## On a glacier in the high Himalayas

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### On a glacier in the high Himalayas

by AbhiS » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:12 am

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On a glacier in the high Himalayas, a Japanese zoologist has found a species of midge that is unlike any other known insect in its spending its entire life cycle in the snow and ice of glacier.

a) that is unlike any other known insect in its spending
b) that is unlike any insect known as it spends
c) that, unlike any other known insect, spends
d) unlike any insect known as it spends
e) unlike any other insect that is known, spending

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by ilyana » Tue Dec 03, 2013 3:50 am

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Hello!

A--> sounds as if all insects spend their life cycles in snow and ice, but in different ways.
More elaborated explanation of A is here (see the second post):
https://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/on- ... 22841.html

B and D -->
1) "as" has many meanings, creating ambiguity.
In particular,
As = because
As = at the same time that
2) "other", which is important for the proper meaning, is omitted here

E --> comma + ING-modifier
"Spending" here is an adverbial modifier modifying the whole preceding clause (and applying to its subject, "a Japanese zoologist").
It renders the sentence nonsensical.
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by AbhiS » Tue Dec 03, 2013 9:01 am

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Hi Ilyana,

I reached to the correct ans by following these steps

1) Spending vs Spends split.
2) Any vs any other split.

However i was still confused with the structure of this sentence.

Also in your explanation when you said ''As'' creates ambiguity - I m not able to understand this clearly, i am still considering ''AS'' = because in this structure.

''AS" = at the same time that; didn't even cross my mind.

Thanks once again. You have been really wonderful helping students like me across.

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by ilyana » Tue Dec 03, 2013 11:52 am

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Hello, AbhiS!

A person can be 100% sure that something is incorrect when:

1) there's a general rule, such as Subject-Verb agreement

2) there's a bunch of problems on this issue from official sources and in every problem the structure you are testing is incorrect.
You are absolutely lucky if at least in one of the problems that structure is the only reason for elimination (but it's a rarity).

From this point of view, I can't be 100% sure that "as" is a reason for elimination here.
However, my claim was based on an excerpt from the "Usage Note" of The American Heritage Dictionary (https://www.thefreedictionary.com/As):

"As" should be preceded by a comma when it expresses a causal relation, as in "She won't be coming, as we didn't invite her". When as expresses a time relation, it is not preceded by a comma: "She was finishing the painting as I walked into the room". When beginning a sentence with a clause that starts with "as", one should take care that it is clear whether as is used to mean "because" or "at the same time that." The sentence "As they were leaving, I walked to the door" may mean either "I walked to the door because they were leaving" or "I walked to the door at the same time that they were leaving."

When I posted my first explanation in this thread I completely forgot about this rule regarding commas and remembered only "ambiguity"-part. Now that I found this excerpt and read it one more time I realize that "as" is actually wrong here because it is not preceded by a comma (if we choose to believe The American Heritage Dictionary, that is).
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by ilyana » Tue Dec 03, 2013 12:25 pm

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As to the structure of the correct answer,

let's get rid of all the excessive parts:

a zoologist has found X (=a species of midge) that spends its life cycle in the snow.

The main clause here is "a zoologist has found X", which is supplemented by a restrictive "that"-clause describing X.

The expression set off by commas "unlike any other known insect" is just a clarifying phrase. It is not essential to the meaning of the sentence (and that's why it is set off by commas). The only thing we should be wary of is its placement. Preferably, there shouldn't be any ambiguity as to what noun it refers.

I read somewhere that if we have expression starting with "like/unlike" and set off by commas, it should refer to the subject of the clause and be placed as close as possible to it.

Here "unlike" is placed right next to "that", which plays the role of subject in "that"-clause. As a result, "unlike" refers to "that", and "that" refers to "a species of midge" (or just "midge", which is the same to me). So, "unlike" refers "a species of midge" as well.
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by [email protected] » Wed Dec 04, 2013 12:07 am

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Hi AbhiS,

Most SCs are based on 2-4 grammar rules. The good news is that you usually don't need to know them all to get the correct answer, so it's a matter of using the rules that you're most comfortable with to eliminate answer choices (in groups, if possible) and find the one correct answer.

Here's how I approached this SC:

1) Verbs: "a species of midge" is singular, so I need a singular verb to go with it. "Spends" is correct. Eliminate A and E.

2) Pronouns: A pronoun has to match the noun AND not be ambiguous/vague. Since "a species" and "insect" are both singular, using a singular pronoun in this sentence (in this case, the word "it") is vague - we don't know if "it" refers to "a species" or "insect." Eliminate B and D.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Contact Rich at [email protected]

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by ilyana » Wed Dec 04, 2013 2:01 am

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[email protected] wrote:Hi AbhiS,

Most SCs are based on 2-4 grammar rules. The good news is that you usually don't need to know them all to get the correct answer, so it's a matter of using the rules that you're most comfortable with to eliminate answer choices (in groups, if possible) and find the one correct answer.

Here's how I approached this SC:

1) Verbs: "a species of midge" is singular, so I need a singular verb to go with it. "Spends" is correct. Eliminate A and E.

2) Pronouns: A pronoun has to match the noun AND not be ambiguous/vague. Since "a species" and "insect" are both singular, using a singular pronoun in this sentence (in this case, the word "it") is vague - we don't know if "it" refers to "a species" or "insect." Eliminate B and D.

GMAT assassins aren't born, they're made,
Rich
Hello, Rich!
Thank you for joining this discussion of the problem. I appreciate your contribution to it.
I think that truly effective solving techniques are born in discussions.

I have two questions or comments on the methods you used to reach the correct answer.
1) Verbs: "a species of midge" is singular, so I need a singular verb to go with it. "Spends" is correct. Eliminate A and E.
I'm not sure that this might be the reason for elimination. "Spending" in A is a gerund and in E is a Present Participle; in both cases it doesn't have number, so you couldn't eliminate on the basis of Subject-Verb agreement.

Besides, A and E do have a singular verb to match the singular "a species of midge": "is".
2) Pronouns: A pronoun has to match the noun AND not be ambiguous/vague. Since "a species" and "insect" are both singular, using a singular pronoun in this sentence (in this case, the word "it") is vague - we don't know if "it" refers to "a species" or "insect." Eliminate B and D.
It might be the reason for elimination.

However, "Pronouns" is a shifty subject on the GMAT. Check problem 105 in OG13:

Marconi conceived of the radio as a tool for private conversation that could substitute for the telephone; instead, it has become ...

This is the correct answer, and the pronoun "it" is not considered ambiguous.

So, it's better not to eliminate "ambiguous pronouns", unless they are actually parallel to the wrong noun to which they hypothetically can refer.

Here "it" is a subject. "A Japanese zoologist" is also a subject, but we need "he" to refer to this noun, so "it" isn't parallel to the wrong noun (to which it can refer).
Just to be on the safe side, don't eliminate.

By the way, in B we also have "that", which plays the role of a subject and refers to "a species of midge" (the correct antecedent for "it").
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### Re: On a glacier in the high Himalayas

by Fdambro294 » Wed Jun 07, 2023 10:39 am

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Even though it’s a decade old, great post!!

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