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# A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce

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Manager
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01 Sep 2004, 00:51
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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

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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06 Feb 2016, 15:38
dlugli 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

I think (D) is better than (A).

Hi dlugli,

Let me try to answer your query. Yes I do agree with you that D is better than A, and indeed D is the official answer.

The dumping activity (rather allowing the dumping activity) continued after the agreement, therefore the past perfect had been is definitely wrong. Using had been would imply that the dumping activity occurred before the agreement took place and did not occur after the agreement.

Let us now consider 2 possible correct options: simple past were allowed to dump and simple present are allowed to dump.

Both could be correct depending on the intended meaning. If the dumping activity ( rather allowing the dumping activity) does not continue now, then were allowed would be correct. However if the dumping activity ( rather allowing the dumping activity) still continues in the present day, then are allowed would be correct. The option were allowed does appear in any of the answer choices and hence this ambiguity does not arise at all. In absence of were allowed, are allowed is clearly the winner.

Does this explanation help?
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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15 May 2016, 20:52
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.

There are two actions and they are not dependent and hence past perfect tense need not be used and secondly, the two clauses are joined as a subordinate clauses "using that". Check out the question : galileo-did-not-invent-the-telescope-but-on-hearing-in-111155.html. Where the past perfect is used properly.

(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
Because of the above reason, this option is incorrect

(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
There is no need to use Past perfect continuous because the events are not dependent and the event need not be continuous.

(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
Simple present is completely wrong as this event occurred in the past

(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
Correct

(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities
Simple present is completely wrong as this event occurred in the past
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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06 Aug 2016, 00:30
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 -- Had is not required as the sentence is telling a fact
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping -- amount of phosphate is preffered than phosphate amount
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump -- amount of phosphate is preffered than phosphate amount
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump -- correct answer
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities[/quote] -- "allowed for dumping by municipalities" is wordy and is in passive voice
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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18 Aug 2016, 11:29
egmat wrote:
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

Before Rocky came, I completed my homework.
Before Rocky came, I had completed my homework.

Can you please tell which one is correct in gmat.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2016, 12:04
koulr wrote:
egmat wrote:
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

Before Rocky came, I completed my homework.
Before Rocky came, I had completed my homework.

Can you please tell which one is correct in gmat.

Before Rocky came, I completed my homework.: correct - use of "before" makes the use of past perfect unnecessary ( for two distinct events that started and completed in the past).

Before Rocky came, I had completed my homework: wrong - the correct statement would be: When Rocky came, I had completed my homework.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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30 Aug 2016, 07:17
My Approach to solve this question :

1. For the split for reduce, past tense (reduced) is correct, hence eliminate C & E
2. In A, B and D, for the split dump : had been dumping is the wrong verb tense hence eliminate B
3. Now in A and D, a simple past tense for verb dump is preferred, hence eliminate A
4. Read D with the complete sentence, sounds ok

Total time taken to solve : 85 seconds
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2017, 19:48
I am unable to understand the usage of 'are' in option D. When the agreement took place in the past then the usage of 'are' in a bit difficult to understand. Please advice.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2017, 21:18
Since there seems to be some disagreement on OA, request experts to help.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2017, 00:47
2
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Expert's post
There's no doubt about the OA: it is definitely D, and there is nothing wrong with this question (which really is an official GMAT question).

People get confused by this one because of the shifts in time. An agreement that took place in the past (described correctly in the past tense) had an effect on what we are now allowed to do (described correctly in the present tense). Similarly, I could say that a movie made in 1950 "changed the way that we see romantic love" or that a change made to the tax code in 1985 "limits the amount of losses one is able to deduct."

A is absolutely wrong. There's no ambiguity about that either. It starts in past tense and shifts to past perfect. This implies that the law worked backwards in time , changing the amount that people had been allowed to dump before the law was passed! Can we all agree that that makes no sense? Remember that the past perfect ("had been") is only used to describe events that precede some other past event in the sentence (or--outside the GMAT--elsewhere in the text). Answer choice A has only one past event, so the absurd interpretation I've provided is actually the only possible meaning! That choice has to go.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2017, 01:32
DmitryFarber wrote:
There's no doubt about the OA: it is definitely D, and there is nothing wrong with this question (which really is an official GMAT question).

People get confused by this one because of the shifts in time. An agreement that took place in the past (described correctly in the past tense) had an effect on what we are now allowed to do (described correctly in the present tense). Similarly, I could say that a movie made in 1950 "changed the way that we see romantic love" or that a change made to the tax code in 1985 "limits the amount of losses one is able to deduct."

A is absolutely wrong. There's no ambiguity about that either. It starts in past tense and shifts to past perfect. This implies that the law worked backwards in time , changing the amount that people had been allowed to dump before the law was passed! Can we all agree that that makes no sense? Remember that the past perfect ("had been") is only used to describe events that precede some other past event in the sentence (or--outside the GMAT--elsewhere in the text). Answer choice A has only one past event, so the absurd interpretation I've provided is actually the only possible meaning! That choice has to go.

