Question: Jeffery Clapton and Friends

Comment on Jeffery Clapton and Friends

I was not able to figure out that if adverb commonly is modifying the verb observed or is it wrongly modifying the noun clapton. I thought since commonly is placed close to clapton so it may wrongly modify the noun clapton so I eliminated this choice.where am I going wrong?
gmat-admin's picture

The word "commonly" is next to both "Claptan" and "observed," so we'd have use some context to determine which word it's modifying.

Hi Brent,
The statement identifies a group of traits that a particular person has and those traits have been discussed in reference to a particular time period.
So when it's said that Jeffery had those traits , Does it imply that Jeffery lost those traits in current time?
Going through this has-had confusion.

Please assist.

gmat-admin's picture

Great question!!

One HAD doesn't imply that Jeffery lost those traits in current time. These events happened in the past, so we must refer to them in simple past tense (...OBSERVED that he HAD...).

Also note that our only reasonable second choice is the present tense, as in "...friends commonly observed that he (Jeffery) HAS many endearing personality traits." This construction suggests that these friends were able to see into the future and confirm that Jeffery's endearing traits will last well into 2019.

However, if the sentence read "...commonly observed that he HAD HAD...", then that would, imply that Jeffery lost those traits prior to the time period in which people were making the observations about Jeffery.

Does that help?


Yes Brent, it really does make a lot of sense.
I should be really careful while dealing with tenses in the problems.


Hi Brent,

What about double possessives:

Here is an abstract of the grammar book I have:

Double possessives
We can use a double possessive — noun + of + noun (with possessive 's) — to show that the
the first noun means 'one of several'. We usually use the indefinite article with this pattern:
I heard the story from a friend of my brother's. (= one of my brother's friends)

Based on that rule I didn't see any problem with "friends and colleagues of Jeffery Clapton's"

this is the same as to say: friends and colleagues of mine

What do you think?

gmat-admin's picture

It seems redundant to have OF + POSSESSIVE, since the OF already indicates possession.
Fortunately, there are additional issues (regarding tense) that allow us to eliminate A, B and C.

Here's a similar sentence:


Hi Brent, we often say "a friend of mine", wouldn't this be incorrect as well?
gmat-admin's picture

That's a tough one! Fortunately the GMAT never writes sentences in the first person, so we don't need to worry about that.

That said, I have a feeling my earlier statement applies only to sentences written in the third person.

For example, "Hal is a friend of Kevin" does not suffer from the unnecessary ambiguity we find in "Hal is a friend of Kevin's."

A friend of Kevin's . . . . . what? A friend of Kevin's uncle? A friend of Kevin's urologist?

The bigger question is why are we trying so hard to find the right word to follow OF when we can simply omit the word altogether AND get a concise sentence in the process?

Hal is Kevin's friend. It doesn't get any simpler than that.

Ok I understand

Thank you so much

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