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# William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for

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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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eybrj2 wrote:
William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for embezzlement, was seeking anonymity when he chose the pseudonym O. Henry.

(A)...
(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose
(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose
(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of
(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose

Quote:
1. What's the difference between "seeking anonymity" and seeking for anonymity" in terms of meaning?

seeking anonymity - you want to be anonymous
seeking for anonymity - seeking for anonymity as if anonymity is a lost entity e.g. seeking for pen
Quote:
2. Is the reason that C isn't the OA the part " therefore chose"? or "seeking for anonymity" also sounds awkward ?

"seeking for anonymity" is incorrect as explained above

(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose was seeking what ??
(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose seeking for anonymity - INCORRECT
(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of - how can anonymity can be sought in something ??
(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose - in that - INCORRECT
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William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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GMATNinja VeritasKarishma daagh Could you please explain why A is better than E?

A: Uses past continuous
E: Past tense. I don't see any distortion in meaning as compared to A.

I believe we usually prefer non-continuous verbs over continuous verbs unless continuous verbs are necessary. I believe A is correct due to verb parallelism in which we want "seeking (when)" to be parallel to "(began) writing". (2 Past Continuous Verbs).
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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For option A : Doesn't ' When ' sound awkward for being placed just after ' Anonymity ' ?
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William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
Hi Experts,

And one more question, how is the usage of past continuous justified here?

Thank you.
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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IDIOMS, MEANING

(A) was seeking anonymity when he chose --------- CORRECT

(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose ----------- 1. "seeking + that + clause" is wrong. The correct format would be "seeking + noun" OR "seeking + infinitive". 2. Modal verb "might" makes the meaning weird (he was seeking to BE something. So he was seeking a result, not a possibility). 3. Wordy.

(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose ------------ "seeking for" is an incorrect idiom. "seeking" implies "for" already.

(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of --------- 1. "sought + in + -ing" is an incorrect idiom. 2. Changes the tense of the main verb and, therefore, the meaning.

(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose -------- 1. "in that" has a different meaning than "when". 2. Changes the tense of the main verb and, therefore, the meaning.

Hit on the Kudos if this has helpful in any way.
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William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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Here's the official explanation provided by the GMAC for this question:

The sentence—which is in order in its present form—suggests that, because he had been imprisoned, William Henry Porter was seeking anonymity when he chose the pseudonym O. Henry. The verb seek has several different meanings; here, it means try to gain, a transitive meaning that requires a direct object.

Option A: Correct. The past-continuous form was seeking indicates a process; the simple-past form chose indicates an action taken at a particular point in time in that process. The noun anonymity is the direct object of was seeking.

Option B: This answer choice is wordy and unnecessarily awkward. The noun clause that he … chose is unidiomatic as a direct object of was seeking.

Option C: The preposition for is unidiomatic in this usage of seek; here, was seeking should have a direct object (that is, should not be immediately followed by a preposition).

Option D: This answer choice conveys an idea different from the one most likely intended. As written, it means something like tried to remain anonymous while choosing. The phrasing in the choosing of is unnecessarily awkward and wordy.

Option E: The verb form sought suggests a single action rather than a process. The meaning of this version is probably not the intended meaning; it is best read as meaning aimed to be anonymous insofar as he chose.

Please note that I'm not the author of this explanation. I'm just posting it here since I believe it can help the community.
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
vikram4689 wrote:
eybrj2 wrote:
William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for embezzlement, was seeking anonymity when he chose the pseudonym O. Henry.

(A)...
(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose
(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose
(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of
(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose

Quote:
1. What's the difference between "seeking anonymity" and seeking for anonymity" in terms of meaning?

seeking anonymity - you want to be anonymous
seeking for anonymity - seeking for anonymity as if anonymity is a lost entity e.g. seeking for pen
Quote:
2. Is the reason that C isn't the OA the part " therefore chose"? or "seeking for anonymity" also sounds awkward ?

"seeking for anonymity" is incorrect as explained above

(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose was seeking what ??
(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose seeking for anonymity - INCORRECT
(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of - how can anonymity can be sought in something ??
(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose - in that - INCORRECT

in that is actually correct in many other instances in GMAT. Can you explain why is that wrong here?
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
(A) was seeking anonymity when he chose -- Between A and B, A is far far better and concise.
(B) was seeking that he might be anonymous when he chose -- Wordy. I kept it for end review. "seeking X" is the idiom.
(C) was seeking for anonymity and therefore chose -- "seeking for" is unidiomatic. "seeking something" is better.
(D) sought anonymity in the choosing of -- Incorrect. The action isn't ongoing. We need simple past "chose". In that moment when he chose, we need "seeking"
(E) sought to be anonymous in that he chose -- same as D.
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William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
Hi experts, even though I chose A, I couldn't quite comprehend the meaning of (E),
"(E) William Sydney Porter sought to be anonymous in that he chose the pseudonym O. Henry."

I can understand that usage of "sought" changes the meaning but what does "in that he chose" exactly mean, I haven't read much on this type of phrase elsewhere.
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
KeyurJoshi wrote:
Hi experts, even though I chose A, I couldn't quite comprehend the meaning of (E),
"(E) William Sydney Porter sought to be anonymous in that he chose the pseudonym O. Henry."

I can understand that usage of "sought" changes the meaning but what does "in that he chose" exactly mean, I haven't read much on this type of phrase elsewhere.

KeyurJoshi, I am no expert but "in that" is generally used to provide reasons/explanations ( a quick google search would help you here). So it doesn't make sense to say that he sought to be anonymous because he chose xyz....

Hope this helps!
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
Hello Experts,
Hope you are well!

Can you please explain why option E is wrong? Thanks!
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Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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Anaghack wrote:
Hello Experts,

Hope you are well!

Can you please explain why option E is wrong? Thanks!

First, an important reminder: GMAT SC is NOT about finding 4 incorrect sentences and one correct sentence. Instead, it's about finding the best sentence out of the five available options. So the key question is, "Why is (A) better than (E)?" and not, "Why is (E) wrong?".

Choice (E) isn't terrible and doesn't have any clear and obvious errors. But this post explains why the verb tense is better in (A): https://gmatclub.com/forum/william-sydn ... l#p2468328. That gives us one solid vote in favor of (A) over (E).

Is "in that" wrong in (E)? Probably not. But at the very least, it's difficult to explain what exactly "in that" means in this context. On the other hand, the meaning of "when" is perfectly clear and obvious in choice (A). That gives us another small vote against (E).

Again, (E) isn't necessarily WRONG, exactly, but it doesn't seem to have any advantages over (A). That makes (A) the better choice.

I hope that helps!
Re: William Sydney Porter, who began writing while he was in prison for [#permalink]
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