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The Kwakiutl recognized one social unit larger than the tribe…GMATPrep Question

The Kwakiutl recognized one social unit larger than the tribe—the confederacy, which was a cluster of loosely knit, informally related neighboring tribes who interacted with themselves more often than between other tribes.

A: tribes who interacted with themselves more often than between
B: tribes who interacted among each other more often than among
C: tribes who interacted with one another more often than with
D: tribes, interacting among each other more often than between
E: tribes, interacting among one another more often than with

What does this question test?

This question tests your knowledge of idiomatic usage of “interact with”.  It also tests your knowledge of verb-ing modifier and this modifier is not correct in the context of this sentence.

What does this sentence mean?

This sentence defines the confederacy – one social unit larger than the tribe.  Confederacy was a group of tribes.  The tribes in this group interacted with one another more than they interacted with other tribes.

What are the errors in the original sentence?

The Kwakiutl recognized one social unit larger than the tribe—the confederacy, which was a cluster of loosely knit, informally related neighboring tribes who interacted with themselves more often than between other tribes. This sentence states a comparison in the “who clause”.  Since it is a comparison, the elements being compared must be parallel.  The elements are as shown below:…tribes who interacted

1. With themselves

MORE OFTEN THAN

2. Between other tribes

Strictly from parallelism standpoint, this sentence is correct.  But element 2 has idiom error.  The word “interact” is used only with the preposition “with”.  Thus the correct idiom is – “interact with”.

The incorrect idioms with interact are “interact among”, “interact between”.  Note that the word “interaction” can be used with different prepositions – with, of, between, among.

View this post for more information about idiomatic usage of “interact” & “interaction”.

Answer Choice Analysis:

Choice B: This choice has similar idiom error as Choice A does.  Interact among is incorrect idiom.
Choice C: Correct.  This choice uses correct idiom – interact with.
Choice D: This choice has two errors:

1:  Modifier error:  The verb-ing modifier – interacting among…- modifies the preceding clause.  Thus, it modifies “which was a cluster of …”. Since “which” refers to “confederacy, the verb-ing modifier really modifies “confederacy was a cluster of…”.   This is not the intended meaning of the sentence.  Per the original sentence, the “tribes interacted with…” and not the confederacy.

2:  Idiom error as in Choice A.

Choice E = This choice has similar errors as Choice D

Thus, Choice C is the correct answer.

What are the key take-away messages?

1:  The correct idiom is “interact with”.  “interact among” & “interact between” are incorrect.

2:  Understand the intended meaning of the sentence.  In this case comma + verb-ing modifier does not communicate the intended meaning.  Relative pronoun modifier does.

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One thought on “The Kwakiutl recognized one social unit larger than the tribe…GMATPrep Question”

  1. Hi E-gmat

    I have a question. Since ,ing modifies the preceding clause
    In D, E – can it not refer to ‘ Confideracy informally related neighbouring tribes’ as
    the closest verb is ‘informally related’ and whose subject is confideracy.

    Though D, E can be eliminated for reasons you have given, would like to know why the preceding clause it modifes is not ”Confideracy informally related neighbouring tribes”

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