While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other : GMAT Sentence Correction (SC) - Page 2
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While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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09 Mar 2015, 09:14
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apolo wrote:
Hey Mike,
Could we solve this question ONLY by using S-V agreement and pronoun ambiguity?

A) Violates S-V
C) Violates S-V
D) "they" is ambiguous: 'other types of power plants' is closer.
E) "they" is ambiguous: 'other types of power plants' is closer

B) S-V agreement is met; 'they' is now closer to the 'nuclear power plants' and actually 'nuclear plants' has been repeated in the second part of the sentence, and only after this repetition the 'they' pronoun appears. In contrast, in D and E, 'they' appears before the second repetition of the nuclear plants in the sentence.

Dear apolo,
I'm happy to respond.

My friend, the "ONLY" approach is not the most productive approach to studying GMAT SC. When you are studying these sentences, your job is to understand, in depth, everything wrong with each wrong answer choice. Any approach which allows you to jump to a "done with that" perspective on a question cuts short deeper kinds of understanding.

Having said that, SVA certainly is one good reason to reject both (A) & (C). The pronoun usage in (D) &(E) are problematic, but not too different from what might be acceptable. It's very important to understand not merely the grammatical issues, but the rhetorical issues: the logical flow of the sentence, the power of phrasing things a certain way, what sounds clear vs. awkward, etc. Rhetorical Construction is one of the eight major areas tested on the GMAT SC. For more on this, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/rhetorical ... orrection/

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2015, 10:28
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apolo wrote:
Thanks Mike.
My question did not mean that we should only restrict ourselves to purely grammatical rules.
Actually I asked this question to know whether using pronoun ambiguity is a safe tool for eliminating some choices in the case of this question; that turned out to be: not! (as you have explained in the bold part of your answer).
I know from MGMAT that generally slight pronoun ambiguity might be tolerated, and even some of the published questions in OG have some slight pronoun ambiguity in their correct answer choices.
However, for me it was interesting that the right choice in this questions ALSO has the least problematic usage of the pronoun 'they' compared to answer choices E and D. So I was just curious to know whether this has happened intentionally or simply accidentally.

In contrast to S-V agreement, for example, pronoun ambiguity in some cases, like the one in this question, seems not to be a pretty suitable reason used for eliminating a choice.

Dear apolo,
My friend, I will say SVA is one of the few areas of grammar that is almost mathematical in its sharp right/wrong distinction.
The company is . . . correct
The company are . . . incorrect
With pronouns, mistake of number are similarly black/white:
The store opened in June, and by July it was successful. = correct
The store opened in June, and by July they were successful. = incorrect
For number mistakes in pronoun, we can be just as certain in rejecting answers as we are with SVA mistakes.

The multiple pronoun thing, the same pronoun for two different things, is also a big no-no:
When anthropologist first encountered, they were surprised by their mode of dress.
Who was surprised by who? This is also a wrong-100%-of-the-time kind of error. See:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

As for antecedent, which noun is the antecedent, then we get into shades of gray. This involves issues of rhetoric and style, not just pure mathematical word order. Parallelism and logical focus of the sentence can sway issues of pronoun-antecedent pairings.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2015, 10:12
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apolo wrote:
Thanks Mike.
For the second case that you have mentioned, let me show an example from Verbal review, SC problem #92:

Schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm, is prevalent in hot, humid climates, and it has become more widespread as irrigation projects have enlarged the habitat of the freshwater snails that are the parasite’s hosts for part of its life cycle.

(the original sentence is correct)

According to Manhattan SC book, every 'it and its' and every 'they, them, their' must refer to the same antecedent in a sentence.

However, in this sentence 'it' refers to the disease and 'its' refers to 'parasite'.
Of course they explained this contradiction by saying that we have two clauses, and that rules is about clauses not sentences: kind of weird, because in their book they have not clearly mentioned this. Also here (after 'and') indeed we have a complex sentence made of a main clause and a subordinate clause ...

