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Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by yo4561 Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:58 pm

Question 1
I understand that when the word “that” appears just after a working verb, it often acts as a reset button in the sentence. A new subject-verb(-object) structure will follow (this example is provided: The teacher is confident that her students mastered the lesson).

However, I am confused how to treat a "that" appearing after a connecting word. For example, "Greg thought that Hannah was going to drive him to Chicago and that Jeremy would help him unpack once he got there." Do you need a comma after Chicago or does the "that" after the "and" eliminate the need for the comma by serving as a "reset"? I know you should pick at bigger issues than commas on the GMAT, but I would be so appreciative for some clarify on this topic.

Question 2
Another example I found " She knows THAT I LIKE ICE CREAM and THAT I HATE SORBET." Can the double "that" lead to incorrect parallelism (e.g. She knows that I like ice cream...She knows that that I like ice cream."? Can't you just say "She knows that I like ice cream and hate sorbet."
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by esledge Sat Jan 09, 2021 3:09 pm

In these examples, "and that" indicates the second part of a parallel structure (that something happens and that something else happens), so you should look earlier in the sentence for the other "that"; the root phrase probably ends right before the first "that." Authors use this repetition of "that" to help out the listener/reader.

yo4561 wrote:For example, "Greg thought that Hannah was going to drive him to Chicago and that Jeremy would help him unpack once he got there." Do you need a comma after Chicago or does the "that" after the "and" eliminate the need for the comma by serving as a "reset"? I know you should pick at bigger issues than commas on the GMAT, but I would be so appreciative for some clarify on this topic.

I'll put a // mark where the root phrase ends, and bracket the parallel elements:
Greg thought // (that Hannah was going to drive him to Chicago) and (that Jeremy would help him unpack once he got there).

Greg thought two ideas. Both ideas were complete clauses (about what other people were going to do for Greg), so both because with the reset-button "that."
yo4561 wrote:Question 2
Another example I found " She knows THAT I LIKE ICE CREAM and THAT I HATE SORBET." Can the double "that" lead to incorrect parallelism (e.g. She knows that I like ice cream...She knows that that I like ice cream."? Can't you just say "She knows that I like ice cream and hate sorbet."

The double "that" is not a problem: it actually tells you that the root phrase does not include "that," so no danger of double "that"s as in the incorrect example you were concerned about.

BOTH of the other examples you gave are correct; they just differ on what's in the root phrase vs. what's in the parallel elements:
She knows // (that I like ice cream) and (that I hate sorbet).
--->She knows two ideas. Both ideas are complete clauses with "I" as the subject.
She knows that I // (like ice cream) and (hate sorbet).
---> I do two things, and she knows about both of them. She knows that I do two things.
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by yo4561 Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:07 am

You are the best...thank you Emily!!!

Follow-up question 1: To confirm, where you include "that" in parallelism can change the meaning? Is there is a large difference in meaning between knowing about two ideas versus knowing about two things?

Follow-up question 2: In addition, I came across the parallel structure: Hannah has found that X, and that Y. There is a comma here between the that. So, would the comma only be used I am guessing for what is an independent clause in the Y element?
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by esledge Wed Jan 13, 2021 2:52 pm

yo4561 wrote:Follow-up question 1: To confirm, where you include "that" in parallelism can change the meaning? Is there is a large difference in meaning between knowing about two ideas versus knowing about two things?

By my commentary on my examples above, I think I may have inadvertently suggested that there was a significant meaning difference...there isn't at all. I just wanted to note that you can put the "that" in the root phrase (and use it once), or put it in the parallel elements (and therefore repeat it).

In fact, if you split my two examples with different parallel structure into two separate, full sentences, you'll see that they are identical.

She knows // (that I like ice cream) and (that I hate sorbet). = (1) She knows that I like ice cream---AND---(2) She knows that I hate sorbet.

She knows that I // (like ice cream) and (hate sorbet). = (1) She knows that I like ice cream---AND---(2) She knows that I hate sorbet.

yo4561 wrote:Follow-up question 2: In addition, I came across the parallel structure: Hannah has found that X, and that Y. There is a comma here between the that. So, would the comma only be used I am guessing for what is an independent clause in the Y element?

