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# GMAT SC Practice Question

Below is a relatively difficult GMAT sentence correction. A couple of concepts are being tested, so proceed cautiously. A detailed explanation follows.

Despite the curator’s claim, none of the unattributed sketches in the museum’s upcoming Flemish exhibit, all estimated to be more than 400-years old, are likely the work of Jan Vermeer, who was active in Flanders during the 17th Century.

(A)  to be more than 400-years old, are

(B)  to be over 400-years old, is

(C)  at over 400-years old, are

(D)  at more than 400-years old, is

(E)  to be older than 400-years, is

Solution:

A good approach is to notice the 3:2 split between is and are at the end of each answer choice. So which is it? Well, if we look at the subject we see we are dealing with “none of the attributed sketches.”

Whenever you see ‘none’ look to the subject after the preposition, in this case sketches. Sketches is plural – we want the verb ‘are.’ Eliminate (B), (D) and (E).

Answer choice (C) uses the improper idiomatic construction estimated at. It should be estimated to be. And don’t pick (C) simply because it is the shortest. Concision at the expense of grammar is never a good idea.

(A) contains the proper idiomatic construction, estimated to be, and the correct subject-verb agreement, none…are.

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### 3 Responses to GMAT SC Practice Question

1. Santos June 12, 2015 at 5:11 am #

Hi Chris,
I am quite confused regarding whether none as a pronoun takes a singular or a plural verb. For example, let me quote the SC question number 27 from the official guide for GMAT review 2015-
” None of the attempts to specify the causes of crime explains why most of the people exposed to the alleged causes do not commit crimes and, conversely, why so many of those not so exposed have.”
Since the subject after the preposition is attempts (plural), we need a plural verb. What makes the singular verb explains work in the above sentence?

Thanks.

• Debbie Layton September 11, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

The word none may be either singular or plural. You must look at the object of the preposition to determine this. Examples:
None of the books (is, are) on the table.
“Of the books” is a prepositional phrase. The object of the preposition “of” is “books”, which is plural. Thus, you would choose are.

None of my hair (is, are) gray. The prepositional phrase is “of his hair.” “Hair” is object of the preposition “of.” “Hair” is singular because it cannot be counted. Thus, you would choose “is.”

• Curious George October 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm #

Debbie,

Thanks for the explanation but I think that you haven’t addressed Santos’ question completely. His sentence uses an object of the preposition which is plural (attempts) but the verb is still singular (explains). If possible, can you explain why it is correct?

Thanks.

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