Dear apolo
My friend, I think you misunderstand the sense of that rule. Yes, it's absolutely true, as MGMAT says, that it's a big no-no to have the same pronoun referring to two different things in the same part of the sentence.
. . . they would not sell them the rights . . .
. . . it prevented it from . . .
Think of it this way: every clause within sentence is a mini-sentence in itself. Similarly, participial & infinitive & gerund phrases revolve around a verb-form, exactly as a clause revolves around a verb. Each one is a kind of mini-sentence within the whole. Using the same pronoun inside the same mini-sentence for two different things is a huge no-no. By contrast, if in one part of the sentence, I have [antecedent #1] . . "its," and then later, in another part, I have [antecedent #2] . . . "it," that's perfectly fine. How close is too close? When are two of the same pronoun far enough away that no ambiguity arises? To some extent, this is a judgment call, but certainly when they only a few words apart in the same phrase or clause, that's a problem.

In that sentence from the OG Verbal Review,
Schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm, is prevalent in hot, humid climates, and it has become . . .
The main sentence structure involves two parallel independent clauses. The first "it" is the subject of the second independent clause, parallel to the subject of the first. This parallelism, as well as the rhetorical focus of the sentence on schistosomiasis, make it unambiguously clear that this "it" should refer to schistosomiasis.

Then, later in the sentence, we have a that-clause, a relative clause that modifies the noun "freshwater snails."
. . . freshwater snails that are the parasite’s hosts for part of its life cycle.
In that region of the sentence, that mini-sentence zone, the only singular noun is "parasite," because the snails are plural. Normally, a noun in the possessive cannot be an antecedent, but it can be if the pronoun is also in the possessive, as it is here. This is a dependent clause. Think about if we made this information a sentence on its own:
Freshwater snails are the parasite’s hosts for part of its life cycle.
That's a perfectly clear sentence. The pronoun usage in that sentence is completely unambiguous. That's precisely why we can turn the sentence back into the clause, stick it in the larger sentence, and the pronoun usage is still clear. The two "it" usages are "far away" from each other, doing very different things in very different parts of the sentence, and each one has its own strong relationship with its own antecedent.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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23 Feb 2016, 10:25
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sukanyar wrote:
Slightly confusing. In the answer we have "for" other types of power plants, but there is no "for" on the right hand side at all (in your 3a and 3b versions). So, how is "of' changing to "for".

sananoor wrote:
you have put a very good question, now just ask ur self what is right
the cost of X is same as it is FOR others (we arn't comparing cost of X to cost of others, we are trying to say that cost of running something is same as it is for other plants)
the cost of X is same as it is OF others--wrong

Dear sukanyar,
I'm happy to respond. On behalf of the English Language, I apologize. Grammar is not mathematics. Grammar is not mathematics. There are patterns, to be sure, but none of the patterns of grammar are as rigorously clean and logical as the patterns of mathematics. If you approach GMAT grammar looking for the precise rules to follow, the English language will endlessly frustrate you.

There is absolutely no way to get to GMAT SC mastery by assembling some ideal set of grammar rules. You have to read. You have to develop an ear for the living language in all its idiosyncrasy. See this blog article:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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10 May 2016, 09:52
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NoHalfMeasures wrote:
I am still not sure how choice B uses correct parallelism/comparison. It compares: cost of something with cost for something. If we were to write the complete sentence with omitting any words, we would write "While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as the cost of running other types of power plants,..." and not write "While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as the cost for running other types of power plants,..."

Does that make sense? Can experts help pls?

Dear NoHalfMeasures,

I'm happy to respond.

My friend, I think you need to deepen your understanding of what parallelism is. Parallelism is a pattern of logical correspondence that is reflected in the grammar. Folks fixate on the grammatical aspects of parallelism and lose sight of the logical and rhetorical aspects. A typical mistake along these lines is to conceive of parallelism incorrectly as requiring a kind of military lockstep conformity. The sophisticated use of parallelism does not require the exact same details at all levels: it simply requires enough to convey the logical correspondence and no more. The GMAT loves to present sophisticated parallelism as in the OA of this problem, because it presents a challenge to all who hold to the more simplistic "lockstep" picture of parallelism.

