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astronomers had/have discovered 17 nearby stars

This topic has 3 expert replies and 5 member replies
late4thing Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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astronomers had/have discovered 17 nearby stars

Post Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:44 am
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets
about the size of Jupiter

A: had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planet
B: had discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that were
C: had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets
D: have discovered 17 nearby stars with planets orbiting them that are
E: have discovered that 17 nearby stars are orbited by planets

I understand why the present perfect is wrong but hoping an expert can explain the reasoning between the other three answer choices.

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solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:19 am
Quote:
C: Scientists had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars.
Since the usage of the past perfect (had discovered) seems to imply that the discovery of the 17 nearby stars was completed before the 17 nearby stars existed.
This sequence is illogical.
Eliminate C.
Hi Mitch,

Though I agree that -"that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets" piece is wrong(in its individuality).
But in my opinion usage of past perfect is necessary/correct in option C in order to imply the intended meaning.

It is necessary to point the timeline of the discovery of stars- an act that had finished before a point event i.e. year 1999 (expressed by By 1999,)

Please correct me if there're gaps in my understanding.

Regards
SR

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Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:33 am
solitaryreaper wrote:
Quote:
C: Scientists had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars.
Since the usage of the past perfect (had discovered) seems to imply that the discovery of the 17 nearby stars was completed before the 17 nearby stars existed.
This sequence is illogical.
Eliminate C.
Hi Mitch,

Though I agree that -"that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets" piece is wrong(in its individuality).
But in my opinion usage of past perfect is necessary/correct in option C in order to imply the intended meaning.

It is necessary to point the timeline of the discovery of stars- an act that had finished before a point event i.e. year 1999 (expressed by By 1999,)

Please correct me if there're gaps in my understanding.

Regards
SR
Your thinking is correct.
The usage of by 1999 requires the past perfect tense (had discovered).
The error in C is that the tense of the following verb -- were -- conveys an illogical sequence, as discussed in my post above.

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solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:19 am
Quote:
C: Scientists had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars.
Since the usage of the past perfect (had discovered) seems to imply that the discovery of the 17 nearby stars was completed before the 17 nearby stars existed.
This sequence is illogical.
Eliminate C.
Hi Mitch,

Though I agree that -"that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets" piece is wrong(in its individuality).
But in my opinion usage of past perfect is necessary/correct in option C in order to imply the intended meaning.

It is necessary to point the timeline of the discovery of stars- an act that had finished before a point event i.e. year 1999 (expressed by By 1999,)

Please correct me if there're gaps in my understanding.

Regards
SR

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Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:33 am
solitaryreaper wrote:
Quote:
C: Scientists had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars.
Since the usage of the past perfect (had discovered) seems to imply that the discovery of the 17 nearby stars was completed before the 17 nearby stars existed.
This sequence is illogical.
Eliminate C.
Hi Mitch,

Though I agree that -"that there were 17 nearby stars that were orbited by planets" piece is wrong(in its individuality).
But in my opinion usage of past perfect is necessary/correct in option C in order to imply the intended meaning.

It is necessary to point the timeline of the discovery of stars- an act that had finished before a point event i.e. year 1999 (expressed by By 1999,)

Please correct me if there're gaps in my understanding.

Regards
SR
Your thinking is correct.
The usage of by 1999 requires the past perfect tense (had discovered).
The error in C is that the tense of the following verb -- were -- conveys an illogical sequence, as discussed in my post above.

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GMATGuruNY@gmail.com
If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Thank" icon.
Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.
For more information, please email me at GMATGuruNY@gmail.com.

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solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
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Post Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:41 am
Thanks for the confirmation Mitch - that really helps!

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Post Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:34 am
nk18967 wrote:
Hi Mitch,

How do we know/ how can we tell what exactly the intended meaning is? Maybe the starts don't exist anymore?
If the original sentence conveys a meaning that make sense, this meaning should be considered the intended meaning.
Here, the meaning conveyed by A makes sense.
Since A implies that the 17 discovered stars still exist, this meaning should be considered the intended meaning.

Quote:
There could have been a tense issue in choice A?
Since A is the correct answer choice, there is no tense error in A.

Quote:
Is there any other reason to eliminate C?
Generally, the past perfect (had + VERBed) serves to express a past action completed before another past event.
C: Scientists had discovered that there were 17 nearby stars.
Since the usage of the past perfect (had discovered) seems to imply that the discovery of the 17 nearby stars was completed before the 17 nearby stars existed.
This sequence is illogical.
Eliminate C.

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GMATGuruNY@gmail.com
If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "Thank" icon.
Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.
For more information, please email me at GMATGuruNY@gmail.com.

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nk18967 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Posted:
10 messages
Post Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:33 am
GMATGuruNY wrote:
C: that there were 17 stars
Here, the usage of were seems to imply that the 17 nearby stars no longer exist.
Since the intended meaning is that the 17 nearby stars DO still exist, eliminate C.

The correct answer is A.
Hi Mitch,

How do we know/ how can we tell what exactly the intended meaning is? Maybe the starts don't exist anymore?
There could have been a tense issue in choice A?
Is there any other reason to eliminate C?

Thanks!

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Top Member

Post Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:24 pm
Crystal W wrote:
Can you tell me what does "about the size of Jupiter" modify? Stars or Planets?
Thanks in advance!
stars is modified by that are orbited by planets.

What kind of stars are they? They are stars that are orbited by planets.

about the size of Jupiter modifies planets.

What kind of planets are they? They are planets about the size of Jupiter.

In this case, really the only way to tell which modifier modifies which noun is to notice the placement of the modifiers. Each modifier is directly after what it modifies.

Also, if you consider the construction and meaning of the sentence, you can notice there is no logical reason to feel that it conveys that the stars are about the size of Jupiter. Right? So without having to get technical, you can tell that about the size of Jupiter does not modify stars.

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