A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 15
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# A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce

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31 Aug 2004, 23:51
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A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
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24 Oct 2010, 22:52
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I go with D.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
You can't reduce the amount already dumped.

(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
Use of 'Reduce' in the wrong tense.

(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
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25 Oct 2010, 00:18
(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
amount of 'singular noun'

(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping

(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
'reduces' wrong tense

(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
'are allowed' wrong tense

(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
same as C

So I will go with B
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25 Oct 2010, 08:10
OA is D.

We don't know whether this agreement is still in effect or not. If not, we should write were allowed. If so, we should write are allowed.

Since there is no option with were allowed, we simply go with 'are allowed.'
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05 Dec 2010, 04:34
I have serious problem in understanding this problem, wording seems to be very OK though.
it's not logical saying that THEY WERE ALLOWED TO DUMP X AMOUNT
and then AN AGREEMENT REDUCED THAT AMOUNT?
SO past perfect makes sense, doesn't it?

any hero elaborate this for me? why my reasoning is flawed??? please
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05 Dec 2010, 16:22
There is no necessity to use past perfect.....and moreover the law is still in place...So A i wrong....
IMO D
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2010, 02:27
Hi all,

I still did not get why D is the correct answer. If we rephrase D as follows:
reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump (today)

How could an agreement in 1972 reduce the new limit? It must have reduced the previous limit.

Moreover, I feel past perfect is right here because the dumping continued as per the previous limit till 1972, when the agreement came into action. So why not option A? :
reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump (before 1972, continued till the day of agreement)

TIA
Jaggy
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2010, 09:49
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The bottom-line here is - Which is the correct usage- a) Had been allowed to dump or b) were allowed to dump or C) are allowed to dump.

To understand the concept better, let’s delve into some definitions.

A present tense is used for a current activity or a daily activity or a universal activity.

A past tense used for an activity that started in the past and “ended” in the past. “Ending” in the past is an essential ingredient of past tense. If it had not ended and if it is still continuing, then we can not use the past and we have to use present perfect.

A past perfect is required to be used for distinguishing between two past tense events. The basic requirements are that both the events should have started and “ended” in the past; secondly one of the events should have ended distinctly earlier than the other event.

Given this backdrop, let us analyze the given choices. Has the dumping ended on the date of the agreement in 1972? The dumping had ended neither before nor after the date of the agreement.

Since the ending element is absent in the context, use of either past perfect or past tense is inappropriate.

You can perfectly use a present perfect, which is what Choice C is doing but unfortunately that choice suffers other anomalies such as “reduces” and “phosphate amount”.

D has no such infringements and hence the right choice.

There was a remark that Choice E is a fragment. A fragment lacks a verb. But the choice has ‘reduces’ as the main verb. Hence it is not a fragment, although it is still not the correct answer for using the present tense “reduces”
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2010, 11:45
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Hi Daagh,

Thank you for such a descriptive answer. +1 from me Now I get why D is correct. But I would like to present the case of past perfect tense mathematically here. Suppose, before 1972, the limit was value 100 and it was changed to value 50 by the agreement.
1) Rephrasing 'D' in question format: what is the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump? Obviously, the value 50.
2) Now rephrasing the question itself: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the value 50 to <don't know what value!>
But this is not logically correct. The value 50 was never changed. It was in fact the value 100 that was changed to 50.

Now consider Past Perfect tense:
1) Rephrasing 'A' in question format: What is the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump?(ended on the day of contract, supporting past perfect). Obviously, the value 100
2) Now rephrasing the question itself: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the value 100 to 50
which is exactly what happened.