Here's (B):
While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

Once again, the GMAT absolutely loves this sort of structure. This is a very sophisticated use of parallelism, and the grammatical beancounters who want exact matches in prepositions in all cases will be frustrated. The simple phrase "as for other types of power plants" elegantly conveys the logical relationship flawlessly, without any ambiguity. It perfectly establishes the logical correspondence between nuclear plants and other types of power plants, and it established this with an economy of expression. For those who really understand what parallelism is, this is a masterpiece, a logical and rhetorical success. For folks stuck at the level of grammar alone, ignoring the logic and rhetoric, this looks like it doesn't able the rigid lockstep rules. Such a person clinging to this rule is left holding only an empty husk, because the meaning has eluded his grasp. I would strongly urge you to take your understanding of parallelism to the next level.

Here's another question that explores a similar issue:
The FDA enacted

It is a mistake to think that GMAT SC is only about grammar. In fact, grammar, logic, and rhetoric are all equally important. Mastery of SC comes from having an integrated understanding of the interaction of those three.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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22 Sep 2016, 10:02
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zoezhuyan wrote:
thanks so much.

cost of running A
is the same as
cost of running B
-- parallelism: cost (of doing ) & cost (of doing )

cost of running A
is the same as
cost of B
-- illogical because parallelism : cost (of doing) & cost of (thing)

cost of running A
is the same as
cost for B = cost of running B
--- parallelism: cost (of doing ) & cost (of doing )

my understanding is right?

thanks a lot
have a nice day
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,

I'm happy to respond. I see that my intelligent colleague sayantanc2k already gave you a good response. I just want to add a little more.

Think about what parallelism is. Many students mistakenly believe that parallelism is a grammatical structure. It's not. It's a logical structure, a logical matching pattern, and the grammar simply mirrors the logic. In fact, the grammar has only to match enough to make the logic clear. Sometimes, additional matching creates a strong rhetorical effect, but there is absolutely no requirement that parallelism should involve lockstep precision between the two branches down to the last detail.

cost of X and the cost of Y
That's a very sensible pattern of matching: the parallel grammar makes clear the logic.

Now, suppose X is a noun and Y is a gerund phrase.
the cost of auto insurance and the cost of getting a speeding ticket
The real question is whether these are logically parallel? Are these two costs of the same category, the kind we would compare and contrast? Yes! A person in the real world might have make one payment for her auto insurance and another payment because she got a speeding ticket. These are logically similar, so the parallelism works. The fact that we have the matching "cost of" pair is enough to indicate the pattern of matching: that's all the grammatical matching we need. It doesn't matter at all that the X & Y are different parts of speech.

By contrast, we could have the same parts of speech, two nouns, and the parallelism could be complete nonsense:
I made dinner with the leftovers in the refrigerator and with my friend Chris.
Either "with" statement alone would be fine, but together they are a train wreck. The first "with" suggest the materials and the second one suggest accompaniment. These are NOT logically parallel at all, even though the grammar is the same.

On the GMAT SC, you can't afford to pay attention only to the grammar. Grammar and logic and rhetoric are three equally important strands.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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25 Sep 2016, 16:50
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Dear zoezhuyan,

My friend, I responded to your request on that page:
DeepikaV wrote:
hi, in option B, im confused with what 'they' refers to. As pronouns can refer to antecedent in previous clauses it can either refer to nuclear plants or 'other plants'. then, it makes this sentence also wrong. please explain

i know that verb +ing modifier preceded with comma and clause modifies the entire clause before it. but, when the preceding clauses has conjunction. does it still modify the preceding clause? like in this case -whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants.
please explain i'm confused.

Dear DeepikaV,

I'm happy to respond. Here's (B), the OA.
While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.
This is 100% correct.

In this sentence, the word "while" begins a dependent clause, and the comma marks the end of the dependent clause and the beginning of the independent clause.

My friend, what determines the antecedent of a pronoun is a sophisticated matter. It is determined by a combination of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. If you are only looking at the level of grammar, and ignoring logic and rhetoric, you will miss 2/3 of what is happening in any SC sentence.

