Check GMAT Club Decision Tracker for the Latest School Decision Releases https://gmatclub.com/AppTrack

 It is currently 29 May 2017, 15:31

### GMAT Club Daily Prep

#### Thank you for using the timer - this advanced tool can estimate your performance and suggest more practice questions. We have subscribed you to Daily Prep Questions via email.

Customized
for You

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

Track

every week, we’ll send you an estimated GMAT score based on your performance

Practice
Pays

we will pick new questions that match your level based on your Timer History

# Events & Promotions

###### Events & Promotions in June
Open Detailed Calendar

# HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON

Author Message
TAGS:

### Hide Tags

e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [14] , given: 291

HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Mar 2013, 14:44
14
KUDOS
Expert's post
39
This post was
BOOKMARKED
00:00

Difficulty:

35% (medium)

Question Stats:

50% (01:28) correct 50% (00:15) wrong based on 44 sessions

### HideShow timer Statistics

HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON

ELLIPSES IN COMPARISON – USE OF HELPING VERBS

Hi Folks,

Before we get started with the grammatical nuances of this topic – how far we can keep the words understood – let’s do a little exercise here. Which of these sentences are correct?

1. John has more love for money than his wife.
2. John cooks better pizza than his wife.
3. John is scared of ghosts more than his wife.

Pretty simple sentences, right? So you got them all right? Well, let me tell you that only the second here is correct. Read on to know why.

AMBIGUOUS COMPARISON

All the three above mentioned sentences present comparison. The structure of all the three are also the same. But still, only the second sentence is correct. This is so because only the second sentence presents clear comparison. The first and third sentences present ambiguous comparison.

Let’s first study the first sentence:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 1:John has more love for money than his wife.

We can actually infer two meanings from this sentence:

Meaning 1: John loves both money and his wife. But he loves money more. So entities compared here are “money” and “his wife”.

Meaning 2: Both and John and his wife love money. But between the two, John loves it more. So the entities compared here “John” and “his wife”.

Why Ambiguity – This sentence is ambiguous because both the comparisons are possible. While “money” and “his wife” are comparable (John is so materialistic, you may say .) in the first inferred meaning, “John” and “his wife” are also totally comparable. Both these possible comparisons make this sentence ambiguous and incorrect.

The same is the case with the third sentence. Let’s see how:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 3: John is scared of ghosts more than his wife.

Again, we can infer two meanings here:

Meaning 1: John is scared of both ghosts and his wife. But he is more scared of ghosts. So entities compared here are “ghosts” and “his wife”.

Meaning 2: Both and John and his wife are scared of ghosts. But between the two, John is more scared of ghosts. (Coward John ) So the entities compared here “John” and “his wife”.

Why Ambiguity – The reason is the same as the first sentence. Both the comparisons are possible and that makes the sentence ambiguous and incorrect.

However this ambiguity does not touch the second sentence. This is how:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 2: John cooks better pizza than his wife.

Meaning: There is no question of two comparisons here. We just cannot say that John cooks better pizza than he cooks his wife (unless he is a cannibal ). This comparison is just not logical. Hence we have just one comparison here. John and his wife both cook pizza. But John is better in doing that.

So we see that despite same structures, while the second sentence is absolutely clear in its meaning and comparison, the other two suffers from ambiguity problem.

BLAME IT ON ELLIPSES

The reason why there is ambiguity in the first and the third sentence is that there are some words missing from both these sentences and these omissions have led to ambiguity in the meaning.

In the two ambiguous sentences, the words have been omitted to the extent to make the sentence ambiguous. Let’s see what went wrong in the two ambiguous sentences:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 1: John loves money more than his wife.
The comparison in this sentence is ambiguous as it may have two meanings. So if we want to communicate Meaning 1, where the intended comparison is between “money” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John has more love for money than for his wife.

This sentence clarifies the intended comparison. The comparison has been clarified by the insertion of the preposition “for”. Notice that this preposition already appears in the sentence before “for”, but it is imperative to repeat it before “his wife” also to clarify the intended comparison. The omission of preposition led to the ambiguity in the sentence even if “for” already exists in the sentence.

