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sumithshah
 
 

For the first time

by sumithshah Mon Aug 18, 2008 12:46 am

For the first time in the modern era, non-Hispanic Whites are officially a minority in
California, which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from
nearly three-quarters only a decade ago.

A. which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from
nearly three-quarters only a decade ago
B. which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from a
decade ago, when it was nearly three-quarters
C. and that amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from a
decade ago, when they were nearly three-quarters
D. amounting to a little less than half the population of the state, down from nearly
three-quarters a decade ago
E. amounting to a little less than half the population of the state, down from what it
was a decade ago by nearly three-quarters

OA is D but I picked E - can anyone tel me why E is wrong
tathagat
 
 

by tathagat Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:58 am

2 reasons why E is wrong:
1)"what it was" is generally considered wordy and awkward.You must have noticed the same in OG explanations too.
2)Down by nearly 3/4th changes the meaning.
The original sentence means previously population was 3/4th of the state, and now it is less than 1/2.
E means if previously it was 1, now it is nearly 1/4th.
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by RonPurewal Thu Aug 28, 2008 7:21 am

the biggest issue here is the pronoun 'it', which doesn't actually stand for anything.

what did you think was the antecedent for 'it'?
post back and we'll explain why whatever you picked wasn't the correct antecedent.

if you didn't think about the pronoun issue, you need to think about pronoun issues. if you EVER see a pronoun in a SC problem, you should immediately go antecedent-hunting; any answer choice without an antecedent, or with an ambiguous antecedent, or with a wrong antecedent, can be eliminated much more easily by this pronoun issue than by most other methods.
the only exceptions are special constructions in which you're allowed to use the pronoun 'it' without a traditional antecedent, such as 'it is clear that you are upset.'
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Re: For the first time

by stock.mojo11 Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:47 am

non H W in CA are amounting to

or

is it minority that is amounting to.

I believe its the latter right?
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Re: For the first time

by RonPurewal Sat Jun 20, 2009 7:23 pm

stock.mojo11 wrote:non H W in CA are amounting to

or

is it minority that is amounting to.

I believe its the latter right?


these kinds of participial modifiers (COMMA + -ING) modify the entire action of the preceding clause.
so, technically, they adhere to the SUBJECT of the preceding clause, which is "non-hispanic whites". but it's easier just to think of the modifier as applying to the entire preceding clause.
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Re:

by ashish.jere Thu Jun 25, 2009 4:03 am

RonPurewal wrote:the biggest issue here is the pronoun 'it', which doesn't actually stand for anything.

what did you think was the antecedent for 'it'?
post back and we'll explain why whatever you picked wasn't the correct antecedent.

if you didn't think about the pronoun issue, you need to think about pronoun issues. if you EVER see a pronoun in a SC problem, you should immediately go antecedent-hunting; any answer choice without an antecedent, or with an ambiguous antecedent, or with a wrong antecedent, can be eliminated much more easily by this pronoun issue than by most other methods.
the only exceptions are special constructions in which you're allowed to use the pronoun 'it' without a traditional antecedent, such as 'it is clear that you are upset.'


'it' clearly refers to population. doesn't it?
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Re: Re:

by RonPurewal Tue Jun 30, 2009 8:38 pm

ashish.jere wrote:'it' clearly refers to population. doesn't it?


if you take "it" to refer to the whole population, then the sentence is still wrong, because that's not the correct meaning.
"it" is trying to stand for the % of california's population that is white. there is no noun in the sentence that can achieve that meaning; that's what i meant in declaring that there is no valid antecedent.
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Re: Re:

by andy_11_30 Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:04 am

RonPurewal wrote:
ashish.jere wrote:'it' clearly refers to population. doesn't it?


if you take "it" to refer to the whole population, then the sentence is still wrong, because that's not the correct meaning.
"it" is trying to stand for the % of california's population that is white. there is no noun in the sentence that can achieve that meaning; that's what i meant in declaring that there is no valid antecedent.

But RON

IT can refer to a "sentence part" as well

if u recall a sentence...

.A goal of.a free standing house, as IT was of earlier generations
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Re: Re:

by RonPurewal Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:25 am

andy_11_30 wrote:But RON

IT can refer to a "sentence part" as well

if u recall a sentence...

.A goal of.a free standing house, as IT was of earlier generations


nope. incorrect.
i know the problem you're talking about; in that problem, "it" has a very specific noun antecedent ("owning and living").
that is an OG problem, which i'm not allowed to reproduce here, but you can look it up; it's #73 in OG11, #82 in OG12.

there is only one instance in which "it" doesn't have to stand for a noun:
it is ADJ... (and related constructions).

examples:
it is obvious that we are not going to finish on time. ("obvious" = ADJ)
the restrictions made it hard for mark to find a new job. ("hard" = ADJ)
it has been said that sarah never vomited throughout her entire childhood.
("been said..." = ADJ type construction -- this is what i am referring to as a "related construction")
etc.
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Re: Re:

by christina.susie.wong Wed May 12, 2010 7:26 pm

RonPurewal wrote:
andy_11_30 wrote:But RON

IT can refer to a "sentence part" as well

if u recall a sentence...

.A goal of.a free standing house, as IT was of earlier generations


nope. incorrect.
i know the problem you're talking about; in that problem, "it" has a very specific noun antecedent ("owning and living").
that is an OG problem, which i'm not allowed to reproduce here, but you can look it up; it's #73 in OG11, #82 in OG12.

there is only one instance in which "it" doesn't have to stand for a noun:
it is ADJ... (and related constructions).

examples:
it is obvious that we are not going to finish on time. ("obvious" = ADJ)
the restrictions made it hard for mark to find a new job. ("hard" = ADJ)
it has been said that sarah never vomited throughout her entire childhood.
("been said..." = ADJ type construction -- this is what i am referring to as a "related construction")
etc.


