMAT is incredibly sophisticated and well-spoken in its standards, so that something glaringly colloquial would be out of place.

How does one master this distinction? By developing a daily habit of sophisticated reading. Read the most academic, formal, sophisticated writings you can find. See this blog article:
How to Improve your GMAT Verbal Score
There is no shortcut to make this leap. You have to do the hard work of fighting through the sophisticated reading every day. By doing so, you will develop an "ear" for formal writing, and anything more purely colloquial will more readily seem out of place.

The construction I used in (B) is a very informal colloquial construction:
"to take" [something abstract] "and make it" X
For example, a teenager might say
"He takes his problems and makes them mine!"
This would not sound out of place among young or uneducated people, but this is most certainly not how the same information would be communicated in more formal language. A somewhat more formal way to say this would be:
"He seems to think that it is my responsibility to address his problems."
That would be a somewhat fancier way to say the same thing, certainly not colloquial sounding. Even more sophisticated:
"He labors under the misapprehension that I bear some responsibility in addressing the difficulties of his own creation."
This last one would sound extremely out of place in a high school environment, because teenagers are never this formal and sophisticated with one another.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2016, 11:15
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sayantanc2k wrote:
The intended meaning of the sentence is as follows:

The eye sees something and the brain visually perceives something different - this difference is meaningless for practical purposes.

The option B conveys a different meaning altogether:

The eye sees something and then someone makes that "something" different from what the brain perceives. It seems that making this change is voluntary and done deliberately so that the brain visually perceives something different. Thus the intended meaning of the sentence is distorted.

Dear sayantanc2k,
Actually, my friend, I would say that the meaning is: the action of the eye and the action of the brain (specifically, the visual cortex) are indistinguishable. It's not that we have one experience in our eye and another in our brain: it's all one seamless experience, which is precisely why the distinction is meaningless.
Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Mar 2016, 12:43
mikemcgarry wrote:
miushock wrote:
tuanquang269 wrote:
(B) It is meaningless, for practical purposes, to take what the eye sees and make it different from what the brain visually perceives.
This is an incredibly colloquial phrasing. This is how not-very-bright high school students might convey the information in the sentence. Furthermore, according to the original sentence, what is "meaningless" is a logical distinction, and this choice does not make this clear. This is incorrect.

Can you elaborate a little on B? "Colloquial" is kind of vague for non native speakers like me.

Dear miushock,
I'm happy to respond. :-)

I can understand how this would be difficult for a non-native speaker to appreciate. The first order of business when learning English is to learn how people speak it---to be able to communicate, for example, with ordinary Americans. In that process, one learns a certain amount of colloquial English. Once one has mastered the basics of English and is able to communicate clearly as you do, then there is the more difficult problem of discerning well-spoken English from colloquial English. The GMAT is incredibly sophisticated and well-spoken in its standards, so that something glaringly colloquial would be out of place.

How does one master this distinction? By developing a daily habit of sophisticated reading. Read the most academic, formal, sophisticated writings you can find. See this blog article:
How to Improve your GMAT Verbal Score
There is no shortcut to make this leap. You have to do the hard work of fighting through the sophisticated reading every day. By doing so, you will develop an "ear" for formal writing, and anything more purely colloquial will more readily seem out of place.

The construction I used in (B) is a very informal colloquial construction:
"to take" [something abstract] "and make it" X
For example, a teenager might say
"He takes his problems and makes them mine!"
This would not sound out of place among young or uneducated people, but this is most certainly not how the same information would be communicated in more formal language. A somewhat more formal way to say this would be:
"He seems to think that it is my responsibility to address his problems."
That would be a somewhat fancier way to say the same thing, certainly not colloquial sounding. Even more sophisticated:
"He labors under the misapprehension that I bear some responsibility in addressing the difficulties of his own creation."
This last one would sound extremely out of place in a high school environment, because teenagers are never this formal and sophisticated with one another.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


That was well explained in almost exhaustive details, thank you for that.

However the development process you described of one's language nature does not apply to many non native speakers like me, and this was exactly the reason I asked this question. A non native speaker, especially with a language background substantially different from German-English or Latin family, would never develop 'ears' in the such stages. What you described was a process reflects a co-development of both language maturity and brain/logic maturity, but the cases of non native speakers, a matured and well trained brain was utilized to tackle the problem of communication barrier. For example, many people I know dedicated significant effort to boost up their vocabulary size by, you might have guessed, memorizing dictionary (a selected list of course, typically consist of 10-20k words). To these people, their perceptions of a teenager word are frequently not so different from feeling when they hear a more sophisticated and formal version of the same word. It is not uncommon for a non native GMAT/GRE test taker to have several years of experience with academic papers or technical materials but cant converse well enough to let a native speaker understand them face to face.

Again thank you for the detailed explanation, hope what I said would be somewhat useful to you when you run into any student with such background in your career.
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What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Mar 2016, 08:07
mikemcgarry wrote:
sayantanc2k wrote:
The intended meaning of the sentence is as follows:

The eye sees something and the brain visually perceives something different - this difference is meaningless for practical purposes.

