• 1 Hour Free
BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Trial & Practice Exam
BEAT THE GMAT EXCLUSIVE

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 5 Day FREE Trial
Study Smarter, Not Harder

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Award-winning private GMAT tutoring
Register now and save up to \$200

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Veritas GMAT Class
Experience Lesson 1 Live Free

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• 5-Day Free Trial
5-day free, full-access trial TTP Quant

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Magoosh
Study with Magoosh GMAT prep

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Free Practice Test & Review
How would you score if you took the GMAT

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

• Get 300+ Practice Questions

Available with Beat the GMAT members only code

## astronomers had/have discovered 17 nearby stars

tagged by: late4thing

This topic has 3 expert replies and 5 member replies
late4thing Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
15 Oct 2015
Posted:
11 messages

#### astronomers had/have discovered 17 nearby stars

Fri Oct 30, 2015 7:44 am
By 1999, astronomers had discovered 17 nearby stars that are orbited by planets

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.

Need free GMAT or MBA advice from an expert? Register for Beat The GMAT now and post your question in these forums!
solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
28 Sep 2016
Posted:
19 messages
Followed by:
1 members
Target GMAT Score:
770
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

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
13602 messages
Followed by:
1796 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
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
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.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
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.

Thanked by: solitaryreaper
Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.
solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
28 Sep 2016
Posted:
19 messages
Followed by:
1 members
Target GMAT Score:
770
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

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
13602 messages
Followed by:
1796 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
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
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.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
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.

Thanked by: solitaryreaper
Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.
solitaryreaper Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
28 Sep 2016
Posted:
19 messages
Followed by:
1 members
Target GMAT Score:
770
Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:41 am
Thanks for the confirmation Mitch - that really helps!

### GMAT/MBA Expert

GMATGuruNY GMAT Instructor
Joined
25 May 2010
Posted:
13602 messages
Followed by:
1796 members
13060
GMAT Score:
790
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.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
GMAT Private Tutor
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.

Free GMAT Practice Test How can you improve your test score if you don't know your baseline score? Take a free online practice exam. Get started on achieving your dream score today! Sign up now.
nk18967 Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts
Joined
26 May 2016
Posted:
10 messages
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.

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!

### Top Member

Marty Murray Legendary Member
Joined
03 Feb 2014
Posted:
2050 messages
Followed by:
129 members
955
GMAT Score:
800
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?
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.

_________________
Marty Murray
GMAT Coach
m.w.murray@hotmail.com
http://infinitemindprep.com/
In Person in the New York Area and Online Worldwide

Thanked by: Crystal W

### Best Conversation Starters

1 lheiannie07 120 topics
2 LUANDATO 62 topics
3 swerve 62 topics
4 ardz24 61 topics
5 AAPL 57 topics
See More Top Beat The GMAT Members...

### Most Active Experts

1 Scott@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

174 posts
2 Brent@GMATPrepNow

GMAT Prep Now Teacher

173 posts
3 Rich.C@EMPOWERgma...

EMPOWERgmat

131 posts
4 Jeff@TargetTestPrep

Target Test Prep

130 posts
5 EconomistGMATTutor

The Economist GMAT Tutor

130 posts
See More Top Beat The GMAT Experts