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: 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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17 Jun 2013, 23:43
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Hi Jazzyvirus,

So let's have a look at your sentence:

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

In blue is the contentious section.

Here what I suggest you do first is think about it logically - before going to any particular grammar rules.

When you say 'reduce the amount they had been allowed' - what does that actually mean logically? It means they reduce the amount they had been allowed to dump before. This is nonsense - that in 1972 they allowed them to dump less phosphates in years gone by. What the 1972 agreement does is reduce the amount they are allowed to dump in the future. This is not logically conveyed by your sentence.

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

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11 Sep 2013, 23:51
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nelz007 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.

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.

Hi Nelson,
Let me address your doubt by first understanding the intended meaning of the sentence and analyzing the sentence structure. Then it will be easier to understand the differences between the options. (A and D in this case)
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. Now let us analyze the sentence structure.

• A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates
o that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

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).

Therefore Choice A is incorrect for the reason discussed above.

Choice D: reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump.
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.
Therefore this option is correct.

The thing to note here is that both "were" and "are" can be correct. So, if any one of these is given in the option statements, we can mark that option statement.

Now, the question is: what difference does it make to use "are" over "were"?

The school reduced the fine that Joe was supposed to pay.
The school reduced the fine that Joe is supposed to pay.

Can you identify the difference between these two sentences?

In the first sentence, Joe "was" supposed to pay the fine sometime in the past and we do not know whether he has paid the fine till now or not.
In the second sentence, Joe "is" supposed to pay the fine presently and we know that he has not yet paid the fine.

Similar is the case with the use of "were" and "are" in the original sentence.

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities were allowed to dump into the Great Lakes

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump into the Great Lakes

The first sentence means that we are referring to amount of phosphates that municipalities were allowed to dump in the past whereas the second sentence means that we are referring to the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump currently.

Do you get the difference?

So, both "are" and "were" are grammatically correct but convey different meanings.

Hope this helps!

Regards,
Krishna
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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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05 Nov 2013, 22:54
bagdbmba wrote:
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.

Any update on this?

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

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26 Nov 2013, 10:26
Anyone of the modertors please give explanation for the OA
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 23:14
the rule of sequence of tenses in explained in many grammar books. the rule is that if the main clause is in the past tense, the subordinate clause must be in one of past tenses normally.
however, there is some cases, in which the main clause is in the past tense and the subordinate clause in present tense. this question shows one of the cases and is what we learn from this question.

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

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28 Nov 2013, 06:15
Guys can someone explain why A is wrong and D is correct. I am kind of messed up with these tenses.
What does the author wants to say exactly?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2013, 07:42
A must be the answer. The two actions happened in the past. So using past perfect is appropriate here.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce   [#permalink] 28 Nov 2013, 07:42

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