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Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage

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Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 12 Mar 2014, 21:20
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Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than that of 2008.

A. almost 80% fewer than that of 2008
B. almost 80% fewer than 2008
C. almost 80% less than 2008
D. almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce
E. almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

Good question exemplifying comparison concept usage. Hope you like this one :-)

Edit: This is an older version of this question. See the revised version of the question further down, in zoezhuyan's post of June 17, 2017.
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2014, 07:00
Hi..can you please explain why "less" has been used??, IMO fewer should have been correct as 80% defines a quantity.

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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 13 Mar 2014, 07:19
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Whenever you are comparing countable items, such as number of people, you use terms, such as 'fewer'. But when you are comparing percentages of items then you use terms,such as 'less'.


Here are some links from Manhattan that will help you understand better. Some explanations are given by Stacey and the great ,Ron.

http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/pos ... tml#p26913

http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/les ... t4880.html
Hope it helps :-)

ankit1101 wrote:
Hi..can you please explain why "less" has been used??, IMO fewer should have been correct as 80% defines a quantity.

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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 03 Jun 2014, 00:11
Thanks for the tip! I also thought that since it's a countable quantity it should be few / fewer...
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2014, 07:09
can anyone explain why option "E" is wrong??
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2014, 16:39
Hi Mike,

Can you please shed some light on this concept of few/less in cases where countable nouns are grouped.

mba1382 wrote:
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than that of 2008.

A. almost 80% fewer than that of 2008
B. almost 80% fewer than 2008
C. almost 80% less than 2008
D. almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce
E. almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

Good question exemplifying comparison concept usage. Hope you like this one :-)
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2016, 06:29
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jun 2016, 08:22
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than that of 2008.

A. almost 80% fewer than that of 2008 -------- workforce is uncountable , we can count employee eg : 1 employee , 2 employee but, we can't say 1 workforce , 2 workforce .
B. almost 80% fewer than 2008 ------- same as A . Also, fewer than 2008 ( what of 2008 ) wrong comparison
C. almost 80% less than 2008 ------- Less than 2008 ( what of 2008 ) wrong comparison
D. almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce
E. almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jun 2016, 08:27
mba1382 wrote:
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than that of 2008.

A. almost 80% fewer than that of 2008
B. almost 80% fewer than 2008
C. almost 80% less than 2008
D. almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce
E. almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

Good question exemplifying comparison concept usage. Hope you like this one :-)


Split here is -

1. Less Vs Fewer - Less is preferred here
2. Correct Comparison - Less than is the correct comparison


That of in (E) is incorrect because that has no clear referent...

Hence correct answer is (D)

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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2017, 02:06
Hi mikemcgarry

I am confused about the comparison , as following from Magoosh SC practice
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than 2008.

A) almost 80% fewer than 2008

B) almost 80% less than 2008

C) almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce

D) almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

E) almost 80% fewer than that of the 2008 workforce

IMO,
Point #1 -- the comparison is 2,500 and a value of 2008 workforce, so I picked up "that of 2008 workforce"
Point #2 -- few modifies countable noun, less modifies uncountable noun, here, 2,500 is countable, like 5 miles, 10 pounds ... So I picked "few"

after your video explanation, I know my approach is wrong, but I have no idea why it is incorrect,
genuinely want your help,

Thanks in advance

Have a nice day.
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2017, 03:17
Lemme take a shot before you get the 'official' answer from Mike himself :)

Sorry mate, but ur understanding is severely flawed. I wud say, the wrong understanding was in turn wronged again in Point#2 above. I will try to explain how-

As you correctly identified the split is at two points- Comparison and Few vs Less.

1) Comparison: The comparison is between the workforce of 2008 and the workforce of 2009. And not between the values of the workforces. There is no indication in the underlined portion that tells us that this portion modifies the number 2500 (it just happens to be the last thing before comma).

2) Less vs Few: Please understand that Workforce is different from Workers. In fact, Workforce is the number of workers. And we would treat Workforce as uncountable and Workers as countable. You dont say 1 workforce or 2 workforces. But you say 1 worker, 2 workers etc. Please consider the below eg.

The number of workers was 10 less than the number of workers last year -Comparing numbers (eg. 20 is less than 30 and not fewer)
There were 10 fewer workers than there were last year. - Comparing workers

Therefore, a Workforce is less than and Workers are fewer than.

Now, wen is say that 'wrong understanding was, in turn, wronged again in Point#2', i meant that even if you got the comparison wrong and compared Values, you will have to use Less and not Few. Because a value is always Less than another one and not Fewer than. In fact, its not about the number attached but the entity that is being compared that will decide whether its countable or uncountable.

From your eg above-
5 miles is countable but Distance is uncountable (therefore Less than). And therefore, The distance is 5 miles less.
10 pounds is countable but Money is uncountable (therefore Less than). And therefore, The money is 10 pounds less.
Similarly,
5 Workers is countable (therefore Fewer) but Workforce is uncountable (therefore Less than)

Coming to the question, since its Workforce that is being compared and Less than that should be used. IMO, the correct answer should be C.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2017, 11:50
zoezhuyan wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry

I am confused about the comparison , as following from Magoosh SC practice
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than 2008.
A) almost 80% fewer than 2008

B) almost 80% less than 2008

C) almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce

D) almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce

E) almost 80% fewer than that of the 2008 workforce

IMO,
Point #1 -- the comparison is 2,500 and a value of 2008 workforce, so I picked up "that of 2008 workforce"
Point #2 -- few modifies countable noun, less modifies uncountable noun, here, 2,500 is countable, like 5 miles, 10 pounds ... So I picked "few"

after your video explanation, I know my approach is wrong, but I have no idea why it is incorrect,
genuinely want your help,

Thanks in advance

Have a nice day.
>_~

Dear zoezhuyan,

How are you my friend? I'm happy to respond. :-)

What you have posted is the newer revised version of this question. I moved it into this thread, with the old version of the same question.

I see that arhumsid responded, but I'll add a few thoughts.

On point one, if we wanted to refer to the individual workers (plural), we would have to say "those of the 2008 workforce." The word "that" is wrong because it's a singular pronoun referring to something plural.

If we had the correct pronoun to refer to the workers, then we could use "fewer" to refer to them also. Since we don't have that correct pronoun, we can't refer to the individual workers, so we can't use "fewer." We have to compare workforce to workforce, and use "less."

Does all this make sense?

Have a lovely day, my friend.

Mike :-)
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage [#permalink]

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New post 19 Jun 2017, 22:14
Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage crisis, in 2009 Vendiflex Corporation slashed its workforce to 2,500, almost 80% fewer than that of 2008.

A. almost 80% fewer than that of 2008 - fewer is incorrect as we are comparing workforce (uncountable )
B. almost 80% fewer than 2008 - fewer is incorrect as we are comparing workforce (uncountable )
C. almost 80% less than 2008 - illogical comparison - workforce and year
D. almost 80% less than the 2008 workforce - Correct
E. almost 80% less than that of the 2008 workforce -illogical comparison

Answer D
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Re: Because sales dropped in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage   [#permalink] 19 Jun 2017, 22:14
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