Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 2
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# Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine

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19 Jul 2013, 13:49
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Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coast, their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970’s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.

their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970s
their population has declined dramatically compared with the 1970s
their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s
their populations have declined in comparison to those of the 1970s
their population has declined in comparison with that of the 1970s

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Last edited by Zarrolou on 19 Jul 2013, 14:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2013, 15:59
Are we saying d and e are wrong because 1970 is in the prepositional phrase and it cannot be subject of a period. Or because it has bad comparisons. Please clarify because I am still stuck on e and choices.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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19 Jul 2013, 16:37
AMITAGARWALS,

Quote:
a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.

Is a modifier - appositive that modifies the noun 1920s. 1920s is not playing the role of subject.

The rule that subject can't be in a prepositional phrase is valid for only Independent clauses and is not a hard rule for relative clauses (that, which, who) and modifier phrases.

Hope this is clear.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coas [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2013, 21:24
mikemcgarry wrote:
vishu1414 wrote:
Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coast, their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970’s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.
(A) their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970s
(B) their population has declined dramatically compared with the 1970s
(C) their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s
(D) their populations have declined in comparison to those of the 1970s
(E) their population has declined in comparison with that of the 1970s

In this one, the comparison is problematic. We can logical compare the 1970's to another time period, but here the comparison is between the 1970's and the implicit idea of "now" --- this happens all the time in colloquial English, but the GMAT doesn't like this. The GMAT wants explicit comparisons only.

The only answer that completely avoids the awkward comparison is (C), which deftly rephrases the information in a logical and grammatically correct way. Choice (C) stands out as much better than any of the other answers.

Hi,
Thanks for the explanation!!
But I still have one doubt in option C. Don't you feel that in option c the word "populations" should be "population" . Why a pronoun form is used.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coas [#permalink]

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20 Jul 2013, 22:00
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sharmaprashant19 wrote:
mikemcgarry wrote:
vishu1414 wrote:
Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coast, their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970’s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.
(A) their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970s
(B) their population has declined dramatically compared with the 1970s
(C) their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s
(D) their populations have declined in comparison to those of the 1970s
(E) their population has declined in comparison with that of the 1970s

In this one, the comparison is problematic. We can logical compare the 1970's to another time period, but here the comparison is between the 1970's and the implicit idea of "now" --- this happens all the time in colloquial English, but the GMAT doesn't like this. The GMAT wants explicit comparisons only.

The only answer that completely avoids the awkward comparison is (C), which deftly rephrases the information in a logical and grammatically correct way. Choice (C) stands out as much better than any of the other answers.

Hi,
Thanks for the explanation!!
But I still have one doubt in option C. Don't you feel that in option c the word "populations" should be "population" . Why a pronoun form is used.

Hi sharmaprashant19

Population can be used as plural (populations) or singular. "Populations" means more than one population, for example: the population of blue herons living in the north of Maine coast, the other population of blue herons living in the south. If you say population (singular), you mean all the blue herons of a particular area. (They live together).

More example:
Tiger populations all around the world are decreasing. The intended meaning is that tiger population in India, tiger population in China, and tiger population in other countries are decreasing.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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09 Apr 2015, 06:29
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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24 May 2015, 02:23
mikemcgarry :- Can you please explain why E is wrong?
I found one issue Dynamically is omitted in E , other than this is there any issue by which we can Discard C.

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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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26 May 2015, 09:06
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Expert's post
Shree9975 wrote:
mikemcgarry :- Can you please explain why E is wrong?
I found one issue Dynamically is omitted in E , other than this is there any issue by which we can Discard C.

Dear Shree9975,

I'm happy to respond. Here's the question again:
Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coast, their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970’s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.
A) their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970's
B) their population has declined dramatically compared with the 1970's
C) their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970's
D) their populations have declined in comparison to those of the 1970's
E) their population has declined in comparison with that of the 1970's

Yes, one problem with (D) & (E) is the subtle change in meaning caused by dropping the word "dramatically." More importantly, both of those choices are monsters of awkward length. Suppose we re-insert the word "dramatically" and compare (E) to the OA of (C):
C) their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970's
E) their population has declined dramatically in comparison with that of the 1970's
Think about what happens after "declined dramatically:" (C) has just three words, brief and elegant, to express the comparison, whereas (E) has a bloated seven words to say the same thing. Choice (E) is 100% grammatically correct and it completely awkward in its excessive wordiness. It uses more than twice the number of words necessary to say the same thing.

