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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli

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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 13 Sep 2018, 00:08
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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.


(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

(C) less than 1978

(D) fewer than 1978

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

Originally posted by betterscore on 08 Aug 2012, 13:43.
Last edited by Bunuel on 13 Sep 2018, 00:08, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Dec 2012, 13:52
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We only want to use "that of" or "those of" if we are comparing something *belonging* to something else:

The design of the new tablet is similar to that of its predecessor. (The design of one is similar to the design of the other.)
Jack wanted clothes similar to those of his friends. (He wants his clothes to be similar to his friends' clothes.)

In the above examples, it would be a big problem to get rid of the relative pronoun:

The design of the new tablet is similar to its predecessor. (The design is similar to the predecessor?)
Jack wanted clothes similar to his friends. (He wants his clothes to be similar to his friends?)

In B, we are correctly comparing the production in 1979 to the harvest in 1978. If we go with gmatfighter12's proposed phrasing, "less than that of," we have to ask what "that" stands for. If we say "less than that of the 1978 harvest," then "that" doesn't seem to stand for anything. If we say "less than that of 1978," the antecedent for "that" isn't entirely clear, although "production" seems like the most reasonable choice. E would then be clearer than the other wrong answer choices, but still not as clear as B.

Note that in my examples, it was very clear what "that" and "those" stood for. If we don't know what our pronouns stand for, we should probably replace them. In general, a specific noun is preferable to a vague pronoun (unless that specific noun is clearly wrong!).
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 10 May 2019, 04:42
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This is one of my least-favorite GMAT comparison questions ever… and that’s why we covered it on YouTube, in our 2nd webinar on comparisons. (Part I of that webinar can be found here.)

Quote:
In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

The thing that jumps out at me here is the word “those.” It’s a plural pronoun, and the only reasonable plural referent is “tons.” So we’d have “…lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than the tons of the 1978 harvest."

Wait.. what? “The tons of the 1978 harvest”?? That makes no sense. The tons of rice ARE the harvest, so why the heck would we ever say “the tons of the harvest”?

So (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) less than the 1978 harvest

I’ll be honest: I don’t totally love this one, but I also can’t figure out why it’s definitely wrong. (And you’re always looking for answer choices that contain DEFINITE errors; see our beginner’s guide to SC for more on that.)

Here’s the heart of the comparison in (B): “…lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than the 1978 harvest.” This directly compares 41 million tons – which is exactly the same thing as the 1979 harvest – to the 1978 harvest. Fair enough, I guess. I suppose this would “feel” more obviously correct if the phrase compared “the 1979 harvest” directly to “the 1978 harvest”, but there’s nothing wrong with (B) in its current form. We’re still logically comparing an entire harvest (“41 million tons”) to another entire harvest.

I guess we can keep (B).

Quote:
(C) less than 1978

This one is very definitely wrong. It’s saying that the 1979 rice production of 41 million tons is less than the year 1978. We can’t logically compare the tons of rice to a year. (C) is out.

Quote:
(D) fewer than 1978

(D) has exactly the same problem as (C). The distinction between “less” and “fewer” means nothing to us here, since the comparison is completely illogical. So (D) is gone, too.

Quote:
(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

The pronoun “that” jumps out at me again here. It’s a singular pronoun, so it must refer to… “rice production”, I guess? But that makes no sense, since we’d have “fewer than the rice production of India’s 1978 harvest.” Huh? The “production of the harvest”? That’s nonsense: the harvest IS the production.

So (E) is out. (B) isn’t perfect, but it’s the best we can do.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Jun 2013, 07:17
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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest . Plural. Rice production is singular

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

(C) less than 1978. Illogical . 25% less than 1978.

(D) fewer than 1978

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

With percent we use "less" not "fewer". Thus, D , E are out.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Dec 2012, 11:53
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No, size makes no difference. We always use "fewer" for countable and "less" for uncountable. Here, we use "less" rather than "fewer" because we are comparing the overall size of production, rather than the specific number of tons. This generally happens with weights and measures. For instance, I would say "I weigh less than 200 pounds," not fewer, because I am talking about a measurement, not a group of things. I'd also say "I want less than 3 ounces of coffee" or "I have less than 5 feet of rope left." Sure, we can count pounds, ounces, and feet, but we are using them to talk about an amount, not a number. 3 ounces of coffee is a way of saying how much coffee you have, but we're not counting individual coffee beans. Similarly, in the original problem, we're not counting individual grains of rice; rather, we're measuring overall rice production.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2016, 05:46
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hatemnag wrote:
it is quite confusing. get crazy or understand this idea. the question stem includes numbers and percents, then we say production is uncountable. what about 41 tons or 25 %.
please help to fix my mind to such idea. I studied MGMAT sc book more than twice.


