Source: Official Guide Revised GRE 1st Ed. Part 4; Set 2; #1

21

A person who agrees to serve as mediator

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later. To take sides at a later point would be to suggest that the earlier presumptive impartiality was a sham. The passage above emphasizes which of the following points about mediators? They should try to form no opinions of their own about any issue that is related to the dispute., They should not agree to serve unless they are committed to maintaining a stance of impartiality., They should not agree to serve unless they are equally acceptable to all parties to a dispute., They should feel free to take sides in the dispute right from the start, provided that they make their biases publicly known., They should reserve the right to abandon their impartiality so as not to be open to the charge of having been deceitful.

4 Explanations

1

Zhou Qiaohui

Hi, this sentence is too hard to comprehend for me... I am wondering what's grammatical reference behind this sentence structure? "Why is it not "a person who agrees to serve as a mediator between two warring factions abandons the right to take sides later, at the request of both "? Is it a kind of inversion of the sentence? I have no idea what "so" here for and how the"by so agreeing" helps to improve the sentence structure...

Oct 9, 2017 • Comment

Adam

Hi Zhou,

First, this sentence has been discussed in the other comments. Have you read them?


A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later.


First, " at the request of both" modifies " agrees to serve as mediator."

Second, "by so agreeing" also modifies "agrees to serve as mediator." Here, "by so agreeing' means "by agreeing to [action that was previously stated]" = "by agreeing to serve as mediator." The word "so" in this case replaces a previously stated action.

Oct 9, 2017 • Reply

Zhou Qiaohui

I have read the discussed comment... but why put "abandons" between "at the request of both" and "by so agreeing?" ...

Will "A person who agrees to serve as a mediator between two warring factions at the request of both, by so agreeing, abandons the right to take sides later" also be valid?

Oct 10, 2017 • Reply

Adam

Hi Zhou,
Your construction makes it far less clear that "by so agreeing" modifies "abandons", and not something before it.

Oct 10, 2017 • Reply

3

Bilal Farooq

So is the passage saying that the two warring factions actually got a person to mediate and asked them to actually side with either one of them later on? (Indicated by saying "by so agreeing the right to take sides later). So they are saying to the mediator that please do pick a side later on.

The last para indicates that mediators should not do this because it would be a sham and then there would be no point to being a mediator if they sided with one side. Is that correct?

Sep 11, 2016 • Comment

Adam

Hi Bilal,

Let's look at this whole phrase:

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later.

This might be clearer if I put some commas in:

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons, by so agreeing, the right to take sides later.

So, by agreeing to serve as mediator, the mediator abandons the right to take a side later on.

Does that make sense?

The next sentence explains why the mediator abandons this right.

Sep 15, 2016 • Reply

Tang Xiaomin

What's the meaning of the word "by" in "by so agreeing"?

Oct 9, 2016 • Reply

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Tang,

In the phrase "by so agreeing," the word "by" has a similar meaning to "in." So in the sentence that Adam mentioned above, we are saying that in (or "by") agreeing to serve as a mediator, the mediator abandons the right to take a side later on.

Oct 19, 2016 • Reply

ZHENYU YANG

There is only one thing i want to say to your comment-------Perfect!

Jun 19, 2017 • Reply

2

Arjun

Hi, I had hard time deciphering this portion of text "..... request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take the sides later".. Finding it hard to relate this to standard English sentence structure.

Sep 18, 2015 • Comment

Adam

Hi Arjun,

Let's take a look:

A person who agrees to serve as mediator between two warring factions at the request of both abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later.

Note that "request" is a noun here, not a verb.

This sentence is talking about a person who agrees to serve as a mediator between two warring factions. The person agreed to do this "at the request of both." That means that both warring factions requested that this person serve as mediator.

Now, when this person made the choice to become mediator, s/he "abandons by so agreeing the right to take sides later."

So, this person abandons, or gives up, the right to take sides later, because s/he "so agreed." In other words, because s/he agreed to serve as mediator, s/he will no longer have the right to agree with one of the two factions later.

Nov 5, 2015 • Reply

12

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Oct 3, 2012 • Comment

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