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In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les

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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jun 2017, 00:25
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Vyshak wrote:
Hi EducationAisle,

Can you please elaborate on why A is incorrect here? Option A is similar to your example - "By 1947, British had ruled India for 150 years."

Hi Vyshak, past perfect is typically used when there are two events that happened in the past. In such a scenario, the latter event is expressed as simple past.

The example I gave in my last post was to illustrate that this later event can also be a time (such as 1947 in the example that I quoted).

In option B, the usage of the phrase had grown to does justice to the intended meaning that the earlier figure (of 2.5 hours a week) had progressively increased to 6 hours a week by 1997.

On the other hand, had spent 6 hours a week (option A) gives the connotation of a discrete activity that was completed by 1997.
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New post 21 Jul 2017, 00:36
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In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week.

(A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week
(B) chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week
(C) chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997
(D) chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997
(E) chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997

A quick-fix to this topic in the hall would be:

In 1997 is a wrong expression, implying that the figure shot up nearly three times in just that particular year, on the contrary, we all know that it must have been a progressive phenomenon. C, D, and E are out.
By using the pronoun they, this choice wrongly implies that the same children of 1981, nearly 16 years later in 1997 (were they even children in 1997?) spent six hours. Kick A out.
This leaves us with B. It is also known that using the past perfect for the later past event is a ploy by GMAT these days. Vote B
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New post 30 Sep 2018, 04:26
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

How to choose between A and B ..on the basis of meanng
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New post 30 Sep 2018, 04:43
vikas9945 wrote:
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

How to choose between A and B ..on the basis of meanng

vikas9945

Not an expert but let me give my inputs:

A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week
Although the second part is grammatically correct but doesn't convey the intended meaning. On what did the children spend the time it is not clear here.
The sentence wants to indicate that they spent the time on household chores but in Option A it is not clear hence ambiguity.

Option B on the other hand:
(B) chores; by 1997 that figuretime spent on household chores had grown to nearly six hours a week
This sentence is clear and unambiguous.

Hope it helps
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New post 30 Sep 2018, 04:54
arun6765

Thank you for your prompt reply

However , it is not written that on what did the children spend the time , it is somewhat implied by the sense of first part of the sentence.

Plus it is very subtle issue , so eliminating the answer choice on this basis seems not ok.





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New post 17 Oct 2018, 22:02
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vikas9945 wrote:
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

How to choose between A and B ..on the basis of meanng

This question causes endless confusion. Whee. :suspect

I see a couple of different issues with (A). Here it is again:

Quote:
In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week.

If we're crazy literal about the interpretation of the pronoun "they", then (A) has a problem. "They" seems to refer to "children in the United States" -- presumably, the exact same "children in the United States" that appeared at the beginning of the sentence. But that makes no sense: the "children in the United States" in 1981 aren't even children by 1997, so it's ridiculous to talk about how much time they spent doing chores in 1997.

And if you don't buy that, I think there's a problem with the verb tense in (A), too.

We have "In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week." The use of the past perfect, "had spent" in the second clause implies an action that took place before another event in the past. In other words, by 1997, the children were no longer spending six hours a week on household chores. This doesn't make much sense - why would they go from spending 2.5 hours a week in 1981 to no longer spending 6 hours a week by 1997?

But in (B), we have "In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week." Again, we have the past perfect, but this time "had grown" indicates that the figure grew to 6 hours before 1997. This makes perfect sense - the children were working for 2.5 hours a week in 1981, and at some point before 1997, they began working 6 hours a week.

To summarize: it's illogical to write that the children were no longer working 6 hours a week by 1997, but it makes perfect sense to claim that the figure had grown to 6 hours by 1997.

I hope that helps!
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New post 18 Oct 2018, 09:04
humtum0 wrote:
In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week.


(A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week

(B) chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week

(C) chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997

(D) chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997

(E) chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997


https://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/11/us/children-study-longer-and-play-less-a-report-says.html

Children age 3 to 11 years of age spent on average four hours a day in preschool or school in the early 1980's and now spend an average of six hours a day in preschool or school. The 1981 study reported that children spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores. By 1997, the year the field research was conducted, that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week.


I think the focus of this problem is clear meaning. choice A, C and D suffer unclear meaning error. meaning in choice A, C and D is inclear.
in choice D
"compared with a figure" is unclear . what figure? I think "compare with that figure of 6..." is good.
in choice A, "they had spent 6 hour" . spend for doing what. this is unclear
choice C.
"6 hours are spent" . for doing what and by who? this is unclear.

the takeaway is meaning must be CLEAR.
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New post 17 Dec 2018, 00:58
egmat wrote:
Nitinaka19 wrote:
HI E-GMAT,
In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week.
A. spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week
B. spent slightly less than an average of two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week
C. had spent slightly less than two and a half hours, on an average, per week doing household chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997
D. spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997
E. spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997

my queries is , Once the time frame is mention in the choices by In 1981 and By 1997 , then why we required past perfect tense? Could you please help me where I'm getting wrong .