Remember: the GMAT SC is not just about grammar. Many incorrect answers on the SC are entirely grammatically correct. A correct answer also must be forceful, unambiguous, and direct. Choice (E) is flaccid, bloated, and livy-livered---the stuff that the GMAT hates! That's why it is wrong.
See
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-sc-wordy-vs-concise/

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2015, 00:00
Populations is wrong. How can population be pluralized? Population in itself is a collection.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2015, 07:05
Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine coast, their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970’s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.

A)their population has declined dramatically when compared to the 1970s compares population to the decade
B) their population has declined dramatically compared with the 1970s compares population to the decade
C)their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s
D) their populations have declined in comparison to those of the 1970s lacks "dramatically" and "those" doesn't refer specifically to the blue heron populations of the 70's
E) their population has declined in comparison with that of the 1970s lacks "dramatically" and "that" doesn't refer specifically to the blue heron population of the 70's
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2015, 05:37
My one question is: is there a word as populations? I do not think any dictionary defines populations. They define only Population. Population itself is said to act as a plural in some cases. I would welcome some academic references for the word 'populations'.

So I feel all the choices depicting populations may prove grammatically wrong, leaving us only with choice E as the best contender, notwithstanding the dropping of the word 'dramatically'.

Any takers?
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2015, 08:17
daagh wrote:
My one question is: is there a word as populations? I do not think any dictionary defines populations. They define only Population. Population itself is said to act as a plural in some cases. I would welcome some academic references for the word 'populations'.

So I feel all the choices depicting populations may prove grammatically wrong, leaving us only with choice E as the best contender, notwithstanding the dropping of the word 'dramatically'.

Any takers?

Dear daagh,
I'm happy to respond. My friend, the word "populations" is absolutely a word with a valid meaning, as long as we are talking about a non-homogeneous group. If we are talking about human beings, all human beings, and emphasizing our commonality, then of course there is just one human population. BUT, if we are talking about several individual mass movements, and we want to emphasize the uniqueness of each one, we would be more inclined to use "populations." Example:
The example of Easter Island raises the question whether human populations can bring about their own demise purely through unchecked consumption.
You see, the folks on Easter Island were one isolated group, one population, and we could easily imagine other indigenous isolated groups, other populations. The dynamics within any one of them are self-contained, so it makes sense to emphasize their differences.

Now, in this question, I am not an expert on blue herons, and perhaps you are not either. When non-experts hear "blue herons," we may think that there is only one kind of animal, one species, only one way to be a "blue heron." Suppose an expert came along, a trained biologist, and told us that there were, say, 15 different species of blue herons, and that each species had its own diet, its own environmental requirements, etc. etc. In particular, perhaps different blue heron species participated in different levels of conflict & competition with bald eagles for food & nesting sites. If that were the case, then the biological expert would have every reason to emphasize their differences, and speak of the "populations" of blue herons, that is, the collections of the groups of distinct species.

Of course, we don't know any of this expert knowledge, but it is certainly plausible that there are different species of blue herons, and that therefore it would be perfectly correct to speak of their "populations." We don't know this a priori, but the grammar of the SC problem forces us to accept (C), which de facto leads us to the "different species" conclusion.

My friend, does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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18 Jul 2015, 08:38
Thanks Mike: as a native speaker, you ought to know better than I do. After all, non-natives may go more by book knowledge, than by the more relevant contexts and subtle shades of differences in meaning. I take you point.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2016, 05:57
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2016, 12:38
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Now that VerbalBot has raked this up yet again, let’s revisit it. The OA is supposed to be C as per the elaborate discussions done hitherto

C) their populations have declined dramatically since the 1970s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.

The preposition since indicates (erroneously IMO) that the declines have been happening since 1970 until now or for that matter may even continue further. However the following part after the timeline in choice C, an appositive modifier that relates to the period between the 70’s and now, uses a past tense verb were. To put in the other way, should we not say…
C. their populations declined dramatically in the 1970s, a period in which there were fewer bald eagles competing with them for food and nesting sites.

One may note that 'since' is incongruous here, as the period 1970’s is long, long over.
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Re: Although blue herons can still be found along the Maine   [#permalink] 14 Aug 2016, 12:38

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