Modifier problem

This topic has expert replies
Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 37
Joined: 10 Mar 2010
Thanked: 4 times
GMAT Score:700

Modifier problem

by nipunranjan » Wed Aug 21, 2013 12:21 pm
The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

(A) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(B) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and which differed
(C) which were determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(D) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differed
(E) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing

GMAT/MBA Expert

User avatar
GMAT Instructor
Posts: 768
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Location: Berkeley, CA
Thanked: 387 times
Followed by:140 members

by [email protected] » Thu Aug 22, 2013 9:33 am
nipunranjan wrote:The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

(A) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(B) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and which differed
(C) which were determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(D) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differed
(E) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
I'm happy to help with this. :-)

I would say that the primary issue here is not so much modifiers as parallelism. First of all, here's a blog about modifiers:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/modifiers- ... orrection/
Here's a blog on participial phrases (used in the OA):
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/participle ... -the-gmat/
Here's a blog on parallelism:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/parallelis ... orrection/

So, let's look at the parallelism in the answer choices:

(A) which was determined ... and differing --- full verb//participle = WRONG
(B) which was determined ... and which differed --- full verb//full verb - correct parallelism
(C) which were determined ... and differing --- full verb//participle = WRONG
(D) determined ... and differed --- participle//full verb = WRONG
(E) determined ... and differing --- participle//participle = correct parallelism

Only choice (B) & (E) have correct parallel structure. Choice (B) has a subject-verb agreement problem, and even if that were correct, the double-"which" construction is awkward. BTW, see this blog on S-V Agreement:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/subject-ve ... orrection/

This leaves (E) as the only answer that is totally free of grammatical mistakes. OA = (E)

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
Magoosh GMAT Instructor
https://gmat.magoosh.com/

Senior | Next Rank: 100 Posts
Posts: 96
Joined: 08 Apr 2013

by vietmoi999 » Fri Aug 23, 2013 7:18 am
C can be still considered paralel.

which are
determined
and
differing

but to get this paralelism, "which were" must run a long way to go to "differing" and this paralelism is not prefered, compared with the clear paralelism in choice E.

we should learn the new things from og and gmatprep questions, which is not explained fully

User avatar
Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
Posts: 358
Joined: 18 Apr 2013
Location: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Thanked: 42 times
Followed by:7 members
GMAT Score:730

by faraz_jeddah » Fri Aug 23, 2013 12:15 pm
nipunranjan wrote:The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

(A) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(B) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and which differed
(C) which were determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(D) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differed
(E) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
This is an usual question. What is the source?

Why is D Wrong? How are reached and differed not parallel?
A good question also deserves a Thanks.

Messenger Boy: The Thesselonian you're fighting... he's the biggest man i've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him.
Achilles: That's why no-one will remember your name.

User avatar
GMAT Instructor
Posts: 15532
Joined: 25 May 2010
Location: New York, NY
Thanked: 13060 times
Followed by:1897 members
GMAT Score:790

by GMATGuruNY » Fri Aug 23, 2013 2:37 pm
nipunranjan wrote:The growth of the railroads led to the abolition of local times, which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing from city to city, and to the establishment of regional times.

(A) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(B) which was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and which differed
(C) which were determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
(D) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differed
(E) determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian and differing
In A and B, which WAS (singular) seems to refer to abolition (the nearest preceding singular noun), implying that the ABOLITION was determined by when the sun reached the observer's meridian.
Not the intended meaning.
Eliminate A and B.

A conjunction such as and must connect PARALLEL FORMS.
In C, were determined (verb) and differing (adjective) are not parallel.
In D, determined (adjective) and differed (verb) are not parallel.
Please note that differed can serve only as a verb; it cannot serve as an adjective.
Eliminate C and D.

The correct answer is E.
faraz_jeddah wrote: Why is D Wrong? How are reached and differed not parallel?
If differed is parallel with reached, then both verbs must have the same subject: the SUN.
The result is the following:
The SUN DIFFERED from city to city.
Not the intended meaning.

I believe that this is an official SC from GMAT Prep.
Mitch Hunt
Private Tutor for the GMAT and GRE
[email protected]

If you find one of my posts helpful, please take a moment to click on the "UPVOTE" icon.

Available for tutoring in NYC and long-distance.
For more information, please email me at [email protected].
Student Review #1
Student Review #2
Student Review #3