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

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Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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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

(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

(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

(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

(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


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https://www.nytimes.com/1996/11/06/business/relief-for-winter-heating-oil-prices-fall.html

Heating oil prices, however, are expected to be higher than last year because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were last year. Still, crude prices have also retreated from their highs in recent weeks.

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Originally posted by cici on 30 Jun 2009, 00:49.
Last edited by hazelnut on 30 Jul 2019, 00:00, edited 3 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Feb 2018, 07:38
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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).
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2010, 10:46
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papillon86 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
(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
(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
(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
(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


You've done a good job guys! Let me see if I can help you out with some of the confusion regarding comparisons and ellipses:

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
What is compared here are the times-- "this year" and "last" (meaning "last year"-- this is an ellipses).

When comparing time or place, you have two options for structuring the comparison:

1. Joe studies more at night that he does during the day. (The sentence compares Joe to himself.)

2. Joe studies more at night than during the day. (The sentence compares "at night" to "during the day.")

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

Important Note!! The comparative structure requires that you use "than" after the "--er".

Correct: Tom is older than Bob.
Incorrect: Tom is older compared to/in comparison with/over Bob


You must use "than" after you've used a word ending with --er.

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

You can stop reading as soon as you get to "for heating-oil prices" because that is not a correct description of the the expectations. The expectations are not for prices, but rather that prices will....

Important Note: Do not change a relative clause into a mere prepositional phrase!!

Ex. "I think that chickens fly" (relative clause: that+subject+verb) IS NOT EQUIVALENT TO "I think of chickens flying" (prepositional phrase: of chickens)


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

Same problem as B.

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

"prices will rise higher this year than last year's" uses ellipses that hide the logic problem. Complete everything that was left out, and the resulting sentence is: "prices will rise higher this year than last year's prices rose. This is not intended meaning of the sentence.

Second, the word "more" is not correctly placed.

Correct: I paid 5 dollars more for my sandwich today than I did yesterday.

Incorrect: I paid 5 dollars for my sandwich more than I did yesterday.

"More" describes $5 and must therefore be placed next to $5.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 18 Jun 2010, 13:41
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I have faced problems with these kinds of questions often...finally after reading Sara's note I am clear on how to handle these problems... would like to present a summary of my understanding to clear potential doubts in the minds of people who are struggling with these concepts...
---------------------------------------------
It is not correct to say -

HEATING OIL PRICES THIS YEAR ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR – this way we are comparing heating oil prices of this year with the LAST YEAR (an illogical comparison) where as what we intend to compare are the prices of heating oil in each of the two years).

So we must rephrase it as - HEATING OIL PRICES THIS YEAR ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN THE HEATING OIL PRICE OF LAST YEAR

WHICH CAN BE ELLIPSED TO

HEATING OIL PRICES THIS YEAR ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR’S [PRICE]
OR HEATING OIL PRICES THIS YEAR ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN THEY WERE LAST YEAR

Another form similar to the one above is -
THIS YEAR, THE HEATING OIL PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN THEY WERE LAST YEAR (NOT HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR)
Or ellipsed form THIS YEAR, THE HEATING OIL PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THAN LAST YEAR’S [HEATING OIL PRICE]

Now if we reword the whole sentence as below – (we have removed THIS YEAR from the first part of the sentence and positioned it AFTER the main verb (are)

HEATING OIL PRICES ARE EXPECTED TO BE HIGHER THIS YEAR THAN LAST
Now the comparison focus shifts from Price to Time frame (this year versus last)
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 31 Oct 2010, 22:46
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A.

This is a comparison question I often have trouble with, but I will do my best to explain.

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
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than (heating-oil prices were) last (year) Parentheses are omitted. - correct compoarison
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year's or last's (Heating-oil prices) -wrong comparison. We are comparing this year to last year.
If you want to use last year's, we must write
This year's heating-oil prices are expected to be higher than last year's or last's -correct

Let's say Heating-oil prices are just A. We can rewrite
A is expected to be higher this year than (A was) last (year). - correct
A is expected to be higher this year than last's (A) - wrong as this sentence is comparing this year to last year's A.
This year's A is expected to be higher than last year's/last's A - correct


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
Higher over is unidiomatic. Higher...than is correct.
rise higher is redundant.


C) Expectations are for heating-oil prices to be higher this year than last year's becuase refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more than they did
are for heating-oil prices to be is wordy and confusing
last year's should be last year for the same reason mentioned in A.
are paying should be followed by they were


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
It is the expectation that is unnecessarily wordy. It is expected that is better.
'higher....over' is wrong. 'higher...than' is correct.


