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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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28 Aug 2013, 09:50
gmatter0913 wrote:
"Pronoun Ambiguity" is the most scariest topic to me at this point of my preparation.

Dear gmatter0913,

You may find this blog article helpful:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-pronoun-traps/

Let me know if you have any further questions.
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2013, 11:38
blueseas wrote:
gmatter0913 wrote:
When I did this problem, I ruled out option B for change in meaning. I felt it says that the fixed costs generate electricity.

"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."

Could somebody shed some light on this, please?

Yeah i agree with you its bit convoluted...

let me try anyway..

"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.

so costs is MAKING electricity expensive....
while THEY is refering to nuclear plants.
if the intention was to say that fixed costs generate electricity then both verbs would have been connected by AND..(sorry this is just my opinion....i cant frame GMAC like choices)
LIKE THIS: ......GENERATE..AND MAKE.....
so THEY is refering to NUCLEAR PLANTS....
hope it helps

I was asked to chime in about this question, so let me say the blueseas has this pretty well down. There is no ambiguity in the pronoun in (B) because the structure of the first half of the sentence; "While the cost of running nuclear power plants..." sets up a clear comparison between nuclear and non-nuclear power plants, meaning the context makes it absolutely unambiguous what "they" refers to. Remember, the GMAT sentence correction section is designed to test logical reasoning, not just rote mechanics. Even if in some theoretical grammatical sense the word "they" could conceivably refer to fixed costs, no fluent speaker would reasonably be confused by the sentence at all.

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

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08 Jan 2014, 02:03
macjas wrote:
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

IMO, this is quite a bad question. Because arguably, the "they" in B is ambiguous. Both costs and nuclear plants are plural, so there is definitely room for confusion.

The pronoun "they" in D clearly refers back to power plannts, there's no pronoun ambiguity there. Sure, the present participle "stemming" modifies the whole preceding clause but I don't see why that's a problem, what's "stemming" is, in fact, the expensive electricity, so I don't see where the modifier error is.

All in all, this question is just confusing..
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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01 Feb 2014, 00:20
Bump on this question.

Many people have chimed in on aspects of the question/answers and, moreover, a few tangents have been well developed.

But can someone (preferably an expert ) break down exactly what is wrong with each of the wrong answers here. There is so much going on and I'm still confused.

-Some people say "they" or "it" is wrong, others say it's right.
-There's this topic of "emphatic construction"

Also, I'm still pretty confused on the use of "for" in B versus the wrong answers. Can someone please elaborate on that?

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

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01 Feb 2014, 12:18
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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.

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

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03 Feb 2014, 15:20
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aeglorre wrote:
IMO, this is quite a bad question. Because arguably, the "they" in B is ambiguous. Both costs and nuclear plants are plural, so there is definitely room for confusion.
The pronoun "they" in D clearly refers back to power plannts, there's no pronoun ambiguity there. Sure, the present participle "stemming" modifies the whole preceding clause but I don't see why that's a problem, what's "stemming" is, in fact, the expensive electricity, so I don't see where the modifier error is.
All in all, this question is just confusing..

Dear aeglorre,
This is a high quality question, SC #107 from the OG13. Yes, it's one of the harder questions in the OG, probably a question that many test takers would get wrong, but it is a very solid question, as are all the questions in the OG. The questions in the OG of such high quality that all other practice questions are striving to reach that level. If I may give you some advice, it usually doesn't reflect well on a student who argues that an OG question is of low quality.
In choice (B)the subject of the sentence unarguably is "nuclear plants." This rhetorical focus, as well as the logic of the context, makes the antecedent of the pronoun "they" completely unambiguous.
You're correct, in (D), "stemming" begins a dangling modifier. Choice (D) is clearly wrong, and choice (B) is clearly correct.

SleeB wrote:
Many people have chimed in on aspects of the question/answers and, moreover, a few tangents have been well developed.
But can someone (preferably an expert ) break down exactly what is wrong with each of the wrong answers here. There is so much going on and I'm still confused.
-Some people say "they" or "it" is wrong, others say it's right.
-There's this topic of "emphatic construction"
Also, I'm still pretty confused on the use of "for" in B versus the wrong answers. Can someone please elaborate on that?
Thank you!!

