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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
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While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.
(A) their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they Senate on a whole is one body, so use singular pronoun
(B) its decrees generally were obeyed as if to be law, and through these it We are comparing decrees to law; we are not saying decress is law. Also wordy construction
(C) their decrees, generally obeyed as law, through it they pronoun error again as in A
(D) its(Senate) decrees generally were obeyed like law (Comparison between nouns decrees and law), and through them (decrees which is plural) it (Senate)
(E) their decrees were generally obeyed as was the law, and through it they pronoun error, wordy, ambiquity

Answer D
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
mikemcgarry wrote:
While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.
(A) their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they
(B) its decrees generally were obeyed as if to be law, and through these it
(C) their decrees, generally obeyed as law, through it they
(D) its decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them it
(E) their decrees were generally obeyed as was the law, and through it they


The original in this sentence is loaded with pronoun problems. Do you see them all? Here's a blog that discusses the major pronoun problems in GMAT SC questions:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/
You will find a full explanation of the question there.

Experts: anything you would like to add about pronouns and typical pronoun mistakes on the GMAT SC?

Mike :-)

Mike In this sentence should'nt have be replaced with has. : While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have/has the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
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282552 wrote:
Mike In this sentence should'nt have be replaced with has. : While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have/has the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.

Dear 282552,
This is a funny point of English grammar. When the verb "to have" is use with an auxiliary verb, it always appears in its infinitive form, which is identical to the plural.

Without auxiliary verb:
he has (singular form)
they have (plural form)

he doesn't have ("do" in singular form, "have" in infinitive form)
they don't have ("do" in plural form, "have" in infinitive form)

You can see more about auxiliary verbs here:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/auxiliary- ... -the-gmat/

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike :-)
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
please explain this ..Why D not A
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While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
Hi mikemcgarry

(B) its decrees generally were obeyed as if to be law, and through these it

(D) its decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them it


Does only the difference in second parts make options correct/incorrect (because we have to refer to the object with whom/them)?

As I understand that in B "as if [decrees were] to be law" is the subjunctive + ellipsis, and is legit itself?

Thanks.
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]

Official Explanation


Split #1: the Senate of the Roman Republic is a collective noun. Yes, it had many members, but like all collective nouns, it is singular. It would take a singular verb in the present tense, and it demands a singular pronoun --- "it" and "its". Choices (A) & (C) & (E) make the mistake of using the plural pronouns, "they" and their", so these are wrong. Choice (A) compounds the mistake with the phrase "through them they …", using the same pronoun with two different antecedents.

Split #2: The word "decrees" is plural and demands the plural pronoun. (C) & (E) make the additional mistake of referring to "decrees" with the singular pronouns.

Split #3: the comparison. We are comparing the subject to subject, noun to noun, so the word "like" is perfectly acceptable ---- "decrees …. like laws". This is what (A) & (D) have. If we use the word "as", we need a whole phrase --- the construction "as was the law" in (E) is acceptable but wordy. The "as" + [noun] construction of (C), "as law", is not favored by the GMAT. Choice (B) has the atrocious "as if to be law" --- wordy, tentative, hypothetical, and grammatically incorrect: take that out back and shoot it!

The only possible answer is (D).
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While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.

(A) their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they
(B) its decrees generally were obeyed as if to be law, and through these it
(C) their decrees, generally obeyed as law, through it they
(D) its decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them it
(E) their decrees were generally obeyed as was the law, and through it they




mikemcgarry AndrewN egmat CrackVerbal
In B does the part followed after comma and through "these" make B incorrect? Isn't it ambigious as these could refer to laws too? Please shed some light. Thanks
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
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Jainam24 wrote:
Quote:
While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact laws, their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they exercised considerable influence.

(A) their decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them they
(B) its decrees generally were obeyed as if to be law, and through these it
(C) their decrees, generally obeyed as law, through it they
(D) its decrees generally were obeyed like law, and through them it
(E) their decrees were generally obeyed as was the law, and through it they




mikemcgarry AndrewN egmat CrackVerbal
In B does the part followed after comma and through "these" make B incorrect? Isn't it ambigious as these could refer to laws too? Please shed some light. Thanks

Hello, Jainam24. I see no real issue with anything after the comma in (B): these should refer to a plural noun, and only decrees fits the bill. Be careful about morphing law into laws. You have to go by what you see on the screen, not by what you want to be there. The part of (B) that convinced me not to choose it is found right before the comma: as if to be law. The phrasing is nonsensical. Decrees could have been followed as if they were [the] law, or they could have been treated like [the] law in a noun-to-noun comparison, but as if to be simply does not work.

I hope this may help you with your studies.

- Andrew
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
AndrewN thanks for your prompt response. Indeed the part before the comma "as if to be" is incorrect.I was referring to laws("enact laws") that is right before the underlined part. So is that too far to form a connection? Many thanks
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
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Jainam24 wrote:
AndrewN thanks for your prompt response. Indeed the part before the comma "as if to be" is incorrect.I was referring to laws("enact laws") that is right before the underlined part. So is that too far to form a connection? Many thanks

I would not create a rule that a pronoun could not refer to something so far back, but logically, the sentence flows much smoother with a closer reference. Also, a pronoun is more closely bound to a noun from the main clause than it is to one in a dependent clause, so we have reason to believe that these/them refers to decrees from the main clause rather than laws from an introductory clause. Finally, pronoun ambiguity is not necessarily grounds for dismissal of an answer choice. There are some official questions in which the correct answer incorporates such ambiguity. You ultimately have to select the least objectionable of the five answer choices, and a doubt about ambiguity may not be as strong a mark against an option as some other issue.

- Andrew
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Re: While the Senate of the Roman Republic did not have the power to enact [#permalink]
Thank you very much AndrewN. This gave me clarity.
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