Thanks for the detailed explanation. The action stopped after the agreement was passed. In that case if we mention that it could have continued till present times, which is not the case.

So I am still confused why 'are' is used. Am I missing out some point or any rule
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2017, 01:55
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Expert's post
When you say "the action stopped," are you talking about my discussion of the past perfect in A?

To use the past perfect, we need more than an action that has stopped, or we'd end up using past perfect for all events that have ended. We don't say "I had been born in California" or "Nehru had been the first Prime Minister of India." To use past perfect, we need a sentence that mentions some past event, and we need to be describing something that preceded that past event: "Before the ruling was made, I had been crossing the border every day." "I had studied French for three years when I finally visited France."

As for the present tense in D, maybe it will help to think of it this way. There is an amount that municipalities are allowed to dump. The 1972 agreement reduced that amount, and we are still at that reduced amount. So the amount that municipalities are currently allowed to dump is lower than it used to be. Why? Because the 1972 agreement reduced it.

We could have used "were" instead of "are," but that would restrict the scope to the past, leaving it unclear whether the reduction is still in place, or whether such a limitation even exists anymore! It also would have made this question a lot less tough. However, using the past perfect would be the worst of all. As I said before, since past perfect describes events that precede another past event, this would place the allowance first in our order, meaning that the change affected how much people had already been allowed to dump. In other words, we'd be saying it changed the past!
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2017, 03:04
DmitryFarber wrote:
When you say "the action stopped," are you talking about my discussion of the past perfect in A?

To use the past perfect, we need more than an action that has stopped, or we'd end up using past perfect for all events that have ended. We don't say "I had been born in California" or "Nehru had been the first Prime Minister of India." To use past perfect, we need a sentence that mentions some past event, and we need to be describing something that preceded that past event: "Before the ruling was made, I had been crossing the border every day." "I had studied French for three years when I finally visited France."

As for the present tense in D, maybe it will help to think of it this way. There is an amount that municipalities are allowed to dump. The 1972 agreement reduced that amount, and we are still at that reduced amount. So the amount that municipalities are currently allowed to dump is lower than it used to be. Why? Because the 1972 agreement reduced it.

We could have used "were" instead of "are," but that would restrict the scope to the past, leaving it unclear whether the reduction is still in place, or whether such a limitation even exists anymore! It also would have made this question a lot less tough. However, using the past perfect would be the worst of all. As I said before, since past perfect describes events that precede another past event, this would place the allowance first in our order, meaning that the change affected how much people had already been allowed to dump. In other words, we'd be saying it changed the past!

"There is an amount that municipalities are allowed to dump. The 1972 agreement reduced that amount, and we are still at that reduced amount. So the amount that municipalities are currently allowed to dump is lower than it used to be. Why? Because the 1972 agreement reduced it."

Thanks a lot Dmirty, I got a bang on explanation!
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2017, 09:39
I have 2 questions:

1-Can anybody tell me whether it would be a right sentence if we use present perfect tense like the following?
-reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities have been dumping

Does it mean that the dumping activity have continued until now, or until the time that the amount of phosphate was reduced
2-I have been using "reduced the phosphate amount" and assuming that "phosphate amount" and "amount of phosphate" have the same meaning. Can anyone tell me the exact difference? Or is it only because after "reduced" we have to use the specific word of what is reduced?
If so, which one is the right use among "...the amount of phosphate that was reduced" and "...the phosphate amount that was reduced"

Last edited by fikarak on 24 Apr 2017, 13:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2017, 13:10
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2017, 19:34
VKat wrote:
Option D is correct. You can check the answer by clicking "reveal" on the OA.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2017, 07:04
hello
expert, what's wrong with A , totally bumped !
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2017, 10:33
nks2611 wrote:
hello
expert, what's wrong with A , totally bumped !

The past perfect tense is self-defeating in option A: "had been allowed to dump" implies that the action "allowing" occurred before the action "reducing". This in turn implies that there was no more "allowing" after the reduction was effected - this does not make sense. There was "allowing" before AND AFTER "reducing". Hence past perfect is wrong.
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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24 May 2017, 00:41
1
KUDOS
Tips: For Past perfect tense to apply both the events must occur and get completed in the past.
Here the dumping continues to the present hence A is wrong and D is the answer.

Press Kudos if you like the explanation!
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Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce [#permalink]

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04 Jul 2017, 01:56
Hi all

The question reads: :" 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 have managed to narrow down the options to two:

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

The correct answer is D, but I am trying to understand what is wrong with A. Ideally, the first sentence should read "reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities were allowed to dump" if the reduction happened in the past. But then what does "had been allowed to dump" imply and why is this the wrong answer?

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

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22 Jul 2017, 11:18
Not sure if the OA is right.

Option D uses "are" which means that municipalities are still dumping, which is not stated anywhere.

Re: A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduce   [#permalink] 22 Jul 2017, 11:18

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