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For most consumers, the price of automobile insurance

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For most consumers, the price of automobile insurance [#permalink] New post 23 Feb 2012, 11:47
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Question Stats:

55% (01:59) correct 45% (00:51) wrong based on 31 sessions
:!: 307. For most consumers, the price of automobile insurance continues to rise annually, even if free of damage claims and moving violations.
(A) even if
(B) despite being
(C) even if they are
(D) although they may be
(E) even if remaining


Why is B incorrect.
The OA is C. but they in c makes it ambiguous . Same for D. Despite in B rightly brings out the contrast. Any thoughts?

Also, when do I use - Even if, Even Though, Although, Despite
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: auto insurance [#permalink] New post 23 Feb 2012, 16:26
Expert's post
Hi, there. I'm happy to give my 2-cents on this. :)

307. For most consumers, the price of automobile insurance continues to rise annually, even if free of damage claims and moving violations.
(A) even if
(B) despite being
(C) even if they are
(D) although they may be
(E) even if remaining

In the prompt, there are two singular nouns (in green) and one plural noun (in red/pink). We have to ask: who or what is "free of damage claims and moving violations"? That doesn't apply to either of the singular nouns --- only people, drivers, can have damage claims and/or moving violations. Without a verb after the "even if", the implication is that the subject of the sentence is the subject of the clause, by parallelism. The word "price" is the subject of the sentence, but we don't want that to be the subject of the clause --- that's why (A) & (B) & (E) are all wrong. Without a new pronoun, the subject of this clause will default the subject of the sentence, which doesn't work here.

That leaves (C) & (D), both of which have the proper pronoun "they", which correctly and unambiguously refers back to the only plural noun in the sentence, the "consumers." Now, keep in mind, not all consumers/drivers have damage claims and/or moving violations. Many have neither, some have one or the other, and a few particular bad drivers have both. When we talk about the consumers who are "free of damage claims and moving violations", that's not everyone. That's a condition. One way to impost a condition is with the word "if". Choice (C) does this 100% correctly.

Choice (D) is awkward. Admittedly, it doesn't make the mistake of implying that all consumers are "free of damage claims and moving violations." The word "although" doesn't create enough of a contrast --- it's a weaker contrasting word. The "although" is one of those polite deferential ways to make a contrast. Here, we want to make a strong contrast, with a less polite and more shocking edge. Sure, the insurance will go up for the poor schmuck who always gets in accidents and gets moving violations --- that's obvious --- but it goes up EVEN for folks who have crystal clean driving record! How dare they! The word "even" is a very strong word emphasizing a condition so extreme that it's hard to believe. There's nothing gentle about the word "even", whereas "although" is word that is more gentle, more genteel.

We want to make a strong contrast, and we want to make that contrast only for a particular subset of "consumer", only those consumer who meet the condition of being "free of damage claims and moving violations". We use the word "even" for the strong contrast, the word "if" to impose the condition, and the pronoun "they" to refer back to the only plural noun in the sentence. That's why (C) is the best answer here.

Does all that make sense? Please let me know if have further questions.

Mike :)
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Re: auto insurance [#permalink] New post 23 Feb 2012, 20:12
Thanks a lot for the response mike.. Just 1 more question to get my thought together.
We say the THEY is not ambiguous because its agreeing in number with the only plural noun.
What if I tweaked the sentence to read
For most consumers, the prices of automobile insurance continue to rise annually, even if they are free of damage claims and moving violations.

In the sentence above is they ambiguous? since it could refer to consumers or prices?
would the right constrution be acheived by replacing the they with the noun consumers - ... continue to rise..,even if the consumers are free..
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Status: May The Force Be With Me (D-DAY 15 May 2012)
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Re: auto insurance [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2012, 02:48
Tough question !!!
Plus an important take away hence a +1 Kudoos
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: auto insurance [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2012, 11:02
Expert's post
devinawilliam83 wrote:
Thanks a lot for the response mike.. Just 1 more question to get my thought together.
We say the THEY is not ambiguous because its agreeing in number with the only plural noun.
What if I tweaked the sentence to read
For most consumers, the prices of automobile insurance continue to rise annually, even if they are free of damage claims and moving violations.

In the sentence above is they ambiguous? since it could refer to consumers or prices?
would the right constrution be acheived by replacing the they with the noun consumers - ... continue to rise..,even if the consumers are free..


Great question. Yes, if there were more than one plural noun, the sentence would be ambiguous, especially if a plural noun not intended as the antecedent were the subject of the main verb, as occurs in: "For most consumers, the prices of automobile insurance continue to rise annually, even if they are free of damage claims and moving violations." If that were the case, then we would have to replace the pronoun "they" with the noun "consumers", but that, in turn, makes the beginning prepositional phrase absolutely superfluous. Thus, the corrected sentence would be:

The prices of automobile insurance continue to rise annually, even if consumers are free of damage claims and moving violations.

or

The prices of automobile insurance continue to rise annually, even for consumers free of damage claims and moving violations.

Does that make sense? Please let me know if I can clarify anything else about this.

Mike :)
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Re: auto insurance   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2012, 11:02
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