I can't think of why the comma would be there. What was the source of this example? I think both X and Y would have to be independent clauses because of the "Hannah has found THAT" root phrase, but I'd probably have to see exactly what the X and Y said that could explain the presence of that comma.
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by SaifulI24 Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:12 pm

[Edit: Accidental duplicate post removed by moderator]
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by SaifulI24 Mon Jan 18, 2021 6:14 pm

esledge wrote:
yo4561 wrote:Follow-up question 1: To confirm, where you include "that" in parallelism can change the meaning? Is there is a large difference in meaning between knowing about two ideas versus knowing about two things?

By my commentary on my examples above, I think I may have inadvertently suggested that there was a significant meaning difference...there isn't at all. I just wanted to note that you can put the "that" in the root phrase (and use it once), or put it in the parallel elements (and therefore repeat it).

In fact, if you split my two examples with different parallel structure into two separate, full sentences, you'll see that they are identical.

She knows // (that I like ice cream) and (that I hate sorbet). = (1) She knows that I like ice cream---AND---(2) She knows that I hate sorbet.

She knows that I // (like ice cream) and (hate sorbet). = (1) She knows that I like ice cream---AND---(2) She knows that I hate sorbet.

yo4561 wrote:Follow-up question 2: In addition, I came across the parallel structure: Hannah has found that X, and that Y. There is a comma here between the that. So, would the comma only be used I am guessing for what is an independent clause in the Y element?

I can't think of why the comma would be there. What was the source of this example? I think both X and Y would have to be independent clauses because of the "Hannah has found THAT" root phrase, but I'd probably have to see exactly what the X and Y said that could explain the presence of that comma.



Hey Emily, I was hoping you could further clarify the use of 'that' in the context of parallelism ambiguity.

The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a vast stretch of coastline and a number of fisheries that are owned by the local government.

Here 'that' could either be referring to coastline and fisheries or just fisheries. How would you clear up this sentence?

Would this be correct? 'are' after coastline can't just refer to the singular so it must be referring to both:

The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a number of fisheries and a vast stretch of coastline that are owned by the local government.


Can 'that' also create ambiguity at the start of a parallel structure?

I believe that Santa clause is real and the Knicks will win the title.

In this it's either you believe in two things or you could be stating two independent clauses.


I guess the simple way to ask all this is how do I use 'that' in parallelism without creating ambiguity - is it even possible?
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by esledge Sat Jan 23, 2021 5:16 pm

SaifulI24 wrote:The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a vast stretch of coastline and a number of fisheries that are owned by the local government.

Here 'that' could either be referring to coastline and fisheries or just fisheries. How would you clear up this sentence?

Would this be correct? 'are' after coastline can't just refer to the singular so it must be referring to both:

The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a number of fisheries and a vast stretch of coastline that are owned by the local government.

I have seen this one before--what's the source? Your suggested rewrite still doesn't fix the issue, and actually makes it worse, I think. If "that are" is definitely not attaching to singular "a vast stretch (of coastline)," it must be modifying "something else AND a vast stretch...," which is the wrong meaning again.

The way to fix it would be:
The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a number of fisheries (that are owned by the local government) and a vast stretch of coastline.
By placing the "that are" after only the fisheries, the meaning is clear.

SaifulI24 wrote:Can 'that' also create ambiguity at the start of a parallel structure?

I believe that Santa clause is real and the Knicks will win the title.

In this it's either you believe in two things or you could be stating two independent clauses.

I guess the simple way to ask all this is how do I use 'that' in parallelism without creating ambiguity - is it even possible?
Typically, repeating "that" will clear up the ambiguity, if both parts of the parallel structure are meant to follow "that." And if one part of the parallel structure isn't supposed to follow the "that," put it first.