Dear SleeB,
First of all, about emphatic construction, see:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom ... ed-idioms/
Here's the question again:
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.
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.

The comparison in the first half is fine, but in the second half, we have the unnecessary emphatic construction. This is incorrect.
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.
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.
The comparison at the beginning is funky .....we could have
(1) it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants
or
(2) the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants
but combining these two correct versions, putting the "for" in with the verb "to run," is redundant. This also has the unnecessary emphatic construction in the second half. This is incorrect.
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.
Second half, beginning with "stemming," is a dangling modifier. This is incorrect.
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.
We meed the "for" in the comparison in the first part, and "is made more expensive" is awkward because it is excessively wordy. This is incorrect.

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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07 Feb 2014, 02:54
macjas wrote:
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

in B, we see "as for" . This is "conjuction+preposition". whenever we see this pattern, be careful of ellipsis. the process of "making full" this pattern is not easy . we need to practice and focus on this pattern.

this pattern and ellipsis is tested many times on og books and gmatprep. we can see this testing if we pay attention.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2014, 15:06
vietmoi999 wrote:
in B, we see "as for" . This is "conjuction+preposition". whenever we see this pattern, be careful of ellipsis. the process of "making full" this pattern is not easy . we need to practice and focus on this pattern.

this pattern and ellipsis is tested many times on og books and gmatprep. we can see this testing if we pay attention.

Well said, vietmoi999!!

As we all know, the GMAT loves Parallelism, and one of the hardest issues about parallelism are the common words what one can drop instead of repeating. See this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/dropping-c ... -the-gmat/
Yes, as vietmoi999 said, this is a crucially important GMAT SC issue on which to focus.

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

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01 Mar 2014, 09:30
can someone explain why C is wrong
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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01 Mar 2014, 10:20
the book said A uses emphatic construction. Does anyone know when to use this construction the book was not clear.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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03 Mar 2014, 14:02
kedusei wrote:
can someone explain why C is wrong

the book said A uses emphatic construction. Does anyone know when to use this construction the book was not clear.

Dear kedusei,
For option (C), look at my post from February 3, 2014, immediately above your post. Let me know if anything there is not clear.

For emphatic construction, see this post:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2013/gmat-idiom ... ed-idioms/

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

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03 Mar 2014, 20:23
Option B.
A and C violate subject-verb agreement in 'fixed costs'-makes.Should be 'make'.
In E,' made more expensive...because of' is incorrect.

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

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05 Mar 2014, 23:04
egmat wrote:
Now let's apply the same on the set of sentences:
1. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence of the disease among women.
1 to 2 - The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence of the disease among women.
2. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence among women.
2 to 3 - The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence among women.
3. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that among women.

Hi Payal,

I have a question regarding 3rd statement.

If your 3rd statement changed to below by inserting 'OF' after that then it would be right?
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that of among women.

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

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06 Mar 2014, 02:06
chetan86 wrote:
I have a question regarding 3rd statement.

If your 3rd statement changed to below by inserting 'OF' after that then it would be right?
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that of among women.

I believe "that" would automatically refer to "incidence of disease" (and not just "incidence"); so we don't need "that of".
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2014, 05:01
macjas wrote:
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

I think " as for other types of plants" is correct in B,C and D. but I do not know why.

pls, help. what is the full version of comparision in choice B,C and D.
the full versions are
cost of running nuclear plant are about the same as the cost for other types of power plants.
it costs about the same (expenditure) to run nuclear plant as the expenditure for other types of power plants.

I do not see the parallelism in comparision. this non-parallelism are not prefered certainly but it can still appear in OA if there is no choice better.

but when this non-parallelism is acceptable? when not acceptable? anyone has any idea about this ?
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2014, 12:30
chetan86 wrote:
egmat wrote:
Now let's apply the same on the set of sentences:
1. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence of the disease among women.
1 to 2 - The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence of the disease among women.
2. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence among women.
2 to 3 - The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence among women.
3. The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that among women.