If we want to communicate Meaning 2, where the intended comparison is between “John” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John has more love for money than has his wife.

In this sentence also, we see that even if “has” is already present once, we need to repeat “has” again before “his wife” to clarify the ambiguity in comparison.

Now let’s see how we can correct the other sentence.

SIMPLE SENTENCE 3: John is scared of ghosts more than his wife.

Same as the first sentence, we want to convey Meaning 1, where the intended comparison is between “ghosts” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John is scared of ghosts more than of his wife.

Insertion of omitted “of” before “his wife” is all we need to clarify the intended comparison in this sentence even if “of” is already present in the sentence. Removal of this word leads to an ambiguous incorrect sentence.

If we want to communicate Meaning 2, where the intended comparison is between “John” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John is scared of ghosts more than is his wife.

Repeating the helping verb “is” before “his wife” makes the intended comparison clear. Even if this word is already present in the sentence, we saw how removal of this word led to ambiguous sentence.

TAKE AWAY

OFFICIAL EXAMPLE#1

Let’s see how we can apply this knowledge to solve official questions that test this concept. Here comes the first official question
OFFICIAL EXAMPLE: Let us take a look at this OGV2#103 question:

Inuits of the Bering Sea were in isolation from contact with Europeans longer than Aleuts or Inuits of the North Pacific and northern Alaska.

A. in isolation from contact with Europeans longer than
B. isolated from contact with Europeans longer than
C. in isolation from contact with Europeans longer than were
D. isolated from contact with Europeans longer than were
E. in isolation and without contacts with Europeans longer than

Let’s first understand what this sentence is conveying.

Meaning Analysis:

• Sentence presents comparison.
• It says that Inuits of Bering Sea were isolated from contact longer than Aleuts or Inuits of the North Pacific and northern Alaska.

Error Analysis:

1. This sentence resembles the core structure of the three sentences that we saw right in the beginning of the article. The way this sentence is written, we can infer two meanings:

Meaning 1: Inuits of the Bering sea were isolated from both Europeans and Inuits of the NP and NA. But they were in isolation for longer with Europeans. So the entity compared here are “Europeans” and “Inuits of the NP and NA”.

Meaning 2: Both kinds of Inuits were isolated from Europeans. But Inuits of the Bering Sea were in isolation for longer. So the entity compared here are “Inuits of the Bering Sea” and “the Inuits of the NP and NA”.

Both these comparisons are possible because all the three entities “Inuits of the Bering Sea”, “the Inuits of the NP and NA” and, “Europeans”. So at this point it is not possible to say what the intended comparison is.

• What we do know now is that if the intended comparison is between “Europeans” and “Inuits of the NP and NA”, then we need the preposition “with” before “Inuits of the NP and NA”. This will clarify the comparison.
• If the intended comparison is between “Inuits of the Bering Sea” and “the Inuits of the NP and NA”, then we need the helping verb “were” before “Inuits of the NP and NA”.

2. Another error in this sentence is the idiom error. Phrase “in isolation from contact” is not grammatical.

So let’s now do the PoE to see which comparison is intended.

A. in isolation from contact with Europeans longer than: Incorrect for the reason stated above.
B. isolated from contact with Europeans longer than: Incorrect for repeating the same ambiguous comparison error as in choice A, although the idiom error has been corrected.
C. in isolation from contact with Europeans longer than were: Incorrect for incorrect idiom. However, notice that the comparison is clear here. Insertion of the helping verb “were” makes it clear that the choice intends to compare Inuits of the Bering Sea” and “the Inuits of the NP and NA”.
D. isolated from contact with Europeans longer than were: Correct. The helping verb “were” clarifies the comparison.
E. in isolation and without contacts with Europeans longer than: Incorrect for repeating the same ambiguous comparison error as in choice A. Also, this choice changes the meaning by saying that Inuits were “in isolation” also and they were “without contacts with Europeans” also.