Ambiguous: I believe that Santa Claus is real and the Knicks will win the title.
Correct: I believe // that Santa Claus is real and that the Knicks will win the title.
Correct: The Knicks will win the title and I believe that Santa Claus is real.
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by SaifulI24 Mon Feb 01, 2021 10:43 pm

esledge wrote:
SaifulI24 wrote:The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a vast stretch of coastline and a number of fisheries that are owned by the local government.

Here 'that' could either be referring to coastline and fisheries or just fisheries. How would you clear up this sentence?

Would this be correct? 'are' after coastline can't just refer to the singular so it must be referring to both:

The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a number of fisheries and a vast stretch of coastline that are owned by the local government.

I have seen this one before--what's the source? Your suggested rewrite still doesn't fix the issue, and actually makes it worse, I think. If "that are" is definitely not attaching to singular "a vast stretch (of coastline)," it must be modifying "something else AND a vast stretch...," which is the wrong meaning again.

The way to fix it would be:
The lighthouse down by the bay overlooks both a number of fisheries (that are owned by the local government) and a vast stretch of coastline.
By placing the "that are" after only the fisheries, the meaning is clear.

SaifulI24 wrote:Can 'that' also create ambiguity at the start of a parallel structure?

I believe that Santa clause is real and the Knicks will win the title.

In this it's either you believe in two things or you could be stating two independent clauses.

I guess the simple way to ask all this is how do I use 'that' in parallelism without creating ambiguity - is it even possible?
Typically, repeating "that" will clear up the ambiguity, if both parts of the parallel structure are meant to follow "that." And if one part of the parallel structure isn't supposed to follow the "that," put it first.

Ambiguous: I believe that Santa Claus is real and the Knicks will win the title.
Correct: I believe // that Santa Claus is real and that the Knicks will win the title.
Correct: The Knicks will win the title and I believe that Santa Claus is real.



Emily,


thanks for the response. As for the lighthouse example, it's directly from the Manhattan GMAT verbal prep book.

As an additional followup I had a question regarding the usage of 'that' from the first CAT exam I took.


Purchasers of television advertising are increasingly discouraged by shrinking viewership and by the fact that many viewers fast-forward through commercials, in addition to the competition from new services that stream content over the internet and traditional movies.



A) are increasingly discouraged by shrinking viewership and by the fact that many viewers fast-forward through commercials, in addition to the competition from new services that stream content over the internet and traditional movies



B) are increasingly discouraged by the fact that viewership is shrinking and that many viewers fast-forward through commercials, as well as the competition from traditional movies and new services that stream content over the internet



C) increasingly are discouraged by shrinking viewership and by the fact that many viewers fast-forward through commercials, as well as by the competition from traditional movies and new services that stream content over the internet



D) increasingly are discouraged by shrinking viewership, the fact that many viewers fast-forward through commercials, the competition from new services that stream content over the internet, and traditional movies



E) increasingly are discouraged because viewership is shrinking, viewers are fast-forwarding through commercials, and the competition from traditional movies as well as new services that stream content over the internet


The correct answer here is C. But my problem goes back to the fisheries example that I posted. In C we have "from traditional movies and new services that stream content over the internet" I don't know how to tell if 'that' is referring to just new services or traditional movies as well. I have a feeling it's unambiguous because of the usage of the word "both" in the fisheries example. Not 100% sure. Kindly clarify.
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by esledge Tue Feb 02, 2021 12:49 pm

SaifulI24 wrote:As for the lighthouse example, it's directly from the Manhattan GMAT verbal prep book.
No wonder it seemed familiar! Thanks.

In (C) for the TV advertising question, the "that stream" modifier correctly attaches to just "new services" for several reasons:

(1) the verb "stream" is plural, and "that" tends to attach to the closest noun. Since the closest noun is already plural, this links "new services" and "that stream," so we can leave it at that. This is the big difference from the rewrite you proposed of the other question---"both a number of fisheries and a vast stretch of coastline that are owned by the local government"---where plural "that are owned" has to go looking for a plural noun to attach to, since neither "stretch" nor ""coastline" are plural.

(2) Meaning: what streams content? Not "traditional movies"! Only "new services" do.

