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Only seven people this century have been killed by the great

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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 14:55
mikemcgarry wrote:
imhimanshu wrote:
Hi Experts,

Can anyone comment on how correct option works? What kind of construction is this?

Only seven people this century have been killed by the great white shark, the man-eater of the movies—less than those killed by bee stings.

B. movies—fewer than have been

Thanks
H

Dear imhimanshu,
I am replying to your pm, and I'm happy to give my 2 cents on this question.

I have looked at various websites, and I am astounded how the web seems almost equally divided between people who insist the OA is (B) and people who insist the OA is (E). If this indeed a GMAT Prep, then either GMAT Prep itself showed inconsistencies, or tons of people mistakenly cite a wrong answer as the OA. Something is very fishy here.

I really liked what pqhai had to say about the dash --- a more emphatic break than a comma or semicolon. It can indicate an unexpected shift in the flow of the sentence.
Ted Williams was a Hall-of-Fame baseball player --- and a champion fisherman.
It can also be used for an appositive phrase or other noun modifier, especially if the modifier is long.
Americans consider Washington the "Father of the Country" --- a title that indicates how much he is endeared to Americans.

In the (B) version of the sentence,
Only seven people this century have been killed by the great white shark, the man-eater of the movies—fewer than have been killed by bee stings.
the dash serves to show an unexpected shift in the logic --- folks are deathly afraid of sharks, and the movies (such as "Jaws") have made notorious death by sharks. The unexpected irony is that little old bees have killed more people than gigantic sharks. The dash indicates this unexpected shift. Notice the good verb parallelism ---- "have been killed by X ... have been killed by Y". What pqhai says about this choice doesn't make sense to me --- it's verb parallelism --- what follows the dash is not a modifier.

Here, I would say both (B) & (E) are correct, grammatically and stylistically. We are dealing with the number of something, i.e. something countable, so we absolutely need the word "fewer" instead of "less." Choices (A) & (C) make the countable/uncountable mistake, so they are plain wrong, and (D) is an awkward wordy disaster. Choice (B) make be a tad shorter and more elegant than (E), but it's not really characteristic of the GMAT to have two answers, both of which are essentially correct: they are usually very good about making one clearly right answer and making something clearly flawed about each of the other four answers. Something is very fishy with this question.

Mike :-)



Hi mike,
I read in Magoosh's idiom book that for comparison less is preferred, so in this case shouldn't less be correct?
Please explain.
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 15:01
Expert's post
akijuneja wrote:
Hi mike,
I read in Magoosh's idiom book that for comparison less is preferred, so in this case shouldn't less be correct?
Please explain.

Dear akijuneja,
I have no idea what passage you might be citing from the idiom ebook, but this is a fundamental Diction issue ---- we use "less" for continuous uncountable items ---
less water, less air, less freedom, less democracy, less justice, less time, less space, less money
and we use "fewer" for countable items:
fewer people, fewer houses, fewer cards, fewer court cases, fewer hours, fewer inches, fewer dollars
See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... -vs-fewer/

This is a very important issue, which the GMAT frequently tests. It's very good to be clear on this.

Mike :-)
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 15:30
Dear mike
I read that when we compare numbers and numbers decrease we use less.
For eg: the melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.

Please explain.

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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 16 Sep 2013, 16:14
mikemcgarry wrote:
akijuneja wrote:
Hi mike,
I read in Magoosh's idiom book that for comparison less is preferred, so in this case shouldn't less be correct?
Please explain.

Dear akijuneja,
I have no idea what passage you might be citing from the idiom ebook, but this is a fundamental Diction issue ---- we use "less" for continuous uncountable items ---
less water, less air, less freedom, less democracy, less justice, less time, less space, less money
and we use "fewer" for countable items:
fewer people, fewer houses, fewer cards, fewer court cases, fewer hours, fewer inches, fewer dollars
See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... -vs-fewer/

This is a very important issue, which the GMAT frequently tests. It's very good to be clear on this.

Mike :-)


Dear mike
I read that when we compare numbers and numbers decrease we use less.
For eg: the melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.
Here melting point is a number and countable, so shouldn't fewer be used?
Second eg. I have fewer/less flowers than he has?
Please explain which form is correct on second example?

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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2013, 08:44
Dear Mike,

I can confirm that the OA is indeed B. I have verified it from GMAT PREP,as I encountered this question while taking test.

I'm producing a part of question in which I'm having doubt.

Only seven people this century have been killed by the great white shark, the man-eater of the movies—less than those killed by bee stings.

B. movies—fewer than have been
In option B, I wanted to understand the construction of the sentence. Can we say that the blue colored part is Clause.? if yes, then what is the subject?

E. movies, fewer than the ones
Again, what is highlighted portion depicting? Is it a modifier, if yes, then what kind of modifier is this? Appositive, and what is it modifying? Movies..?
Please explain.
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 17 Sep 2013, 19:18
pqhai wrote:
Hi imhimanshu. I'm glad to help.
Hi gmatter0913. I'd like to confirm OA is E. Please refer to my explanation below.


The OA is B. I can post screen print as well, if you like.
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2013, 06:57
E...

initially i was struck with D,E...

meaning: 7 people killed by shark.... fewer than 7 are killed by strings
error analysis: 1. . those is plural... used for far away from things/speaker...
2. less...uncountable
3. fewer.... countable....
so, AC,
D... people cannot be lower....
so E....
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 28 Oct 2013, 12:06
Even if the man eater of the movies is not there this sentence still makes sense, hence it is a non-essential modifier. These kind of modifiers should be bounded by comma. Fewer is countable. hence E

C is wrong because we see that which is modifying movies while it should modify white(adj) shark. A noun and its modifier should always touch each other.
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2013, 03:37
akijuneja wrote:
Dear mike
I read that when we compare numbers and numbers decrease we use less.
For eg: the melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.

Please explain.

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When we say "melting point", it is uncountable. Its is like , the "level of water" in a pool. It can be less not fewer.
Thats why, "fewer" is appropriate here because we are counting the number of people.
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great [#permalink] New post 20 Nov 2013, 10:39
Expert's post
avik629 wrote:
akijuneja wrote:
Dear mike
I read that when we compare numbers and numbers decrease we use less.
For eg: the melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.

Please explain.

Posted from my mobile device Image


When we say "melting point", it is uncountable. Its is like , the "level of water" in a pool. It can be less not fewer.
Thats why, "fewer" is appropriate here because we are counting the number of people.

Dear avik629,
Just to be clear, "melting point" is neither countable nor uncountable --- it is a third category: numbers themselves. If I ask, "what is the melting point of zinc?", the correct answer to that question is a number.

For uncountable nouns, we use "more" and "less".
For countable nouns, we use "more" and "fewer".
For numbers, we use "greater" and "less", or "higher" and "lower", or something along those lines.

It would be 100% wrong to use "fewer" for "melting point". We could use "less" or "lower", as in:
The melting point of zinc is less than that of copper.
The melting point of copper is greater than that of zinc.
Zinc has a lower melting point than does copper.
Copper has a higher melting point than does zinc.

See this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-compa ... -vs-fewer/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Only seven people this century have been killed by the great   [#permalink] 20 Nov 2013, 10:39
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