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# According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so

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According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 10 Mar 2019, 02:31
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According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

(A) so that it was the lowest in two years

(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate

(C) to what would be the lowest in two years

(D) to a two-year low level

(E) to the lowest level in two years

The Official Guide for GMAT Review, 10th Edition, 2003

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 260
Page: 694

Surprisingly, Britain is one the OECD’s worst performers over the past decade. At 4%, its unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 1975.

In July Britain's unemployment rate fell for the 13th straight month, to 5.5%, the lowest level since April 1990.

Can someone explain why (D) is incorrect. I have come across sentences that said inflation hit to a two-year low level and so confused as to why (D) is incorrect.

The first and second choices’ use of so that is ungrammatical. So that is a conjunction, but in both the first and second choices it is immediately preceded not by a complete clause (containing both a subject and a predicate) but by a subject only.

The third choice is awkwardly expressed and leaves unstated what lowest modifies.

The fourth choice is awkward and potentially ambiguous: it could mean either that in July unemployment decreased to the lowest level in two years (which presumably is the intended meaning), or it could mean that in July unemployment decreased to a low level, where it will stay for two years.

The fifth choice is the best.

Originally posted by seekmba on 10 Mar 2010, 06:59.
Last edited by Bunuel on 10 Mar 2019, 02:31, edited 6 times in total.
Edited the question.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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12 Mar 2010, 23:20
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Hey All,

Bakfed pretty much nailed this one on the head. It's just not idiomatic. To be more specific:

(D) to a two-year low level

There are two ways we could read this.

#1: "low level" is meant to be read as one thing, and two-year is modifying it (as in "It was a lovely barn dance", in which "lovely" is modifying the compound noun "barn dance). This doesn't make any sense, however, because there's no such thing as a "low level".

#2: "Two-year" is an adverb modifying the main adjective "low", which is describing "level" (as in "It was a dark green sweater", in which dark is modifying green, which is modifying sweater). This doesn't make any sense either, however, because there's no such thing as a level that is "two-year low".

Hope that helps a bit!

-t
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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24 Dec 2014, 11:16
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goodyear2013 wrote:
According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.
(A) so that it was the lowest in two years
(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate
(C) to what would be the lowest in two years
(D) to a two-year low level
(E) to the lowest level in two years

I added this one as other posts don't include the OA.

Good question.

Split #1: "To the lowest" vs. "to the lowest level".

If you say "the July decrease in unemployment to the lowest", that does not make sense. To the lowest of what?
It's the same if you say the "the decrease in unemployment is half". Half of what? See my explanation for a similar OG question below.

The correct and unambiguous phrase should be "the July decrease in unemployment to the lowest level....."
So A, B, C are out.

Split #2: "the lowest level in two years" vs. "a two-year low level.

Definitely, the fist phrase is better. The second phrase does NOT convey the gist of the sentence. "Two-year low level" does NOT mean "the lowest level". Thus D is wrong because of meaning problem.

E is the best.

Hope it helps.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2010, 13:08
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i can't really gasp why (D) is wrong, besides the unidiomatic way of saying this sentence.

I would choose (E) over (D) and this is simply because (D) just sounds wrong and ambiguous.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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01 May 2010, 23:27
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TommyWallach wrote:
(D) to a two-year low level

There are two ways we could read this.

#1: "low level" is meant to be read as one thing, and two-year is modifying it (as in "It was a lovely barn dance", in which "lovely" is modifying the compound noun "barn dance). This doesn't make any sense, however, because there's no such thing as a "low level".

#2: "Two-year" is an adverb modifying the main adjective "low", which is describing "level" (as in "It was a dark green sweater", in which dark is modifying green, which is modifying sweater). This doesn't make any sense either, however, because there's no such thing as a level that is "two-year low".

Tommy, is the following construction correct? I've removed the word 'level' from choice D.

According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment to a two-year low suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 09:26
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Hey Sidhu,

Yes, as far as I can see, your suggest construction would be correct.

-tommy
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2013, 20:11
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According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

(A) so that it was the lowest in two years
(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate
(C) to what would be the lowest in two years
(D) to a two-year low level
(E) to the lowest level in two years

Hi! I would like to clarify pronoun antecedent. It seems that as sentences become more difficult, pronoun antecedent eligbility becomes less clear-cut. I have read in some places that an antecedent cannot be an object of a preposition but elsewhere it says this is possible. Would anyone be able to help clarify please?

Thanks!

