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# While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4548

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Re: While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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31 Jan 2017, 17:05
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TheRzS wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry

Here

D: paleontologists have found huge fossil bones from what appears to be

Are we using singular appears because it refers to singular the second most massive dinosaur?

or

what appears to be is idiomatically always singular because appears refers to what, which is unknown and always takes singular form?

Best
RzS

Dear TheRzS,

I see that you already received a good response from my intelligent colleague sayantanc2k. I'll just add a few thoughts.

The subject of "appears" is the relative pronoun "what." The relative pronouns "who" and "what," as well as the indefinite "whoever," pose potential SVA questions, because all of these words can represent a target noun that is either singular or plural.

For example,
Whoever has/have broken the window will have to pay for it.
In that sentence, we could have either the singular or plural verb--the sentence provides absolutely no information about which is correct. Of course, the GMAT would never put us in such a position.

A somewhat more GMAT-like scenario,
Whoever has/have used the company computer account to hack into the federal server will face stiff legal penalties when discovered as well as deportation if they are not already citizens.
You see, that sentence is a bit over-the-top on this, but it makes us wait until the end until we can figure out whether indefinite pronoun at the beginning is singular or plural. Technically, though, the sentence does provide all information we need to determine the verb tense.

The moral is that when you see one of these pronouns {who, what, whoever} as a subject, you need to locate the noun to which it refers in order to determine whether it is singular or plural.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
Magoosh Test Prep

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats (1865 – 1939)

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While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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10 Jun 2017, 22:02
A. huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appears to have been
B. huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appear to be from
C. it appears that paleontologists have found huge fossil bones that are from
D. paleontologists have found huge fossil bones from what appears to be
E. paleontologists have found huge fossil bones, which are from what appear to be
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Re: While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2017, 08:33
Merged topics. Please, search before posting questions!
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Re: While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2017, 08:54
While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appears to have been the second most massive dinosaur that ever lived.

The quick options that we have to choose whether the subject followed by Egyptian Desert is huge fossil or paleontologists. Options A and B are in a Passive voice which must be treated as a red flag as GMAT sentences will be parallel in voices ( Mostly Active). Options A and B can be eliminated for the usage of the restrictive clause "which" modifies the noun paleontologists.

Option C is eliminated due to the ambiguity in meaning, as it infers paleontologists found huge fossils from second most dinosaur lived with certainty.

Between option D and Option E. Option E uses an awkward construction "which are from" that is not necessary

A. huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appears to have been
B. huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appear to be from
C. it appears that paleontologists have found huge fossil bones that are from
D. paleontologists have found huge fossil bones from what appears to be
E. paleontologists have found huge fossil bones, which are from what appear to be
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Re: While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2017, 09:33
Why do we need 'appears' here? Appears is singular while the word huge fossil bones is plural. Don't we need the word 'appear' here?

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While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2017, 23:38
pra1785 wrote:
Why do we need 'appears' here? Appears is singular while the word huge fossil bones is plural. Don't we need the word 'appear' here?

Hi pra1785

Please note that "appears" here refers to "the second most massive dinosaur that ever lived.".

Here is a great explanation given. Kindly check and let us know in case of any concern.
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While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have   [#permalink] 20 Aug 2017, 23:38

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