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## The beautiful cello solo at the end of the symphony may have

This topic has 2 expert replies and 4 member replies
vinni.k Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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#### The beautiful cello solo at the end of the symphony may have

Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:52 am
The beautiful cello solo at the end of the symphony may have salvaged the performance, for most of the orchestra members performed poorly throughout the two hour concert.

A- for most of the orchestra members performed poorly throughout the two hour concert.
B- in that most of the orchestra members performed throughout the two hour concert in a poor manner.
C- when most of the orchestra members performed poorly throughout the two hour concert.
D- despite most of the orchestra members performing poorly throughout the two hour concert.
E- Even though most of the orchestra members made a poor performance throughout the two hour concert.

OA is A

I completely agree with the OA, as it is answering "why the beautiful solo may have salvaged"; however, i don't understand D.

If i change D to - despite the poor performance by most of the orchestra members throughout the two hour concert, the beautiful cello at the end of the symphony may have salvaged the performance

Is this sentence correct now ?
Can anyone please tell me how to eliminate D ?

Thanks

Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:08 pm
vinni.k wrote:
I completely agree with the OA, as it is answering "why the beautiful solo may have salvaged"; however, i don't understand D.

If i change D to - despite the poor performance by most of the orchestra members throughout the two hour concert, the beautiful cello at the end of the symphony may have salvaged the performance

Is this sentence correct now ?
Can anyone please tell me how to eliminate D ?

Thanks
It is the opinion of many, but not all, writers that the noun that represents the agent of the action described by a gerund should be in the possessive form.

So "members performing poorly" ideally would be instead "members' performing poorly".

At the same time, I don't think that that issue is what the creator of this question had in mind as the reason to eliminate D, and other than that issue I don't see any real reason to eliminate D.

This question isn't great. Probably you should just learn what you can from it and not worry too much about eliminating D.

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ceilidh.erickson GMAT Instructor
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Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:57 pm
vinni.k wrote:
I completely agree with the OA, as it is answering "why the beautiful solo may have salvaged"; however, i don't understand D.

If i change D to - despite the poor performance by most of the orchestra members throughout the two hour concert, the beautiful cello at the end of the symphony may have salvaged the performance

Is this sentence correct now ?
Can anyone please tell me how to eliminate D ?

Thanks
Contrast words such as DESPITE or EVEN THOUGH wouldn't make sense in this context.

The word SALVAGE implies that things were otherwise going badly, but the cello solo fixed it. We wouldn't then put a contrast word between the "salvaging" and the "performing badly." Consider:

I saved your life, even though you were going to die.

This doesn't make sense. The only condition under which it's possible to save your life is if you were going to die, so there is no contrast possible between these two ideas. It only makes sense to say one of the following:
I saved your life because you were going to die.
I saved your life when you were going to die.
I saved your life for you were going to die.

Does that help?

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Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Mon Jan 02, 2017 8:50 pm
ceilidh.erickson wrote:
vinni.k wrote:
Can anyone please tell me how to eliminate D ?

Thanks
Contrast words such as DESPITE or EVEN THOUGH wouldn't make sense in this context.

The word SALVAGE implies that things were otherwise going badly, but the cello solo fixed it. We wouldn't then put a contrast word between the "salvaging" and the "performing badly." Consider:

I saved your life, even though you were going to die.

This doesn't make sense. The only condition under which it's possible to save your life is if you were going to die, so there is no contrast possible between these two ideas. It only makes sense to say one of the following:
I saved your life because you were going to die.
I saved your life when you were going to die.
I saved your life for you were going to die.

Does that help?

I saved your life, even though you didn't take care of yourself for most of the last twenty years.

Notice, the sentence is not

Despite the performance not being salvaged, the cello solo may have salvaged the performance.

The sentence says basically

Despite the fact that most of the members of the orchestra performed poorly throughout the entire concert, that great cello solo may have salvaged the performance.

which makes sense, as does the following.

Even though most of the musicians did a terrible job for the entire two hours, the cello solo may have been enough to salvage the performance.

Meawhile, "for" basically means "because" or possibly "as". So A is not great either.

This does not really make sense.

Because most of the members of the orchestra performed poorly for the entire concert, the cello solo at the end may have salvaged the performance.

"As" is a little better, though even when "as" is used, the point of the sentence is still not entirely clear.

The beautiful cello solo at the end of the symphony may have salvaged the performance, as most of the orchestra members performed poorly throughout the two hour concert.

Possibly the point is meant to be the following.

As most of the members of the orchestra performed poorly throughout the entire two hour concert, the beautiful cello solo at the end of the symphony was the only thing that salvaged the performance.

Still, I am liking "despite" better with each attempt to torture the sentence into making "for" or "as" work.

So while this question proved to be a great conversation piece, and while noticing the difference between "despite" and "for" is useful, this question is not very tight.

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ceilidh.erickson GMAT Instructor
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Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:17 pm
I'll definitely agree with you that this isn't a very good question! I take your point, and "as" is a much better option than "for" or "despite," though I find that GMAT questions that deal with contrast words such as "despite" usually are much more clear about the contrast presented. I doubt we'd see a "despite" in a right answer on a similar question. But... mostly I doubt that we'd see this question at all!

On the real GMAT, you (probably) won't find questions like this, on which even the experts disagree about subtle differences in meaning. Feel free to ignore this one.

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Marty Murray Legendary Member
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Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:45 pm
ceilidh.erickson wrote:
I'll definitely agree with you that this isn't a very good question! I take your point, and "as" is a much better option than "for" or "despite," though I find that GMAT questions that deal with contrast words such as "despite" usually are much more clear about the contrast presented.
Makes sense.

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vinni.k Master | Next Rank: 500 Posts
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Wed Jan 04, 2017 2:11 am
Marty and ceilidh,

Thank you for clearing the doubt.

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