First: 25% of a countable noun is countable and 25% of uncountable noun is uncountable. This is true for all percent and fraction words.

Now the question is whether we are referring to 25% of production (uncountable) or 25% of tonnes (countable). The sentence conveys the meaning that the production is reduced rather tonnes are reduced. 25% of production is uncountable and thus less is used.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 01 Feb 2013, 23:06
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Thangvietnam, we contrast "fewer" and "less" as I discussed above, but not "few" and "less." Let me show some usages:

Fewer = a smaller number of something (a comparative word)

We have fewer visitors this week than we did last week.
My wife has fewer papers on the desk than I do.
There are five fewer men than women at the party.

Less = a smaller measurement or quantity of something (a comparative word)

I have less money than my brother.
If I had taken less time on question 7, I might have done better on the exam.
Cycling requires less upper body strength than rock climbing.

Few = a small number of something (not a comparative word)

We have had few visitors this week.
Few of my friends enjoy spicy food.
A few of my friends enjoy spicy food.

Note that these last two have different implications. When I say "few of my friends," I mean "not very many of my friends." I am emphasizing the small number. When I say "a few of my friends," I mean "several of my friends." I am emphasizing the fact that some friends *do* like spicy food.

I hope this list helps. Let me know if you had something else in mind, or if you have other questions.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2013, 14:34
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honchos wrote:
thevenus wrote:
"production"is non countable so "less than " should be used.
CDE Out
A Vs B
X less than Y
production less than harvest



X less than Y

It also conveys that C ic orrect?


Hi Honchos.

In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest
Wrong.
- "production" is singular --> "those" is wrong.
- "production of the 1978 harvest" is redundant. "harvest" also means "production".

(B) less than the 1978 harvest
Correct.
"percent" is abstract number --> use "less", not "fewer". --> correct.

(C) less than 1978
Wrong.
- Comparison problem. "production" vs. "1978" <-- wrong.
- Should be "production" vs. "that in 1978" --OR-- "production" vs. "the 1978 harvest".

(D) fewer than 1978
Wrong.
- "percent" is abstract number --> Must use "less", not "fewer".
- Comparison problem: "production" vs. "1978"

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest
Wrong.
- "percent" is abstract number --> Must use "less", not "fewer".
- "that of the 1978 harvest" is redundant. "harvest" also means "production".

Hope it helps.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2016, 05:34
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thangvietnam wrote:
DmitryFarber wrote:
No, size makes no difference. We always use "fewer" for countable and "less" for uncountable. Here, we use "less" rather than "fewer" because we are comparing the overall size of production, rather than the specific number of tons. This generally happens with weights and measures. For instance, I would say "I weigh less than 200 pounds," not fewer, because I am talking about a measurement, not a group of things. I'd also say "I want less than 3 ounces of coffee" or "I have less than 5 feet of rope left." Sure, we can count pounds, ounces, and feet, but we are using them to talk about an amount, not a number. 3 ounces of coffee is a way of saying how much coffee you have, but we're not counting individual coffee beans. Similarly, in the original problem, we're not counting individual grains of rice; rather, we're measuring overall rice production.



THANK YOU expert,
do you have any tips for "few " and "less" , pls help


Few:
used with countable things - the three forms are:
Few - fewer (comparative) - fewest (superlative)

Little:
used with uncountable things - the three forms are:
Little - less (comparative) - least (superlative)

Example:
You may use this check-out counter, if you have less than ten items...wrong , items are countable. (Frequently you see a sign less than 10 items in a supermarket... it is wrong !)
You may use this check-out counter, if you have fewer than ten items... right.

My sister takes fewer milk than I do. .. wrong, milk is uncountable.
My sister takes less milk than I do. .. right.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Sep 2013, 01:03
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jaituteja wrote:
Hi,

We can count production as it is given, "production to about 41 millions"

few is used for countable things.
Few books, few stores.

Besides, little is used for uncountable things.
little water.

So, why can't we use few here as we can count the production in its unit?

Thanks,
Jai


Technically, few is used for countable noun, less is used for uncountable noun.

Abstract numbers such as percentage is considered uncountable noun. Why? Because "percentage" itself is not complete. Percentage of what? That's why we call percentage is abstract number --> uncountable noun --> "less" is correct.

Please see the non-underlined part, which says "25 percent" <-- we can't use "fewer" here. You can ONLY count one percent, two percent,..... BUT you can't count one percent of 1978 harvest. That is abstract number.

In short, "Less" is used for uncountable, usually abstract nouns:level, quantity, rate, figure, percentage, etc. ect...

