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# According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts

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According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 07:53
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Question Stats:

57% (01:42) correct 43% (00:53) wrong based on 363 sessions

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According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts became the first state in which more babies were born to women over the age of thirty than under it.

A. than
B. than born
C. than they were
D. than there had been
E. than had been born

I could eliminate some of these from the meaning alone, but this was a tough question.

*SPOILERS*
Could someone explain why Bis wrong for me

The best way to approach in retrospect to this problem is to rearrange the sentence, but while initially analyzing the problem I thought hmm we will think of anything after *more* as having to be parallel and so I chose B
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA

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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 14:28
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Hi,

This is a tricky one. I think what helps differentiate the answers is to think about what the comparison is: Women under the age of thirty VS. Women over the age of thirty

And the structure is: More X than Y

or with the story filled in: More Women over the age thirty than under the age of thirty

The other thing that helps is to fill in the noun/noun phrase that the pronoun "it" is replacing. Replacing pronouns is often helpful in SC. It's good to make this a habit.

Answer B is wrong because you have were born on one side of the comparison and only born on the other side. You need to have were born on both sides or nothing at all (in this case the were born is distributed to the second half of the comparison). It's a bit like a list in which you can have the bar, the plane, and the floor or the bar, plane, and floor but not the plane, bar, and the floor. Either you need to have every element or just let the first element distribute. In general, you cannot mix and match.

Another strategy here is to re-arrange the sentence: More babies were born to woman over the age of thirty than (were born to) woman under the age of thirty in the state of Mass. in 1998.

Let me know if you need more advice on this one.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 18:17
HerrGrau wrote:
Hi,

This is a tricky one. I think what helps differentiate the answers is to think about what the comparison is: Women under the age of thirty VS. Women over the age of thirty

And the structure is: More X than Y

or with the story filled in: More Women over the age thirty than under the age of thirty

The other thing that helps is to fill in the noun/noun phrase that the pronoun "it" is replacing. Replacing pronouns is often helpful in SC. It's good to make this a habit.

Answer B is wrong because you have were born on one side of the comparison and only born on the other side. You need to have were born on both sides or nothing at all (in this case the were born is distributed to the second half of the comparison). It's a bit like a list in which you can have the bar, the plane, and the floor or the bar, plane, and floor but not the plane, bar, and the floor. Either you need to have every element or just let the first element distribute. In general, you cannot mix and match.

Another strategy here is to re-arrange the sentence: [/b[b]]More babies were born to woman over the age of thirty than (were born to) woman under the age of thirty in the state of Mass. in 1998.

Let me know if you need more advice on this one.

Happy Studies,

HG.

Hmmm how could you simply imply the 'were born to' in the second half of the sentence? Are you saying the first were born to is the first and only element to be distributed? But that phrase 'were born to' is after more (within the idiotmatic construction)
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2013, 05:12
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Hi,

I hope that you are well. I'm not exactly sure what your question is but let's take a look at another example:

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than were earned by Pepsi

Were earned by CC is parallel to Were earned by Pepsi

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than by Pepsi
By CC is parallel to By Pepsi and the were earned applies to both

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than earned by Pepsi
Were earned by CC is NOT parallel to earned by Pepsi

The first two are equivalent. The last is incorrect and very similar to answer choice B.

Happy Studies,

HG.
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IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2013, 07:34
HerrGrau wrote:
Hi,

I hope that you are well. I'm not exactly sure what your question is but let's take a look at another example:

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than were earned by Pepsi

Were earned by CC is parallel to Were earned by Pepsi

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than by Pepsi
By CC is parallel to By Pepsi and the were earned applies to both

In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than earned by Pepsi
Were earned by CC is NOT parallel to earned by Pepsi

The first two are equivalent. The last is incorrect and very similar to answer choice B.

Happy Studies,

HG.

How about the answer choice E? I think this implies that the two events (over under 30) occured at two different points whereas we are focused on the change. Hence these two events should be in the same tense? Gramatically (excluding tense) it seems fine though, no?
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2013, 08:08
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Hi there,

According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts became the first state in which more babies were born to women over the age of thirty than under it.

It is important to understand the intended meaning of the sentence.
• This sentence presents comparison. We need to find out what are the entities that are compared here.
• In 1998, Massachusetts became the first state in which more babies were born to woman who were over the age of 30 than to those woman who were under the age of 30.
• The entities compared here the woman over 30 and woman under 30.

Now let’s see what the Errors are in this sentence:
Now there is just one word underlined in this sentence. The idiom used in this sentence is “…more babies are born to X than Y”. Here X and Y should be parallel.
X = woman over the age of thirty (noun phrase)
Y = (woman) under it (it = the age of thirty)
Since bot the entities are parallel here, there is no error in this sentence.

PoE:

A. than: Correct for the reason stated above.

B. than born: Incorrect. This choice leads to illogical comparison. Per this choice, entity Y = (babies) born under it (it = the age of thirty). This means the babies were under the age of 30. This is absolutely non-sensical.

C. than they were: Incorrect. Firstly, pronoun “they” is ambiguous here. If “they” refers to “babies”, then also it leads to illogical meaning and if “they” refers to “women”, then also lead to illogical meaning.

D. than there had been: Incorrect. This choice uses the incorrect verb tense as well as presents illogical comparison.

E. than had been born: Inocrrect. This choice repeats the verb tense error of choice D and illogical comparison error of choice B.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2013, 08:13
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Well, the events did not happen one before the other but at the same time so the past perfect is incorrect. You should always question the use of the perfect tense and make sure that the order of the events is important to the meaning of the sentence. You can have a bunch of different events happening in the past and all of them can be in the past simple.

Even excusing the tense the meaning is obscured because it would seem that babies were born under 30 and not that the babies were born to women under thirty.

HG.
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If you found my post useful KUDOS are much appreciated.

IMPROVE YOUR READING COMPREHENSION with the ECONOMIST READING COMPREHENSION CHALLENGE:

Here is the first set along with some strategies for approaching this work: http://gmatclub.com/forum/the-economist-reading-comprehension-challenge-151479.html

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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Mar 2013, 09:13
Thanks so much you two

Basically we need to use this paradigm
In 2013 more profits were earned by Coca Cola than by Pepsi
By CC is parallel to By Pepsi and the were earned applies to both

Choice B repeats the last paradigm (incorrect parallelism)

The simplicity of this problem made me solve it in less than 20 seconds. Bad move!
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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06 Sep 2014, 09:55
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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2015, 07:13
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts   [#permalink] 13 Sep 2015, 07:13
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