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# A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce

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Updated on: 30 Aug 2017, 18:37
11
94
Edit: The discussion is locked. Go HERE for further discussion.

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

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Originally posted by rahul on 01 Sep 2004, 00:51.
Last edited by broall on 30 Aug 2017, 18:37, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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14 Aug 2013, 21:54
Hopefully someone in the near future will be able to explain why its D and not A. Perhaps the context of the sentence? I picked A myself
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Aug 2013, 21:51
1
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United
States reduced the amount of phosphates that
municipalities had been allowed to dump into the
Great Lakes.

Reasoning of many in the old posts:

Agreement is still in effect

Yeah the agreement is still in effect;however, the agreement's action is in past "REDUCED".

X REDUCED Y Where X= Agreement and Y = Amount of phosphates

IMHO the "THAT" pronoun is not modifying "PHOSPHATES" , it is modifying the Prepositional Phrase
"Amount of Phosphates".

So X REDUCED the AMOUNT which municipalities WERE ALLOWED to DUMP at the time of agreement.
Hence , I agree the use of PP is unnecessary in this context.

However, I disagree the use of present tense here because after 1972's agreement the AMOUNT has already been
REDUCED WHICH they WERE ALLOWED TO DUMP.

How can 1972's agreement REDUCE the CURRENT AMOUNT when it has already reduced the AMOUNT that was ALLOWED at the time of agreement?????

Truly Tricky sentence it is.

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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10 Sep 2013, 21:32
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates

that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

I wasn't fully convinced with the OA it was between A and D for me. When I pre-thought an answer choice I thought of the "were allowed" but that wasn't there in any of the answer choice.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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12 Sep 2013, 00:51
17
3
nelz007 wrote:
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates

that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

I wasn't fully convinced with the OA it was between A and D for me. When I pre-thought an answer choice I thought of the "were allowed" but that wasn't there in any of the answer choice.

Hi Nelson,
Let me address your doubt by first understanding the intended meaning of the sentence and analyzing the sentence structure. Then it will be easier to understand the differences between the options. (A and D in this case)
The intended meaning of the sentence is that till 1972, municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes. However, a 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced this amount. Now let us analyze the sentence structure.

• A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates
o that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

The only error in this sentence is the use of past perfect tense “had been allowed”.

Let us understand how. Per the sentence, the agreement reduced the amount that municipalities were allowed to dump. Now in this sentence, the verb tense - past perfect tense - had been allowed - is incorrect because it non-sensically implies that municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount sometime in the past - (they are no longer allowed to dump now, since the action is already completed) and then the next event in the past happened - the agreement reduced this amount. It is not possible to reduce an amount for something that has already happened (had been allowed).

Therefore Choice A is incorrect for the reason discussed above.

Choice D: reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump.
This choice conveys the intended meaning. In general, the municipalities are allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate. However, an agreement between Canada and the US reduced that amount in 1972.
Therefore this option is correct.

The thing to note here is that both "were" and "are" can be correct. So, if any one of these is given in the option statements, we can mark that option statement.

Now, the question is: what difference does it make to use "are" over "were"?

The school reduced the fine that Joe was supposed to pay.
The school reduced the fine that Joe is supposed to pay.

Can you identify the difference between these two sentences?

In the first sentence, Joe "was" supposed to pay the fine sometime in the past and we do not know whether he has paid the fine till now or not.
In the second sentence, Joe "is" supposed to pay the fine presently and we know that he has not yet paid the fine.

Similar is the case with the use of "were" and "are" in the original sentence.

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities were allowed to dump into the Great Lakes

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump into the Great Lakes

The first sentence means that we are referring to amount of phosphates that municipalities were allowed to dump in the past whereas the second sentence means that we are referring to the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump currently.

Do you get the difference?

So, both "are" and "were" are grammatically correct but convey different meanings.

Hope this helps!

Regards,
Krishna
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2013, 07:59
egmat wrote:
Hi All,
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphate that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

The intended meaning of the sentence is that till 1972, municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes. However, a 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced this amount.

The only error in this sentence is the use of past perfect tense “had been allowed”. Let us understand how. Per the sentence, the agreement reduced the amount that municipalities were allowed to dump. Now in this sentence, the verb tense - past perfect tense - had been allowed - is incorrect because it non-sensically implies that municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount sometime in the past - (they are no longer allowed to dump now, since the action is already completed) and then the next event in the past happened - the agreement reduced this amount. It is not possible to reduce an amount for something that has already happened (had been allowed).