Hope it helps.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 21 Nov 2015, 04:34
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kongaharsha

Quote:
I still have a question in Option B. Although it was bought up earlier in the thread, can someone address my concern Below.

If option B said less than that of 1978 Harvest or less than that of 1978

What exactly is wrong with this structure.



Well think of what is the reference for the pronoun ‘that’. If you are meaning that it refers to the production or harvest, then you are saying that it is less than the production or harvest of 1978 harvest; Can you see the redundancy there?

But the second choice of yours is ok because now there is no redundancy since you have removed 'harvest'
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Aug 2012, 22:43
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betterscore wrote:
In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

(C) less than 1978

(D) fewer than 1978

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest



Less than in the start of phrase should be there so, D and E are out. however, after less than "that of" is required to make it parallel. "Those of" is wrong as it comes when noun is plural. "C' is also out.
But why "B" is right I dont know.

Anyone, please explain.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Sep 2013, 23:51
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pqhai wrote:
honchos wrote:
thevenus wrote:
"production"is non countable so "less than " should be used.
CDE Out
A Vs B
X less than Y
production less than harvest



X less than Y

It also conveys that C ic orrect?


Hi Honchos.

In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest
Wrong.
- "production" is singular --> "those" is wrong.
- "production of the 1978 harvest" is redundant. "harvest" also means "production".

(B) less than the 1978 harvest
Correct.
"percent" is abstract number --> use "less", not "fewer". --> correct.

(C) less than 1978
Wrong.
- Comparison problem. "production" vs. "1978" <-- wrong.
- Should be "production" vs. "that in 1978" --OR-- "production" vs. "the 1978 harvest".

(D) fewer than 1978
Wrong.
- "percent" is abstract number --> Must use "less", not "fewer".
- Comparison problem: "production" vs. "1978"

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest
Wrong.
- "percent" is abstract number --> Must use "less", not "fewer".
- "that of the 1978 harvest" is redundant. "harvest" also means "production".

Hope it helps.


Hi,

We can count production as it is given, "production to about 41 millions"

few is used for countable things.
Few books, few stores.

Besides, little is used for uncountable things.
little water.

So, why can't we use few here as we can count the production in its unit?

Thanks,
Jai
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Aug 2014, 22:27
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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest- production is not plural..so those is not correct
(B) less than the 1978 harvest- Perfect..production in 78 vs production/harvest in 79
(C) less than 1978- production vs year- incorrect
(D) fewer than 1978- fewer is not appropriate..1 production,2 production,3 production...doesn't makes sense..so production is uncountable noun..hence less goes with production
(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest..fewer - same as above, than that of India's 1978 harvest- wrong comparison..u r not comparing harvest with that of 1978 harvest..What is 'that of' exactly..??..u r comparing harvest with harvest..explicitly conveyed in B

If the sentence were to compare 41 million tons produced in 1979 and tons harvested in 1978, would the correct sentence be:
In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than the number/that of 1978 harvest?
As u can see in E..U r not comparing numbers here..u r comparing harvests..So harvest in less than the number/that of harvest in 79 is wrong comparison...here the number of is redundant..
If we were to compare numbers..In 1979, the amount of India's rice production in 1978 was reduced to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than that of 1978 harvest
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 30 Aug 2017, 01:48
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Shiv2016, Sayantan and I are coming at the same idea in two different ways. When I said that weights and measures are typically uncountable, I meant that when we are talking about the measurement itself, we are not counting things. We are just referring to a number. For instance, we would say "I weigh 10 pounds less than my brother," not "10 pounds fewer," because we are simply comparing total weight. We are not counting individual pounds and seeing who has more. We'd say "I have 10 fewer dollars" or "I have 3 more children," but not "my height is 3 inches fewer."

So are pounds countable? Sure, and if we are looking at them directly, we use language that reflects that. For instance, we say "How many pounds of candy did you buy?" and not "How much pounds." However, usually when we talk about pounds or inches (or more civilized units, such as meters or kilograms ;) ), we are using them to compare one measurement to another. We are talking about weight or height or production, rather than counting individual things.

Correct:
How much does the job pay?
How many dollars do you have?
How much do you weigh?
How many pounds of vegetables do you need?
The production was 5 tons less than last year. (Comparing this year's production to last.)
I hauled 5 fewer tons this year than last year. (Comparing what I hauled this year to what I hauled last year.)
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 02:24
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gmat4varun wrote:

You says "In B, we are correctly comparing the production in 1979 to the harvest in 1978. " But I doubt whether production can be compared with Harvest . Production is something we can measure but harvest is "the process or period of gathering in crops."



