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I have come across a SC question:
790). The number of mountain gorillas is declining with such rapidity that the population is one-half in the twenty years between a count made by George Schaller in 1960 and the one made by Dian Fossey in 1980.
(A) with such rapidity that the population is one-half
(B) with such rapidity that the population was one-half
(C) so rapidly the population divided in half
(D) so rapidly that the population was halved
(E) in such rapidity that the population is halved
Author says the answer is D with following explanation
790) . OA - D - idiomatic - ...so+adjective/ adverb+that..
A, B, E - incorrect - unidiomatic - ..such rapidity
C - incorrect - changes the meaning - wrongly suggests that the population divided in half
However I don't agree with the answer as IMO the original sentence uses the verb "is" (present tense) - "with such rapidity that the population is one-half" , whereas the answer choice is was (past tense).. Is there anything that I am missing here...
The number of mountain gorillas is declining so rapidly that the population was halved in the twenty years between a count made by George Schaller in 1960and the one made by Dian Fossey in 1980.
is correct because "is declining" refers to a more general trend and the tense indicates that it is continuing today, while the part that follows refers to an example sub-period in the past (from 1960 till 1980), so the past tense is justified...
Often "the best option" does not sound that great at all. _________________
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@thetiming, I guess u are right, sometimes u have to pick the best of the options although it might not be perfect one. @mymbadreamz, that's perfect.. I posed this question because there is another SC question and answer to that question disagreed with the answer of this question.. however, as said by the timing we have to choose the best one..
For better clarity and understanding, I'll also put the other question, which i mentioned in last comment..
791). The number of undergraduate degrees in engineering awarded by colleges and universities in the United States increased by more than twice from 1978 to 1985.
(A) increased by more than twice (B) increased more than two times (C) more than doubled (D) was more than doubled (E) had more than doubled
As per author the correct answer is C, whereas i though it to be D (based on the reasons mentioned by thetiming & mymbadreamz.. However that's not correct by the author.. can someone throw some light on this..??
Reasoning given by the author is as follows: 791). (OG 10th Ques No - 72) - OA - C OE: A - incorrect - because an adverb such as twice cannot function as an object of the preposition by
B - incorrect - distorts the sentence's meaning, stating that the number of engineering degrees conferred increased on more than two distinct occasions
D - incorrect - passive verb was ... doubled suggests without warrant that some unnamed agent increased the number of engineering degrees
E - incorrect - The past perfect tense .. had... doubled, is inappropriate unless the increase in engineering degrees is specifically being viewed as having occurred further back in the past than some subsequent event.
In this second example, the word "was" is not needed to put the action in the past. "Doubled" is already in the past tense. (As in, "His income doubled after he got his MBA.")
Putting "was" in front of doubled simply causes a shift to the passive voice, implying that someone doubled the number. This doesn't make sense under the circumstances. The number increased, but no one sat down and decided to double it.
So at this point, you may be thinking "Doesn't that mean that in the gorilla example, the correct answer is implying that someone or something actively cut the gorilla population in half?" You would be right; that is exactly what choice D is implying. However, in the case of the gorillas, outside forces (poachers, disease, etc.) might force this kind of change, so this construction makes more sense. There is also no other viable option, and that always helps make a choice more appealing! _________________
Dmitry Farber | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | New York