Process of Elimination

Choice A: Incorrect for the reason discussed above.

Choice B: reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping. Incorrect. Per this choice the agreement itself did the action of "reduce". This cannot be true because the agreement cannot reduce the amount of phosphates dumped by municipalities. The agreement can only provide limits for this amount. The municipalities have to then take appropriate actions to reduce their emissions to meet the new allowable limits. Removal of “allow” distorts the meaning of the sentence. Also, this choice has the same verb tense issue as in choice A.

Choice C: reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump. Incorrect. Since agreement took place in 1972, use of present tense “reduces” is incorrect. Also, this sentence states a general fact about the amount of phosphate the municipalities are allowed to dump. This must be stated in the simple present tense. Use of present perfect tense “have been allowed” to state a general fact is not correct.

Choice D: reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump. Correct. This choice conveys the intended meaning. In general, the municipalities are allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate. However, an agreement between Canada and the US reduced that amount in 1972.

Choice E: reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities. Incorrect. This choice has the same verb tense error as in choice C. Use of “for” after “allowed” is unidiomatic.

1. Understand the intended meaning of the sentence.
2. Past perfect tense denotes that the action is already over.
3. Be careful of the choices that remove certain words present in the original choice. Such removals may change the meaning of the sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

I've two possible explanations for this sentence so,please let me know whether any one of these is correct, if at all ?

1.Here, if we say that per the sentence and the meaning it's clear that 'till 1972 municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes but a 1972 agreement reduced this amount'. Now isn't it evident that the phrase "A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount" provides a time frame that clearly indicates that dumping was there before this agreement in 1972. So no need to use past perfect 'had been allowed to dump' explicitly.

2. 'allowed to dump' and 'reduced this amount' are NOT really related - dumping can occur even if there is no REDUCTION in 1972. So, two unrelated events in the past - no need to use past perfect.

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2013, 23:54
bagdbmba wrote:
egmat wrote:
Hi All,
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphate that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

The intended meaning of the sentence is that till 1972, municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes. However, a 1972 agreement between Canada and the US reduced this amount.

The only error in this sentence is the use of past perfect tense “had been allowed”. Let us understand how. Per the sentence, the agreement reduced the amount that municipalities were allowed to dump. Now in this sentence, the verb tense - past perfect tense - had been allowed - is incorrect because it non-sensically implies that municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount sometime in the past - (they are no longer allowed to dump now, since the action is already completed) and then the next event in the past happened - the agreement reduced this amount. It is not possible to reduce an amount for something that has already happened (had been allowed).

Process of Elimination

Choice A: Incorrect for the reason discussed above.

Choice B: reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping. Incorrect. Per this choice the agreement itself did the action of "reduce". This cannot be true because the agreement cannot reduce the amount of phosphates dumped by municipalities. The agreement can only provide limits for this amount. The municipalities have to then take appropriate actions to reduce their emissions to meet the new allowable limits. Removal of “allow” distorts the meaning of the sentence. Also, this choice has the same verb tense issue as in choice A.

Choice C: reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump. Incorrect. Since agreement took place in 1972, use of present tense “reduces” is incorrect. Also, this sentence states a general fact about the amount of phosphate the municipalities are allowed to dump. This must be stated in the simple present tense. Use of present perfect tense “have been allowed” to state a general fact is not correct.

Choice D: reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump. Correct. This choice conveys the intended meaning. In general, the municipalities are allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate. However, an agreement between Canada and the US reduced that amount in 1972.

Choice E: reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities. Incorrect. This choice has the same verb tense error as in choice C. Use of “for” after “allowed” is unidiomatic.

1. Understand the intended meaning of the sentence.
2. Past perfect tense denotes that the action is already over.
3. Be careful of the choices that remove certain words present in the original choice. Such removals may change the meaning of the sentence.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

I've two possible explanations for this sentence so,please let me know whether any one of these is correct, if at all ?

1.Here, if we say that per the sentence and the meaning it's clear that 'till 1972 municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes but a 1972 agreement reduced this amount'. Now isn't it evident that the phrase "A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount" provides a time frame that clearly indicates that dumping was there before this agreement in 1972. So no need to use past perfect 'had been allowed to dump' explicitly.