The option B conveys a different meaning altogether:

The eye sees something and then someone makes that "something" different from what the brain perceives. It seems that making this change is voluntary and done deliberately so that the brain visually perceives something different. Thus the intended meaning of the sentence is distorted.

Dear sayantanc2k,
Actually, my friend, I would say that the meaning is: the action of the eye and the action of the brain (specifically, the visual cortex) are indistinguishable. It's not that we have one experience in our eye and another in our brain: it's all one seamless experience, which is precisely why the distinction is meaningless.
Does this make sense?
Mike :-)


Dear mikemcgarry,

Many thanks for taking the time to explain. Because of the phrase "for all practical purposes", I presumed that the two experiences (of the eye and of the brain) are actually slightly different, but for practical purposes, it is meaningless to make the distinction.

Moreover, Mike, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you personally - your blogs on Magoosh website and Gmatclub website contributed significantly to my V47 score, and I am happy that I can express my gratitude to you personally. :-D
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Nov 2016, 21:01
nehajain1234 wrote:
Hi Mike ,

In the example of the sentence you cited "What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain visually perceives, then this distinction is, for practice purposes, meaningless."

the correct option you have cited , "The distinction of what the eye sees from what the brain visually perceives is, for all practical purposes, meaningless." , does this not change the meaning of the sentence ?
The original sentence says that as a possibility , uses if , the correct answer choice makes it evident. I have doubt regarding this ?

Dear nehajain1234,

You originally posted this question inexplicably in this thread:
biographer-david-mccullough-presented-an-in-depth-study-of-harry-s-tr-186502.html#p1762142

This is the correct place for a discussion of this question.

I would say that to assert that a distinction is meaningless completely trumps the question of whether there is a distinction in the first place. If I ask, "Is A different from B?" and someone answers, "Even if A were different from B, no one on Earth would be able to tell the difference! Such a distinction would be meaningless!"--then that is a response that "un-asks" the question. It renders the question ineffective and without content. That is precisely what happens in this sentence: even though, there is a possibility, a question, posed, that very question is rendered null and void by the overall meaning of the sentence. Therefore, restating the sentence without that question doesn't change the meaning at all.

This is a subtle point. Does this make sense?

Mike :-)
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New post 14 Nov 2016, 08:45
Hi Mike ,

Apologies for the wrong posting initially , was unaware of this thread .
Anyways , thanks much for the great explanation , this is much more clear to me now :)

This sentence reinforces the importance of "logic and meaning " in SC . Just read your brilliant article on substantive clauses , and finally understood the meaning of these sentences . "It" refers back to the "Whatever .." phrase and it is unnecessary to fit in that extra "It" in the middle of the apparent Subject - Verb.

Am I correct here ? Please let me know if otherwise !
Again ,thanks a lot !
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 14 Nov 2016, 14:29
nehajain1234 wrote:
Hi Mike ,

Apologies for the wrong posting initially , was unaware of this thread .
Anyways , thanks much for the great explanation , this is much more clear to me now :)

This sentence reinforces the importance of "logic and meaning " in SC . Just read your brilliant article on substantive clauses , and finally understood the meaning of these sentences . "It" refers back to the "Whatever .." phrase and it is unnecessary to fit in that extra "It" in the middle of the apparent Subject - Verb.

Am I correct here ? Please let me know if otherwise !
Again ,thanks a lot !

Dear nehajain1234,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The "whatever" doesn't appear in any of the five choices here. You appear to be asking about the grammatical structure in a question different from the question in this thread. Quite frankly, i have no idea what question you mean. This time, I will challenge you to find the thread in which the question about which you are asking appears, and ask about it there.

Let me know, and I will be more than happy to answer your question.

Mike :-)
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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Jan 2018, 03:54
The only possible answer is choice (D)
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New post 12 Jan 2018, 05:42
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This one is a very beautiful question and I think the moderator should change the tag to 600-700 level question from sub-600 level.

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Re: What the eye sees, if it is at all different from what the brain  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2018, 18:24

Official Explanation


This sentence expresses a very complex idea. We will example the answer choices individual.

Choice (A) is grammatically incorrect. It begins with a substantive clause, "what the eye sees", which takes the role of a noun, but then this noun has no role in the sentence. We would expect a substantive clause at the beginning of a sentence to be the subject of some verb, but this noun-like structure has no verb. This is incorrect.

Choice (B) is far too colloquial and casual. The structure "take P and make it Q" is common in American colloquial English, but it is unacceptable in the formalism of the GMAT.

Choice (C) employs an empty "it" --- "it is a meaningless …" This structure could be used for emphasis, but there's no reason for that emphasis here. Furthermore, a "distinction" to make something "different" is redundant. This would never fly on the GMAT. This is incorrect.

Choice (D) is elegant and has no problems. It very effectively communicates this complicated idea.

Choice (E) is horrible --- "being different from" is a disastrous construction that never could be correct on the GMAT. Furthermore, what this version says, essentially is "what the eye sees is meaningless", which is most definitely not what the sentence is trying to say.

The only possible answer is choice (D).
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