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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they

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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear.


(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose

(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their

(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their

(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their

(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 39: Sentence Correction


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https://www.nytimes.com/1989/05/14/weekinreview/the-nation-can-the-us-bail-out-thrifts-without-sinking-real-estate.html

While the depressed property values have hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear. Bankers in the Southwest say that often when homeowners find that the size of their mortgage exceeds the value of their homes, they simply let the lenders foreclose, a phenomenon that has helped cause the failure of many savings institutions.

Originally posted by Darth_McDaddy on 07 Aug 2005, 06:14.
Last edited by Bunuel on 21 Sep 2018, 04:52, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: QOTD: While depressed property values can hurt  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2017, 11:11
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It's pronoun week here in the verbal forum! For those of you who missed it, we went through this question -- and three other pronoun-related SC questions -- in our live YouTube session this past Monday. The video is available here.

Quote:
(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose

This looks pretty good. On the surface, you could argue that "they" is ambiguous: it could refer back to "investors" or "depressed property values." But as we've discussed in another recent QOTD, "they" is the subject of the second clause in the sentence, and it can refer unambiguously to the subject of the first clause ("depressed property values"). So let's keep (A).

Quote:
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their

"They" is quietly perfectly OK here (see above), but "their" is a problem: does it refer back to "homeowners"? Or does "their" refer back to "they", which refers back to "depressed property values"? Murky stuff.

There's also no reason to use "in that their", when we could use the much clearer modifier "whose." And "can potentially" is redundant. So (A) is definitely better than (B).

Quote:
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their

The first "they" is in a funny position now, so it's less obvious that refers back to "depressed property values." But let's assume that it does refer to "depressed property values." Then "their" starts to become a problem, because it could easily refer back to "they", which refers back to "depressed property values". Again, this isn't necessarily the end of the world, but (A) is much, much clearer.

Quote:
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their

Oh good: a straight elimination. "It" has no referent. I'm happy. (D) is gone.

Quote:
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose

Same pronoun issue as (D), plus "can potentially" is redundant. So (E) is gone, too. (A) is the winner.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Dec 2019, 07:07
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And here's a video explanation. Enjoy!


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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2010, 10:44
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amitdesai16 wrote:
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity —in many cases representing a life's savings—can plunge or even disappear.

(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose

Can someone please answer this and explain me the rationale? Thank you

they/it antecedent is the plural "depressed property values," so eliminate DE.

"their equity" in C is probably intended to mean "homeowners' equity. But the problem is that "they" has already been used to refer to "values." Multiple uses of the same pronoun must have the same antecedent, or ambiguity is created. Eliminate C.

OK: Dogs are wonderful pets; for epileptics they are potentially lifesaving, because their senses can often detect the coming of a seizure before any signs are visible to humans. (Both pronouns refer to dogs; the double use actually emphasizes this correct meaning.)

Not OK: Dogs are wonderful pets; for epileptics they are potentially lifesaving, because their seizures can often occur with no signs visible to humans. (It is unclear whether "their" refers to dogs or epileptics; the double use of the pronoun actually emphasizes the wrong meaning: dogs' seizures.)

Similar ambiguity about "in that their" in B: values' equity or homeowners' equity? Also, that phrase is not great idiomatically.

A is correct. "Whose" clearly refers to the "homeowners" before the comma, due to placement and the fact that "who/whose" must refer to people, not things.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2005, 07:22
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'E' & 'D' are out, 'it' can't refer to plural 'depressed property values'.

'C' is out since there is no clear antecedent for 'their'.

in 'B', 'in that their' appears awkward & also same problem as in 'C' for 'their'.


'A' it should be. (also, 'whose' clearly refers to homeowners)
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2010, 12:11
Thank you for the quick response.

However, a clarification between A and B is the usage of word "can" vs "are" - any thoughts related to this or this doesn't matter really?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2010, 07:36
Would "they" confuse as some large investors as to depressed property values?

Can someone explain to that?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Apr 2010, 07:36
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amitdesai16 wrote:
Thank you for the quick response.

However, a clarification between A and B is the usage of word "can" vs "are" - any thoughts related to this or this doesn't matter really?

There is certainly a meaning difference between "can" and "are." Consider the difference between "Some birds can talk" (i.e. it is possible) and "some birds are talking" (i.e. right now). I think that difference is of minimal importance in this GMAT question because "potentially" in all choices conveys the "it is possible" meaning.

Ekin4112 wrote:
Would "they" confuse as some large investors as to depressed property values?

Can someone explain to that?

Pronouns don't follow a strict proximity rule (i.e. the antecedent isn't automatically the closest noun, or even the closest preceding noun).

While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners...

Here, "values" and "they" are used the same way: as subjects of the verbs "can hurt" and "are...devastating." Note that these verbs are parallel, both in tense (present) and meaning.

In contrast, "large investors" are the object of the verb, more similar to "(for) homeowners" than to "they." So, the GMAT would not consider this pronoun confusing.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2013, 03:22
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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear.

A. they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose
B. they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their
C. for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their
D. for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their
E. it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose


Again SV agreement is tested here, also pronouns. Also look out for redundancy in answer choices.

in A we need to make sure that the pronoun ''they'' is used correctly as we have tow plurals in the sentence before pronoun reference ''property values'' and ''large investors''

they cannot refer to large investors coz it cannot modify the noun just preceeding it. TOO CLOSE to be be an antecedent we say it.
While in C ''they'' can refer either to large investors or to property values because now it's seperated from large investors and not TOO CLOSE.

So C is OUT.
B has redundancy and also SV.. what does ''their'' reffering to?? OUT
D & E have SV agreement.. use of IT.


