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# Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from

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Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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Dear Friends,

Here is a detailed explanation to this question-
goalsnr
Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.

A. from a mammal
B. from a mammal’s
C. from that of a mammal
D. than that of a mammal
E. than is a mammal’s

Concepts tested here: Comparison + Pronouns + Subject-Verb Agreement

• "different from" is the correct idiomatic construction.
• A comparison must always be made between similar elements.

A: This answer choice incorrectly compares "their (fish) eyes" to "a mammal"; please remember, a comparison must always be made between similar elements.

B: Correct. This answer choice correctly refers to the plural noun "eyes" with the plural verb "are". Further, Option B correctly compares "their (fish) eyes" with "a mammal's (eyes)". Additionally, Option B avoids the pronoun error seen in Options C and D, as it utilizes no pronouns. Besides, Option B correctly uses the idiomatic construction "different from".

C: This answer choice incorrectly refers to the plural noun "eyes" with the singular pronoun "that".

D: This answer choice incorrectly refers to the plural noun "eyes" with the singular pronoun "that". Further, Option D incorrectly uses the unidiomatic construction "different than"; please remember, "different from" is the correct idiomatic construction.

E: This answer choice incorrectly refers to the plural noun "eyes" with the singular verb "is". Further, Option E incorrectly uses the unidiomatic construction "different than"; please remember, "different from" is the correct idiomatic construction.

Hence, B is the best answer choice.

All the best!
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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Please see if this explanation helps explaining B ( it is not my explanation - im just copying it from somewhere)

The presence of 'their eyes' indicates that, either the possesive form or 'that of' should appear in the 2nd part of the comparison in the plural form to maintain parallelism.
Hence i will look for 'from those of mammals'.

Based on above explanation C is incorrect choice and we are left with B
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PiyushK
I think comparison provided in option B is not correct, because mammal's leaves comparison ambiguous.

what is mammal's ? eyes or teeth or ears...

I remember I have seen discussion on such similar comparison on some thread earlier.
Tom's shoes are better than John's ... such similar sentence was discussed and it was considered incorrect because of vague nature of 's; comparison is not definitive.
Dear PiyushK,
My friend, I don't know who was in those discussions, but with all due respect, the conclusion reached in those discussion was flatly incorrect.

The comparisons:
Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal's.
Tom's shoes are better than John's.
Brazil's economy is larger than India's.

are all 100% correct and 100% unambiguous. The second is an informal subject, but the first or third could be correct on the GMAT. In fact, the first WAS correct on the GMAT, in the paper test days. That alone should be proof that this is 100% acceptable by GMAT standards.

Because of parallelism, the second object is 100% clear. Remember: comparisons are a special case of parallelism.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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mustdoit
Q. Because fish look throguh water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.

a. From a mammal
b. from a mammal's
c. from that of a mammal
d. than that of a mammal
e. than is a mammal's

OA:

Q. Because fish look throguh water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.

a. From a mammal eyes were compared to mamal, parallel issue
b. from a mammal's
c. from that of a mammal eyes are plural, should use 'those' instead
d. than that of a mammal idiom error, different from is preferred over different than
e. than is a mammal's subject-verb, eyes are plural, 'is' is grammatically wrong, also 'than' as idiom error
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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AmoyV

From the reference of the question ("their eyes"), we know that "fish" is taken as a plural. So shouldn't we compare plural with plural - in other words, fish (a plural) with mammals (a plural). In this sense shouldn't Choice B read as:

from mammals'

from a mammal's?
Dear AmoyV,
My friend, I am happy to respond. First of all, there's no problem opening an old thread if you have a new question about it: that's exactly the correct thing to do. The mistake people, at least newbies, often make on GC is to open a brand new thread for a question that has already been posted multiple times. What you did is exemplary and requires no apology.

Here's the question again:
Q. Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.
A. from a mammal
B. from a mammal's
C. from that of a mammal
D. than that of a mammal
E. than is a mammal's

Here's a funny thing about comparisons. We absolutely need to compare like to like. The prompt sentence is obviously incorrect, because it doesn't make logical sense to compare an eye to a whole animal. We have to compare like to like, BUT (and this is a big "BUT'), the two terms of the comparison don't have to match in every last detail. Singular to plural is fine when we are talking about animals.

Part of this is the scientific idiom in English. When we say "the eye of a mammal," we are talking about a common structure shared by a large number of different species. The phrase is what we might call "implicitly plural" (my made-up term) even though it is explicitly grammatically singular. Making this explicitly plural ("the eyes of mammals") sounds a bit awkward: it's not what is common in scientific analysis of the natural world.

Part of this also is that when some students learn the matching patterns of parallelism and comparisons, they go overboard and get rigid about matching things down to the tiniest detail. This is too much. For example, it's perfectly correct to have verbs in parallel that have different tenses:
https://magoosh.com/gmat/2012/gmat-gramm ... rb-tenses/
There's always a danger of getting too mathematical and rule-based about grammar. Language is living, and you have to develop a feel for the living language.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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The options can easily be narrowed down to 2 and 3.

1. Incorrect comparison of eyes with mammal
2. Correct
3. That of a mammal should be those of a mammal since "their eyes" is plural and "that" is also singular, so it wouldn't logically refer to the plural "eyes".
4. That of a mammal should be those of a mammal since "their eyes" is plural and "that" is also singular, so it wouldn't logically refer to the plural "eyes".
5. This again has an issue with the number.
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
mikemcgarry
gmattesttaker2
Hello,

Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.

A. from a mammal
B. from a mammal’s
C. from that of a mammal
D. than that of a mammal
E. than is a mammal’s.

The OA is (B). I am wondering if (C) should be read as "from (those) of a mammal's". Should we be using "those" here instead of "that" since "those" refers to the eyes of the mammal whereas "that" will refer to the eyes of the fish? Thanks a lot for your help.

