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# Three out of every four automobile owners in the United

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Joined: 29 Feb 2012
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Concentration: General Management, Entrepreneurship
GMAT Date: 05-21-2012
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Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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11 May 2012, 22:17
00:00

Difficulty:

5% (low)

Question Stats:

82% (01:36) correct 18% (00:50) wrong based on 110 sessions

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Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.

(A) Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.
(B) Out of every four, three automobile owners in the United States also owns a bicycle.
(C) Bicycles are owned by three out of every four owners of automobiles in the United States.
(D) In the United States, three out of every four automobile owners owns bicycles.
(E) Out of every four owners of automobiles in the United States, bicycles are also owned by three.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
The OA is A but how can "three" automobile owners also own "a" bicycle? C seems to be the best answer even if it's in passive voice.

Would appreciate your help on this.

Thanks,
Yash
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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12 May 2012, 02:47
Hi Yash, usually the gmat prefers 'active voice' (eg. Yash owns a Ferrari) over 'passive voice' (eg. This Ferrari is owned by Yash) and if there is an answer choice in active voice you should choose it.

(A) Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.

I think you're confusing verb forms. In the last part of the sentence, own (is in plural) which correctly modifies three owners.

Another useful thing to remember: a quantity word like three is usually plural except for the form: "The number of"

eg. The number of sick people is increasing.

eg. Three people are sick.

Hope this clears things a little. Also take a look at my sentence correction flashcards here:

GMAT Club General GMAT Questions and Strategies Forum..just scroll down and look for macjas's sc flashcards or search for it..

The rules that apply to this sc question are all mentioned in those flashcards.

Good luck studying yaar!
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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12 May 2012, 04:58
Here if I understand Yash, his doubt is not about the plurality of the past tense verb won. After all, won can be both singular of plural in all the three persons.
His point is how three people can own a single bike, as if one owns the front wheel, the second the frame and third the back wheel. This is just amusing in the least. However, it is not uncommon to use a singular object for a general group; we often say most of the IT people have a house; most of the rural houses in Kerala have at least one Jack tree. The humans have a pair of eyes. This is a commonly accepted usage. Therefore, there is no need to bother much. A is good enough.
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Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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14 Jul 2014, 09:23
Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.

(A) Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle. -- a bicycle is fine.
(B) Out of every four, three automobile owners in the United States also owns a bicycle. -- SV error
(C) Bicycles are owned by three out of every four owners of automobiles in the United States. --- meaning error -- it implies that Bicycles (all bicycles of the world) are owned by three out of 4 in the USA.
(D) In the United States, three out of every four automobile owners owns bicycles. - SV- error
(E) Out of every four owners of automobiles in the United States, bicycles are also owned by three. -- awkward lengthy and poor construction.
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2014, 13:02
PiyushK wrote:
Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.

(A) Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle. -- a bicycle is fine.

Hello Piyushk.

Please explain why "a bicycle" is fine. It seems three people have only 1 bicycle.

Thank you.
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2014, 14:24
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pqhai wrote:
PiyushK wrote:
Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle.

(A) Three out of every four automobile owners in the United States also own a bicycle. -- a bicycle is fine.

Hello Piyushk.

Please explain why "a bicycle" is fine. It seems three people have only 1 bicycle.

Thank you.

Hi Pqhai, Contextually each person can own only one cycle. I just checked Ron's explanation as well and he provided following explanation:

Ron: "In constructions like this one, it's understood that "a bicycle" refers to a bicycle for each owner.
That's not unique to this sentence:
Most students at this university ride a bicycle to class.
It's December, so 9 out of 10 New Yorkers will be wearing a black overcoat.
etc.
The context of these sentences is pretty obvious: one item per person."

I think natives can easily discern such meaning. When I did this question earlier I did not realize this issue, but when I specifically checked it today, I also got trapped.
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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10 Oct 2014, 15:42
PiyushK wrote:
I think natives can easily discern such meaning. When I did this question earlier I did not realize this issue, but when I specifically checked it today, I also got trapped.

I absolutely agree with you. Thank you for your time!
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United [#permalink]

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11 Oct 2014, 07:45
This reminds me of another officially correct answer that often creates confusion:

Neanderthals had a vocal tract resembling an ape's and so were probably without language, a shortcoming that may explain why they were supplanted by our own species.

Again, this sentence does not imply that all Neanderthals just shared one vocal tract.
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Re: Three out of every four automobile owners in the United   [#permalink] 11 Oct 2014, 07:45
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