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# A SC doubt

Author Message
Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: India

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15 Sep 2018, 20:54
"The Labor Department’s monthly survey for August showed that 681,000 fewer Americans over the last year were working part-time because of slack business conditions and 266,000 fewer because they couldn’t find full-time jobs."

I read the above sentence in the WSJ today and wanted to understand how it is correct or if there is any explanation around it which would make me understand such sentence types.
Intern
Joined: 14 Jun 2018
Posts: 47
Location: India

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16 Sep 2018, 00:17
Pawan0802 wrote:
"The Labor Department’s monthly survey for August showed that 681,000 fewer Americans over the last year were working part-time because of slack business conditions and 266,000 fewer because they couldn’t find full-time jobs."

I read the above sentence in the WSJ today and wanted to understand how it is correct or if there is any explanation around it which would make me understand such sentence types.

Hello, Pawan0802,

I think the sentence is correct because it fulfils the meaning intended by the author correctly. May I know what part of the sentence is a question to you?
Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2018
Posts: 2
Location: India

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16 Sep 2018, 00:19
Thank you so much for your response.

My doubt in specific was that is the usgae of 618,000 fewer Americans... Correct ?

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Manhattan Prep Instructor
Joined: 04 Dec 2015
Posts: 669
GMAT 1: 790 Q51 V49
GRE 1: Q170 V170

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17 Sep 2018, 13:55
In itself, the phrase "618,000 fewer Americans" is correct.

In this sentence, I'd be a little suspicious of it. I think the GMAT would call this sentence 'ambiguous,' in a few different ways:

- Is it true that they were working part time because of slack business conditions, or is it true that they stopped working part time because of slack business conditions? (I think this is the worst ambiguity in the sentence, and it's what makes me think that the GMAT would call this incorrect.)
- Is it true that 681,000 fewer Americans were working part-time (and that this was caused by slack business conditions), or is it true that some unspecified number of Americans stopped working part-time, and 681,000 of those were affected by slack business conditions?

However, remember that GMAT SC problems always have multiple answer choices to compare against each other. Trying to look at a single sentence and decide 'right or wrong' is very different from what you'll actually do on test day. On test day, you could look at the alternatives. If they were less ambiguous, then you could cross this one off. But if they were all still just as bad, you'd have to look at other issues.
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VP
Joined: 27 Mar 2010
Posts: 1066
Location: India
GPA: 3.31

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20 Sep 2018, 06:47
Hi Pawan, there are two issues with this sentence that don’t make this a perfect GMAT sentence:

i) The intended meaning is clearly to address two things were observed over the last year. Hence, the phrase over the last year should be pushed out, to make it clear that it is common to both portions. So, a better sentence would be:

The Labor Department’s monthly survey for August showed that over the last year, 681,000 fewer Americans were working part-time because of slack business conditions and 266,000 fewer because they couldn’t find full-time jobs.

ii) Purely from a grammatical similarity perspective, the intent is to convey:

(a) 681,000 fewer Americans were working part-time because of slack business conditions and

(b) 266,000 fewer Americans were working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time jobs.

If you notice, the grammatical usage of because is different in (a) and (b); (a) actually uses a preposition (because of) while (b) uses because as a classical subordinating conjunction (because followed by a clause). In this sentence, since these two because are a part of the same parallelism sequence, one would expect a uniformity of usage (either both because used to support usage of preposition or both because used as subordinating conjunction). Hence, following would be a better construct:

The Labor Department’s monthly survey for August showed that over the last year, 681,000 fewer Americans were working part-time because of slack business conditions and 266,000 fewer because of scarcity of full-time jobs.

One may argue though that scarcity of full-time jobs is slightly different from they couldn’t find full-time jobs.

Also note that I have come cross an official question where GMAT showed flexibility in this regard and hence, while the disparate usages of because within the same parallelism sequence might not be considered a show-stopper, it is still not an ideal usage.
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A SC doubt &nbs [#permalink] 20 Sep 2018, 06:47
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# A SC doubt

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