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
I think that you made a typo. Answer choice must be 'It is expected that' not 'it is the expected that,' which is correct.
rise higher is redundant.
last year's is wrong for the same reason explained earlier in answer A.

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Originally posted by scheol79 on 31 Oct 2010, 21:51.
Last edited by scheol79 on 31 Oct 2010, 22:46, edited 1 time in total.
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New post 11 Jul 2010, 04:51
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Hi Sam,

The issue of ambiguous pronouns is more a matter of logic than a GMAT 'trick'. If the pronoun has more than one logical referent, there is ambiguity.

Ex. Computer A is next to computer B, and it is broken.

In this sentence both computers are logical referents for "it". When you are presented with an ambiguous pronoun you will have trouble understanding what your sentence is saying. A correct answer will be a version of the sentence that is easier for you to understand because it is clearer.

Ex. Computer A, which is next to computer B, is broken.

In the problem at hand, "refiners" are the only word that make sense as the subject for the verb "were (paying)". Nothing else in the sentence has the ability to pay, so there is no problem with ambiguity here.

Hope that helps! Lots of luck!!!

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

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New post 30 Jun 2009, 01:08
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A IMO
rise and higher together are redundant - B/E are out
last year's doesn't make a parallel consturction- C is out
and between A and D , D is wordy I think. Besides, using 'than' seems to be more correct than 'over' :roll:

What's OA?
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 05 Jun 2010, 19:15
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Example of ellipsis

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last [year's prices] ----> Bulls eye

A is correct. "expected to be" is correct idiom. and "paying" is correct.

hence A.

C: is comparing expectations of this year vs the last year's. change of meaning. OUT

A it is.
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New post 20 Aug 2011, 09:37
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abhicoolmax wrote:
Why "they were" is correct in A? Why not they did? In-fact, should we be repeating the entire verb when we change the tense - Re: MGMAT SC?


This is a very good question. The general strategy followed is, whenever you come across an ellipsis (ommitting a part of the sentence if there is no ambiguity) the best way to check is to complete the sentence and see if the verb is correct.

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 paying ...

Vs

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 did paying ...

As you can see the second version does not make sense (it should have been pay for did to be correct).

However if the original sentence is reworded as

Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners paid about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they did pay ... => did is correct here. (I agree this version does not make logical sense :), just for illustration purposes).

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

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New post 24 Oct 2018, 13:35
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blitzkriegxX wrote:
I am confused with the use of "than". I will try to elaborate my confusion with official examples.

OG 19 - 758.

Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the south are hurting crops and therefore raised corn and soybean prices.

(A) than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the south are hurting crops and therefore raised

According to the OG explanantion this comparison in (A) is INCORRECT because it seems to be comparing the "prices" to "last year" which is illogical.
.
.
OG 19 - 772. (this question)

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

According to OG this comparison is CORRECT.


I fail to see the difference between the two and why one is correct and the other incorrect.

Great observation, blitzkriegxX. And I'm afraid that your question doesn't really have a great answer.

So here's a crappy-but-honest answer: the OG explanations are actually not very good. The people who write the OG explanations are generally random contractors who are NOT affiliated with GMAC in any way. (I interviewed an OG explanation-writer once. She was a long, long way from being an expert on the GMAT.) The questions that appear in the OGs are generally written years -- or even decades -- before they're released to the general public. So whoever writes the explanations is left to guess what the original question-writers' intent was.

That's why we see so many flaws in the explanations. There's a lot of lazy stuff in the OGs. For example, answer choices are often dismissed as "awkward", and that means basically nothing, since TONS of correct answers are pretty darned awkward. And if you look hard enough, you'll find plenty of contradictions from one question to the next -- for example, an idiom dismissed as "awkward" in one question might be identified as correct in another. :idontknow:

Back to answer choice (A) from the question from the other thread:

Quote:
Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the south are hurting crops and therefore raised corn and soybean prices.

I think the OG explanation is garbage here. The comparison you identified ("prices... are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago...") seems perfectly decent to me. But as pk123 mentioned, the verb tenses are a problem: "floods... and drought... are hurting crops and therefore raised... prices." Why the heck would those two things be in different tenses? It's saying that floods and draught raised prices in the past, but "are hurting crops" right now. That's nonsense.

To be fair, the correct answer changes the comparison to something that's arguably a little bit clearer: "prices are higher... than THOSE a year ago..." I just don't think that the comparison is the biggest factor, and the OG did a lousy job of communicating that.