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15 Dec 2010, 15:47
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United
States reduced the amount of phosphates that
municipalities had been allowed to dump
into the
Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that munici-
palities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipali-
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities
have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that munici-
palities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for
dumping by municipalities

Can someone explain this question. I have a doubt about the ans.
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15 Dec 2010, 16:50
D
rejected C because of " reduces"
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15 Dec 2010, 18:47
Hi,

Its D, but There might be a conflict between A & D

D shows that the reduction is still valid

A shows that, earlies large amount was allowed( use of Had been-Past perfect) but it was reduced after that (use of simple past) . doesnot tell anything whether the Reduction is amount is still valid or not.
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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15 Dec 2010, 19:49
Mathematics drives me nuts. That is why I am in Verbal. But considering that numerics is all about the nuances behind numbers, you may be right. But the essence of tense usage, demands that when you talk of something that has ended, it must have stopped lock, stock and barrel. There is no question of something stopping half the mark and still calling it as “stopped”. It will fall on the side of continuance. That is why I am inclined to think that past perfect doesn’t fit.
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2010, 02:59
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daagh wrote:
The gist of the sentence boils down to the restriction the agreement imposed on future action rather than on past action. Obliviously the agreement can't ask those who exceeded the dumping limits prior to 1972, to recover the dumped material from the lakes. So any mention of past tense or past perfect for describing the dumping is null and void. Choices A and B will be incorrect for this reason.

The amount of phosphates that municipalities had/have been allowed to dump
Couldnt it mean .
The stipulated amount decided by the authorities.
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Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink]

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16 Dec 2010, 05:01
Isn’t the issue about the habit of dumping rather than the amount? Dumping is an action, and we need to decide its tense.
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16 Dec 2010, 08:29
past perfect: something happened in the past and completed but The agreement is still in effect.
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16 Dec 2010, 10:32
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Hey guys,

Interesting debate - with verb tense errors I firmly believe that logic plays a huge role in your ability to make tough decisions. When looking at the choices, ask yourself "is it possible the events happened in this order?".

Here, is it possible that this law reduced "the amount that municipalities (PREVIOUSLY) had been able to dump"? Remember, "had been" means "before the past-tense event". A law can't retroactively change something like an amount - whatever these cities dumped is already dumped. so "had been" logically doesn't make sense for any of these.

The fact that we're anchored in 1972 at the beginning of the sentence means that we're stuck with the past-tense "reduced" and not "reduces", so that narrows us down to D, the only choice that sets a logical timeline for these events.
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Save $100 on live Veritas Prep GMAT Courses and Admissions Consulting Enroll now. Pay later. Take advantage of Veritas Prep's flexible payment plan options. Veritas Prep Reviews Veritas Prep GMAT Instructor Joined: 26 Jul 2010 Posts: 240 Followers: 215 Kudos [?]: 488 [0], given: 29 Re: SC 1000 - OA not sure [#permalink] ### Show Tags 16 Dec 2010, 11:25 Hey everyone: It looks like we have two threads going on the same question right now so let me copy over what I just wrote on the other thread in case it's helpful:  Interesting debate - with verb tense errors I firmly believe that logic plays a huge role in your ability to make tough decisions. When looking at the choices, ask yourself "is it possible the events happened in this order?".Here, is it possible that this law reduced "the amount that municipalities (PREVIOUSLY) had been able to dump"? Remember, "had been" means "before the past-tense event". A law can't retroactively change something like an amount - whatever these cities dumped is already dumped. so "had been" logically doesn't make sense for any of these.The fact that we're anchored in 1972 at the beginning of the sentence means that we're stuck with the past-tense "reduced" and not "reduces", so that narrows us down to D, the only choice that sets a logical timeline for these events. _________________ Brian Save$100 on live Veritas Prep GMAT Courses and Admissions Consulting

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28 Dec 2010, 19:26
has anyone reviewed the answers? I just downloaded the answer and found the answer to question 2 is wrong (should be D according to OG11, instead of A). wonder if I should continue use it....

2. A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.
(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
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29 Dec 2010, 02:40
yea. D looks right to me as well.
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29 Dec 2010, 07:47
(D)

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States   [#permalink] 29 Dec 2010, 07:47

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