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Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau

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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
KarishmaB and ExpertsGlobal5
Thank you both of you for the support in the forum.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
CrackverbalGMAT wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.

A. Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were While The pronoun “they” could cause some degree of confusion, in comparison to the other options, the verb form “expected” is better.

B. Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did “Rise higher” is redundant.

C. Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did The comparison is awkward. It would be better to say “Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year.” Also, the noun form “expectations” is not as preferred as the verb “expected.”

D. It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher for this year over last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were The phrase “higher for this year” is awkward. Also, the noun form “expectations” is not as preferred as the verb “expected.”

E. It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did “Rise higher” is redundant.

- Nitha Jay

CrackverbalGMAT

I have a follow-up question:
I realize that "year" is omitted after last, but why does the author then include "last year" at the end of the sentence? Would it be incorrect to end in this way below?
"Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last." I realize that you need to say relative to what for comparisons, so "last year" is required, but I was curious about the shortened form appearing in the sentence at the end given that the shortened form appears elsewhere in the sentence.

Many thanks!
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Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
Ronilsh wrote:

This post may help.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
Ellipsis is at its full play in this topic. Let me paraphrase it, with the elliptical elements in parenthesis.

A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year
than last (year) because refiners are paying about \$5 a
barrel more for crude oil than they were (paying) last year.
One can now see how the comparisons are smugly fitting in.

2.) It is expected that heating-oil prices will rise
higher this year than last year's because refiners
pay about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than
they did

A cue for the correctness of the comparison can be had from the placement of the comparison -marker such as than etc. The comparison marker is place placed either next or prior to what it compares. Here in this case, than is placed next to this year and therefore the comparison should legally appear with a similar feature such as last year and not last year’s.

Another example

Even though Béla Bartók’s music has proved less popular than Igor Stravinsky’s and less influential than Arnold Schonberg’s, it is no less important.
(A) Stravinsky’s and less influential than Arnold Schonberg’s, it
(B) Stravinsky’s and less influential than Arnold Schonberg’s, he
(C) Stravinsky’s is and less influential than Arnold Schonberg’s is, it
(D) Stravinsky and not as influential as Arnold Schonberg, he
(E) Stravinsky and not as influential as Arnold Schonberg, it

Now the comparison- marker ‘than’ is placed just before the Arnold Schonberg’s, implying that something that belongs to Stravinsky is being compared. And the text says that Béla Bartók’s music is compared with Arnold Schonberg’s music. Here music is elliptical

Hope Chocie E is no serious contender

THen why the sentence "Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago" is wrong
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
Quote:
(A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were

The pronoun “they” always jumps off the page at me, and in this case, it seems to refer to “refiners”, the most recent plural. That’s fine.

I’m also OK with the comparison: “refiners are paying… more for crude oil than they were [paying] last year.” I don't think that it’s ideal, but it’s definitely not wrong, and the GMAT would argue that the word “paying” is implied after “were.” Again, I’m not crazy about it, but it conveys the meaning clearly enough.

So let’s keep (A), I guess.

Quote:
(B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher this year over last because refiners pay about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

The phrase “expected to rise higher this year over last” is definitely a mess. You would never say that prices “rise higher.” They either just rise, or they just ARE higher. I’m also not sure why we would use “over last” instead of “than last.”

The placement of “more” is also really confusing. “More” modifies “pay about \$5 a barrel”, and there’s no good reason to stick the word “more” so far away from the phrase it logically modifies.

But for whatever it’s worth: “they” still seems to refer perfectly reasonably to “refiners.” And the word “did” replaces the verb “pay” (or “paid”, since “did” is past tense). So those things are OK.

But I don’t think we can get over the silly placement of “more” and the "rise higher" mess at the beginning of the sentence. So (B) is out.

Quote:
(C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

(C) has a couple of problems right in the beginning of the sentence. First of all, I can’t understand why we would say “expectations are for… prices to be higher this year.” That’s a horribly indirect way to say that “prices are expected to be higher.” The prices are the focus of the sentence, and it’s best if the prices are the grammatical subject of the sentence.

The comparison is also pretty goofy. “… heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year’s…” The problem here is the possessive “last year’s.” We could say something like “this year’s prices are higher than last year’s”, or we could say that “prices are higher this year than last year.” But it makes no sense to say that “prices are higher this year than last year’s.”

So (C) is gone.

