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I'm having trouble with a GMAT SC question. The answer says the following sentence is incorrect. The correct answer is to replace persuading with persuaded, meaning persuaded and turned are parallel.

Grammatically speaking, why is it wrong to use persuading in parallel with liberating?

Joan of Arc, a young Frenchwoman who claimed to be divinely inspired, turned the tide of English victories in her country by liberating the city of Orléans and persuading Charles VII of France to claim his throne.

  • It is not wrong. Maybe your source didn't understand the sentence. [by] persuading continues the same context as by liberating. Joan of Arc turned the tide, by doing those two things. – Weather Vane Mar 12 '18 at 0:03
  • Is this an actual GMAT question, or just a "sample" question from a book meat to teach you the test? I agree with Weather Vane that the sentence is fine as written. If this is an actual GMAT then you should let them know there is an error. – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 0:45
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    Although there is a semantic mistake in the sentence itself. If Charles was the king, and lost his throne, then he would have to reclaim it. If he was never king, then it's not yet his throne, and it would be better to say, "... persuaded him claim the throne". – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 0:47
  • @Andrew, it's a question from the Official Guide. – beyond flatiron Mar 12 '18 at 4:31
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    @beyondflatiron I googled this sentence and there are many examples, but the one I see in the Official Guide from 2015 is quite different from what you wrote. There may be several correct ways to write this sentence but only one correct answer from the given choices. As with many multiple-choice tests, sometimes it's about eliminating the wrong answers. – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 5:16
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The GMAT wants the parallelism to reflect the manner in which the sentenced should be parsed. The way they would parse the sentence is:

Joan of Arc, a young Frenchwoman who claimed to be divinely inspired,

A) turned the tide of English victories in her country by liberating the city of Orléans, and

B) persuaded Charles VII of France to claim his throne.

The alternate way of parsing the sentence would be:

Joan of Arc, a young Frenchwoman who claimed to be divinely inspired, turned the tide of English victories in her country by

A) liberating the city of Orléans, and

B) persuading Charles VII of France to claim his throne.

If persuading Charles VII to claim the throne was part of the reason she turned the tide of English victories, then the verb should parallel "liberating". However, that's not how the sentence should be read - Charles VII's ascension to the throne didn't cause the tide of victories to turn. The Battle of Orleans turned the tide of victory.

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    Yes, good answer, but still a bad question. Standardized test questions like those on the GMAT should have one and only one possible answer. Both readings are potentially valid, with no stylistic reason to favor one over the other. – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 0:49
  • So this is a history and not a grammar question? – Weather Vane Mar 12 '18 at 0:50
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    @WeatherVane the GMAT is a standardized test to measure a student's readiness for a graduate-level Management degree (MBA) program. Part of the test measures the ability to identify and correct common errors of English writing style. No question on this test should ever rely on historical knowledge. – Andrew Mar 12 '18 at 0:53
  • @Andrew but this answer contradicts you. "The Battle of Orleans turned the tide of victory" not Charles VII's ascension. It is a history lesson. – Weather Vane Mar 12 '18 at 0:58
  • @WeatherVane That the asker sees it as a question about English grammar is a different and that the answerer explains their answer from a historical perspective are two different things. – Eddie Kal Mar 12 '18 at 1:01

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