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Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than

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New post 11 Jul 2010, 03:51
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Hi Sam,

The issue of ambiguous pronouns is more a matter of logic than a GMAT 'trick'. If the pronoun has more than one logical referent, there is ambiguity.

Ex. Computer A is next to computer B, and it is broken.

In this sentence both computers are logical referents for "it". When you are presented with an ambiguous pronoun you will have trouble understanding what your sentence is saying. A correct answer will be a version of the sentence that is easier for you to understand because it is clearer.

Ex. Computer A, which is next to computer B, is broken.

In the problem at hand, "refiners" are the only word that make sense as the subject for the verb "were (paying)". Nothing else in the sentence has the ability to pay, so there is no problem with ambiguity here.

Hope that helps! Lots of luck!!!

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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 11 Jul 2010, 03:55
Thank You for a gr8 & also a very prompt reply.

Will keep this thing in mind. .......

Thanks a lot ......

Kudos to u ..... actually, let me give it rather than say it !!! :)
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jul 2010, 05:14
Hi, Sarai! thanks for the nice explanation first, helps a lot.

but I still have a question concerning A...

SaraiGMAXonline wrote:

A. Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
What is compared here are the times-- "this year" and "last" (meaning "last year"-- this is an ellipses).


OA says that "the sentense connects a comparison between this year's and last year’s heating-oil prices", not the time frame...

i'm so confused, hope you can shed some light on this issue.
thank you in advance:)
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New post 27 Apr 2011, 07:41
kindly post OA along with the questions
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 20 Aug 2011, 06:51
Why "they were" is correct in A? Why not they did? In-fact, should we be repeating the entire verb when we change the tense - Re: MGMAT SC?
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New post 20 Aug 2011, 08:37
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abhicoolmax wrote:
Why "they were" is correct in A? Why not they did? In-fact, should we be repeating the entire verb when we change the tense - Re: MGMAT SC?


This is a very good question. The general strategy followed is, whenever you come across an ellipsis (ommitting a part of the sentence if there is no ambiguity) the best way to check is to complete the sentence and see if the verb is correct.

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were paying ...

Vs

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they did paying ...

As you can see the second version does not make sense (it should have been pay for did to be correct).

However if the original sentence is reworded as

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners paid about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they did pay ... => did is correct here. (I agree this version does not make logical sense :), just for illustration purposes).

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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 23 Aug 2011, 12:09
KimiHana wrote:
KimiHana wrote:
Hi, Sarai! thanks for the nice explanation first, helps a lot.

but I still have a question concerning A...

SaraiGMAXonline wrote:

A. Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
What is compared here are the times-- "this year" and "last" (meaning "last year"-- this is an ellipses).


OA says that "the sentense connects a comparison between this year's and last year’s heating-oil prices", not the time frame...

i'm so confused, hope you can shed some light on this issue.
thank you in advance:)


Can anybody explain this one?


Yes the OG mentions 'the possessive last year's does not parallel the adverbial phrase this year' as one of the reasons for 'E' being wrong.

We are comparing last year's heating-oil prices to this year's heating-oil prices! And option 'E' clearly creates a parallel between the prices. I don't understand what is OG's point.

Any expert please?

Thanks a lot in advance!!
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 24 Aug 2011, 17:53
SaraiGMAXonline wrote:
papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(D) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did


You've done a good job guys! Let me see if I can help you out with some of the confusion regarding comparisons and ellipses:

A. Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
What is compared here are the times-- "this year" and "last" (meaning "last year"-- this is an ellipses).

When comparing time or place, you have two options for structuring the comparison:

1. Joe studies more at night that he does during the day. (The sentence compares Joe to himself.)

2. Joe studies more at night than during the day. (The sentence compares "at night" to "during the day.")

B. Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

Important Note!! The comparative structure requires that you use "than" after the "--er".

Correct: Tom is older than Bob.
Incorrect: Tom is older compared to/in comparison with/over Bob


You must use "than" after you've used a word ending with --er.

C. Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

You can stop reading as soon as you get to "for heating-oil prices" because that is not a correct description of the the expectations. The expectations are not for prices, but rather that prices will....

Important Note: Do not change a relative clause into a mere prepositional phrase!!

Ex. "I think that chickens fly" (relative clause: that+subject+verb) IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO "I think of chickens flying" (prepositional phrase: of chickens)


D. It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were

Same problem as B.

E. It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

"prices will rise higher this year than last year's" uses ellipses that hide the logic problem. Complete everything that was left out, and the resulting sentence is: "prices will rise higher this year than last year's prices rose. This is not intended meaning of the sentence.

Second, the word "more" is not correctly placed.

Correct: I paid 5 dollars more for my sandwich today than I did yesterday.

Incorrect: I paid 5 dollars for my sandwich more than I did yesterday.

"More" describes $5 and must therefore be placed next to $5.


These are great points! Although I did not analyze this sentence so thoroughly, I came to A since the more was oddly placed in most sentences I would have considered

$5 a barrel more for crude oil Vs. $5 a barrel for crude oil more

After narrowing those down, then I started comparing the options.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 05 Apr 2013, 01:43
SaraiGMAXonline wrote:
papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(D) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did


You've done a good job guys! Let me see if I can help you out with some of the confusion regarding comparisons and ellipses:

A. Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
What is compared here are the times-- "this year" and "last" (meaning "last year"-- this is an ellipses).

When comparing time or place, you have two options for structuring the comparison:

1. Joe studies more at night that he does during the day. (The sentence compares Joe to himself.)

2. Joe studies more at night than during the day. (The sentence compares "at night" to "during the day.")

B. Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

Important Note!! The comparative structure requires that you use "than" after the "--er".

Correct: Tom is older than Bob.
Incorrect: Tom is older compared to/in comparison with/over Bob


You must use "than" after you've used a word ending with --er.

C. Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

You can stop reading as soon as you get to "for heating-oil prices" because that is not a correct description of the the expectations. The expectations are not for prices, but rather that prices will....

Important Note: Do not change a relative clause into a mere prepositional phrase!!

Ex. "I think that chickens fly" (relative clause: that+subject+verb) IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO "I think of chickens flying" (prepositional phrase: of chickens)


D. It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were

Same problem as B.

E. It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

"prices will rise higher this year than last year's" uses ellipses that hide the logic problem. Complete everything that was left out, and the resulting sentence is: "prices will rise higher this year than last year's prices rose. This is not intended meaning of the sentence.

Second, the word "more" is not correctly placed.

Correct: I paid 5 dollars more for my sandwich today than I did yesterday.

Incorrect: I paid 5 dollars for my sandwich more than I did yesterday.

"More" describes $5 and must therefore be placed next to $5.


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New post 27 Jul 2013, 11:35
dwivedys wrote:
HEATING OIL PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THIS YEAR THAN LAST
Now the comparison focus shifts from Price to Time frame (this year versus last)


Ok, I understand this concept, but where I got stuck was the construction of option A

"Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last" now I can follow last with 2 things, Last Year
or last year's Prices

If I choose the 1st option, I think It can very well become prices of oil last yr compared to this Yr

Can someone explain me why its not the case here?
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New post 29 Jul 2013, 03:34
E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

the main problem with "last year's " is that

this year in the previous phrase is an adverbial while "last year" in " last year's" is used as noun. there is no parallelism and the comparision is wrong.

we do not need "of" in the previous clause to use " 's " in the latter clause but we need a parallelism.

