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Hurricanes at first begin traveling from east to west

tagged by: RBBmba@2014

This topic has 4 expert replies and 9 member replies

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Hurricanes at first begin traveling from east to west

Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:46 am

00:00

A

B

C

D

E

Global Stats

Difficult

Hurricanes at first begin traveling from east to west, because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow, but they then veer off toward higher latitudes, in many cases changing direction toward the east before dissipating over the colder, more northerly waters or over land.

(A) Hurricanes at first begin traveling from east to west, because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow, but
(B) At first, hurricanes travel from east to west, because that is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics, but
(C) While hurricanes travel from east to west at first, the direction of the prevailing winds blowing in the tropics, and
(D) Because hurricanes at first travel from east to west, since it is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics,
(E) Hurricanes, beginning by traveling from east to west, because this is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics,

OA: B

P.S: I got this one, but would like to clarify how THAT has been used here in the OA ? Is such usage common in GMAT ? Any other Official instances that employ such usage of THAT ?

@ Verbal Experts - can you please share your thoughts ?

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Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:50 pm
Hi.

I am not sure about the answer to your specific question, but here is a more general answer.

As you noticed, which answer is the OA is crystal clear.

Even though you are wondering about the use of that, you can tell that the wrong answer choices are clearly wrong and you knew for sure which answer is the best.

While I can see why you might be curious about this detail and while I am sure that your diligence and attention to detail will serve you well in your GMAT preparation, the truth of the matter is that the clarity of differentiation between right and wrong answer choices seen in this question is typical of official questions, and so knowing picky little stuff like whether some subtly unique use of that is acceptable is basically worthless in terms of its value in increasing a GMAT verbal score.

So if you want to know just to know, fine, but if you are asking this in order to maximize your GMAT score, then you may as well let it slide, because finding the answer will have pretty much zero effect on your expected score. Much more valuable is spending time learning to notice key details of and flaws in sentence construction and developing flawless, tight, effective processes for eliminating wrong answers and choosing the right ones.

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RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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Wed Jan 20, 2016 4:08 am
Hi Marty - yes, you're right in saying that I just wanted to know the usage (re application) of THAT in this particular OA. (It's just for the sake of knowing Sir...)

I can understand that B stands out as the OA CLEARLY because other answer choices have definite & distinct errors!

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Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:19 am
I am not sure what trip I was on when I wrote that answer, as looking at this question again I see that actually that usage of that would not normally be considered correct on the GMAT.

In the OA, there is no antecedent for that. from east to west is not a noun and separating the possible noun east to west from from does not make sense.

So the OA is not as "crystal clear" as I had at first thought it to be.

I almost prefer choice A to the OA.

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RBBmba@2014 Legendary Member
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Thu Jan 21, 2016 5:42 am
Marty - I don't think I understand you in your last reply.

IMO, option A has two issues.

1. at first begin -- is unnecessary,redundant.

2. because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow -- this portion seems to be less CONCISE compared to the phrase in OA:because that is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics.

Also, I guess, usage of THAT is similar in BOTH option A and B -- in fact this is EXACTLY what I wanted to know - what type of usage of THAT is present in this OG SC ?

I'd be curious to know what other Experts have to say on this...!!

@ Mitch/Dave/Rich - could you please share your thoughts on this aspect. Much thanks in advance!

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Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:49 am
RBBmba@2014 wrote:
Marty - I don't think I understand you in your last reply.

IMO, option A has two issues.
Actually the usage of that in A is different from the usage of that in B.

In B, that is a pronoun with no clear antecedent.

In A, that is a demonstrative adjective modifying direction. So A does not have the pronoun with no antecedent issue.

So my point is that as awkward as A is, at least it does not have the pronoun issue.

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ceilidh.erickson GMAT Instructor
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Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:12 am
The pronoun "that" can have several functions in English:

- DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN (i.e. pointing out a particular thing). This is mostly used in conversation, when the speaker can point to the object in question, or when the speaker is clearly indicating an idea just stated.

That cat hissed at me. (Implies that I'm pointing to / indicating a particular cat).
I don't agree with that idea. (The speaker is responding to an idea that someone else just stated, and it's clear which idea we're talking about).

It's pretty rare to see this usage of THAT on SC, since we only have one sentence - not a lot of room for context.

In the example you gave, though, this is exactly how THAT is behaving: "that direction" is referring back to the direction just mentioned: east to west.

- RELATIVE PRONOUN - The vast majority of the time when you see a "that" in SC, it will be a RELATIVE PRONOUN introducing a subordinate clause that it modifying the main (independent) clause. These clauses can modify nouns:
The giraffe that stuck its head in my window startled me.