In the second example "the restrictions made it hard for mark to find a new job" It refers to "finding a new job." How can a singular pronoun refer to that clause? Also you said that "it" is related to "hard" which is an adjective, how is this the case when it refers to finding a job. Can you help elaborate a little more.

how has "been said" an adj type construction, can you please elaborate?

Can you elaborate what you mean by it is ADJ... (and related constructions) more in depth? do you mean that It can only refer back to an adjective?
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Re: Re:

by RonPurewal Sun Jun 06, 2010 12:38 am

how has "been said" an adj type construction, can you please elaborate?


in this instance "said" is a past participle; participles invariably function as adjectives.
however, if that's difficult to conceptualize, it doesn't really matter -- all that matters is that you recognize constructions like this as correct in the future. see below.

christina.susie.wong wrote:Can you elaborate what you mean by it is ADJ... (and related constructions) more in depth? do you mean that It can only refer back to an adjective?


what i mean is that, if you see constructions that look like one of the three examples i gave, then those constructions are exempt from the rule that "it" must stand for a noun.
in these examples, i would simply not bother trying to figure out exactly what "it" DOES stand for (and, in all honesty, i actually have no idea myself), since that issue will not help you solve the problems at hand. as with many other constructions that are exceptions to otherwise strong rules, the point is that you should be able to recognize these constructions, on sight, as legitimate -- not that you should be able to provide an exhaustive grammatical analysis.
this is where many people studying SC go off the rails: they feel as though they have to be able to provide a completely exhaustive grammatical analysis of absolutely everything in the sentence, even complex constructions that are singular exceptions to otherwise reliable rules. not only is this almost unimaginably complex and difficult, but it's also unworkable in terms of time management; there's just no way that somebody could get through an exhaustive grammatical analysis of a fairly long sentence -- and of 5 answer choices -- and also understand the context of the sentence in the short window of time allowed for a sentence correction problem.

remember -- if you can RELIABLY tell whether something is correct or incorrect just from its appearance, you don't need grammatical analysis.

here's an exercise:
* flip to #57 in OG12 (i can't reproduce this problem here, for copyright-related reasons).
* look at the PRONOUN "IT" in choices (a), (c), and (d) -- ignore everything else in the sentence. note that there are two instances of this pronoun in choice (c).
* for each of these instances:
- does this "it" have to stand for a noun?
- if so, is there such a noun in the sentence?

answers below -- highlight to reveal:
(a)
normal pronoun -- must stand for a noun.
this is incorrect; the pronoun "it" is trying to stand for the entire notion of educators' inability to predict the impact of microcomputer technology. there's no NOUN in the sentence that conveys this idea.

(c)
first one doesn't have to stand for a noun -- "it has been said..." type construction
second one is a normal pronoun -- wrong, for the same reason explained above for (a).

(d)
doesn't have to stand for a noun -- "it has been said..." type construction
(this is actually the correct answer to the problem)
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Re: For the first time

by ya1ya2 Fri Sep 24, 2010 9:46 pm

Ron,
In choices A and B what does which stand for? California? can you please elaborate? Thanks

sumithshah wrote:For the first time in the modern era, non-Hispanic Whites are officially a minority in
California, which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from
nearly three-quarters only a decade ago.

A. which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from
nearly three-quarters only a decade ago
B. which amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from a
decade ago, when it was nearly three-quarters
C. and that amounts to a little less than half the population of the state, down from a
decade ago, when they were nearly three-quarters
D. amounting to a little less than half the population of the state, down from nearly
three-quarters a decade ago
E. amounting to a little less than half the population of the state, down from what it
was a decade ago by nearly three-quarters

OA is D but I picked E - can anyone tel me why E is wrong
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Re: For the first time

by RonPurewal Tue Oct 05, 2010 7:44 am

ya1ya2 wrote:Ron,
In choices A and B what does which stand for? California? can you please elaborate? Thanks


since "california" is grammatically eligible, yes, "which" should be assigned to "california".
that, of course, is illogical, and so "which" is incorrect.

see here:
post31162.html#p31162
Pueden hacerle preguntas a Ron en castellano
Potete fare domande a Ron in italiano
On peut poser des questions à Ron en français
Voit esittää kysymyksiä Ron:lle myös suomeksi

Un bon vêtement, c'est un passeport pour le bonheur.
– Yves Saint-Laurent
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Re: For the first time

by anupa_panjari Fri Jun 24, 2011 9:22 am

Hi Ron

Sorry to start this thread again, but I would like to know what 'it' in the E does not refer to the 'the population of the state'. If I replace that 'it' with 'the population of the state' and read option E, it reads as
'amounting to a little less than half the population of the state, down from what the population of the state (replacing it) was a decade ago by nearly three-quarters'

which lets me that it refers to 'the population of the state'.

Could you please tell me why is this ambiguous
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Re: For the first time

by george.kourdin Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:05 am

^

i dont think thats a legit rule. can;t just go around replacing pronouns with nouns that you want. what if i wereto replace it with some other noun and it will make sense? the mere fact that you have to replace it with a noun to validate your answer may indicate that it is ambigious.

check the antecedent of <it>. what is the first noun that you see preceeding <it>? state. not population.

therefore its wrong.