The following question is from TOEFL

_______ Hale Telescope, at the Palomar Observatory in southern California, scientists can photograph objects several billion light years away

(A) The
(B) With the
(C) They use the
(D) It is the

I don't know why the correct answer is (B) "With the" and not (C) "They use the" or (A) "The"

Can anyone explain it to me?

  • B) “With the” Hale Telescope ,...,scientist can photograph.... – user29952 Dec 13 '17 at 19:08

'can photograph' is the key. It's the first verb and if you identify its subject, the rest should be easy. If you make the telescope the subject it will have no verb.

'They use' 'they' refers to the scientists. Not only would you be repeating the subject twice, you would be using its pronoun before you had used the noun it replaces.


The syntax of the sentence follows the Subject+Verb+Object model.

The subject of the sentence is scientists. The verb can is a modal auxiliary verb, and photograph is the main verb.

What can be photographed?
The answer is the object of the sentence. In this case it is:

objects several billion light years away.

How can they be photographed?

With the Hale Telescope

The sentence begins with three prepositional phrases making this part of the object portion of the sentence even though they come before the main noun and the main verb.

You will notice that there is no verbs in the prepositional phrases.
Since the Hale Telescope in not the main noun or the subject, it needs either a preposition or some type subordinating conjunction in order to signal that it is not the main noun.

From the four choices, With is the only preposition.

Choices (C) and (D) would make the telescope the subject and main noun. This would cause the sentence to be confusing the second portion of the sentence would have to be reworded to be grammatically correct.

I hope this answers your question.


The sentence starts wiht 2 preposition phrases.

this is ,I bet,what you are most used to see :

Scientists at the Palomar Observatory in southern California can photograph objects several billion light years away with the Hale Telescope.

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