A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 19
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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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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 06:51
Thanks for the correct explanation.
But I have one issue here. Since the dumping was being done earlier than 1972, so shouldn't it be "had been"? They were allowed to dump some certain quantity before those alterations, hence I feel this way.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 07:04
To elaborate more on option A:

Where there are two events -- one with past perfect and one with simple past -- past perfect denotes the earlier event and simple past denotes later event. "Had been " is used to mean that earlier event is completed when the later event took place.

The sentence here is implying that the agreement was made at a time after the completion of the action dumping, i.e., when no more dumping is going on. But, that is not possible as nobody makes agreement on reducing something which is not existing.

As "had been" is making the dumping non-existent at the time of agreement, option A is wrong.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 07:26
Here is another explanation on "had been" vs "are" in this question from Aristotle prep (showing only the relevant part from the explanation):

"In case you are confused whether to go with the past perfect tense ‘had’ or the present tense ‘are’, think about it this way. The sentence already has a simple past tense in ‘reduced’. Now to go with the past perfect tense we must imply that the dumping happened before the agreement ‘reduced’ something. This makes no sense since the dumping continued after the agreement. So we need to go with the present tense verb ‘are’."
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 07:40
doe007 wrote:
Here is another explanation on "had been" vs "are" in this question from Aristotle prep (showing only the relevant part from the explanation):

"In case you are confused whether to go with the past perfect tense ‘had’ or the present tense ‘are’, think about it this way. The sentence already has a simple past tense in ‘reduced’. Now to go with the past perfect tense we must imply that the dumping happened before the agreement ‘reduced’ something. This makes no sense since the dumping continued after the agreement. So we need to go with the present tense verb ‘are’."

IMO, its clear that the restriction was on the certain pre-decided limit on the amount that was allowed to dump and not on whether dumping was allowed or not. "Had been" implies that something was happening before a certain event. After that event, something other than the previous started happening.

By D, IMO it seems that the alteration was done for the year 2013 onwards and that is why it is using "are".
Isn't that so?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 09:01
I can understand your logic as well as GMAC's.

My understanding on GMAC's explanation is:
The agreement in 1972 set the allowed amount of phosphates that can be dumped. Now, if that amount is still effective, we need "are". But, if the amount was changed sometime after 1972, we need "were".
In option D, the verb "are" is implying that the limit set by 1972 agreement is still valid.
(Well, we may think that "have been" should be more appropriate here. But, we need to pick with best of the lot as the right answer which may not be perfect sentence.)
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 09:43
Thi sis a bit tricky question because someone could think that the agreement was done in 72 but curtail something until NOW and from this the right tense is the present.

But the logic is that: before 72 the amout was 100 for instance, after 72 instead was 50 and NOW what is permitted is that 50.

We do not know if this scenario unfolds untill now or in the future or it stops in 2005, for instance.

As such, the most important thing is to figure out the second scenario; that is: the agreement reduced the amount in the past and the countries was permitted to dump this amount

So C and E are out

We need the amount of X so B is out

A and D. A had allowed is wrong doesnt have any sense, is quite clear

So D remains
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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08 May 2013, 10:51
carcass wrote:
Thi sis a bit tricky question because someone could think that the agreement was done in 72 but curtail something until NOW and from this the right tense is the present.

But the logic is that: before 72 the amout was 100 for instance, after 72 instead was 50 and NOW what is permitted is that 50.

We do not know if this scenario unfolds untill now or in the future or it stops in 2005, for instance.

As such, the most important thing is to figure out the second scenario; that is: the agreement reduced the amount in the past and the countries was permitted to dump this amount

So C and E are out

We need the amount of X so B is out

A and D. A had allowed is wrong doesnt have any sense, is quite clear

So D remains

This kind of question is tricky, but the answer is always the same. When something occured in the past that made a change, the correct verb tense will always be in the present. The change was made in terms of what we are allowed to now, not in terms of what was done then. There are literally dozens of pages on this question from the past 10 years, but all questions of this type need to have a verb tense in the present. The timeline just doesn't work logically (think Terminator or MiB3) if you keep it this way. To preserve the timeline logic, the verb must be in the present.

Hope this helps!
-Ron
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Re: Verb tense & participles [#permalink]

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27 May 2013, 14:46
Phoenix72 wrote:
D should be the ans.

(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

Awesome way to show the incorrect parts
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07 Jun 2013, 11:20
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lake.

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 that 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

Last edited by Guest on 07 Jun 2013, 11:22, edited 1 time in total.
Merging similar topics.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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07 Jun 2013, 15:22
I think it should be "D", because the agreement is still in effect.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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17 Jun 2013, 19:39
Alright, let's use a little imagination (only to better understand the original sentence) and a great dose of logic as well, shall we? Let's consider the following sequence of events:

1. 1st January, 1970 - US and Canada enter into an agreement (effective on an immediate basis) that allows municipalities to dump 100 pounds of phosphates into the Great Lakes every year.

2. 1st January, 1972 - US and Canada enter into an agreement (effective on an immediate basis) that reduces the amount of phosphates municipalities are allowed to dump into the Great Lakes every year from 100 pounds to 50 pounds.

3. 1st January, 1974 - US and Canada enter into an agreement (effective on an immediate basis) that prohibits municipalities from dumping (any amount of) phosphates into the Great Lakes.

Let's assume that no actual dumping of phosphates into the Great Lakes has ever happened in the history of mankind. We are only talking about permissions here.

