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Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than

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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 06 Oct 2019, 17:52
Asad wrote:
But "Army" is also used as "plural" in grammar. So, why don't we consider "Army" as "Plural" in this SC? I appreciate your help sir.
Thanks__

Well, even if you think that "army" is plural in general, the non-underlined portion tells us that "army" is singular in this sentence! Right after the comma, we have "it had provisions...". That singular pronoun "it" must refer to "army", so we know that army is singular.

We can't refer to army with a plural pronoun in one part of the sentence and then with a singular pronoun in another part, so (A), (B), and (C) are out.
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Dec 2019, 10:11
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Nice explanation GMATNinja

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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Dec 2019, 04:58
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GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(A) they had in their previous campaigns

The key is in the non-underlined portion of the sentence: “Napoleon’s army” is singular, and that means that the plural pronouns “they” and “their” have no logical referents. That’s not cool. (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) their previous campaigns had had

Well, (B) has exactly the same problem as (A): “their” is a plural pronoun that logically needs to refer to “Napoleon’s army”, but “army” is singular. That’s still not cool.

But in case you’re wondering: “had had” can actually be OK. It’s just the past perfect tense version of “had.” Consider the following:

  • The army had sufficient food supplies. --> No problem. This is just simple past tense, right?
  • The army had had sufficient supplies until some guy named Charlie at them all. –-> “had had” is past perfect tense, and like any action in past perfect tense, it has to precede some other action LATER in the past. And we’re all good here: the army had sufficient food supplies first, and then later on, some guy named Charlie ate them all.

So don’t get distracted by “had had”: it’s just a nice, normal action in past perfect tense. And it’s fine here: the previous campaigns occurred before the invasion of Russia, so it’s fine to use past perfect to describe those earlier campaigns.

But the pronoun thing is still a big problem. (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) they had for any previous campaign

It’s nice that the different answer choices rearrange stuff, but (C) still has the same problem as (A) and (B): “they” logically needs to refer to “Napoleon’s army”, but “army” is singular.

So (C) is gone, too.

Quote:
(D) in their previous campaigns

And this is getting boring: “their” still can’t refer to “Napoleon’s army.”

(D) is out, and I hope we like (E).

Quote:
(E) for any previous campaign

By default, this is our winner, because it’s the only option that doesn’t contain an egregious pronoun error.

But my bet is that some of you don’t really love the comparison. Maybe you’d prefer this version?

    “…Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for its previous campaigns…”

That version would be crystal-clear, but the only thing that’s different in (E) is that the phrase “it had” is missing from (E). I don’t think it’s completely crazy to give the GMAT the benefit of the doubt here: “it had” really isn’t necessary for us to understand the meaning of the sentence. Of course Napoleon’s army was the thing that “had” the supplies; there’s no real need to include the phrase “it had.”

So the comparison is acceptable in (E). And more importantly, the absence of pronoun errors is wonderful. So (E) is our winner.



Dear GMATNinja, thank you very much for your detailed explanation. You wrote that in order to grasp its meaning more clearly, we could read choice E as below – with it had after than:

E. Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for any previous campaign...

Could you, please, elaborate on the issue I have with the above revised version? The sentence compares supplies with supplies. On the left we have far more supplies, which lacks a verb. So, for the sake of parallelism, we can’t have a verb on the right side either, can we? Isn’t it had incorrect in this case?

I thought the correct choice circumvents a verb exactly for this reason.

Many thanks for your answer in advance.
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Dec 2019, 18:24
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JonShukhrat wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(E) for any previous campaign

By default, this is our winner, because it’s the only option that doesn’t contain an egregious pronoun error.

But my bet is that some of you don’t really love the comparison. Maybe you’d prefer this version?

    “…Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for its previous campaigns…”

That version would be crystal-clear, but the only thing that’s different in (E) is that the phrase “it had” is missing from (E). I don’t think it’s completely crazy to give the GMAT the benefit of the doubt here: “it had” really isn’t necessary for us to understand the meaning of the sentence. Of course Napoleon’s army was the thing that “had” the supplies; there’s no real need to include the phrase “it had.”

So the comparison is acceptable in (E). And more importantly, the absence of pronoun errors is wonderful. So (E) is our winner.



Dear GMATNinja, thank you very much for your detailed explanation. You wrote that in order to grasp its meaning more clearly, we could read choice E as below – with it had after than:

E. Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for any previous campaign...

Could you, please, elaborate on the issue I have with the above revised version? The sentence compares supplies with supplies. On the left we have far more supplies, which lacks a verb. So, for the sake of parallelism, we can’t have a verb on the right side either, can we? Isn’t it had incorrect in this case?

I thought the correct choice circumvents a verb exactly for this reason.

Many thanks for your answer in advance.

Good question! Bear in mind that when evaluating a comparison, the most important thing to consider is whether the comparison is clear and logical. For example:

    Tim disappointed his children more often in 2019 than in 2012, as neither of his kids was alive yet in 2012.

Note that the prepositional phrase "in 2019" modifies when Tim disappointed his children. Logically, the prepositional phrase "in 2012" is performing the same function, so we're effectively comparing how often Tim disappointed his kids in 2019 to how often he disappointed his kids in 2012, even though the verb "disappointed" isn't repeated in the second part of the comparison. Rather, it's implied. This is fine because the logic is clear.

It's kind of the same situation here:

    Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than for any previous campaign.

