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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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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 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: QOTD: While depressed property values can hurt  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2017, 12:12
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It has to be A

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 potentiallydevastate homeowners in that their - According to MGMAT: Repeated pronouns are presumed to have the same antecedent. In this case, the antecedent for "their" is homeowners, while for "they" it is "property values". For that reason there is an ambuguity. Also, "can potentially" in this case have the same meaning and for that reason "potentially" is redundant
(C) for homeowners they are potentially devastating, because their - the same issues as in B
(D) for homeowners, it is potentially devastating in that their - should be "they"
(E) it can potentially devastate homeowners, whose - should be they, not it. Also potentially is redundant here.

Hope that helped
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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 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: QOTD: While depressed property values can hurt  [#permalink]

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New post 18 May 2018, 08:53
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Skywalker18 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.
(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their - Repeated pronouns are presumed to have the same antecedent. In this case, the antecedent for "their" is homeowners, while for "they" it is "property values". For that reason, there is an ambiguity.

Q-In a sentence, should all plural nouns refer to the same antecedent? Similarly, all singular nouns refer to the same antecedent?

Good question! Though I'm not sure that you'll like my answer much. :)

In most cases, you're right: it seems like a bad idea to use a repeated pronoun to refer to two different antecedents, especially if the repeated pronouns are very close to each other. And in this particular sentence, I think you're right that the pronouns are ambiguous -- and there's obviously a better version in another answer choice.

The trouble is, I think it's dangerous to consider this an absolute rule. Imagine, for example, a long, wordy sentence like this one:

    Wilbur ate four dozen burritos on Saturday, mostly because they were relatively small and filled with his favorite ingredient, roasted caterpillars; because they are high and protein and low in fat, caterpillars are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

(That might be the most ridiculous sentence I've written this week, though there are a couple of species of caterpillar that truly are tasty...)

Anyway, I'd argue that "they" is perfectly clear in both cases, even though "they" refers to two different antecedents. Technically, there might arguably be some ambiguity here, but it doesn't get in the way of the meaning or clarity of the sentence, and I don't think the GMAT would have a problem with the sentence (other than the content, maybe).

More broadly: pronoun ambiguity isn't an absolute rule, anyway. So you're right to be SUSPICIOUS of repeated pronouns, because they easily could cause ambiguity. But be a little bit careful not to turn it into a rigid rule, because it seems entirely possible that repeated pronouns could correctly refer to different antecedents, depending on the context. And I suspect that if we look hard enough, we'll find a few correct answers on official GMAT questions with "they" (or "it") referring to two different antecedents.

I hope this helps!
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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 Updated on: 20 Nov 2014, 22:58
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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.
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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 04 Nov 2015, 08:06
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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 28 May 2020, 03:15
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varotkorn wrote:
Dear GMATGuruNY,

I know that choice B. is wrong for multiple grounds.
However, I wonder whether "in that" is correctly used in choice B.?

(B) they can potentially devastate homeowners in that their


To express a STATE-OF-BEING, we typically use forms of to be:
John IS happy.
Mary WAS happy.
The children HAVE BEEN happy.

This type of verb is known as a linking verb.

Generally, in that serves to modify a preceding linking verb, specifying the way in which the preceding STATE-OF-BEING is true.
Teratomas ARE unusual in that they are composed of tissues such as tooth and bone.
Here, the modifier in green serves to specify the way in which teratomas ARE unusual.

B: they can potentially devastate homeowners in that
Here, in that seems to modify devastate, which is not a linking verb.
For this reason, I would be skeptical of B.
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While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2020, 03:57
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varotkorn wrote:
Dear GMATGuruNY,

In light of your reply below, can I view choice B. as B: they can BE potentially devastatING TO homeowners in that

Since BE devastatING is a state-of-being, "in that" in choice B. seems fine right?


No.
A verb that expresses a state-of-being cannot take a direct object.
A verb that takes a direct object expresses an ACTION that is performed upon the direct object.
B: they can potentially devastate homeowners in that
Here, the verb in red has a direct object -- homeowners -- and thus serves to express not a state-of-being but an ACTION.
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Re: While depressed property values can hurt some large investors, they  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2020, 07:01
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varotkorn wrote:
Dear GMATGuruNY,

It's very crystal clear now :)

One last quick question, though.

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

According to your explanation, "in that" in choice D. is correct, right?


In D, the verb is appropriate, but the modifiers in color convey conflicting meanings.
Whereas the blue modifier implies that the state-of-being is POSSIBLE, the red modifier expresses the way in which the state-of-being is TRUE.
Since the two modifiers convey contradictory meanings, this usage of in that does not seem viable.
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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 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] 11 Aug 2014, 19:06

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