Or they can function as objects:
I know that you threw the water balloon at me.

More on that here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/sentence-correction-t273628.html#708709

Does that clarify things?

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Fri Jan 22, 2016 5:03 am
ceilidh.erickson wrote:
The pronoun "that" can have several functions in English:

- DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN (i.e. pointing out a particular thing). This is mostly used in conversation, when the speaker can point to the object in question, or when the speaker is clearly indicating an idea just stated.

That cat hissed at me. (Implies that I'm pointing to / indicating a particular cat).
I don't agree with that idea. (The speaker is responding to an idea that someone else just stated, and it's clear which idea we're talking about).

It's pretty rare to see this usage of THAT on SC, since we only have one sentence - not a lot of room for context.

In the example you gave, though, this is exactly how THAT is behaving: "that direction" is referring back to the direction just mentioned: east to west.

- RELATIVE PRONOUN - The vast majority of the time when you see a "that" in SC, it will be a RELATIVE PRONOUN introducing a subordinate clause that it modifying the main (independent) clause. These clauses can modify nouns:
The giraffe that stuck its head in my window startled me.

Or they can function as objects:
I know that you threw the water balloon at me.

More on that here: http://www.beatthegmat.com/sentence-correction-t273628.html#708709

Does that clarify things?
HI Ceilidh,
Thanks for your reply.

No issue with the common usage (re as a RELATIVE PRONOUN) of THAT. However, I'm BIT confused with the usage of THAT - you mentioned for the SC at hand.

I understand that you seem to convey that THAT is used as a DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN in this OG SC. Right ?

(1) But please specify which options between A & B you actually refer to for this particular usage of THAT ?

(2) As per MGMAT Foundation of Verbal book pg #31(Chapter 2),I think, in option A THAT functions as an ADJECTIVE modifying the NOUN direction -- most likely they meant DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVE.

Whereas,according to the MGMAT book, it seems that in option B, THAT functions as an DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN. Thoughts?

(3) When THAT is used as a DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN, then what is the ANTECEDENT of THAT ? Don't we need an EXPLICIT ANTECEDENT for DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS ?

P.S: Also per MGMAT book, my understanding is that THAT seems to function as a DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVE modifying the following NOUN cat and idea in your each respective above example. Correct me please if wrong!

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Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:32 am
First things first... you're getting to a more detailed grammar understanding than is actually required on the GMAT. I'm willing to bet that most people who score 99th percentile on GMAT verbal don't actually know or think about these kinds of granular distinctions.

To do well on SC, you don't have to be a grammar expert; you just have to be good at identifying clear meaning, and recognizing structural pieces of a sentence.

To answer your questions, though...

RBBmba@2014 wrote:
I understand that you seem to convey that THAT is used as a DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN in this OG SC. Right ?

(1) But please specify which options between A & B you actually refer to for this particular usage of THAT ?

(2) As per MGMAT Foundation of Verbal book pg #31(Chapter 2),I think, in option A THAT functions as an ADJECTIVE modifying the NOUN direction -- most likely they meant DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVE.

Whereas,according to the MGMAT book, it seems that in option B, THAT functions as an DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN. Thoughts?

(3) When THAT is used as a DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUN, then what is the ANTECEDENT of THAT ? Don't we need an EXPLICIT ANTECEDENT for DEMONSTRATIVE PRONOUNS ?

P.S: Also per MGMAT book, my understanding is that THAT seems to function as a DEMONSTRATIVE ADJECTIVE modifying the following NOUN cat and idea in your each respective above example. Correct me please if wrong!
You're exactly right. THAT is being used as an ADJECTIVE in A, and as a SUBJECT in B. They're both pronouns, though, just as "his" and "he" are both pronouns - one is the adjectival form, and one is the subject form.

In either case, when THAT is used as a demonstrative in this sentence, the ANTECEDENT is [THE DIRECTION] EAST TO WEST.

In most cases in spoken English, THAT will *not* have a direct antecedent. Consider:
[child throws a plate on the floor, breaking it]
Mother: Why did you do that?

THAT in this case stands for the entire action of breaking the plate. The child perfectly understands what "that" means in that context. (And look at how I used "that context" in the previous sentence, pointing to the entire idea just mentioned, but not to one particular "antecedent").

So, in conclusion:

1) you're right about that distinction between adjective and subject versions of THAT, but the distinction doesn't really matter. THAT has the same meaning in either case: pointing to something previously mentioned, something in front of the listener, etc.