Bottom line: take OG explanations with a grain of salt, because they're far from perfect.

I'm sure that this is among the least-satisfying things you've ever read on GMAT Club, but I hope it helps a bit, anyway!
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New post 05 Jun 2010, 23:42
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Yes by the process of elimination we reach A.

Can some one explain what exactly are we comparing here and whether the things being compared are parallel.

IMO we are comparing the prices last year with the prices this year and the years.
From a parallelism perspective is A correct? If yes How?

Experts please comment.

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New post 11 Jul 2010, 03:27
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Hi tgtharvard,

Yes, this is ellipses. Since "paying" already appears in the sentence, there is no need to repeat it after the word "were".

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New post 21 May 2014, 21:53
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holdem wrote:
Can please someone explain, under what circumstances “they were” is right in this case?

Isn’t it referring to “refiners are paying”?
Therefore “refiners are paying 5$ more, than they did last year”, instead of “… than they were” last year?

Were payed sounds totally weird to me, even if agree with the rest of the official answer :(




Hi holdem,

It’s a case of ellipsis and the word missing is ‘paying’ not ‘paid’. So, the verb is ‘were paying’ not ‘were paid’.

Let’s take two simplified versions of the sentence to understand the difference in the meaning conveyed by ‘were’ and ‘did’ in this context.

Refiners are paying 5$ more for crude oil than they were (paying) last year.

The past continuous tense (were) tells us that this action of paying happens weekly/monthly/quarterly. So, when we compare ‘are paying’ with ‘were paying’ it means that the payments were made in the same interval last year as well.

Refiners are paying 5$ more for crude oil than they did (pay) last year.

The simple past tense (did) here tells us that this action happened once in the past. So, the refiners are paying 5$ more than they paid last year. It means that last year there was only one payment of X dollars and this year the refiners are paying ‘X+5’ dollars weekly/monthly/quarterly.


Hope this helps! :)
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New post 23 Mar 2018, 13:28
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sajon wrote:
shouldn't "last year's" in option C indicates last year oil prices...??
how can the oil prices of this year be compared with only last year???
I am a little bit confused... please explain



Hello sajon,

I will be glad to help you with this one. :-)

From the context of the sentence, Choice C does suggest that the comparison is between the this year's price and last year's price.

But the grammar used to present this intended comparison is not correct. We can express the comparison in either way as follows:

oil prices will be higher this year than last year.

this year's oil price will be higher than last year's.



But Choice C uses a kind of mix of these two expressions. Usage of last year's is incorrect because the sentence does NOT use the expression this year's price.



Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
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New post 09 Mar 2019, 00:14
2
cici 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

(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

(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

(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

(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

OG2017 SC772

LordStark wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:

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.

Hi GMATNinja generis
As per Manhattan SC guide
Quote:
The first instance of the verb should usually match the helping verb in tense. If you need to change tenses, repeat the whole verb in the new tense.
Wrong: I have never seen an aardvark, but last year my father DID.
Right: I have never seen an aardvark, but last year my father saw one.

So if we use the same principle in the options B, C, & E.
B. "did" can be replaced by "pay"
C. "did" can be replaced by "are paying"
E. "did" can be replaced by "pay"
and that is incorrect. As per meaning of the sentence, we need "were paying" in the last part of the sentence.

What is the gap in my understanding?

thanks

LordStark , there is no gap in your understanding. (And you are working really hard! I can't keep up with your posts:) )

The book is wrong.

Ron Purewal explains that those particular parts are wrong:

"that's not accurate. in fact, one of the prime uses of helping verbs in parallel constructions is to express the same verb in a different tense.."

we may already have gotten rid of that "rule" in the 5th edition books.


The authors did not get rid of the rule.

Take a look HERE.

The posts by Ron P in the next link are good. They are about helping verbs and the instances in which do, does, or did will work. (Almost always.)

The posts can be found here, on this thread

Finally GMATNinja 's explanation is really good. His explanation is HERE. The did in the other options is a red herring. GMATNinja explained the other options' errors.

HERE is an official question involving the use of did that might help more than this question.

Finally, here is a forum topic thread dedicated to ellipsis and substitution, a discussion that includes mikemcgarry and egmat.