(3) To a lesser extent, the presence or absence of "both" can play a role. As a closed parallelism marker, "both X and Y" brackets [X and Y] together in a way that the open parallelism marker "X and Y" does not. But I wouldn't say this is universally true, especially if (1) and (2) above override point (3). For example:
Both Jonah and his little sister, who is starting kindergarten this year, will ride the bus.
We understand from (1) singular verb "is starting" that the "who" modifier only goes with the sister, and from (2) meaning that older brother Jonah is not also starting kindergarten this year. Thus, "both" is not particularly relevant to the question of which noun the modifier attaches to and does not require the modifier to attach to "both" of them!

Both Jonah and his twin sister, who are starting kindergarten this year, will ride the bus.
We understand from (1) plural verb "are starting" that the "who" modifier applies to both of them, and from (2) meaning that twin siblings are the same age/grade. Again, "both" is not particularly relevant to the question of which noun the modifier attaches to, though one could (weakly) argue that it helps to keep Jonah and his sister grouped together.

TL;DR: Don't overthink the "both."
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by SaifulI24 Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:38 pm

esledge wrote:
SaifulI24 wrote:As for the lighthouse example, it's directly from the Manhattan GMAT verbal prep book.
No wonder it seemed familiar! Thanks.

In (C) for the TV advertising question, the "that stream" modifier correctly attaches to just "new services" for several reasons:

(1) the verb "stream" is plural, and "that" tends to attach to the closest noun. Since the closest noun is already plural, this links "new services" and "that stream," so we can leave it at that. This is the big difference from the rewrite you proposed of the other question---"both a number of fisheries and a vast stretch of coastline that are owned by the local government"---where plural "that are owned" has to go looking for a plural noun to attach to, since neither "stretch" nor ""coastline" are plural.

(2) Meaning: what streams content? Not "traditional movies"! Only "new services" do.

(3) To a lesser extent, the presence or absence of "both" can play a role. As a closed parallelism marker, "both X and Y" brackets [X and Y] together in a way that the open parallelism marker "X and Y" does not. But I wouldn't say this is universally true, especially if (1) and (2) above override point (3). For example:
Both Jonah and his little sister, who is starting kindergarten this year, will ride the bus.
We understand from (1) singular verb "is starting" that the "who" modifier only goes with the sister, and from (2) meaning that older brother Jonah is not also starting kindergarten this year. Thus, "both" is not particularly relevant to the question of which noun the modifier attaches to and does not require the modifier to attach to "both" of them!

Both Jonah and his twin sister, who are starting kindergarten this year, will ride the bus.
We understand from (1) plural verb "are starting" that the "who" modifier applies to both of them, and from (2) meaning that twin siblings are the same age/grade. Again, "both" is not particularly relevant to the question of which noun the modifier attaches to, though one could (weakly) argue that it helps to keep Jonah and his sister grouped together.

TL;DR: Don't overthink the "both."



Thank you so much. Wonderfully said.

I hate to belabor the point but wouldn't there still be ambiguity in C? I understand the difference between my example in which we have to go searching for another subject and this example where the plural subject is already there. However, 'that' can still include both items here and result in an illogical meaning no?
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Re: Questions about "that" serving as a reset

by esledge Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:24 pm

SaifulI24 wrote: I hate to belabor the point but wouldn't there still be ambiguity in C? I understand the difference between my example in which we have to go searching for another subject and this example where the plural subject is already there. However, 'that' can still include both items here and result in an illogical meaning no?
It would be easier if the GMAT were totally intolerant of potential ambiguity...but it's not. There are plenty of pronoun questions, for example, in which there are multiple possible antecedents for a pronoun, but the GMAT is ok with it if the match-up of pronoun and antecedent is clear enough. This situation is similar.

Try not to demand the ideal sentence; remember that your goal is to pick the best of the five options. If you still don't like (C), but agree that "that stream" could very well refer to "new services," then mark it with a squiggle on your paper to indicate that it's not 100% wrong, but you just don't like it. Your focus should then move to things you CAN conclusively eliminate elsewhere.
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