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# A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s

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A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 19 Nov 2017, 16:14
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The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 10th Edition, 2003

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 157
Page: 676

A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world's five billion people can be traced back to a common root language.

(A) that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world's five billion people can be traced

(B) that the world's five billion people speak thousands of languages of which all can be traced

(C) the world's five billion people speak thousands of languages which are all traceable

(D) all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world's five billion people to be traceable

(E) the ability to trace all of the thousands of languages that are spoken by the world's five billion people

Originally posted by pjreddy_rec on 22 Aug 2005, 18:31.
Last edited by hazelnut on 19 Nov 2017, 16:14, edited 2 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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11 Dec 2012, 16:16
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GMATtaker777 wrote:
16. A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced back to a common root language.
(A) that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced
(B) that the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages of which all can be traced
(C) the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages which are all traceable
(D) all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people to be traceable
(E) the ability to trace all of the thousands of languages that are spoken by the world’s five billion people

I'm happy to help with this.

First of all, on the GMAT, verb like contend, argue, suggest, think, assert, conclude, etc. require a "that"-clause, and the word "that" must appear. In colloquial English, I can say "I thought he was coming" --- that would be fine in ordinary conversation, but it is not up to GMAT standards. GMAT grammar standards demand the word "that" in this context.

Here, that immediately eliminates (C) & (D) & (E). Now, we just choosing between (A) & (B).

Both (A) & (B) are grammatically correct, and it is more a question of emphasis. The substance of the linguists' claim is that the 1000s of languages have a common root language --- a mind-blowing idea. How many people are on earth speaking these 1000s of languages is more a detail for emphasis, and should not be front & center. Choice (A) makes the "thousands of languages ... can be traced" the main subject & verb of the "that"-clause, and this is the heart of the linguist claim. Choice B emphasizes the words "the world’s five billion people speak" by making that the main subject & verb of the "that"-clause ---- this makes brings something that should be a detail to front & center, and relegates what should be the main focuses to a secondary subordinate clause nested inside the "that"-clause. In choice B, the grammatical relations are at odds with the logical priorities. In a well designed sentence, grammar should support logic and the priority of the argument at all steps. Therefore, (B) has problems, but (A) is the best possible answer.

Arguably, choice A is not ideal --- arguably, one could find a more elegant way to express this information. Nevertheless, on GMAT SC, the job is not to find the best possible sentence, but only to find the best among the five available options. Here, (A) is the best of the five.

Does all this make sense?

Mike
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##### General Discussion
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2005, 09:17

All other options are either grammatically wrong or meaningless.

pjreddy_rec wrote:
A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced back to a common root language.
(A) that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced
(B) that the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages of which all can be traced
(C) the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages which are all traceable
(D) all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people to be traceable
(E) the ability to trace all of the thousands of languages that are spoken by the world’s five billion people
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2005, 09:17

All other options are either grammatically wrong or meaningless.

pjreddy_rec wrote:
A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced back to a common root language.
(A) that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced
(B) that the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages of which all can be traced
(C) the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages which are all traceable
(D) all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people to be traceable
(E) the ability to trace all of the thousands of languages that are spoken by the world’s five billion people
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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25 Aug 2005, 09:34
1
I like to go for B 'coz its in active voice. I dont find any mistake in the tense or other wise.

In case I'm wrong, please correct me.

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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2005, 02:38
crisna
ur reasoning is correct. active should be preferred over passive.
But here A seems better choice
Can any1 give the OA
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2009, 14:56
IMO, A.

(A) contend that is idiomatically correct - best option
(B) too wordy - eliminate
(C) need a comma before which - eliminate
(D) too wordy - to be traceable - eliminate
(E) change in the meaning of the sentence - eliminate
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2009, 15:29
I also agree with A

Not having "that" after contend is not idiomatic so choices C,D and E are out
in B "of which" construction is making the sentence wordy
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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01 Sep 2009, 15:39
would go with A, what comes after contends is a whole sentence...so we need that after contend...contend that + complete sentence....what are the linguists contending here? languages can be traced to a common root, not the people...so A
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2011, 10:50
Yes. You do require the introductory connector ‘that’ in all reported speeches, lest it should become a run-on or an informal spoken form. . The choice is therefore limited to A and B

Between A and B: In B ‘speak thousands of languages of which all’ is weird and meaningless; ‘All of which’ is the right expression

A is left with a forthright presentation
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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03 Dec 2011, 18:56
+1 A

I think that the protagonists in this sentence are the languages. So, we can allow passive voice in this sentence.

Passive voice is not always wrong.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2013, 22:06
The issue is not about the linguist’s contending their ability to trace back something to something. It is a general statement to say that these languages can be traced to a common root. By shifting the focus to the linguist’s ability, the meaning is altered.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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29 Jul 2014, 16:45
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The difference between A and B is meaning. B says that every person in the world speak thousands of languages. That is not correct.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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20 Sep 2015, 13:32
*That the world's five billion people speak thousands of languages, which can be traced back to a common root*......this would've been correct. *thousands of languages of which all can be traced* is both weird and illogical..

Correct me if I'm wrong
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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23 Sep 2017, 00:29
A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced back to a common root language.

(A) that all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people can be traced
(B) that the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages of which all can be traced
(C) the world’s five billion people speak thousands of languages which are all traceable
(D) all of the thousands of languages spoken by the world’s five billion people to be traceable
(E) the ability to trace all of the thousands of languages that are spoken by the world’s five billion people[/quote]

Subjunctive word "contend" should be followed by "that" - Hence C, D and E are Out

B - Indirection construction and usage of "of which" makes the sentence wordy

Hence - A
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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19 Nov 2017, 11:47
There is an 's' missing in option A.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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14 May 2018, 08:15
GMATNinja VeritasPrepKarishma

Is there any issue of preference of active voice (as in A) over passive voice in B?
I think there is also a pronoun ambiguity in B since which can not refer to plural nouns - languages
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s  [#permalink]

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16 May 2018, 16:50
GMATNinja VeritasPrepKarishma

Is there any issue of preference of active voice (as in A) over passive voice in B?
I think there is also a pronoun ambiguity in B since which can not refer to plural nouns - languages

adkikani - I am no expert but let me try to help you. Between A and B biggest reason to select A is meaning. "five billion people speak thousands of languages" . this part is impossible. five billion people can not speak 1000 languages. Grammatically I think both the choices are correct.
What pronoun ambiguity you are talking about. Can you please be more specific .

A is certainly a better choice cause of the correct meaning.
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Re: A number of linguists contend that all of the thousands of languages s &nbs [#permalink] 16 May 2018, 16:50
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