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Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable

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Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 02:46
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6
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A
B
C
D
E

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  35% (medium)

Question Stats:

63% (00:47) correct 37% (00:47) wrong based on 313 sessions

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Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable consulting firms, and they have less percentage of employees with advanced degrees.

A) comparable consulting firms, and they have less
B) comparable consulting firms, and it has fewer
C) comparable consulting firms do, and it has a lower
D) do comparable consulting firms, and they have not as many
E) do comparable consulting firms, and it has less

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Re: Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 04:03
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We can simply do away with A and B for not using the verb ‘do’ and D for using the wrong pronoun ‘they’. Between C and E or in effect, between ‘less and lower’:

The first contention is: Percentage is a quantum, not countable but measurable. Therefore, it will be apt to describe percentage as less percentage as in E rather than lower percentage.
The other argument is that since the percentage is accompanied by a countable noun such as employees, it is rendered plural. Hence, it will be appropriate to call it 'lower' as in C

The essence of the sentence is that the company has fewer employees, which indicates a pluralistic feature. Hence, C might be a tad better than E.

But what is glaring is the use of an affirmative conjunction ‘and’ to connect two contrasting clauses, a context in which a transitional term such as ‘but’ or 'though' would have made the intent of the sentence clear.
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Re: Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 04:45
Hi daagh,

If option B is changed to: "comparable consulting firms do, and it has fewer" and option C is unchanged, then which option is preferred?
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New post 30 Jul 2016, 05:03
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vyshak: fewer percentage is a decisive problem in B as fewer can be associated with only countable things.
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Re: Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 05:16
daagh wrote:
vyshak: fewer percentage is a decisive problem in B as fewer can be associated with only countable things.


But according to my understanding, 'percentage of countable' is countable. Since 'employees' is a countable noun we can use fewer right?
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Re: Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 05:34
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My feeling is that percentage is a ratio. A company can have one percentage at any given time. We cannot have several percentages for a company at a given time. In addition, fewer is an adjective of percentage rather than employees. Hence, I feel fewer percentage is inappropriate, while lower is more fitting
Vyshak, If you can guide us to some concrete use of percentage with fewer, we can learn a new thing.
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Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Jul 2016, 05:48
daagh wrote:
My feeling is that percentage is a ratio. A company can have one percentage at any given time. We cannot have several percentages for a company at a given time. In addition, fewer is an adjective of percentage rather than employees. Hence, I feel fewer percentage is inappropriate, while lower is more fitting
Vyshak, If you can guide us to some concrete use of percentage with fewer, we can learn a new thing.


Thanks daagh. I was wrong earlier. I wrongly assumed 'percent' as 'percentage'. 'Percent of countable noun' is countable, but percentage is a ratio :).
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Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Aug 2018, 18:12
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Official Explanation


Split #1: the comparison. The intent of the sentence is to compare Dorn Consulting to comparable consulting firms. The construction "Dorn Consulting handles much more sophisticated issues than comparable consulting firms" is ambiguous --- does it mean that Dorn handles both sophisticated issue and comparable consulting firms? That's not the intent. We need to make clear that "comparable consulting firms" are parallel to the subject, Dorn, not the object, issues. To do this, we need to include a verb to show that the other firms are a subject. We could repeat the verb "handle", or replace the predicate with the universal verb "do". Choices (A) & (B) have no verb, so they are incorrect.

Split #2: Dorn Consulting is a company, a collective noun, so it is singular. It may have many employees, but the company itself is singular. Notice it takes a singular verb at the beginning of the sentence. It also requires a singular pronoun: choices (A) & (D) make the classic GMAT mistake of using a plural pronoun for a singular collective noun; both of those choices are incorrect.

Split #3: the constructions "less percentage" and "fewer percentage" are incorrect. The correct construction is "a lower percentage", and of the five answer choices, only (C) gets this correct.

The only possible answer is (C).

FAQ: How do you know when to use "less" and when to use "lower"?

A: We can't think about one word applying to percentages at all times. Instead, we need to think about the structure of the sentence and what, exactly, is being described as less or lower.

Let's consider some examples:

- The workforce is 50% less than that of the previous year.
- There were 50% fewer people in the workforce this year than last year.
- The number of people in the workforce was 50% lower than the previous year.

All three of these deal with the same main idea, but the actual structure of the sentences is different.

When we are talking about countable nouns (like 'the number of people' or even just 'people'), we use a comparison word ending in -er, like lower or fewer. When we refer to an uncountable noun or a statistic (like 'the workforce'), we use the word less.

This confusion between words (especially in the case of "less" vs "fewer") is an ongoing struggle for many, many people... even native speakers of English with advanced education!
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