Hello gmat4varun,

I would just like to pitch in with my take on the usage of the word harvest.

This word is also used to mean produce or fruits or result. So technically, there is no issue in comparing production with harvest that has been used to mean produce.

Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 31 Aug 2017, 02:37
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Jabjagotabhisavera wrote:
Hi

I marked answer as "A" because I thought those refers to "tonnage/tons" of harvest. So the option "A" becomes "less than "tonnage/tons"of the 1978 harvest". Is it not correct?

Please clear my doubt.



Hello Jabjagotabhisavera,

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

Let's focus on the meaning if those refers to 41 million tons in the original sentence.

The sentence would convey that in 1979, India produced nearly 25 percent less than 41 million tons of the 1978 harvest.

Does this information make sense? No because the sentence clearly says that India produced 41 million tons of rice in 1979. This production was 25 less than the production in 1978.

But per the above-mentioned sentence, India produces less than 41 million tons in 1979.

So you see the illogical meaning due to the incorrect reference of pronoun those.


Hope this helps. :-)
Thanks.
Shraddha
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Sep 2018, 11:21
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Hello Everyone!

Let's tackle this question, one issue at a time, to get to the correct answer quickly! Before we dive in, here is the original question, with any differences between each option highlighted in orange:

In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest
(B) less than the 1978 harvest
(C) less than 1978
(D) fewer than 1978
(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

After a quick glance over each option, two major issues stand out:

1. less vs. fewer
2. parallel comparisons (1978 harvest/1978/that of India's 1978 harvest)


Since #1 on our list will rule out 2 or 3 answers right away, let's start there. Here is the general rule for less vs. fewer:

LESS = non-countable things; singular mass nouns (less patience, less of a percentage, less water, less grass)
FEWER = countable things (fewer books, fewer blades of grass, fewer dogs)

So which one do we choose? So what is shrinking by 25%? The rice production. Since rice production isn't a countable thing, we must use LESS. Let's see how each option stacks up:

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest
(B) less than the 1978 harvest
(C) less than 1978
(D) fewer than 1978
(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

We can eliminate options D & E because they use the wrong comparison "fewer."

Now that we only have 3 options to choose from, let's tackle #2 on our list: parallel comparisons. First, we need to determine what two things are being compared in the sentence, so we can make sure they are parallel in wording, structure, or type. After reading it over, we can easily see that these two things are being compared:

The 1978 rice harvest vs. The 1979 rice harvest

Let's look at each remaining option carefully to make sure they are actually comparing harvest to harvest:

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

This is INCORRECT because it's comparing the 1979 harvest to "those of" the 1978 harvest. It's not clear what "those of" is referring to - lack of rain? Rice production? It's not a parallel comparison, so it's wrong.

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

This is CORRECT! It compares the 1979 harvest to the 1978 harvest, and it's very clear that's the case!

(C) less than 1978

This is INCORRECT because it's comparing the harvest of 1979 to the year 1978. We're not comparing harvests to years - that's not parallel! Therefore, this cannot be the correct choice.


There you have it! Option B is the correct choice because it uses the correct comparison language (less) and creates a parallel comparison!


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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Oct 2019, 08:43
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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.


(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

(C) less than 1978

(D) fewer than 1978

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

The production of rice in two different years is compared in the main sentence. As the production is singular, the use of those of in option A is incorrect.

In option B, India's rice production in 1979 is correctly compared with the 1978 harvest.

The production and a year are two different entities that cannot be compared together. So, option C is incorrect.

The options D and E are also incorrect because we use fewer for a countable entity, but the production is uncountable.
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jan 2013, 04:01
DmitryFarber wrote:
No, size makes no difference. We always use "fewer" for countable and "less" for uncountable. Here, we use "less" rather than "fewer" because we are comparing the overall size of production, rather than the specific number of tons. This generally happens with weights and measures. For instance, I would say "I weigh less than 200 pounds," not fewer, because I am talking about a measurement, not a group of things. I'd also say "I want less than 3 ounces of coffee" or "I have less than 5 feet of rope left." Sure, we can count pounds, ounces, and feet, but we are using them to talk about an amount, not a number. 3 ounces of coffee is a way of saying how much coffee you have, but we're not counting individual coffee beans. Similarly, in the original problem, we're not counting individual grains of rice; rather, we're measuring overall rice production.



great, thank you, manhantan expert.

I am satisfied with oa but

In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent //less than those of the 1978 harvest.//

(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest

(B) less than the 1978 harvest

(C) less than 1978

(D) fewer than 1978

(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest


but "less than the 1978 harvest" modify "production" or " 41 million tons" pls, help
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Re: In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 milli   [#permalink] 15 Jan 2013, 04:01

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