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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Feb 2014, 15:29
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You are correct that the OA is A. This question is a really good example of shifting pronoun antecedents. Pronoun ambiguity isn't a big issue with the GMAT anymore, but shifting a pronoun's antecedent is incorrect...

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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2014, 18:19
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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity —in many cases representing a life's savings—can plunge or even disappear.


(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose

They can refer to "depressed property values" or "investors". Why is A not wrong then?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Aug 2014, 19:06
plaverbach wrote:
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity —in many cases representing a life's savings—can plunge or even disappear.


(A) they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose

They can refer to "depressed property values" or "investors". Why is A not wrong then?




Also hurt and devastate seem to parallel and not hurt and devastating...i think E should be correct ...Experts please advice
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 20 Nov 2014, 22:58
SaudKhan wrote:
Also hurt and devastate seem to parallel and not hurt and devastating...i think E should be correct ...Experts please advice

It (a singular pronoun) cannot refer to depressed property values (a plural noun), the intended referent of it.

Hence, it is, what can be called as orphan pronoun. Such pronouns are always incorrect.

Please note the difference between an orphan pronoun (pronoun with no antecedents) and ambiguous pronoun (pronoun with multiple antecedents).

Orphan pronoun is always incorrect, while ambiguous pronoun is acceptable.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses pronoun usage, their application and examples in significant detail. If you can PM you email, I can send you the corresponding section.
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Originally posted by EducationAisle on 11 Aug 2014, 20:08.
Last edited by EducationAisle on 20 Nov 2014, 22:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Dec 2014, 11:07
While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear

Ans opt a)

Doubt: How can the verb tense be present continuos

Analysis:
"Are potentially devastating" is incorrect as the devastation to homeowners is not an ongoing action .The whole sentence talks about a future possiblity using the word can.
and this also maintains verb tense parallelism.

I feel the corrected part of the sentence should be " they can devastate homeowners"

Is my understanding right?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jan 2015, 17:27
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It's not present continuous--"devastating" in this case is an adjective. The depressed property values have the potential to be devastating for homeowners. One way to tell that we aren't dealing with a verb is the use of "for." You don't devastate for someone. Does that make sense?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Aug 2015, 19:22
KyleWiddison wrote:
You are correct that the OA is A. This question is a really good example of shifting pronoun antecedents. Pronoun ambiguity isn't a big issue with the GMAT anymore, but shifting a pronoun's antecedent is incorrect...

KW


Wait, for (A), why isn't the first underlined word, "they" ambiguous as to what it refers to? Couldn't it refer to depressed property values or some large investors? I'm reading it and technically, couldn't I interpret the sentence as meaning, "some large investors are potentially devastating for homeowners"? Colloquially, I would know what is intended, but GMAT-wise, isn't the grammar supposed to be very technical?

We see that "they" refers to "depressed property values" instead of the immediately preceding noun, "large investors"; whereas, "whose" refers to the immediate noun, "homeowners". So, it seems to not follow structurally. They all seem wrong to me, but I'm sure I'm missing something here...
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2015, 08:46
The GMAT has shifted over the years. There is a big push towards meaning based questions. Pronoun ambiguity has moved into this meaning space. Having technical ambiguity isn't necessarily incorrect from a GMAT standpoint as long as the meaning can be reasonably understood.

This problem does have technical ambiguity but the meaning is understandable. The area that is incorrect from a GMAT standpoint is the shifting of antecedents between pronouns. That is not tolerated on the GMAT.

Some ambiguity is tested on the GMAT. You can tell when it is tested because there is an option between a pronoun or restating the noun. In those cases you should choose the noun.

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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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Just because a pronoun is sitting pretty next to a noun, we shouldn’t conclude that the pronoun per se might also refer to the proximity noun. But, as matter of rule, the subject of the sentence has the first right of reference to the pronoun rather than the near noun. If the subject of the clause is unable to be referred by the pronoun, then we have to look forward to other choices.

Second thing about pronouns is that pronouns such as ‘they and their’ should refer to the same noun in a clause.

Viewed in that light:

In A, ‘they’ does refer to the values, the subject of the main clause. It cannot refer to the large investors because you don’t expect the large investors to potentially harm the home owners. In addition the possessive pronoun ‘‘whose’ correctly modifies the homeowners. A also avoids the redundancy of ‘can potentially’ found in some other choice.

Even before going into the logic of pronoun reference, we can dispense with B and E for using the redundant phrase ‘can potentially’. Nevertheless, for the sake of understanding, we can see that B is also incorrect, because while the pronoun ‘they’ refers to the values, 'their' refers to homeowners. This is unacceptable

C also has the same problem as B, since 'their' cannot logically refer to the values since values have no equity, only homeowners hold equity.

D: D flaunts a pronoun ‘it’ to refer to the plural values.

E: same problem as in D.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jun 2017, 10:46
Doesnt depressed property values represent a number here ? how can we consider in this case as plural?
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Jun 2017, 14:08
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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they are potentially devastating for homeowners, whose equity - in many cases representing a life's savings - can plunge or even disappear.

goforgmat wrote:
Doesnt depressed property values represent a number here ? how can we consider in this case as plural?


Consider the following example: "Stock prices are falling today.", where "prices" is a plural noun. What kind of prices? Stock prices.

Similarly, in this sentence, "values" is a plural noun. What kind of values? Property values. The author is referring to the individual values of several pieces of property, so a plural noun is needed. On the other hand, "the overall value of the property in Town X..." refers to the sum of the values of the individual pieces of property, and this meaning is slightly different than the meaning conveyed in this question.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they   [#permalink] 02 Jun 2017, 14:08

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