THING TO REMEMBER

So we have learnt that we need to repeat some words in a sentence for clear unambiguous comparison even if that word is already present in the sentence.

Now in a sentence in which comparison is clear, repeating the preposition or the helping word will not be wrong. Let’s look at sentence two here.

SIMPLE SENTENCE 2: John cooks better pizza than his wife.

Ellipsis does not lead to ambiguity in meaning or comparison in this sentence. However, the sentence will still not be incorrect if we write it the following way:

• John cooks better pizza than does his wife.

So, even if the helping word “does” is not written in this sentence, the comparison is clear, However, repeating “does” does not make this sentence incorrect. In case of clear comparisons, repeating the helping verb or the preposition is OPTIONAL.

PRACTICE OFFICIAL QUESTION

Solve this question from GMAT Prep.
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

_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

Last edited by egmat on 31 Jul 2013, 13:58, edited 3 times in total.
If you have any questions
New!
e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [8] , given: 291

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

18 Mar 2013, 13:26
8
KUDOS
Expert's post
5
This post was
BOOKMARKED
Here is the much awaited solution for the Official Question posted in this article.

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 than they were.

Sentence Structure
• Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow
o that have propelled automobile companies common stocks to new highs,
• (Continuation of 1st Clause) several industry analysts expect automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively
o than they were.

Meaning
• This sentence presents a contrast.
• Fact 1
o There have been recent increases in sales and cash flow of the automobile companies.
o These increases have pushed their stocks to new highs.
• Contrasting Fact 2
o However, several analysts expect automakers to set dividends more conservatively than they have been doing in the past in order to conserve cash.

Error Analysis
Now let’s find the errors in the original sentence.

• Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow
o that have propelled automobile companies common stocks to new highs,
• (Continuation of 1st Clause) several industry analysts expect automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively
o than they were.

The underlined portion of the sentence presents comparison. It intends to say that the automakers will have to be more conservative in setting dividends than they were before.

Now in order to present comparison in grammatically correct manner, the entity following the comparison marker “than” should be parallel to the entity preceding it. But in this sentence, that is not the case. Let’s see what is happening here:
We have the case of ellipsis, i.e. a few words are not repeated. But whenever we omit words, these omitted words must be present somewhere in the sentence in the same form. From the construction of choice A, it appears that the part after “than” should be “they were setting”. Note that “setting” has been omitted. And this is the mistake in this sentence because “setting” is not present in the sentence. The expression “to set” is present. Hence we cannot omit something that is not present in the sentence and thus the ellipsis has not been done appropriately. So in order to correct this error, we will need to explicitly state the complete idea.

With this understanding of the error in choice A, we will do the PoE to find the correct answer.

PoE
A. to set dividends more conservatively than they were : Incorrect for the reasons stated above - incorrect application of ellipsis.

B. to set dividends more conservatively than they have been: Incorrect.

This choice repeats the error in choice A. The latter part of comparison can be completed by saying “they have been setting”. And again the word “setting” does not appear in the sentence and hence this choice is incorrect.

C. to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends : Correct.
This choice corrects the error of choice A by explicitly stating the entire idea.

D. that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends : Incorrect
This choice results in following sentence:
…several industry analysts expect automakers that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends.
Note that the correct usage of “expect” is as follows:
• Elders expect youngsters to respect them. – expect x to verb
• Elders expect that youngsters respect them. – expect that x verb
However this choice uses expect in an incorrect manner similar to following:
• Elders expect youngsters that youngsters respect them.
This is why this choice is incorrect.

E. that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends: Incorrect.

This choice also repeats the error in choice D.

1. Always make sure that the omitted words (when applying ellipsis) appear in the sentence elsewhere.
2. Use words in their correct usage; expect has not been used correctly in choices D and E.

