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OG13-Q70 The first trenches that were cut into a 500-acre

This topic has 2 expert replies and 0 member replies
prabsahi Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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OG13-Q70 The first trenches that were cut into a 500-acre

Post Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:00 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
  • Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
    The first trenches that were cut into a 500-acre site at
    Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence for
    centrally administered complex societies in northern
    regions of the Middle East that were arising
    simultaneously with but independently of the more
    celebrated city-states of southern Mesopotamia, in
    what is now southern Iraq.
    (A) that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell
    Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence
    for centrally administered complex societies in
    northern regions of the Middle East that were
    arising simultaneously with but
    (B) that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell
    Hamoukar, Syria, yields strong evidence that
    centrally administered complex societies in
    northern regions of the Middle East were arising
    simultaneously with but also
    (C) having been cut into a 500-acre site at Tell
    Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence
    that centrally administered complex societies in
    northern regions of the Middle East were arising
    simultaneously but
    (D) cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria,
    yields strong evidence of centrally administered
    complex societies in northern regions of the
    Middle East arising simultaneously but also
    (E) cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria,
    have yielded strong evidence that centrally
    administered complex societies in northern
    regions of the Middle East arose simultaneously
    with but

    My doubt:

    Option A

    I understand that ..that parallelism is unnecsessary as well as wrong here
    that---were cut..that were arising simuletaneously
    Also it is unnecessary to use --that were cut when we can simply use CUT.

    Apart from this please clarify isn't the placement of second that incorrect here.
    The second that is placed --centrally administered complex societies in
    northern regions of the Middle East [b]that were
    arising simultaneously with but[b]

    Isn't the second 'that' supposed to refer to the complex societies but is actually referring to Northern regions of middle east.

    Please help.

    Thanks

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    Post Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:52 pm
    Your confusion is a very common and understandable one!

    Modifying dependent clauses (often beginning with THAT or WHICH) are generally understood to modify the noun directly before them.

    Correct: The jacket, which I bought yesterday, is blue.
    Incorrect: The jacket is blue, which I bought yesterday.

    However, there is an exception to this rule (as there is with just about every rule in the English language, it seems!). A dependent clause is allowed to "hop" over a short essential modifier (usually a prepositional phrase) to get to the noun it's modifying.

    Consider:

    Flooding in the Moose River valley, which was once rare, has become a much more common occurrence in recent years.

    If we moved the WHICH clause to be next to FLOODING, the sentence would sound very awkward:

    Flooding, which was once rare, in the Moose River valley, has become a much more common occurrence in recent years.

    So, in the sentence you cited,
    centrally administered complex societies in northern regions of the Middle East that were arising simultaneously with but...
    it would have been acceptable to use THAT to modify SOCIETIES. It's a bit clunky, since we'd be "hopping" over two prepositional phrases to get to the noun, but it wouldn't technically be wrong. It's likely that a right answer on the GMAT would switch to something more concise / less clunky (although not always).

    There are two primary issues in this sentence are actually SUBJECT/VERB AGREEMENT and MEANING.

    Any sentence that separates the main subject and verb with a long modifier in the middle is likely testing SUBJECT/VERB agreement.
    The first trenches that were cut into a 500-acre site at Tell Hamoukar, Syria, have yielded strong evidence...

    The original sentence has agreement, but B and D use "yields." Eliminate these.

    In C, "having been cut" suggests a more complicated time relationship than is necessary. Never use a complicated verbal construction when a simple one will do!

    Between A and E, the primary difference is not "that were cut" vs "cut." It's the expression EVIDENCE FOR vs. EVIDENCE THAT. We use "evidence FOR" when giving evidence to someone, or ascribing ownership. "That letter will be used as evidence for the prosecution."

    "Evidence THAT" conveys reasoning indicating that something HAPPENED. "We found evidence that the prosecution withheld crucial information from the defense."

    Clearly in this sentence, we want to use evidence THAT these societies did something; we're not giving evidence TO the societies.

    Hope this helps!

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    Post Sat Sep 24, 2016 5:57 pm

    _________________


    Ceilidh Erickson
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    EdM in Mind, Brain, and Education
    Harvard Graduate School of Education


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