Question: Smartphone Owners

Comment on Smartphone Owners

Why "owning a smartphone" isn't a noun phrase? Isn't it a gerund which function as a noun tho?
gmat-admin's picture

You are correct; "owning a smartphone" is a noun phrase (aka gerund phrase).

So, in "...owning a smartphone does not make one smart...", the phrase "owning a smartphone" behaves as the subject for the verb phrase "does not make."

Does that help?


Yes, thank you!

Hi Brent,
For eliminating Choice(C),I used the logic that people is a noun which is being modified by the relative clause Who....
And if we remove this modifier,we have a noun people which should be compared by a LIKE hence eliminate.
Is this logic correct?

gmat-admin's picture

There are several things wrong with answer choice C.

I'm reluctant to agree with your rationale, because that strategy can lead to problems with other SC questions.

In MANY case, we can use the rule that says:
- use LIKE to compare nouns
- use AS to compare verbs
There hard part is determining what we're actually comparing. For example, many people would argue that, in answer choice C, we're comparing OWNING with MAKING.

I discuss this (and a solution) at 1:15 in the following video:


Hi Brent, Please, change the way videos are displayed. When the play button is clicked, one can sees the problem solved for a fraction of a second at the beginning.
gmat-admin's picture

Thanks for the heads up.
I changed that video thumbnail.


Hi Brent, in deciding between answer choices D and E, could we also use the fact that in the former, 'as' is followed by noun instead of clause, while in the latter 'as' is followed by clause? Thanks!
gmat-admin's picture

That's a good idea, but "smartphone ownership does not make one fast" IS a clause.

OWNERSHIP is the subject, and MAKE is the verb.


I got thrown by the "Just" because it actually sounds very wrong. When speaking, I would have said "just as owning a smartphone doesn't make one smart, eating fast food doesn't make one fast". I don't think I ever use "so" in my day-to-day speaking. Is that grammatically incorrect? Or is this just a specific rule that the GMAT exam follows to be 100% unambiguous?

Is it correct to assume that for a SC question, it will never be correct to have "just as" without a subsequent "so"?
gmat-admin's picture

You're not alone. I think most native English speakers are surprised to learn about the JUST AS X, SO Y idiomatic construction.
That said, the GMAT will test you on it.
We use this construction when we're describing two related/similar things. For example:
JUST AS Joe mows his lawn daily, SO Sue plucks her eyebrows every day.

There are also times when JUST AS may appear on its own. These are times when we aren't describing two related/similar things.
In these cases, JUST AS is synonymous with AT THE SAME TIME.
For example:
Joe returned home JUST AS Frank began singing.

Hi Brent,

Can you help me understand how to identify a clause against how to identify a noun phrase? While solving this question, I considered A and B to be in the gerund format, and since like was followe by gerund, I thought it was correctly phrased.
gmat-admin's picture

There isn't a big difference between a gerund, a noun phrase (aka gerund phrase) and a noun clause.

- If a gerund appears on its own (without any helping words), then it's just a gerund (which functions as a noun)
- If a gerund has " helper words" (but no verb), then we have a noun phrase.
- If a gerund is part of a clause (with subject and verb), then we have a noun clause.

Some examples:

GERUND: EATING is Joe's favorite pastime.
NOUN PHRASE: EATING GRAPES is Joe's favorite pastime.

did it in 30s, pretty sure I saw some logics somewhere, I just look at E and it makes sense, what level would this question be? I guess it isn't very high.
gmat-admin's picture

I'd place this in the 500-650 range, since many native English speakers aren't familiar with the JUST AS X, SO Y idiom.

Office Hours

On December 20, 2023, Brent will stop offering office hours. 

Change Playback Speed

You have the option of watching the videos at various speeds (25% faster, 50% faster, etc). To change the playback speed, click the settings icon on the right side of the video status bar.

Have a question about this video?

Post your question in the Comment section below, and a GMAT expert will answer it as fast as humanly possible.

Free “Question of the Day” emails!