2. 'allowed to dump' and 'reduced this amount' are NOT really related - dumping can occur even if there is no REDUCTION in 1972. So, two unrelated events in the past - no need to use past perfect.

Any update on this?

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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2013, 11:26
Anyone of the modertors please give explanation for the OA
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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27 Nov 2013, 00:14
the rule of sequence of tenses in explained in many grammar books. the rule is that if the main clause is in the past tense, the subordinate clause must be in one of past tenses normally.
however, there is some cases, in which the main clause is in the past tense and the subordinate clause in present tense. this question shows one of the cases and is what we learn from this question.

oa is d
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2013, 07:15
Guys can someone explain why A is wrong and D is correct. I am kind of messed up with these tenses.
What does the author wants to say exactly?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Nov 2013, 08:42
A must be the answer. The two actions happened in the past. So using past perfect is appropriate here.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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05 Dec 2013, 11:00
1
1
bagdbmba wrote:
I've two possible explanations for this sentence so,please let me know whether any one of these is correct, if at all ?

1.Here, if we say that per the sentence and the meaning it's clear that 'till 1972 municipalities were allowed to dump a certain amount of phosphate into the Great Lakes but a 1972 agreement reduced this amount'. Now isn't it evident that the phrase "A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount" provides a time frame that clearly indicates that dumping was there before this agreement in 1972. So no need to use past perfect 'had been allowed to dump' explicitly.

This is not the reason that past perfect cannot be used here. We are not referring to the act of dumping itself, but to a reduction in the AMOUNT that can be dumped. So, it is illogical to say that a 1972 agreement can reduce the amount that was dumped before the agreement was made. The agreement can only reduce the amount that is dumped in the future. So, it makes no sense to use the past perfect tense here.

bagdbmba wrote:
2. 'allowed to dump' and 'reduced this amount' are NOT really related - dumping can occur even if there is no REDUCTION in 1972. So, two unrelated events in the past - no need to use past perfect.

Again, the way to eliminate past perfect tense here is not to say that the two events are unrelated, but to focus on the fact that the reduction is to be done after the agreement is made.

I hope this helps!

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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07 Jan 2014, 08:51
rahul wrote:
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

the agreement already happened, so present tense is wrong.. C/E are gone.

"had been allowed", distorts intended meaning. It implies that the agreement in itself reduced allowed amounts of phosphates, AFTER the phosphates had been dumped. In other words, putting restrictions on something that had already happened. A is gone

B makes the same mistake but not on "allowed", but on the actual action of dumping. "reduced the amount that X had been dumping".. an agreement is not a time machine that can go back in time and reduce something that already happened.

D is not only the best because it doesn't distort meaning, it also implies that the restrictions put forth by the agreement still apply, to this day. This makes perfect sense.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2014, 08:09
rahul wrote:
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

Pl review my analysis

Meaning

Agreement to reduce the amt of phosphate that was allowed to be dumped

POE

1) A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United
States reduced the amount of phosphates
2) that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the
Great Lakes.

SV correct
Agreement...reduced

Modifier
into the Great Lakes...is correctly placed

Meaning Correct

Parallelism
B/w C and the US...correct

Pronoun-

Idiom
allowed to...correct

Other-

Verb

Here though even after the agreement municipalities will dump the waste (of reduced amt) the sequence is

Municipalities allowed to dump waste --->Agreement to reduce waste----> Municipalities allowed to dump less waste

POE A correct

As per the sequence it is correct to state that municipalities had been allowed, because agreement happened later

So why is D correct here?
Also, what is the difference in amt of phosphate and phosphate amount
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2014, 05:04
2
jrashish wrote:
rahul wrote:
A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

Pl review my analysis

Meaning

Agreement to reduce the amt of phosphate that was allowed to be dumped

POE

1) A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United
States reduced the amount of phosphates
2) that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the
Great Lakes.

