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In the most common procedure for harvesting forage crops

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Re: mySC - Harvesting forage crops Alfalfa 03-11 [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2011, 23:07
Initially I went for B, saw the explanation on the thread and agree that D is the answer.
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Re: In the most common procedure for harvesting forage crops [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2013, 01:47
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1) 20 % of leaves ARE
2) 20 % of leaves and stems ARE
2) 20 % of leave material IS...
3) 20 % of x, y and z MATERIAL IS..

hope it helps....
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Re: In the most common procedure for harvesting forage crops [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2013, 09:43
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ashkg wrote:
In the most common procedure for harvesting forage crops such as alfalfa, as much as 20 percent of the leaf and small-stem material, which is the most nutritious of all the parts of the plant, shattered and fell to the ground.
(A) which is the most nutritious of all the parts of the plant, shattered and fell
(B) the most nutritious of all parts of the plant, shatter and fall
(C) the parts of the plant which were most nutritious, will shatter and fall
(D) the most nutritious parts of the plant, shatters and falls
(E) parts of the plant which are the most nutritious, have shattered and fallen

fameatop wrote:
Hi Mike,
Can you kindly let us know the answer for the question coz as per me the answer should be B.
Waiting eagerly to hear from you.
Regards, Fame

Dear Fame,
I'm happy to help, my friend. :-)

I believe (B) is listed, as the OA, certainly on this page and perhaps by source, and I strongly disagree with this.

This is a very tricky point about percent. Percent of something countable (e.g. "20% of people", "20% of cars", etc.) is construed as plural --- we are talking about some number of people, some number of cars, etc. But, percent of something uncountable (e.g. "20% of the time", "20% of Earth's atmosphere", etc.) is construed as singular ---- it a single "lump" of the stuff --- a single chunk of time, a single chunk of the atmosphere, etc.

Here, it's percent of "material", an uncountable noun. This question is particularly tricky because it's "20 percent of the leaf and small-stem material" ---- "material" is uncountable, so the entire percent phrase is singular. If the wording had been "20 percent of the leaves and small-stems", those are countable, so that percent phrase would have been plural. Because the percent phrase mentions the potentially countable things (leaves, stems), I can see that many folks would be tempted to conclude that it's a percent of a countable thing, and that choice leads to what I could call the trap answer of (B). In fact, "leaf and small-stem material", and any kind of "material", is uncountable ---- we would say "how much material?", never "how many material?" ----- so, because we have a percent of something uncountable, it is construed as a singular subject and therefore demands the singular verb, which is precisely what (D) has. In my view, (D) is the best answer.

BTW, here's a recent blog that touches on some related issues:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-sente ... ve-idioms/

The best answer is not the answer listed by the source. That, I think, is at the root of all the back-and-forth on this page. I believe the source is one of those free online question banks. Are you familiar with the sarcastic phrase, "free and worth it?" I think that's the core of the problem.

Mike :-)
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Re: SC - Forage Crops [#permalink] New post 28 Aug 2013, 12:12
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priyankur_saha@ml.com wrote:
Could you please justify why you think that "20 percent of the leaf and small-stem material" = singular ?

20% of singular = singular [agree]
20% of plural = plural [agree]
but is leaf and small-stem material = singular? WHY?
"Leaf" is noun and "material" is another noun = should be plural....?!

Dear priyankur_saha,
You are parsing this as "thing #1 and thing #2", where thing #1 = "leaf" and thing #2 = "small-stem material". I assert, though that what we have here are two kinds of material --- "leaf (material)" and "small-stem material". I point out --- "20 percent of the leaf" by itself makes no sense --- what leaf? are we talking about a single leaf on a single alfalfa plant?? That's absurd! Instead, I assert we are talking about "20 percent of the leaf (material)" and "20 percent of the .... small-stem material".

Thus, "leaf and small-stem" here is a noun modifier. The noun itself is simply "material", and this is clearly a singular noun. More to the point, it's an uncountable noun, and percents of uncountable nouns are construed as singular.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Mike McGarry
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Re: SC - Forage Crops   [#permalink] 28 Aug 2013, 12:12
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