- Payal
_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

Director
Joined: 05 Sep 2010
Posts: 833
Followers: 89

Kudos [?]: 260 [1] , given: 61

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Mar 2013, 00:47
1
KUDOS
i tried this practice question and was amazed to find the answer as E (as propounded by Egmat ) .i had marked C in this one .
my logic is .we always expect X to ....or we expect that X Y

i think C fits the bill
i hope i am not solving this question in my sleep mode !!
also i find the comparison in C very good and honestly i like the ending of C as well "setting dividends" is very much the object of preposition "in"
use of present perfect in C is also good as we talking of transition
Retired Moderator
Status: worked for Kaplan's associates, but now on my own, free and flying
Joined: 19 Feb 2007
Posts: 3863
Location: India
WE: Education (Education)
Followers: 824

Kudos [?]: 6345 [1] , given: 324

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Mar 2013, 03:11
1
KUDOS
X (plural) expect Y to verb is good idiom (as in C)
X expect Y that Y (they) will or would verb is also acceptable.
X expect Y that Y have been to verb is no good idiom. (As in E)
_________________

“Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher” – a Japanese proverb.
9884544509

Intern
Joined: 11 Mar 2013
Posts: 8
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 6 [1] , given: 11

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

14 Mar 2013, 07:24
1
KUDOS
Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that the sentence "John has more love for money than his wife." has a univocal meaning: Both and John and his wife love money. But between the two, John loves it more.

The sentence "John has more love for money than FOR his wife." has the unambiguous meaning: John loves both money and his wife. But he loves money more.

Can anyone clarify this issue?
Intern
Joined: 30 Apr 2014
Posts: 1
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 1 [1] , given: 5

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 May 2014, 10:37
1
KUDOS
Ellipsis Doubt:-

1.Greyhounds run faster than bulldogs. - Is statement wrong? run is already present in the sentence. so is it required after bulldogs again?
2.Greyhounds run faster than bulldogs run/do.- this is explicit so clear
e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [1] , given: 291

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

16 May 2014, 06:18
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
ranit123 wrote:
Ellipsis Doubt:-

1.Greyhounds run faster than bulldogs. - Is statement wrong? run is already present in the sentence. so is it required after bulldogs again?
2.Greyhounds run faster than bulldogs run/do.- this is explicit so clear

Hi @ranit123,

Both versions of this sentence are logically correct. In the first one, the comparison is clearly between greyhounds and bulldogs. In the second version of the sentence, it's not incorrect to include the verb 'run' or 'do' after 'bulldogs', but the verb isn't necessary here since the meaning is perfectly clear even if we don't repeat the verb.

Note that ellipsis should be avoided only when using it creates ambiguity. For example:

My house is closer to the lake than the market.

This sentence contains ambiguity because we can't identify the comparison it's trying to make. It could mean one of two things:
1. My house is closer to the lake than to the market. - Comparison between the lake and the market.
2. My house is closer to the lake than the market is. - Comparison between my house and the market.

There are three nouns in this sentence: my house, the lake, and the market. In the example sentence you've given, there are only two nouns: the greyhounds and the bulldogs. There's no question of ambiguity there.

I hope this helps!

Regards,
Meghna
_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [0], given: 291

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

15 Mar 2013, 08:23
Hi All,

We apologize for the confusion regarding the oppficial answer of teh practice question mentioned in this article. This article was reproduced and in the process, the person who reproduced the article made a typo error regarding the OA.

The Correct NAswer indeed is Choice C. The error has been rectified, and once again we apologize for any confusion this error created.

Thanks.
_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [0], given: 291

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

15 Mar 2013, 08:45
Recobita wrote:
Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that the sentence "John has more love for money than his wife." has a univocal meaning: Both and John and his wife love money. But between the two, John loves it more.

The sentence "John has more love for money than FOR his wife." has the unambiguous meaning: John loves both money and his wife. But he loves money more.

Can anyone clarify this issue?

Hi Recobita,

John has more love for money than his wife.

This sentence does not have the univocal meaning as you have explained. It actually has ambiguous because we can infer two meanings here. One meaning can be what you have inferred where the entities compared are John and his wife. The second meaning can be that John loves both his wife and money but he loves money more.

If the meaning that you have inferred were univocal, there would not be any need of repeating helping verbs to clarify comparisons. If this was the case, then the official sentence mentioned in the article, would have two correct answer choices.