2) A demonstrative THAT doesn't always need a direct antecedent, so don't look for a single word for it to be referring to. It could refer to an entire idea previously mentioned.

3) Don't obsess over this issue. It's not one that the GMAT will test often at all, since it's way more often used in spoken context or a long passage (where an author has room to refer back to a previous idea) than in a single sentence.

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Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:46 am
Hi Ceilidh,
EXCELLENT clarifications.

To add: Although I did get this SC correct,just wanted to understand whether my reasons for eliminating an answer choice (re option A) are correct or not!

So, could you please quickly shed some light on the following --

IMO, option A has two issues.

1. at first begin -- is unnecessary,redundant.

2. because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow -- this portion seems to be less CONCISE compared to the phrase in OA:because that is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics.

Correct me please if wrong!

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Wed Feb 03, 2016 4:07 am
Pronoun ambiguity should be considered a LOW-PRIORITY ERROR.
Eliminate an answer choice with a potentially ambiguous pronoun ONLY IF AN ALTERNATE CHOICE AVOIDS THE AMBIGUITY AND IS FREE OF ERRORS.

RBBmba@2014 wrote:
1. at first begin -- is unnecessary,redundant.

2. because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow -- this portion seems to be less CONCISE compared to the phrase in OA:because that is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics.
A: Hurricanes at first begin...because that direction is the way
Here, at first and begin are redundant, as are direction and way.
Eliminate A.

C lacks an independent clause.
The entire answer choice constitutes one long introductory while-modifier.
Eliminate C.

D: Because hurricanes travel at first from east to west, since it is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics, they then veer off toward higher latitudes.
Here, the implication is that traveling at first from east to west CAUSES hurricanes then to veer off.
The intention of the original sentence is to express not causation but CONTRAST, as follows:
AT FIRST, hurricanes travel from east to west, BUT they then veer off.
Also, a reader might wonder whether the since-clause modifies the preceding action (hurricanes travel at first) or the following action (they then veer off).
Eliminate D.

In E, hurricanes (subject) lacks a verb.
Eliminate E.

Since A, C, D and E all contain clear, UNDEBATABLE errors, the usage of that in B should be considered correct.

The correct answer is B.

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Crystal W Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Sun Apr 10, 2016 9:06 am
GMATGuruNY wrote:
Pronoun ambiguity should be considered a LOW-PRIORITY ERROR.
Eliminate an answer choice with a potentially ambiguous pronoun ONLY IF AN ALTERNATE CHOICE AVOIDS THE AMBIGUITY AND IS FREE OF ERRORS.

RBBmba@2014 wrote:
1. at first begin -- is unnecessary,redundant.

2. because that direction is the way the prevailing winds in the tropics blow -- this portion seems to be less CONCISE compared to the phrase in OA:because that is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics.
A: Hurricanes at first begin...because that direction is the way
Here, at first and begin are redundant, as are direction and way.
Eliminate A.

C lacks an independent clause.
The entire answer choice constitutes one long introductory while-modifier.
Eliminate C.

D: Because hurricanes travel at first from east to west, since it is the direction of the prevailing winds in the tropics, they then veer off toward higher latitudes.
Here, the implication is that traveling at first from east to west CAUSES hurricanes then to veer off.
The intention of the original sentence is to express not causation but CONTRAST, as follows:
AT FIRST, hurricanes travel from east to west, BUT they then veer off.
Also, a reader might wonder whether the since-clause modifies the preceding action (hurricanes travel at first) or the following action (they then veer off).
Eliminate D.

In E, hurricanes (subject) lacks a verb.
Eliminate E.

Since A, C, D and E all contain clear, UNDEBATABLE errors, the usage of that in B should be considered correct.

The correct answer is B.
I have a quick question about the D. I know the meaning is little logical, but I want to know if the meaning is right, can I use because and since together as D? I do not think so.
Thanks in advance!

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Mon Apr 11, 2016 3:00 am
Crystal W wrote:
I have a quick question about the D. I know the meaning is little logical, but I want to know if the meaning is right, can I use because and since together as D? I do not think so.
Thanks in advance!
A because-clause cannot be followed by a since-clause -- a valid reason to eliminate D.

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Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:01 am
Hey Mitch,

Can we eliminate A) because of the use of "begin traveling"; i thought that because the sentence is describing a general knowledge so the simple present should prevail instead of the present continuous(which indicate an ongoing action)

I couldn't detect at first read the redundancy that you mentioned first/begin

Thanks.

regards,

Joe

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