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Emily Dickinson

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sk8ternite Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Emily Dickinson

Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 11:11 am
Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

A. Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering
B. Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ended shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber
C. Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and that ends shortly before Emily's death in 1886and outnumbering
D. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother, ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, and outnumbering
E. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber

OA is E


The only reason I stayed away from E was because of "which". I thought it had to refer to the preceding noun, in this case, Susan Huntington Dickinson. This question is from the official guide, can anyone provide an explanation?

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hazelnut01 Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:50 pm
sk8ternite wrote:
Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

A. Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumbering
B. Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ended shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber
C. Dickinson, written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and that ends shortly before Emily's death in 1886 and outnumbering
D. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother, ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, and outnumbering
E. Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ending shortly before Emily's death in 1886, outnumber

OA is E
Could verbal expert please help to explain why answer choice D is incorrect? What is the adjectival phrase set off by commas as explained in OG?

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Post Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:34 pm
Quote:
Could verbal expert please help to explain why answer choice D is incorrect?
D is not even a sentence: there is no verb in the main clause( independent clause ).

Quote:
What is the adjectival phrase set off by commas as explained in OG?
phrase lacks verb.
adjectivials modify nouns or noun equivalents.
that which is set off by commas is called non essential modifier, whose emission from the sentence has no major bearing on the meaning communicated by sentence.

Connect these three pieces of information and reach the conclusion by yourself.

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shibal Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:38 pm
two things:
beginning and ending must be parallel (u can find this in D & E)
the letters outnumber not outnumbering (it gives the idea that it's still happening), hence E is the only option....

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jba05d Junior | Next Rank: 30 Posts Default Avatar
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Post Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:40 pm
As long as the pronoun "which" clearly refers to an antecedent noun than it does not exactly matter what word is directly before the comma. In this case, "which" clearly refers to the noun letters. It does not refer to Susan Huntington because she is a person. Therefore, the pronoun would have to be "who." Moreover, "which" does not refer to Emily Dickinson's because pronouns cannot refer to possessive nouns.

To give some other examples if the sentence was "Emily Dickinson wrote letters to Susan Huntington, who," than the pronoun "who" would be ambiguous since if could refer to either Emily or Susan. If the sentence was "Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington, who" then the pronoun "who" would not be ambiguous since "who" clearly refers to Susan Huntington.

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vineetbatra Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 5:02 pm
I am facing exactly the same problem, I understand your point that which cannot be referred to a person, but GMAT can test this also i.e. when they try to refer a person using which in another question.

My thought was also that which always as a rule of law refers to the noun preceding it, no exceptions.

This is also in the MGMAT SC guide

Any thoughts on this.

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gmat740 MBA Student
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Post Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:23 pm
First of all, we must realise that Subject of the sentence is Emily Dickinson's letters

Please note the Possessive form."Which" clearly refers to Letters.

I solved this question using another approach(in case during exam if I get confused with the usage of which, I always look for other errors)

The entire underlined part(except outnumbering) is descriptive phrase, so we can cut that part to make the sentence simple.

Emily Dickinson's letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson outnumbering her letters to anyone else.

Now you tell me, outnumbering is correct here?? NO
So, left with B and E

B has Verb Tense problem.

Quote:
B. Dickinson were written over a period that begins a few years before Susan's marriage to Emily's brother and ended shortly before Emily's D€@th in 1886, outnumber
Instead of Begins => Began.

Left with E

Hope this Helps

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real2008 Legendary Member Default Avatar
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Post Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:40 am
can anybody say why A is wrong?

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sidceg Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
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Post Tue Apr 09, 2013 1:30 am
real2008 wrote:
can anybody say why A is wrong?
IMHO, the essential part of the sentence is 'Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson outnumber her letters to anyone else'. The non essential part is 'which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886'.

If you substitute Option E, the sentence will read: Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson, which were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumber her letters to anyone else.

Option A fails to put this clearly. When substituted in original sentence, it says 'Emily Dickinson’s letters to Susan Huntington Dickinson were written over a period beginning a few years before Susan’s marriage to Emily’s brother and ending shortly before Emily’s death in 1886, outnumbering her letters to anyone else.'

I hope I made my point.

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:29 am
ziyuenlau wrote:
Could verbal expert please help to explain why answer choice D is incorrect?
Check my two posts here:
http://www.beatthegmat.com/emily-dickinson-s-letters-t121769.html

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