The sentences that have unambiguous meanings are:
a. John has more love for money than DOES his wife.
b. John has more love for money than FOR his wife.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

Manager
Status: Impossible is just an opinion
Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Posts: 53
Location: Ukraine
Concentration: Strategy, Marketing
GMAT 1: 590 Q47 V24
GMAT 2: 650 Q47 V34
GMAT 3: 670 Q49 V31
GMAT 4: 690 Q48 V37
GPA: 3.8
WE: Marketing (Consumer Products)
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 60 [0], given: 18

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Jul 2013, 13:14
egmat wrote:
Here is the much awaited solution for the Official Question posted in this article.

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 than they were.

Sentence Structure
• Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow
o that have propelled automobile companies common stocks to new highs,
• (Continuation of 1st Clause) several industry analysts expect automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively
o than they were.

Meaning
• This sentence presents a contrast.
• Fact 1
o There have been recent increases in sales and cash flow of the automobile companies.
o These increases have pushed their stocks to new highs.
• Contrasting Fact 2
o However, several analysts expect automakers to set dividends more conservatively than they have been doing in the past in order to conserve cash.

Error Analysis
Now let’s find the errors in the original sentence.

• Despite recent increases in sales and cash flow
o that have propelled automobile companies common stocks to new highs,
• (Continuation of 1st Clause) several industry analysts expect automakers, in order to conserve cash, to set dividends more conservatively
o than they were.

The underlined portion of the sentence presents comparison. It intends to say that the automakers will have to be more conservative in setting dividends than they were before.

Now in order to present comparison in grammatically correct manner, the entity following the comparison marker “than” should be parallel to the entity preceding it. But in this sentence, that is not the case. Let’s see what is happening here:
We have the case of ellipsis, i.e. a few words are not repeated. But whenever we omit words, these omitted words must be present somewhere in the sentence in the same form. From the construction of choice A, it appears that the part after “than” should be “they were setting”. Note that “setting” has been omitted. And this is the mistake in this sentence because “setting” is not present in the sentence. The expression “to set” is present. Hence we cannot omit something that is not present in the sentence and thus the ellipsis has not been done appropriately. So in order to correct this error, we will need to explicitly state the complete idea.

With this understanding of the error in choice A, we will do the PoE to find the correct answer.

PoE
A. to set dividends more conservatively than they were : Incorrect for the reasons stated above - incorrect application of ellipsis.

B. to set dividends more conservatively than they have been: Incorrect.

This choice repeats the error in choice A. The latter part of comparison can be completed by saying “they have been setting”. And again the word “setting” does not appear in the sentence and hence this choice is incorrect.

C. to be more conservative than they have been in setting dividends : Correct.
This choice corrects the error of choice A by explicitly stating the entire idea.

D. that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends : Incorrect
This choice results in following sentence:
…several industry analysts expect automakers that they will be more conservative than they were in setting dividends.
Note that the correct usage of “expect” is as follows:
• Elders expect youngsters to respect them. – expect x to verb
• Elders expect that youngsters respect them. – expect that x verb
However this choice uses expect in an incorrect manner similar to following:
• Elders expect youngsters that youngsters respect them.
This is why this choice is incorrect.

E. that they will be more conservative than they have been to set dividends: Incorrect.

This choice also repeats the error in choice D.

1. Always make sure that the omitted words (when applying ellipsis) appear in the sentence elsewhere.
2. Use words in their correct usage; expect has not been used correctly in choices D and E.

- Payal

Dear Payal,

first of all, thanks a lot for this wonderful article.

As you mentioned previously in the article, we need additional words to clarify the meaning, unless the meaning is crystal clear as it is in the case with the cooking family (John cooks better pizza than his wife).

In choices A & B even without "in setting" a reader can understand what is going on. Therefore, why do we really need "in setting", having clear meaning? Please explain what could the 2nd meaning in choices A & B.