For example, for above, the OG says "it" is ambiguous because it can refer to either decrease or unemployment. I can see that if "it" refers to decrease, the sentence won't make sense. However, the OA does not say it's a wrong antecedent but an ambiguous one. Unemployment is part of a prep phrase. In OG13, the OA says that objects of prepositions can't be antecedents for pronouns?

Q: Fossils of the arm of a sloth found in Puerto Rico in 1991, and dated at 34 million years old, made it the earliest known mammal of the Greater Antilles islands.
OA: "Because sloth is the object of a preposition and not the subject of the sentence, there is no reasonable antecedent for "it"
Edit: by carcass
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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20 Jan 2013, 20:33
Hi,

An object of a preposition can be a pronoun antecedent if the prepositional phrase is post-modifying the head noun.

Consider the following example of a noun phrase in which a prepositional phrase is used to post-modify the head noun: "the coat of many colors". The prepositional phrase is "of many colors." The head noun is coat. This head noun is pre-modified by the identifier the. In addition, it is post-modified by the prepositional phrase of many colors. It is a simple matter to determine if this complex structure is functioning as a complete noun phrase, as it is always possible to substitute a pronoun for a whole noun phrase. So, in the utterance the coat of many colors was beautiful a pronoun may be substituted for the noun phrase to produce the modified utterance it was beautiful.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2013, 18:53
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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19 Dec 2013, 15:59
eybrj2 wrote:
50. According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

(A) so that it was the lowest in two years
(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate
(C) to what would be the lowest in two years
(D) to a two-year low level
(E) to the lowest level in two years

Why D is wrong?

I Hope someone can help
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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19 Dec 2013, 18:57
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kassim wrote:
Why D is wrong?
I Hope someone can help

decrease ... to a two year low would have sufficed.

"level" is additionally/wrongly used in option 'D'
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2014, 23:42
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eybrj2 wrote:
50. According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

(A) so that it was the lowest in two years
(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate
(C) to what would be the lowest in two years
(D) to a two-year low level
(E) to the lowest level in two years

nice question.

"so that +clause" is a adverb clause of purpose. of course this clause need a main clause. There is no main clause. A and B are gone.

in c, "would be " show the certainty, not a fact. This is wrong. we need to show a fact. C is gone

in D, "two year low" is not idiomatic. This phrase is meaningless.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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24 Sep 2017, 13:35
Hello EGMAT, GMATNinja,

Could you please clarify the usage of lowest over here?

Ideally, if we have to compare between two, we use comparative form ("lower" in this case) and if we are to compare more than two, we use superlative form ("lowest" in this case)

IMO - We are comparing the unemployment between two years so we should be using - lower.

Is there any exception to this rule? Or I am getting it wrong?

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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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28 Sep 2017, 15:23
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ydmuley, you're right that we wouldn't want to use "lowest" to compare two figures, such as the levels for two entire years. However, "the lowest level in two years" means that if we look at all the levels over a two year period, this would be the lowest point. Imagine a graph of daily, weekly, or monthly values for the past two years. We're talking about the absolute lowest point on that graph.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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31 Jan 2018, 11:53
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Hello seekmba,

Thank you for your question. To answer your specific question of why D can't be the correct answer, we need to look at what both D & E (the correct answer) actually mean:

(D) to a two-year low level
By saying "low level," it doesn't tell us this is the lowest level in two years - just that it's low. It could have been just as low at some other point in the past two years, and that this is just one of those times. Since that's not specific enough for readers to understand quickly, it's not the best answer.

(E) to the lowest level in two years
By saying "the lowest level," it's clear that the unemployment level has not been this low at any other point in the past two years. This is the intended meaning of the sentence, so it's the better answer.
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Re: According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2019, 19:32
According to some economists, the July decrease in unemployment so that it was the lowest in two years suggests that the gradual improvement in the job market is continuing.

(A) so that it was the lowest in two years - SO THAT is used to give reasons. Is the reason for decrease in employment that it was the lowest in two years?

(B) so that it was the lowest two-year rate - Here, lowest acts as an adjective modifying two year rate. The original sentence intends to say that the rate was the lowest in two years, NOT that there were many two year rates and this one was the lowest.

(C) to what would be the lowest in two years - The usage of would suggests that the rate is not actually the lowest. It sounds as if it is a prediction.

(D) to a two-year low level - same as B

(E) to the lowest level in two years - BEST.

Thanks
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02 Oct 2019, 00:46
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