Hi Payal,
I have a question regarding 3rd statement.
If your 3rd statement changed to below by inserting 'OF' after that then it would be right?
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that of among women.
Regards, Chetan

Dear Chetan,
We definitely don't need two prepositions in a row.
... that of women. (correct)
... that among women. (correct)
... that of among women. (a disaster)
Does this make sense?
vietmoi999 wrote:
I think "as for other types of plants" is correct in B,C and D. but I do not know why.

pls, help. what is the full version of comparison in choice B, C and D.
the full versions are
cost of running nuclear plant are about the same as the cost for other types of power plants.
it costs about the same (expenditure) to run nuclear plant as the expenditure for other types of power plants.

I do not see the parallelism in comparison. this non-parallelism are not preferred certainly but it can still appear in OA if there is no choice better.

but when this non-parallelism is acceptable? when not acceptable? anyone has any idea about this ?

Dear vietmoi999

(B) While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as it is for other types of power plants
This is perfectly correct. A perfect comparison. This, of course, is the OA.

(C) Even though it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for it costs to run other types of power plants
This one has the same structure, but because what comes before is different, the structure is problematic here. The preposition "for" is not needed here. A different set of words would be implied.

(D) It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for it costs to run other types of power plants
Same problem as (C).

Incidentally, the GMAT loves this trick --- one correct option with (Structure A)(Structure B), and then other incorrect choices with (Structure C)(Structure B), ---- even though (Structure B) would be correct on its own, it works only with (Structure A) and not with (Structure C). They love this pattern.

Does 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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09 Mar 2014, 23:52
mikemcgarry wrote:
... that of women. (correct)

Hello Mike, can you let me what "that" would refer to in this sentence.

Is my following understanding correct:

..that among women.

"that" refers to "incidence of disease".

..that of women.

"that" refers to "incidence". I somehow am not getting convinced about this. Because this could either mean:
(A) incidence of women
(B) incidence of (disease among) women

Can you explain; would help us understand better.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2014, 12:43
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saumya12 wrote:
mikemcgarry wrote:
... that of women. (correct)

Hello Mike, can you let me what "that" would refer to in this sentence.

Is my following understanding correct:

..that among women.

"that" refers to "incidence of disease".

..that of women.

"that" refers to "incidence". I somehow am not getting convinced about this. Because this could either mean:
(A) incidence of women
(B) incidence of (disease among) women

Can you explain; would help us understand better.

Dear saumya12,
I'm happy to respond.

Here's egmat's original sentence:
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds that among women.
Perfectly correct. Now, think about the parallelism. Think if we didn't abbreviate with the word "that":
The incidence of the disease among men exceeds the incidence of the disease among women.
Of course, that version is very wordy and never would be correct on the GMAT, but it makes clear the nature of the parallelism. Men are parallel to women in this sentence. No one is talking about the incidence of men. It's all about the "incidence of the disease among men."

Notice that, in the structure "that among women," whatever the "that" represents must be followed by the word "among."
incidence among women = incidence of what??? This is not the same as "incidence of women"
incidence of among women = wrong
incidence of the disease among women = correct

Does 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 May 2014, 08:06
macjas wrote:
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

this question is most difficult of comparison.

if the full sentence is wrong, we can find the error. if the elliptical sentence is wrong, it is harder to find the error. but we need to write this sentence and gmat tests us.

While it costs about the same THING to run nuclear plants as THE THING other types of power plants COSTS

clearly this is wrong. not logic, not parallel

While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as THE COST OF RUNNING for other types of power plants

this is logic though not absolutely parallem. we do not need absolute parallelism. we can see that the second part of comparison is not perfect. But, it is logic and logicness is most important factor for justfying sc.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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12 May 2014, 13:04
vietmoi999 wrote:

this question is most difficult of comparison.

if the full sentence is wrong, we can find the error. if the elliptical sentence is wrong, it is harder to find the error. but we need to write this sentence and gmat tests us.

While it costs about the same THING to run nuclear plants as THE THING other types of power plants COSTS

clearly this is wrong. not logic, not parallel

While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as THE COST OF RUNNING for other types of power plants

this is logic though not absolutely parallem. we do not need absolute parallelism. we can see that the second part of comparison is not perfect. But, it is logic and logicness is most important factor for justfying sc.

Dear vietmoi999
In the OA:
While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, ...
This comparison actually involves perfect parallelism and perfect logic. It is an idiomatic construction, but it is 100% correct on all counts.
Mike
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other   [#permalink] 12 May 2014, 13:04

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