Quote:
(D) It is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher this year over last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil now than what they were

Like (C), (D) starts with an unnecessarily wordy expression: “it is the expectation that heating-oil prices will be higher this year…”. That’s not WRONG, exactly, but it’s definitely a crappier way to say “prices are expected to be higher this year…”

There’s also a problem with the phrase “higher this year over last.” You could say that prices were “higher this year than last”, but I can’t understand why we would use “over” in this context.

We also have an extra word that muddies the end of the underlined portion: “refiners are paying… more for crude oil now than what they were last year.” There’s absolutely no reason to include the word “what” in this sentence: “than they were last year” is enough by itself.

That’s enough to let us cross out (D).

Quote:
(E) It is the expected that heating-oil prices will rise higher this year than last year's because refiners pay about \$5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did

(E) combines a bunch of problems that we saw in the other answer choices. “It is the expected” doesn't make any sense at all, especially when (A) gives us a much nicer option (“prices are expected to be higher…”). Also, there’s no reason to make “last year’s” possessive – see the explanation for (C) for more on this issue.

Finally, it doesn’t make sense to say that “prices will rise higher this year.” You could say that “prices will rise”, or that “prices will be higher”, but it’s redundant (and damned weird) to say “prices will rise higher.”

So (E) is out, and we’re left with (A).

I have a doubt, which is also pointed by you, that how can "are paying", which is present tense", be referred back by "were". IMHO if there is shift in tense then the verb cannot be implied.

Please clarify where I am going wrong.

Due Regards.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
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himanshu0077 wrote:
I have a doubt, which is also pointed by you, that how can "are paying", which is present tense", be referred back by "were". IMHO if there is shift in tense then the verb cannot be implied.

Please clarify where I am going wrong.

Due Regards.

There's certainly no "rule" against shifting tense with an implied verb. For example:

"Tim is exercising more this year than he was last year."

It's obvious that "was" means "was exercising" in this case, so it's perfectly fine to omit the "exercising" part, since the meaning is completely clear.

I hope that helps!
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
mikemcgarry wrote:
spc11 wrote:
I do not follow the explanation for this question.

Can somebody please explain why this sentence is correct (original)?

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.
My doubts are in these two phrases: "this year than last" and " more for crude oil than they were last year "

Thanks!!

Dear spc11,
I'm happy to respond.

My friend, you may find some answer to your question in the thread above, but I am happy to discuss this as well. One very tricky issue, particularly difficult for folks whose native language is something other than English, is the issue of dropping repeated words in the second branch of parallelism. See this blog article:
Dropping Common Words in Parallel on the GMAT

Consider an expanded version of the sentence:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than the heating oil prices last year because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were paying for a barrel of crude oil last year.
That is the whole sentence, with absolutely nothing omitted, so that everything is perfectly clear. The GMAT would consider this completely redundant and much longer than necessary, because every single word in red is repeated. The words in red are words in the second branch or the parallelism that already appeared in the first branch. From the GMAT's point of view, it is redundant to repeat information in the second branch that we already know form the first branch. Thus, the GMAT recommends dropping all the words in red: when we do that, we get the prompt version, choice (A), of this SC problem, a sleek and elegant sentence. The GMAT loves elegance.

Your job on the GMAT SC is to see a sentence with the words already omitted in the second branch of parallelism and to figure out what words from the first branch would be needed to make sense of the second branch.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi, I got your point but I have a doubt.
IMO it should be Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.
because prices are being compared.

According to option A time is being compared. Can you please explain how to determine whether prices are compared or time is compared?
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
Tanvi01 wrote:
Hi, I got your point but I have a doubt.
IMO it should be Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's because refiners are paying about \$5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year.
because prices are being compared.

According to option A time is being compared. Can you please explain how to determine whether prices are compared or time is compared?

Hi Tanvi01,

1. prices are expected to be higher this year than (they were) last (year) ← We want to say that prices are expected to be higher this year than (prices) actually were last year.

This isn't perfect, because someone may look at (1) as "X is higher this year than Y". But if we switch to last year's, that'd introduce similar issues:

2. prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's

Is (2) meant to be read as "prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's prices" (correct) or "prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's prices are expected to be this year" (incorrect)?

Broadly speaking, ellipsis in comparisons is hard, and we probably shouldn't look at every situation involving comparisons as an absolute. If you see an option and you're not absolutely certain that the construction it uses is incorrect, look for other entry points and deprioritise comparisons.
Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau [#permalink]
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