THX!
Intern
Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 14
Schools: ISB - Class of 2016
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 2 [0], given: 9

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

18 Feb 2014, 06:16
egmat wrote:
HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON

ELLIPSES IN COMPARISON – USE OF HELPING VERBS

Hi Folks,

Before we get started with the grammatical nuances of this topic – how far we can keep the words understood – let’s do a little exercise here. Which of these sentences are correct?

1. John has more love for money than his wife.
2. John cooks better pizza than his wife.
3. John is scared of ghosts more than his wife.

Pretty simple sentences, right? So you got them all right? Well, let me tell you that only the second here is correct. Read on to know why.

AMBIGUOUS COMPARISON

All the three above mentioned sentences present comparison. The structure of all the three are also the same. But still, only the second sentence is correct. This is so because only the second sentence presents clear comparison. The first and third sentences present ambiguous comparison.

Let’s first study the first sentence:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 1:John has more love for money than his wife.

We can actually infer two meanings from this sentence:

Meaning 1: John loves both money and his wife. But he loves money more. So entities compared here are “money” and “his wife”.

Meaning 2: Both and John and his wife love money. But between the two, John loves it more. So the entities compared here “John” and “his wife”.

Why Ambiguity – This sentence is ambiguous because both the comparisons are possible. While “money” and “his wife” are comparable (John is so materialistic, you may say .) in the first inferred meaning, “John” and “his wife” are also totally comparable. Both these possible comparisons make this sentence ambiguous and incorrect.

The same is the case with the third sentence. Let’s see how:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 3: John is scared of ghosts more than his wife.

Again, we can infer two meanings here:

Meaning 1: John is scared of both ghosts and his wife. But he is more scared of ghosts. So entities compared here are “ghosts” and “his wife”.

Meaning 2: Both and John and his wife are scared of ghosts. But between the two, John is more scared of ghosts. (Coward John ) So the entities compared here “John” and “his wife”.

Why Ambiguity – The reason is the same as the first sentence. Both the comparisons are possible and that makes the sentence ambiguous and incorrect.

However this ambiguity does not touch the second sentence. This is how:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 2: John cooks better pizza than his wife.

Meaning: There is no question of two comparisons here. We just cannot say that John cooks better pizza than he cooks his wife (unless he is a cannibal ). This comparison is just not logical. Hence we have just one comparison here. John and his wife both cook pizza. But John is better in doing that.

So we see that despite same structures, while the second sentence is absolutely clear in its meaning and comparison, the other two suffers from ambiguity problem.

BLAME IT ON ELLIPSES

The reason why there is ambiguity in the first and the third sentence is that there are some words missing from both these sentences and these omissions have led to ambiguity in the meaning.

In the two ambiguous sentences, the words have been omitted to the extent to make the sentence ambiguous. Let’s see what went wrong in the two ambiguous sentences:

SIMPLE SENTENCE 1: John loves money more than his wife.
The comparison in this sentence is ambiguous as it may have two meanings. So if we want to communicate Meaning 1, where the intended comparison is between “money” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John has more love for money than for his wife.

This sentence clarifies the intended comparison. The comparison has been clarified by the insertion of the preposition “for”. Notice that this preposition already appears in the sentence before “for”, but it is imperative to repeat it before “his wife” also to clarify the intended comparison. The omission of preposition led to the ambiguity in the sentence even if “for” already exists in the sentence.

If we want to communicate Meaning 2, where the intended comparison is between “John” and “his wife”, then the sentence must be written this way:

• John has more love for money than has his wife.

In this sentence also, we see that even if “has” is already present once, we need to repeat “has” again before “his wife” to clarify the ambiguity in comparison.

Now let’s see how we can correct the other sentence.

Why has should be place after than?

John has more love for money than his wife has.

Is the above sentence wrong?

Also,

John loves money more than his wife loves/does.

Is this sentence correct in communication the same meaning?
Manager
Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 62
Schools: ISB '16, NUS '15
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 49

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

09 Mar 2014, 01:43
Hi E-GMAT,

Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far
more supplies than they had in their previous
campaigns, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.
(A) they had in their previous campaigns,
(C) they had for any previous campaign,
(D) in their previous campaigns,
(E) for any previous campaign,

After going the OG solution and E-GMAT analysis , the only thing i need to clarify is the statement "for any previous campaign" in which the word "FOR" is not mention the any previous statement then how come we can use "FOR"?.