Secondly , In choice B , could you please explain how the second clause is a Independent clause ,which started with "by 1997" construction ?.

Finally ,Choice C Isn't it the "compared with a figure" is a correct modifier?

Thanks


Hi Nitin,

1. We need the past perfect tense because this action happened first. The action indicated by the phrase "by 1997" happened later. Note that the two time periods pertaining to the past perfect tense here are not 1981 and 1997. The part after the semicolon shows the two tenses that this tense refers to. That is, this part of the sentence tells you that they had spent a certain number of hours doing household chores in the time leading up to 1997. Action 1: had spent; action 2: by 1997.

2. An independent clause can certainly begin with a modifier of time. "By 1997" is a prepositional phrase telling you when an action took place. It's not a dependent marker. The subject + verb part of this clause comes after this phrase.

3. "Compared with" is acceptable in this context, but the comparison in option D isn't very clear. It seems to be comparing "children" with "the figure".

I hope this helps to clarify your doubts.

Regards,
Meghna



So if a construction uses 'By some year' then we should always use past perfect tense?
Can we make this as a rule?
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New post 19 Dec 2018, 05:27
A. The problem with A is that its not clear if children spent 6 hours a week every year before 1997 or not. It might be an ongoing process of increasing number of hours per week. Then may have spent an average of 3 hours in 1993, 4 hours in 1994, etc. etc. but by 1997, the number of hours of week they spend had grown to 1997. So, it should have been “by 1997 they had spent an average of nearly six hours a week” or it should have been “In 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week”.
B. Perfect use of tense and the right comparison has been made here. Hence, B is the answer.
C. Parallelism issue involving a combination of active and passive is less parallel relatively. Therefore, C is inferior.
D. two sides of the comparison are not parallel- the clause 'children spent x doing y' is compared here with 'a figure of..'
E. Misplaced modifer - that is modifying chores!
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New post 29 Dec 2018, 09:04
To be honest i got this question incorrect initially.

Great question! If you don't focus on the meaning of the sentence, then there is a great chance of choosing an incorrect option. Let's understand the meaning of the sentence. Intended meaning of the sentence is "in 1981 children spent few hours doing something, by 1997 that figure of hours increased." So past perfect tense is required to make it clear that when 1997 arrived children already started spending more hours doing household work.

Now, lets move on to choices.

In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly less than two and a half hours a week doing household chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week.


(A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week -> this literally means children started spending six hours by 1997 , but doing what ? its not clear .. Out

(B) chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week -> by 1997 that figure already had grown or increases to six hours a week. Perfect. lets hang to on to this one,

(C) chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997-> past tense used which is inappropriate here. Not clear when happened what .. Out

(D) chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997-> I chose this one initially , but this choice is incorrect. Why ? because its making a wrond comparison between hours and figure. Intended meaning hours increases from some to figure to new figure. Out

(E) chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997-- > too many errors in this sentence. Out

Clear winner Choice B.
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New post 12 Jan 2019, 23:04
A. The problem with A is that its not clear if children spent 6 hours a week every year before 1997 or not. It might be an ongoing process of increasing number of hours per week. Then may have spent an average of 3 hours in 1993, 4 hours in 1994, etc. etc. but by 1997, the number of hours of week they spend had grown to 1997. So, it should have been “by 1997 they had spent an average of nearly six hours a week” or it should have been “In 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week”.
B. Perfect use of tense and the right comparison has been made here. Hence, B is the answer.
C. Parallelism issue involving a combination of active and passive is less parallel relatively. Therefore, C is inferior.
D. two sides of the comparison are not parallel- the clause 'children spent x doing y' is compared here with 'a figure of..'
E. Misplaced modifer - that is modifying chores!
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2019, 15:14
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So if a construction uses 'By some year' then we should always use past perfect tense?
Can we make this as a rule?

It's nice when something can be boiled down to a rule, isn't it? While there are some hard and fast grammar rules worth internalizing, for the most part, we're relying on logic and context to make our decisions, rather the memorizing a long list of "when you see x, look for y!"

If I'm referring to a year in the past, and I'm describing an action that was completed before that year, sure, it makes sense to use "had." For example: "By last week, I had already destroyed all of the evidence incriminating me." Last week is in the past, and the destruction of the evidence occurred before last week. So far so good.

But I could easily generate other scenarios in which the past perfect wouldn't be appropriate. If, for example, I was writing about the future: "By 2080, the vast majority of my interactions will be with evil robots." We have "by [some year]," but clearly, past perfect isn't appropriate here.

The takeaway: don't try to memorize constructions that would call for the past perfect. Rather, if you're evaluating an answer choice that contains the past perfect, ask yourself if the action in question really was completed in the past before something else in the past.

I hope that helps!
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