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Question about idioms and verbs

This topic has 2 expert replies and 2 member replies

Question about idioms and verbs

Post
Good day
in Manhattan SC page 251 I Have the following sentence
The building was demolished TO AVOID falling down accidentally.

Explanation :The subject of the main verb was demolished is the noun building, which is also 'the impliedsubject of the infinitive to avoid. However, a building cannot avoid something intentionally.
The sentence above is nonsensical
.

but in the idiom section page 153
RIGHT: the book was short enough to read in a night
What makes the first sentence wrong and the second correct??
thanks!!

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GMAT/MBA Expert

Post
Amadalia wrote:
Good day
in Manhattan SC page 251 I Have the following sentence
The building was demolished TO AVOID falling down accidentally.

Explanation :The subject of the main verb was demolished is the noun building, which is also 'the impliedsubject of the infinitive to avoid. However, a building cannot avoid something intentionally.
The sentence above is nonsensical
.

but in the idiom section page 153
RIGHT: the book was short enough to read in a night
What makes the first sentence wrong and the second correct??
thanks!!
An infinitive modifier can serve to indicate PURPOSE:
water TO DRINK = water FOR DRINKING.
a song TO SING = a song FOR SINGING.
a book TO READ = a book FOR READING.

Thus:
a book short enough TO READ = a book short enough FOR READING.
This meaning makes sense.

The same logic cannot be applied to the first sentence:
a building FOR AVOIDING makes no sense.

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GMATGuruNY@gmail.com

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For more information, please email me at GMATGuruNY@gmail.com.
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Thanks a million Guru, it makes sense now!!!!

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GMATGuruNY wrote:
Amadalia wrote:
Good day
in Manhattan SC page 251 I Have the following sentence
The building was demolished TO AVOID falling down accidentally.

Explanation :The subject of the main verb was demolished is the noun building, which is also 'the impliedsubject of the infinitive to avoid. However, a building cannot avoid something intentionally.
The sentence above is nonsensical
.

but in the idiom section page 153
RIGHT: the book was short enough to read in a night
What makes the first sentence wrong and the second correct??
thanks!!
An infinitive modifier can serve to indicate PURPOSE:
water TO DRINK = water FOR DRINKING.
a song TO SING = a song FOR SINGING.
a book TO READ = a book FOR READING.

Thus:
a book short enough TO READ = a book short enough FOR READING.
This meaning makes sense.

The same logic cannot be applied to the first sentence:
a building FOR AVOIDING makes no sense.
@GMATGuruNY

Not sure why the first is wrong but the second is accurate

Wrong : The building was demolished TO AVOID falling down accidentally.
Right : The contractors DEMOLISHED the building TO KEEP it from falling down accidentally

Mentioned that in the first case
-- TO AVOID : cannot modify building [This explanation makes sense to me]

-- In second case then, TO KEEP -- cannot modify contractors ...yet this statement is accurate ?

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GMAT/MBA Expert

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jabhatta wrote:
@GMATGuruNY

Not sure why the first is wrong but the second is accurate

Wrong : The building was demolished TO AVOID falling down accidentally.
Right : The contractors DEMOLISHED the building TO KEEP it from falling down accidentally

Mentioned that in the first case
-- TO AVOID : cannot modify building [This explanation makes sense to me]

-- In second case then, TO KEEP -- cannot modify contractors ...yet this statement is accurate ?
Correct: The contractors demolished the building to keep it from falling.
Here, to keep is not an adjective modifying contractors but an ADVERB modifying demolished, expressing WHY the contractors DEMOLISHED the building.
Question: WHY did the contractors demolish the building?
Answer: TO KEEP it from falling.

Incorrect: The building was demolished to avoid falling.
Here, the usage of to avoid makes no sense, since neither the building nor whoever demolished the building intends TO AVOID falling.

Generally, an infinitive modifying a passive verb such as was demolished should serve to express the intent of whoever is responsible for the action of the passive verb.
An OA from GMAC:
A recently discovered chalice was buried to keep it from being stolen.
Here, to keep it from being stolen expresses the intent of whoever buried the chalice.
Question: Why was the chalice buried?
Answer: Because whoever buried the chalice intended TO KEEP IT FROM BEING STOLEN.

The following sentence is viable:
The building was demolished to keep it from falling.
Here, to keep it from falling logically expresses the intent of whoever demolished the building.

_________________
Mitch Hunt
Private Tutor for the GMAT and GRE
GMATGuruNY@gmail.com

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 GMATGuruNY@gmail.com.
Student Review #1
Student Review #2
Student Review #3

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