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Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of

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Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 28 Jun 2012, 20:41
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Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, twice as much acreage was destroyed than had earlier been ravaged in Napoleon's Moscow burnings of 1812 and the Great Fire of London of 1666 combined.

a. than had earlier been
b. than the amount that was earlier
c. over the amount that was previously
d. as had earlier been
e. as was
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2012, 01:27
Based on parallelism rule, only choice D and E matched. Due to the meaning of whole sentence, the underlined part should happen before the non-underlined part of the sentence (before)
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2012, 06:18
idiom- twice "as much as" so down to d or e
I picked E but i guess the answer is D for tense purposes??

Not sure
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2012, 06:39
IMO -D

A, B - "Twice" would not fit with "than" here because "twice"is standard but "than"is for comparison INAPPROPRIATE for action1 comaprison with action 2 and action 3
C-amount?
D-as had earlier been P of Q and J of K.
E- incorrect usage
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2012, 07:11
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A comparative idiom started with - as -has to be completed with – as; D and E survive. The other two fires occurred earlier than Chicago fire. Therefore, it is appropriate to use past perfect; D is the choice
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jun 2012, 14:07
D for me. "as much X, as Y" was my choice and hence gravitated to D and E. D then felt right as it established a sequence with the present perfect tense "had been earlier"
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 07 Nov 2012, 17:27
daagh wrote:
A comparative idiom started with - as -has to be completed with – as; D and E survive. The other two fires occurred earlier than Chicago fire. Therefore, it is appropriate to use past perfect; D is the choice


Since the times of the fires are clearly mentioned, is past perfect really required?
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Re: Great Chicago Fire [#permalink]

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New post 31 Jan 2013, 21:37
daagh wrote:
A comparative idiom started with - as -has to be completed with – as; D and E survive. The other two fires occurred earlier than Chicago fire. Therefore, it is appropriate to use past perfect; D is the choice



IMO Past perfect is used if we want to establish the sequence of time for 2 different actions. In this sentence it is clearly mentioned that Moscow's burning happened in 1812 & Great fire of London in 1666.
Moreover simplicity is preferred on GMAT.
Still option E is incorrect & D correct - WHY?

Can you let me know where am i making a mistake.

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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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vatsas wrote:
Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, twice as much acreage was destroyed than had earlier been ravaged in Napoleon's Moscow burnings of 1812 and the Great Fire of London of 1666 combined.
(A) than had earlier been
(B) than the amount that was earlier
(C) over the amount that was previously
(D) as had earlier been
(E) as was

fameatop wrote:
IMO Past perfect is used if we want to establish the sequence of time for 2 different actions. In this sentence it is clearly mentioned that Moscow's burning happened in 1812 & Great fire of London in 1666.
Moreover simplicity is preferred on GMAT. Still option E is incorrect & D correct - WHY?
Can you let me know where am i making a mistake.

First of all, let me go on record on saying ---- I don't like this question. It doesn't strike me as holding up the standards of GMAT SC. I don't have the highest opinion of this particular source.
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/kaplan-gma ... ok-review/

I will also say --- there is nothing black & white wrong about choice (D). The first three are clearly and unambiguously wrong. Between choices (D) & (E) there are shades of grey. The three things make (E) preferable, but two of them are sketchy and wouldn't be the sole deciding split on a real GMAT SC.
(1) in (D) the adverb "earlier" breaks up the verb --- this can be considered "in poor taste", but the GMAT SC is never this picayune. This is not a "stand alone split" that would indicate an answer is clearly wrong.
(2) (E) is more concise --- that genuinely is a GMAT SC standard --- all other things being equal, go with the shorter and more direct answer
(3) the issue of case ---- on the one hand, past-perfect is a way to indicate that one past action came before another past action. Some authors would say --- if some other means (such as dates/times or sequence words --- "before", "after") clearly indicate the sequence of events, then it is redundant to indicate the sequence with verb tense as well. These authors would say the use of the past perfect in this sentence is correct .....
(a) I had already arrived when she made her grand entrance to the party.
.... because nothing else clearly indicates the sequence, but they would object to .....
(b) I had already arrived before she made her grand entrance to the party.
... because both the past perfect verb and the word "before" indicate the sequence, and these purists would say the double-indication of the time sequence is redundant.
I will say --- I absolutely love grammar and grammatical distinctions, but when it gets into this territory, I think some people have too much time on their hands and need to get out of the house more. More to the point, I have never seen this particular distinction tested on GMAT SC. Nevertheless, I believe this distinction #3 is exactly what this particular question is testing, and as such, I think that makes it a relatively poor SC question.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jul 2014, 14:10
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Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2014, 14:16
Can I add a question along these lines:
When you already have time specifiers in a sentence for earlier past even (words like "before", "after", "in"), is it right in GMAT to use past perfect?

Also, mikemcgarry, digging the usage of "picayune" :D
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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 09 Nov 2015, 17:10
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2016, 03:51
I think that E is correct here. Yes it is true that "had been" would give us a time marker to correctly date the events in thesentence.

However, we know that the Chicago fire took place in 1987 and the two others took place in 1812 and 1666, so the sentence tells us when those events took place, therefore we have the time markers already provided. That makes the use of had been optional.

Plus, E has the correct paralel use of "as much was (destroyed) + as was (ravaged)" somehting you don't have in D.

IMHO :)
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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2016, 04:33
vatsas wrote:
Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, twice as much acreage was destroyed than had earlier been ravaged in Napoleon's Moscow burnings of 1812 and the Great Fire of London of 1666 combined.

a. than had earlier been
b. than the amount that was earlier
c. over the amount that was previously
d. as had earlier been
e. as was


I think in option D , earlier is redundant. 'had' itself clears the meaning. Thats why I did not pick option D but chose E.
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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2016, 10:05
wrong question
had done is used to show an action prior to past point but without a definited point in past
I learned english in 2000 and learned french in 1999

we can not used had done : had learned french in 1999
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Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of [#permalink]

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New post 22 Apr 2016, 10:47
robu wrote:
vatsas wrote:
Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, twice as much acreage was destroyed than had earlier been ravaged in Napoleon's Moscow burnings of 1812 and the Great Fire of London of 1666 combined.

a. than had earlier been
b. than the amount that was earlier
c. over the amount that was previously
d. as had earlier been
e. as was


I think in option D , earlier is redundant. 'had' itself clears the meaning. Thats why I did not pick option D but chose E.


Usage of past perfect with a time expression such as before, previously, earlier etc. may be considered redundant but is not grammatically incorrect altogether. Past perfect is a definite necessity here to indicate that an event happened at a point prior to another event - a direct bearing with another event makes the use of perfect mandatory.

Hence although there could be redundancy issue, it is less serious than the problem in E (i.e. use of simple past). We are supposed to choose the best answer among the given ones !

My suggestion would be that when we have two choices that cannot be eliminated on any other ground and one of them has this issue, only then eliminate on this basis.
Re: Some historians estimate that in the Great Chicago Fire of   [#permalink] 22 Apr 2016, 10:47
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