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I take an exam yesterday and I think reject from this exam. Anyway, here is one of passages from the exam:

Thunder is caused by lightning, which is essentially a stream of electrons flowing between or within clouds or between a cloud and the ground. The air surrounding the electron stream becomes so hot—up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit—that it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounding the lightning’s path. Alternative choices for the bold words in above text are as follows:


a)‌very, so, too, enough

b) surrounding, surrounds, that surround, and surround

The original text had blanks in place of the bold words, but this text has the solutions. Could anyone describe in short detail why these words were selected?

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Aug 2 '16 at 18:45

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    Hey Moji. Sorry about your test. I'm sure you'll do better next time. I've voted to move your question over to our sister site, English Language Learners, which is dedicated to helping people learn English. – Dan Bron Aug 2 '16 at 17:31
  • Would you please move it? @DanBron – Moji Moji Aug 2 '16 at 17:33
  • Yep. It will take a few more votes, so give it a little time. – Dan Bron Aug 2 '16 at 17:34
  • This really should be separate questions. Explaining each choice will have a different reason and the way our site works, it is best that each question be asked individually. I recommend that you break this up into separate questions, otherwise we may close it as being too broad. – Catija Aug 3 '16 at 16:13
  • @Catija why angry with me? you means I ask it in 5 question now? I think this answer can made from 5 short part here. – Moji Moji Aug 3 '16 at 16:15
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The air surrounding the electron stream becomes so hot—up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit—that it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounding the lightning’s path.

A) "So" can be used before adjectives or other adverbs to precede a subordinate clause expressing the result of a great extent of the adjective or adverb.

Your sentence is explaining that the electron stream reaches an extremely hot temperature; because it got that hot, something happens: the resonating tube is formed.

To make more examples of the construction:

He would abuse her so much that she got used to it.
The cake was so delicious that I couldn't resist eating more.

The other choices simply aren't used to make this construction, so they're all wrong except "so", which is used.

B)

it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounding the lightning’s path.

It's pretty much the same reason as some of these other sentences in the very same paragraph:

Thunder is caused by lightning, which is essentially a stream of electrons flowing between or within clouds or between a cloud and the ground. The air surrounding the electron stream becomes so hot—up to 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit—that it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounding the lightning’s path.

These are participle phrases, which add detail about what the thing described by the phrase is doing.

In your example, what is the resonating tube doing? It is surrounding the lightning's path.

Let's prove that the other options are wrong, then.

that surround, and surround

These are ungrammatical as these are verbs that the tube (singular) serves as their subject. Verbs with third-person-singular subjects must use their own form in the present tense, which ends with an S (e.g. surrounds).


surrounds

Even then:

it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum surrounds the lightning’s path.

It would sound like an unfinished relative clause. Relative clauses are clauses used by English speakers when adding information that tells you what that tube is doing, to go by example. Relative clauses must use a relative pronoun (e.g. "that", "who") that is missing in your example. Therefore, "surrounds" is not an answer.

However,

it forms a resonating tube of partial vacuum that surrounds the lightning’s path.

would be fine.

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