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# Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have

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Joined: 29 Dec 2011
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Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2012, 14:38
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25% (medium)

Question Stats:

65% (01:44) correct 35% (00:49) wrong based on 309 sessions

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Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have propelled automobile companies' common stocks to new highs, several industry analysts expect automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively that they were.

(A) to set dividends more conservatively than they were
(B) to set dividends more conservatively than they have been
(C) to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends
(D) that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends
(E) that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends
[Reveal] Spoiler: OA
If you have any questions
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow... [#permalink]

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02 Mar 2012, 19:01
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C is the winner here.

Removing the modifier,

...several industry analysts expect automakers [strike], in order to conserve cash,[/strike] to set dividends more conservatively that they were.

"Expect XXXX to" is the correct usage

"XXXX expect that" would also be correct.

But expect XXXX that is absolutely wrong. => D and E are out.

A and B have faulty ellipsis and pronoun ambiguity => they can refer to dividends or automakers

C remains.

Crick
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 07:35
Could someone please explain how the they, in choice A and B are ambiguous? To me they are right next to a the noun they are referring to, and automakers is seperated by a comma.

I limited the answer to B or C and chose B.

The only doubt in retrospect I have about B is I feel like the sentence leaves at an incomplete thought (missing 'setting' as the last word)

I am not understanding how the 'they' in C is any less ambiguous than in A or B

I would never have the ambiguity that people are seeing in A and B in this problem.
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 07:59
hi mani

1) pronoun can refer back to nouns that are beyond commas even to an extent beyond periods.
2)" automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively that they were"
here the subject is the "automakers" the prepositional phrase "in order to conserve cash" acts as an intervening modifier that modifies "automakers" ...So the pronoun any which ways is ambiguios here...in anyways if it were to refer to a single noun, it should have been "automakers" the subject of the clause....

PS..I am still learning, so there can be flaws in my reasoning
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 10:49
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Imo, there is no ambiguity about the pronoun – they - in any of the choices. Dividends cannot set dividends upon themselves. Nor for that matter no other plural noun can stand in competition with the subject of the sub- clause namely—automakers – for being the referent. In pronoun references, logic is more important than any other.

(A) to set dividends more conservatively than they were --- they were is wrong—it should be they did.
(B) to set dividends more conservatively than they have been ---- they have been is wrong ; it have been doing is the correct usage.
(C) to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends --- correct choice
(D) that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends ---wrong because of the faulty idiom expect x that as already pointed out
(E) that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends--- same as in D

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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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05 Mar 2013, 17:06
daagh wrote:
Imo, there is no ambiguity about the pronoun – they - in any of the choices. Dividends cannot set dividends upon themselves. Nor for that matter no other plural noun can stand in competition with the subject of the sub- clause namely—automakers – for being the referent. In pronoun references, logic is more important than any other.

(A) to set dividends more conservatively than they were --- they were is wrong—it should be they did.
(B) to set dividends more conservatively than they have been ---- they have been is wrong ; it have been doing is the correct usage.
(C) to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends --- correct choice
(D) that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends ---wrong because of the faulty idiom expect x that as already pointed out
(E) that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends--- same as in D

So my logic was correct? I didn't get how the pronoun was ambiguous in A and B they seem pretty set to me
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2013, 04:27
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daagh wrote:
Imo, there is no ambiguity about the pronoun – they - in any of the choices. Dividends cannot set dividends upon themselves. Nor for that matter no other plural noun can stand in competition with the subject of the sub- clause namely—automakers – for being the referent. In pronoun references, logic is more important than any other.

(A) to set dividends more conservatively than they were --- they were is wrong—it should be they did.
(B) to set dividends more conservatively than they have been ---- they have been is wrong ; it have been doing is the correct usage.
(C) to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends --- correct choice
(D) that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends ---wrong because of the faulty idiom expect x that as already pointed out
(E) that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends--- same as in D

Sorry how is B wrong?

Could someone also explain how B is wrong with regards to the parallism with the 'than'

As far as I'm concerned, B and C are equally ambiguous in their use of they. Not just gramatically logiically I feel like they are both equally ambiguous to their antecedents
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2013, 05:11
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Quote:
DAAGH wrote :to set dividends more conservatively than they have been ---- they have been is wrong ; it have been doing is the correct usage.

this explanation is not right .the main reason why B is wrong is because the usage "they have been ...." requires the word "setting" ,which does not exist in the main clause
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2013, 06:25
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Expert's post
The previous post is exactly right about 'setting'. In order to omit 'setting' at the end of the sentence, that exact word must appear earlier in the sentence.

A word about pronoun ambiguity. The GMAT is surprisingly tolerant of pronoun ambiguity, so don't use it for eliminations. You will eliminate incorrect pronouns if they don't agree in number or it the reference appears to change during the sentence.

KW

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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2013, 06:32
@KyleWiddison
thanks for appreciating my efforts
regards
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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22 Mar 2013, 07:55
KyleWiddison wrote:
The previous post is exactly right about 'setting'. In order to omit 'setting' at the end of the sentence, that exact word must appear earlier in the sentence.

A word about pronoun ambiguity. The GMAT is surprisingly tolerant of pronoun ambiguity, so don't use it for eliminations. You will eliminate incorrect pronouns if they don't agree in number or it the reference appears to change during the sentence.

KW

Posted from my mobile device

Hey that is a actually a great summary of pronoun ambiguity that I've learned from experience. I've learned to use it as a sort of last resorts in SC analysis

Anyways B ambiguity is still confusing me. So are you both saying, as I think you are that than is a sort of modifier and what's before and after it must be parallel? So because there is setting (or conversely no verb to be) before than, then after than must also have setting?

so two possible correct versions would look like this
to set dividends than they were set
some version of the verb to be than they were set

Am I understanding this correctly?
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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13 Oct 2014, 08:13
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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have [#permalink]

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21 May 2016, 04:53
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

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Re: Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow that have   [#permalink] 21 May 2016, 04:53
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