Let's also assume we are in the year 2146, and there's no US, no Canada, there's no Great Lakes, no municipalities, no phosphates and no agreements.

Now, in 2146, to describe what the 1st January 1972 agreement brought into effect, a historian says:

"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."

Can someone tell me what's wrong with the sentence above?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2013, 03:56
I chose A but why does the answer show D??
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Re: R: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States red [#permalink]

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18 Jun 2013, 06:54
sam15000 wrote:
I chose A but why does the answer show D??

Because the agreement happens I the past but has consequences in the present still today. the wastes are not allowed or allowed in a few quantity.

Moreover, had been is wrong... has no sense in the context

Hope this helps

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2013, 06:46
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. How can you reduce the amount of phosphates dumped in past
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping. How can you reduce the amount of phosphates dumped in past
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump. A 1972 agreement requires a past tense not present tense -"reduces"
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities A 1972 agreement requires a past tense not present tense -"reduces"
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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26 Jul 2013, 04:04
This is a OG 13 Question... However, the OA given in it is choice D... "are allowed to" :O
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2013, 20:25
rahul wrote:
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

First categorization is between reduces and reduced. Clearly, the agreement in past makes "reduces" incorrect.
Of the remaining options A, B and D - Both A and B imply that the agreement is changing something that "Had been" happening.
For Eg -: Saying that - " From Monday onwards, I reduced the number of daily questions I had been solving." ; this statement would mean that I went back in time and reduced the number of daily questions I solved on Sunday and days before that ( which I can't , technically! )

So I'd rather say - "From Monday onwards, I reduced the number of daily questions I solve" ( since i still solve a reduced number of daily questions, unless specified otherwise)..

Hence, D is the right answer!!!
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2013, 20:54
Hopefully someone in the near future will be able to explain why its D and not A. Perhaps the context of the sentence? I picked A myself
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2013, 20:51
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.

Reasoning of many in the old posts:

Agreement is still in effect

Yeah the agreement is still in effect;however, the agreement's action is in past "REDUCED".

X REDUCED Y Where X= Agreement and Y = Amount of phosphates

IMHO the "THAT" pronoun is not modifying "PHOSPHATES" , it is modifying the Prepositional Phrase
"Amount of Phosphates".

So X REDUCED the AMOUNT which municipalities WERE ALLOWED to DUMP at the time of agreement.
Hence , I agree the use of PP is unnecessary in this context.

However, I disagree the use of present tense here because after 1972's agreement the AMOUNT has already been
REDUCED WHICH they WERE ALLOWED TO DUMP.

How can 1972's agreement REDUCE the CURRENT AMOUNT when it has already reduced the AMOUNT that was ALLOWED at the time of agreement?????

Truly Tricky sentence it is.

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2013, 20:32
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.

I wasn't fully convinced with the OA it was between A and D for me. When I pre-thought an answer choice I thought of the "were allowed" but that wasn't there in any of the answer choice.
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26 Oct 2013, 06:59
egmat wrote:
Hi All,
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphate that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

The intended meaning of the sentence is that till 1972, municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes. However, a 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced this amount.

The only error in this sentence is the use of past perfect tense “had been allowed”. Let us understand how. Per the sentence, the agreement reduced the amount that municipalities were allowed to dump. Now in this sentence, the verb tense - past perfect tense - had been allowed - is incorrect because it non-sensically implies that municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount sometime in the past - (they are no longer allowed to dump now, since the action is already completed) and then the next event in the past happened - the agreement reduced this amount. It is not possible to reduce an amount for something that has already happened (had been allowed).

Process of Elimination

Choice A: Incorrect for the reason discussed above.

Choice B: reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping. Incorrect. Per this choice the agreement itself did the action of "reduce". This cannot be true because the agreement cannot reduce the amount of phosphates dumped by municipalities. The agreement can only provide limits for this amount. The municipalities have to then take appropriate actions to reduce their emissions to meet the new allowable limits. Removal of “allow” distorts the meaning of the sentence. Also, this choice has the same verb tense issue as in choice A.

Choice C: reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump. Incorrect. Since agreement took place in 1972, use of present tense “reduces” is incorrect. Also, this sentence states a general fact about the amount of phosphate the municipalities are allowed to dump. This must be stated in the simple present tense. Use of present perfect tense “have been allowed” to state a general fact is not correct.

Choice D: reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump. Correct. This choice conveys the intended meaning. In general, the municipalities are allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate. However, an agreement between Canada and the US reduced that amount in 1972.

Choice E: reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities. Incorrect. This choice has the same verb tense error as in choice C. Use of “for” after “allowed” is unidiomatic.

1. Understand the intended meaning of the sentence.
2. Past perfect tense denotes that the action is already over.
3. Be careful of the choices that remove certain words present in the original choice. Such removals may change the meaning of the sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

I've two possible explanations for this sentence so,please let me know whether any one of these is correct, if at all ?

1.Here, if we say that per the sentence and the meaning it's clear that 'till 1972 municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes but a 1972 agreement reduced this amount'. Now isn't it evident that the phrase "A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount" provides a time frame that clearly indicates that dumping was there before this agreement in 1972. So no need to use past perfect 'had been allowed to dump' explicitly.

2. 'allowed to dump' and 'reduced this amount' are NOT really related - dumping can occur even if there is no REDUCTION in 1972. So, two unrelated events in the past - no need to use past perfect.

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States   [#permalink] 26 Oct 2013, 06:59

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