As a general grammar guideline, if there is a single noun that could be in antecedent of the pronoun that is by far the nearest noun to it, in the same clause, then we never need to look at the other clause. Look at the independent clause, everything after the comma. There is only one plural noun, "nuclear plants," and all other plural nouns are further away and in another clause. Just at the level of grammar, this is a slam-dunk: the closest appropriate noun is the antecedent. Like the OA of many other GMAT SC problems, this is correct and valid at many different levels.

Furthermore, consider at the level of rhetoric: what is the subject of this sentence? The subject, the topic at hand, is "nuclear plants." That's the focus of the whole sentence. Sometimes great rhetorical focus can make up for a little grammatical ambiguity. For example, if two clauses appear in the sentence, and the subject of the first is the focus of the sentence, then a pronoun subject for the second clause almost always refers back to this original subject, even if other potential antecedents were intervening. In this sentence, though, there is no grammatical ambiguity whatsoever, and the rhetorical focus of the sentence simply strengthens the already clear pronoun-antecedent relationship.

My friend, I would urge you not to use the terminology "VERB-ing." That is sloppy imprecise language, and imprecise language leads to imprecise thought. In fact, a verb with the -ing suffix may be playing one of three different roles:
1) a participle
2) a gerund
3) part of a progressive tense verb
Those are the proper terms to use.

If we have a clause, then a comma, then a participle, the participle often modifies the whole clause before it--often, but not always. You quoted part of (D) ...whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants
In (D), the antecedent of the pronoun "they" is less clear: that's one problem with (D). Also, the construction "stemming from" to explain a cause is very casual and awkward. This might appear in colloquial English, but in the formal writing of the GMAT, this is wrong. As to your question, yes, "stemming" is attempting to modify the action of the previous clause, purporting to give an explanation of why the electricity is more expensive. Choice (D) is wrong.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2016, 12:11
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kivalo wrote:
I understand that in A (after the comma) is wrong. But what's wrong with the comparison, can't it be:

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as [it costs to run] other types of power plants?

There is no comparison error in option A. In addition to the error you stated, there are three more errors in the option:
1. The relative pronoun "that" wrongly refers to " plants" - it should refer to "fixed costs".
2. The verb "makes" should be singular because its subject is "that" that should refer to "fixed costs".
3. The pronoun "them" has no antecedent - generating electricity is expensive for power plants (them) is not meaningful.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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21 Jun 2012, 09:49
In B "costs" is plural. Is the verb " is" correct here.

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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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08 Sep 2012, 10:18
But doesn't B change the meaning? B talks about the electricity becoming more expensive but the original sentence talks about it becoming more expensive for the plant to generate electricity.
These are two different things.

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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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13 Jan 2013, 11:10
daagh wrote:
There are two distinct splits here, as you may see; one is the comparison of the costs to run a nuclear plant with just the other types of plants and not their running costs. The second split is the ambiguity of the pronouns, precisely the –third - it in the original. Of course the other two it pronouns may be argued as passable as place holders.

A. While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity. ----- 1.faulty comparison; cost of running compared with other types of power plants 2. The third pronoun it is dangling without an antecedent. Makes what more expensive? Makes electricity more expensive to generate electricity 3. Costs that makes … A SV mismatch

B While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.
The comparison, the pronoun problem and the SV mismatch nicely fixed. Correct choice.

C. Even though it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes the electricity they generate more expensive. -----Though the comparison problems are fixed, costs and that makes is S-V mismatch.

D. It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants.
Pronoun they is rather ambiguous; they may refer to either the nuclear or other types.

E. The cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as other types of power plants, but the electricity they generate is made more expensive because of the fixed costs stemming from building nuclear plants. -------- Faulty comparison

Daagh,

Can you please clarify this -

'doesn't B change the meaning? B talks about the electricity becoming more expensive but the original sentence talks about it becoming more expensive for the plant to generate electricity. These are two different things'
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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14 Jan 2013, 23:57
why D is wrong ? pls explain fully. Thank you
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2013, 03:38
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sujit2k7 wrote:
One more imp learning from this SC:

A costs the same as B- sub to sub comparison
The costs of running A is same for B---Obj to Obj comparison need Preposition
{Got this rule from Magoosh video so can rely on it }

B While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.->Correct

Hi,
Can someone please clarify my doubt.
How ellipsis is playing its part over here. I understand that we either needs to use verb (in case of Subject to Subject comparison so that the comparison is not ambiguous) or apply preposition so as to make Object - Object comparison.