Regards,
Sri
Dear gmattesttaker2,
I'm happy to respond to your private message.

You are correct. Right now, in its current form, (C) is wrong because it seems to imply that, as a general rule, mammals have only one eye. Changing this to "from those of a mammal" would be 100% correct.

Notice that (B) is correct because, among other things, the possessive leaves open the number of eyes, so this is completely consistent with the correct number of eyes. As usual, this is another brilliant question from GMAC.

Also, notice what you have is quite wrong: it is ALWAYS wrong to use the possessive inside an "of" preposition for the same possessor. That is redundant and wrong.
correct: "those of a mammal"
incorrect: "those of a mammal's"

Does all this make sense?
Mike

relative pronouns like "that","which" are plural/singular depending on the antecedent.
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zuhaib1991
relative pronouns like "that","which" are plural/singular depending on the antecedent.

However, in this sentence, that is not used as a relative pronoun, but as a demonstrative pronoun. In this capacity, that can only refer to singular nouns (similarly, those can only refer to plural nouns).

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses various pronoun types, their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY "DIFFERENT FROM" IS PREFERRED OVER "DIFFERENT THAN" IN COMPARISON INSTANCES. ALSO, IN WHAT INSTANCES IS "THAN" MOST APPROPRIATE IN
REGARDS TO COMPARISON SENTENCE CORRECTION QUESTIONS?
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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Hey aaronhew --

Before I answer that question in general, let's talk about the specifics of this question. Because you don't need to know the answer to that question to be successful on this question. This question is about parallelism within a comparison. With parallelism, you need to compare apples to apples, nouns to nouns, verbs to verbs. The first half of this comparison is "their eyes" (the eyes of fish). That means that the second half of the comparison HAS to be about some organism's eyes. That eliminates (A), but it leaves you with the rest.

The tempting thing is to look at the from/than difference next. Don't fall for that. There's a much easier decision here, as is almost always the case when you have obscure rules like the difference between "From" and "than" in a problem. You have "is" in some answer choices and "are" in others. The subject of the verb "is/are" is implied here, but it's a mammal's EYES, which are plural, so you need the word "are." That eliminates E, the only place that uses "than". Then you need to look at "that" versus "those". Again, we're talking about eyes, so you need "those" to show that what you're referring to is plural. That gets rid of (C) and (D), leaving you with (B).

In sentence correction, it's easy to get caught up in those obscure rules. But almost every time you can find a reason to eliminate an answer choice because of an easier decision than something as obscure as "from" versus "than". Look to make decisions around subject/verb agreement, pronoun agreement, "which" modifiers, and tense BEFORE you worry about the obscure stuff. A lot of times the GMAT is using the obscure stuff in ways that might look right but is wrong (or vice versa) or for which there's no difference, so by trying to memorize super obscure rules you are generally going to be doing yourself more of a disservice than anything else unless you're vying for an 800.

And for the record, "from" is a preposition so it just needs an object (a noun or pronoun, generally) and "than" signals a dependent clause is coming next (which generally needs a noun and a verb).
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
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I'm reviewing this on my own. Figured I'd put in my deep review notes:

from a mammal
- We’re trying to compare the fish’s eyes to a mammal’s eyes. This just compares the fish’s eyes to the mammal itself.
from a mammal's
“Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal’s (eyes). “
- It doesn’t need “eyes” but the sentence relates the fish’s eyes to a mammal’s eyes so we’d need the “‘s” after mammals.

from that of a mammal
-“That” - implies a singular eye for comparison. The correct comparison would be “from those of a mammal” to keep the plural fish’s eyes parallel to a mammal’s eyes.
than that of a mammal
-“That” - implies a singular eye for comparison. The correct comparison would be “those of a mammal” to keep the plural fish’s eyes parallel to a mammal’s eyes.
-“Than” vs “from” - GMAT Idiom preference is “from”

than is a mammal's
-“Than” vs “from” - GMAT Idiom preference is “from”
-“Is a mammal’s” - grammatically incorrect subject-verb pairing for a comparison.
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Re: Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
A. Comparison must be done with 'eyes' not the mammal itself
B. Correct
C. 'that' is singular and therefore incorrect reference to eyes
D. same as C
E. Correct idiom is 'different from'
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Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from [#permalink]
goalsnr
Because fish look through water, their eyes are very different from a mammal.

A. from a mammal
B. from a mammal’s
C. from that of a mammal
D. than that of a mammal
E. than is a mammal’s
Different from vs Different than
The word than typically follows a comparative adjective, such as closer or more bizarre.
You would thus say:
K Street is closer than M Street.
Or you would say:
This movie was more bizarre than any movie she had ever seen.

The word than suggests some sort of comparison. Hence, we use the comparative adjective plus the word than. The expression is usually followed by a noun, pronoun, or other noun form.

The word different is an adjective, but it is not a comparative adjective. As a result, among some stylists you’ll find a distinct preference for the expression different from. You would thus say:
These shirts are different from the ones I bought last year.
Or you would say:
His car is different from mine.
In the above examples, the expression is followed by a noun (ones) or pronoun (mine) form.

You’ll need to use different than, however, when you want to follow the expression not with a noun but with a clause. The word than then serves as a conjunction that gets the clause going. Thus, you would say:
This experience was different than he thought it would be.
Or you would say:
My birthday this year was different than it was last year.
In the latter example, if you used different from, you would have to provide a noun or pronoun to serve as the object of from:
My birthday this year was different from what it was last year.
So a big distinction between the two expressions is this: different from typically requires a noun or noun form to complete the expression, while different than may be followed by a clause.

Reference: Grammar dot com
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