Now, the prepositional phrase, "with far more supplies" is modifying the clause "Napoleon's army entered Russia." By extension, the prepositional phrase, "for any previous campaign" is modifying another action performed by Napoleon's army, namely, what supplies it had. Because the comparison is logical, this is okay.

If you feel skeptical about whether the implied "it had" is obvious, I'm with you. But because it makes sense for the prepositional phrases to play the same role, and because every other answer choice has a definitive error, this option is clearly the best of the bunch.

So two big takeaways here:

    1) If you have a comparison in which each part of the comparison contains a prepositional phrase, it's fair to assume the prepositional phrases are playing similar roles.

    2) If you have an answer choice that seems a little unclear, but there's no definitive, concrete error you can identify, hold on to it. If the other options are all clearly incorrect, you've got your answer, because sentence correction is about selecting the best of the bunch, not finding the perfect sentence.

I hope that helps! (And Happy Holidays!)
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Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Dec 2019, 22:15
GMATNinja wrote:
JonShukhrat wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

By default, this is our winner, because it’s the only option that doesn’t contain an egregious pronoun error.

But my bet is that some of you don’t really love the comparison. Maybe you’d prefer this version?

    “…Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for its previous campaigns…”

That version would be crystal-clear, but the only thing that’s different in (E) is that the phrase “it had” is missing from (E). I don’t think it’s completely crazy to give the GMAT the benefit of the doubt here: “it had” really isn’t necessary for us to understand the meaning of the sentence. Of course Napoleon’s army was the thing that “had” the supplies; there’s no real need to include the phrase “it had.”

So the comparison is acceptable in (E). And more importantly, the absence of pronoun errors is wonderful. So (E) is our winner.



Dear GMATNinja, thank you very much for your detailed explanation. You wrote that in order to grasp its meaning more clearly, we could read choice E as below – with it had after than:

E. Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than it had for any previous campaign...

Could you, please, elaborate on the issue I have with the above revised version? The sentence compares supplies with supplies. On the left we have far more supplies, which lacks a verb. So, for the sake of parallelism, we can’t have a verb on the right side either, can we? Isn’t it had incorrect in this case?

I thought the correct choice circumvents a verb exactly for this reason.

Many thanks for your answer in advance.

Good question! Bear in mind that when evaluating a comparison, the most important thing to consider is whether the comparison is clear and logical. For example:

    Tim disappointed his children more often in 2019 than in 2012, as neither of his kids was alive yet in 2012.

Note that the prepositional phrase "in 2019" modifies when Tim disappointed his children. Logically, the prepositional phrase "in 2012" is performing the same function, so we're effectively comparing how often Tim disappointed his kids in 2019 to how often he disappointed his kids in 2012, even though the verb "disappointed" isn't repeated in the second part of the comparison. Rather, it's implied. This is fine because the logic is clear.

It's kind of the same situation here:

    Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than for any previous campaign.

Now, the prepositional phrase, "with far more supplies" is modifying the clause "Napoleon's army entered Russia." By extension, the prepositional phrase, "for any previous campaign" is modifying another action performed by Napoleon's army, namely, what supplies it had. Because the comparison is logical, this is okay.

If you feel skeptical about whether the implied "it had" is obvious, I'm with you. But because it makes sense for the prepositional phrases to play the same role, and because every other answer choice has a definitive error, this option is clearly the best of the bunch.

So two big takeaways here:

    1) If you have a comparison in which each part of the comparison contains a prepositional phrase, it's fair to assume the prepositional phrases are playing similar roles.

    2) If you have an answer choice that seems a little unclear, but there's no definitive, concrete error you can identify, hold on to it. If the other options are all clearly incorrect, you've got your answer, because sentence correction is about selecting the best of the bunch, not finding the perfect sentence.

I hope that helps! (And Happy Holidays!)


Charles Sir,

Thank you very much for such a detailed explanation. Happy holidays! And congrats on your second perfect GRE!
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Dec 2019, 08:26
daagh

Can you please explain how you are arriving at the comparisons in options A and C?
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New post 31 Dec 2019, 09:29
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gmatapprentice

The decisive factor is the plural pronoun' they". There is only one plural noun prior to that pronoun namely 'supplies', but is illogical.
What had fewer supplies was the army, which is singular. That is the reason, neither 'they' nor their'' is able to stand a logical comparison not only in A and C but also in B and D.
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2020, 01:41
daagh

Thanks the illogical pronoun referrent is clear - my question was around this:

But to go deep into the topic, this is a question of comparisons. More supplies are being compared with the army in A and C, campaigns in B

How did you arrive at this?
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2020, 06:33
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The comparison seems to be only between what the army had earlier with what it had now and not with what it had in the earlier campaigns or with their supplies earlier because we always compare what is adjacent to the comparison marker. In this case, if you substitute supplies with 'they' or 'their', the substitution doesn't make any logic. Secondly, the lack of sensible antecedence for the pronoun is an instant cue leading to the correct choice. Why would anyone stray into unnecessary things in the wrong choices and lose golden moments in the hall?
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2020, 07:35
daagh Thanks for the explanation - to me, it looks like the comparison is between supplies and previous campaigns in option A. Just want to understand where i'm going wrong with this.
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Jan 2020, 09:30
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Happy New Year!

Not sure I have much to add here, everything is pretty thoroughly explained above! Army is a collective noun and therefore, needs to be treated as singular. Answers A, B,C, and D all have plural pronouns which is incorrect so the answer has to be E!
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Re: Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than   [#permalink] 01 Jan 2020, 09:30

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