Referring to one the above statement "John has more love for money than FOR his wife." where FOR was used to show more clear comparison that mention earlier in the sentence?

Thanks
Nitin
e-GMAT Representative
Joined: 02 Nov 2011
Posts: 2022
Followers: 2222

Kudos [?]: 7769 [0], given: 291

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Mar 2014, 07:22
Nitinaka19 wrote:
Hi E-GMAT,

Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far
more supplies than they had in their previous
campaigns, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.
(A) they had in their previous campaigns,
(C) they had for any previous campaign,
(D) in their previous campaigns,
(E) for any previous campaign,

After going the OG solution and E-GMAT analysis , the only thing i need to clarify is the statement "for any previous campaign" in which the word "FOR" is not mention the any previous statement then how come we can use "FOR"?.

Referring to one the above statement "John has more love for money than FOR his wife." where FOR was used to show more clear comparison that mention earlier in the sentence?

Thanks
Nitin

Dear Nitin,

Thank you for posting your query here.

In comparisons, we need to ensure that the logical comparison between two entities is clear, regardless of whether ellipsis is used. In the example sentence you quoted, "for" is required to make the comparison clear, since without it, the comparison is ambiguous. However, in the case of this question, the comparison is not ambiguous. Let's look at the correct version of the sentence:

Although Napoleon’s army entered Russia with far more supplies than for any previous campaign, it had provisions for only twenty-four days.

The two entities compared in this sentence are as follows:

X: the supplies for the Russian campaign
Y: the supplies for any previous campaign

Since this meaning is logically clear from the context of the sentence, "for" doesn't have to be used twice.

I hope this helps with your doubt!

Regards,
Meghna
_________________

| '4 out of Top 5' Instructors on gmatclub | 70 point improvement guarantee | www.e-gmat.com

Manager
Joined: 24 Jun 2013
Posts: 62
Schools: ISB '16, NUS '15
Followers: 0

Kudos [?]: 7 [0], given: 49

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

10 Mar 2014, 21:20
Hi Meghna,

Thanks for answering my query, As you said the two quantity which are compared here are
X: the supplies for the Russian campaign
Y: the supplies for any previous campaign

i thought "FOR" which need not be repeated twice comes earlier in the sentence, just as we with other verb (Has) & even "to" etc.

I think i have to clear my understanding of comparison sentence structure.

Take away would be as stated above "we need to ensure that the logical comparison between two entities is clear, regardless of whether ellipsis is used"

Thanks once again.
GMAT Club Legend
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 10304
Followers: 1001

Kudos [?]: 225 [0], given: 0

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

19 Jun 2015, 06:19
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
GMAT Club Legend
Joined: 01 Oct 2013
Posts: 10304
Followers: 1001

Kudos [?]: 225 [0], given: 0

Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON [#permalink]

### Show Tags

03 Jul 2016, 08:03
Hello from the GMAT Club VerbalBot!

Thanks to another GMAT Club member, I have just discovered this valuable topic, yet it had no discussion for over a year. I am now bumping it up - doing my job. I think you may find it valuable (esp those replies with Kudos).

Want to see all other topics I dig out? Follow me (click follow button on profile). You will receive a summary of all topics I bump in your profile area as well as via email.
Re: HOW FAR ELLIPSIS IS PERMISSIBLE IN COMPARISON   [#permalink] 03 Jul 2016, 08:03
Similar topics Replies Last post
Similar
Topics:
4 GMAT Tuesdays: SC Comparisons and Ellipsis 0 15 Apr 2014, 10:58
Comparisons 1 06 Dec 2013, 11:14
25 Fresh Ellipsis Question 20 09 Sep 2016, 10:58
1 Comparisons 0 06 Mar 2012, 03:21
1 Ellipsis: Any resource available?? 12 10 Dec 2012, 14:26
Display posts from previous: Sort by