Hope I am correct.
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New post 25 Sep 2013, 08:21
I almost picked E but at the last minute realized that 'It' is ambiguous- and that A was correct. IMO Parallelism, ambiguity and proper tense are all being tested on this one!
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New post 07 Oct 2013, 13:38
papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(8) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(d) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did


There's a typo in the original question. Please correct.
With regard to the question, the answer is straight A.
"Price are expected to be higher than last because refiners are paying more for oil than they were last year."
Don't fall for the redundancy trap - Rise higher is totally wrong
Perfect!
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 23 Oct 2013, 05:04
I would like to add the scenarios for 'over' usage :

a) increased 10% over the past year
b) five per cent increase over the previous year
c) sales are up by 7.3 per cent over the same time last year
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jan 2014, 09:47
papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(8) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(d) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did


When we have these types of SC questions, where the underline portion consists of > 90% of the text, we need to be pretty methodical, CAREFUL and really, really, really understand the intended meaning. In this case, the fact that "last year" is not underline helps us in picking the right choice. So: focus on options that end in words that correctly "flow" into the words last year.

A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher... because refiners... are paying more.... THAN they were... [last year]. Than they were flows nicely into last year, and "they" correctly refers to refiners. Also, there's no ambiguity and words are not positioned in wrong places. So far so good, let's check the other options.

B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher.. STOP. Rise higher? What? That implies some force will elevate prices so they physically rise above their current position. Obviously, this makes no sense.. Even if we ignore rise higher, "5 dollars a barrel for crude oil more" is wrong. More should come after 5 dollars otherwise more incorrectly refers to crude oil and not dollars. So, the errors here are grammatical. Notice that "they did" nicely flows into "last year" because they did refers to refiners.. Still, B is wrong for the grammatical errors.

C) "Expectations are for" seems like a perfect trap for certain non-native test-takers, but people that have had extensive exposure to american english know this sounds all types of wrong. Expectations are "for" nothing at all, frankly.. Something(s) is/are EXPECTED, or something is expected OF someone else, but not "for". Also, Im not sure but I believe "this year's" refers to expectations and not prices (it doesn't matter though, the option has so many other errors). And again, we have an error with "more" at the end of the sentence.

D) Again with the weird use of expectation.. "It is the expectation that" refers to who? Who expects? this option implies some sort of universal, objective expectation. Also "will rise higher" again implies prices will be elevated past their current, more down-to-earth position. That's clearly not the author's intent.

E) this is the best "wrong" answer, but it's still riddled with wrong elements. "rise higher" is wrong, "5 dollars for oil more" is wrong, and Im not sure (but it's just a minor issue) that "year's" is used correctly either.

Anyway.. A is clearly right because it is not riddled with the grammatical/meaning errors that the other options are.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jan 2014, 07:31
papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
(8) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
(d) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were
(E) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did


A - Correct
B - Incorrect because rise and higher are redundant. Use one or the other.
C - Incorrect because "expectations are for" is wrong idiom.
D - Incorrect because "It is the expectation that" seems wordy.
E - Incorrect because rise and higher are redundant. Use one or the other.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 06 Sep 2014, 15:42
Despite going through the whole thread, i'm stuck on one specific point about option E. I can see why E is wrong because of the usage of "more than" but I picked E because of "heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's..."

I felt that "year's" had to be a possessive because we are saying that " oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's oil prices" and we are NOT saying that "prices will higher than last year" because that would mean that we are comparing prices to year which is illogical.

Can someone please explain why my analysis is incorrect?
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than [#permalink]

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New post 06 Sep 2014, 21:25
russ9 wrote:
Despite going through the whole thread, i'm stuck on one specific point about option E. I can see why E is wrong because of the usage of "more than" but I picked E because of "heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's..."

I felt that "year's" had to be a possessive because we are saying that " oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's oil prices" and we are NOT saying that "prices will higher than last year" because that would mean that we are comparing prices to year which is illogical.

For the most part, if last year's had to be correct, there should have been a similar structure on the left hand side of the comparison operator (than); something along the following lines:

...this year's heating-oil prices are expected to be higher than last year's...

Also, there is a significant meaning change that E introduces; original sentence is not talking about how much prices will rise this year (as E suggests); original sentence talks about how much the prices are expected to be this year.
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10 Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than metallicafan 11 31 Oct 2010, 19:01
Heating-oil prices cici 0 10 Sep 2016, 13:08
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Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is year than

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