Here Object of preposition is {running nuclear plants} and {other types of power plants} -> how they both are logically parallel?
Request you to provide insights.

Thanks
H
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2013, 10:41

I understand that the answer B is best amongst all, and conveys the logical meaning perfectly.
However, I am still not convinced about the sentence structure. Can you please elaborate a bit more on your reasoning.

I tried to understand this concept by taking clues from MGMAT, but failed to do so. I would appreciate if someone can help me out.

Here is an example from MGMAT-
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence among women.
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that among women.
Here, that is referring to incidence, per explanantion from MGMAT.

So, ellipsis should be -
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that(of the disease) among women.
Now, going by same concept -

The cost of running nuclear plants is same as that for electric plants.
In the below sentence, what THAT is referring to . Is it "the cost" or "the cost of running".

If it is later, then why do we require an extra preposition?

The cost of running nuclear plants is same as {the cost of running }for electric plants.

Thanks
H

daagh wrote:
When expanded in full (with ellipsis in brackets), B will be
B While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for (the cost of running) other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.
The comparison is still between the costs of running one type with the costs for running other types. The only difference is that in the first case we are using ‘of’ as the preposition while in the second arm, we are using ‘for’. As long as we use a preposition for another acceptable preposition, the comparison can be considered be logical and parallel, IMO.

As far as B changing the meaning from the original, I feel the meaning is flawed. There is no way we can ascertain what the “it” stands for. The term ‘it’ does not convey clearly and logically the intended meaning. Hence we have to amend it. B is logical.

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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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16 Mar 2013, 12:50
You see, leaving apart too many rules, we need to chose the answer which is best out of the given options. All other choices except for B, in the question above, have noticeable grammar issues. Quite unlike, Choice B, only uses an additional preposition, which if you notice, most other choices uses as well, so...we choose an option which overcomes other more critical grammar issues (the logical comparison and SV error)
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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17 Mar 2013, 10:05
I am glad to direct my question to Daagh then, what is the context of using this additional preposition? As per the meaning of the sentence, it is not absolutely needed, but again its the best choice out of all, so what is it that we should learn from this choice B, will be keen to know
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2013, 18:59
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You are absolutely correct in your understanding. And you are dead on about the ambiguity in the sentence if we omit "that among".

Now you asked about the following sentence - i.e. if we only omitted that and retained among.

The incidence of the disease among men exceeds among women.
IMO, this sentence is also ambiguous since it somehow may consider "incidence of that disease among men" as one entity and when this entity is put together with "among women", it would not make sense.

Let's take another example:
Attraction of child to chocolates exceeds to ice cream. - IMO incorrect
Attraction of child to chocolates exceeds that to ice cream. - Surely Correct.

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Payal
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2013, 20:15
TO EGMAT

A says:While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

though i had eliminated A but i want to know if the initial comparison in A is faulty ?

if i say : nuclear power plants cost twice as much to run as other power plants . i know that this comparison is oki even without the helping verb "do" because there is no ambiguity

so i get a feeling that in A this initial comparison :While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants seems to be right comparison wise .it might be wrong because of usage of "it" or because of some redundancy but comparison wise it seems oki .
any thought

Last edited by aditya8062 on 19 Mar 2013, 05:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2013, 01:58
TO EGMAT
Quote:
EGMAT quote : (with correct connection)
The cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as that for other types of power plants.
So this is where the preposition "for" comes from.

plz tell me is it that the preposition "of" wud have been much better here
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2013, 04:54
egmat wrote:

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Payal

Yes, it does.
Thanks for taking up my queries and responding in detail.

Thanks
H
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other   [#permalink] 19 Mar 2013, 04:54

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