I think that reading those two threads will be much more productive than staying with this one. :-)

Hope that analysis helps.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jan 2014, 10:47
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papillon86 wrote:
Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher th is 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
(8) 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
(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
(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
(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


When we have these types of SC questions, where the underline portion consists of > 90% of the text, we need to be pretty methodical, CAREFUL and really, really, really understand the intended meaning. In this case, the fact that "last year" is not underline helps us in picking the right choice. So: focus on options that end in words that correctly "flow" into the words last year.

A) Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher... because refiners... are paying more.... THAN they were... [last year]. Than they were flows nicely into last year, and "they" correctly refers to refiners. Also, there's no ambiguity and words are not positioned in wrong places. So far so good, let's check the other options.

B) Heating-oil prices are expected to rise higher.. STOP. Rise higher? What? That implies some force will elevate prices so they physically rise above their current position. Obviously, this makes no sense.. Even if we ignore rise higher, "5 dollars a barrel for crude oil more" is wrong. More should come after 5 dollars otherwise more incorrectly refers to crude oil and not dollars. So, the errors here are grammatical. Notice that "they did" nicely flows into "last year" because they did refers to refiners.. Still, B is wrong for the grammatical errors.

C) "Expectations are for" seems like a perfect trap for certain non-native test-takers, but people that have had extensive exposure to american english know this sounds all types of wrong. Expectations are "for" nothing at all, frankly.. Something(s) is/are EXPECTED, or something is expected OF someone else, but not "for". Also, Im not sure but I believe "this year's" refers to expectations and not prices (it doesn't matter though, the option has so many other errors). And again, we have an error with "more" at the end of the sentence.

D) Again with the weird use of expectation.. "It is the expectation that" refers to who? Who expects? this option implies some sort of universal, objective expectation. Also "will rise higher" again implies prices will be elevated past their current, more down-to-earth position. That's clearly not the author's intent.

E) this is the best "wrong" answer, but it's still riddled with wrong elements. "rise higher" is wrong, "5 dollars for oil more" is wrong, and Im not sure (but it's just a minor issue) that "year's" is used correctly either.

Anyway.. A is clearly right because it is not riddled with the grammatical/meaning errors that the other options are.
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Sep 2016, 14:48
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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 :-)
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Oct 2018, 01:23
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I am confused with the use of "than". I will try to elaborate my confusion with official examples.

OG 19 - 758.

Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the south are hurting crops and therefore raised corn and soybean prices.

(A) than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the south are hurting crops and therefore raised

According to the OG explanantion this comparison in (A) is INCORRECT because it seems to be comparing the "prices" to "last year" which is illogical.
.
.
OG 19 - 772. (this question)

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

According to OG this comparison is CORRECT.


I fail to see the difference between the two and why one is correct and the other incorrect.
Please help me clarify this egmat GMATNinja sayantanc2k mikemcgarry
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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Mar 2019, 13:42
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Hello Everyone!

Let's tackle this question, one issue at a time, and narrow it down to the correct answer quickly! To start, here is the original question with any major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

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
(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
(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
(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
(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

Because almost the entire sentence is underlined here, there is a lot we can focus on:

1. Heating-oil prices... / Expectations are for heating-oil prices... / It is the expectation that heating-oil prices... (Conciseness/Meaning)
2. than last / over last (Idioms/Parallelism)
3. pay / are paying (Verb Tense/Meaning)
4. ...more for crude oil / ...for crude oil more (Parallelism/Meaning/Conciseness)


The first one that will eliminate 2-3 options right away is #2 on our list: than last vs. over last. This is an issue of idiom usage! We know that it's correct to say that one thing is "higher than" another, and that it is NOT okay to say one thing is "higher over" another. Therefore, we can eliminate the options that use "higher over."

(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
(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
(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
(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
(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

There you go! We can eliminate options B & D because they don't follow the proper idiom structure "higher than."

The next one that seems easy to tackle is #4 on our list: more for crude oil vs. for crude oil more. Each phrase is grammatically correct, but they mean two completely different things:

...refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil... = The price of each barrel of oil is $5 higher than before.
...refiners are paying about $5 a barrel for crude oil more... = The price of each barrel of oil is only $5, but refiners are paying that $5 more often than before.

It makes more sense to say that the price of a barrel of crude oil increased by $5, rather than saying it's always been $5 and refiners just pay that more often. So let's eliminate the options that mess up the meaning here:

(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
(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
(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

There you have it - option A was the correct choice! It uses concise language, correct idioms, and logical meaning! We didn't even have to deal with the other 2 items on our list because we focused on the ones that eliminated 2-3 options at a time.


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Re: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last becau   [#permalink] 19 Mar 2019, 13:42

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