SV correct
Agreement...reduced

Modifier
into the Great Lakes...is correctly placed

Meaning Correct

Parallelism
B/w C and the US...correct

Pronoun-

Idiom
allowed to...correct

Other-

Verb

Here though even after the agreement municipalities will dump the waste (of reduced amt) the sequence is

Municipalities allowed to dump waste --->Agreement to reduce waste----> Municipalities allowed to dump less waste

POE A correct

As per the sequence it is correct to state that municipalities had been allowed, because agreement happened later

So why is D correct here?
Also, what is the difference in amt of phosphate and phosphate amount

Dear Ashish,

As I explained in my post above, according to the intended meaning of the sentence, the agreement can only reduce the amount of phosphates that can be dumped AFTER the agreement is made. "Had been dumped" refers to the amount that was dumped BEFORE the agreement was made. So, logically, it doesn't make sense to say that the agreement can reduce this amount. The correct answer must use either the simple past tense or the present tense.

There is no real difference in meaning between "amount of phosphates" and "phosphate amount", but idiomatically, we use "number of" and "amount of". So, "amount of phosphates" is better.

I hope this helps with your doubts.

Regards,
Meghna
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2014, 17:50
2. A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.
(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

Spoiler:

The OA is D, but I fail to understand why A is incorrect. The bone of contention is "had been allowed" in A vs "are allowed" in D.

I searched on forums and people have mentioned that dumping is an ongoing process, hence "are allowed" in D is correct. Experts have mentioned that since what has already been dumped cannot be reduced, hence "reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump" in A is incorrect. But I think if the choice A was "reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had dumped", then it was wrong, since you cant go back in time and reduce what has been dumped, but this question is about what has been "allowed" to dump.

E.g. municipalities were allowed to dump 20 tons per day before 1972 and after the agreement they were allowed to dump 15 tons per day, so the agreement reduced what municipalities had been allowed to dump (he 20 tons limit).

Can experts explain why A is wrong?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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30 Mar 2014, 23:21
Mereged similar topic

See the above explanation
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2014, 20:47
amit_upasani wrote:
I picked D as it better follows the intent of the sentence...

"agreement reduced the amount that the municipalities are allowed to dump"....that the agreement refers to dumping that is ongoing is best expressed here.

"agreement reduced the amount that the municipalities had been allowed to dump" the agreement could not really have reduced the amount that had already been dumped, right?

But my friend there's a discrepancy here. What you are saying can be true for the sentence:

- agreement reduced the amount that the municipalities had dumped

Are you getting it? what you are saying is 'agreement could not really have reduced the amount that had already been dumped', well the truth is that the municipality isn't reducing that amount either. It's reducing the amount that is ALLOWED to be dumped.

the statement in the option says

- agreement reduced the amount that the municipalities had been allowed to dump

Something was allowed before the timeframe referred and then the AMOUNT ALLOWED was reduced.

Notice the AMOUNT is NOT reduced but the AMOUNT ALLOWED.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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04 Apr 2014, 05:24
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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18 Apr 2014, 22:17
souvik101990 wrote:

Hi Souvik, I saw the explanation and copied the answer here to keep the discussion focused -- hope that's OK.

"Now, since the agreement is in the past, I cannot use a present tense verb. So "reduces" does not work at all. Eliminate C and E.

If I use past perfect, what does it mean really? It means that the agreement reduced something that happened before the passage of the agreement. SO I cannot use the perfect past tense. Eliminate A and B.
D is the correct answer "

I understand WHAT you're trying to say about not being able to use past perfect but for some reason, I cannot seem to decipher the meaning of A & B. The way I read A & B is as follows - "The agreement b/w Can and US reduced the amount of phosphates(that will be dumped in the future) and it has been reduced(by an arbitrary %) compared to what they were allowed to dump". I know it's wrong because of all the other explanations but I can't see why? Are there other simple examples that could demonstrate why i'm not understanding this part?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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20 Apr 2014, 12:48
1
Quote:
I understand WHAT you're trying to say about not being able to use past perfect but for some reason, I cannot seem to decipher the meaning of A & B. The way I read A & B is as follows - "The agreement b/w Can and US reduced the amount of phosphates(that will be dumped in the future) and it has been reduced(by an arbitrary %) compared to what they were allowed to dump". I know it's wrong because of all the other explanations but I can't see why? Are there other simple examples that could demonstrate why i'm not understanding this part?

Okay
Let's look at this again

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump

1. Agreement happened in 1972
2. People are dumbing a lot of waste before 1972
3. Agreement prohibits people from dumping more than a certain amount.

Now what A is trying to say is that the agreement reduces the waste that HAS ALREADY BEEN DUMPED. That's not possible is it?

Does that help?

(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping

Same
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce   [#permalink] 20 Apr 2014, 12:48

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