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

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

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14 Jul 2019, 04:11
1
dcummins wrote:
The point of reference in B is quite clearly the same activity. This is made abundantly clear by "that figure".

A de-contextualises the point of reference by merely stating that the subjects "spent" x hours per week.

MartyTargetTestPrep

Regarding choice (A), consider the following adjusted version of the original version of the sentence:

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 were spending nearly six hours a week.

Now, there is in the second clause still no mention of what the children "were spending nearly six hours a week" doing, but the meaning is fairly clear. So, while the above sentence is not ideal, the lack of mention of what the children "had spent nearly six hours week" doing is not the most critical issue.

So, what's the most critical issue?

The most critical issue is the use of the past perfect "had spent."

The use of "had spent" results in the creation of a comparison that is not logical. On the one hand we have what the children did in 1981. On the other, we have what the children "had" done by 1997. Even if we assume that, "by 1997," the children "had spent nearly six hours a week" doing household chores, when they had spent that nearly six hours a week is not clear. Are we meant to believe that, even including the time spent in 1981, and perhaps including time spent back to the dawn of time, by 1997, children had spent a weighted average of nearly six hours per week doing household chores? That meaning seems rather unlikely to be the one that the author meant to convey.

Deciding that choice (A) should be eliminated simply because what the children had spent nearly six hours doing is not directly mentioned is a bit too simplistic, and the overall takeaway here is that you can make your thinking about these choices more sophisticated.

GMAT verbal is to a large degree a test of the level of sophistication of the thinking that you bring to bear when answering the questions.
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2019, 11:15
1
Diwabag wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
vikas9945 wrote:
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

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

This question causes endless confusion. Whee.

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.

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!

Hi GMATNinja , I've tried many times reading your explanation in B. Why do you say that it implies that the children NO LONGER spends 6 hours a week? How did the past perfect NEGATE the meaning? because it's literally written as "by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week". I don't see where it implied that it's NO LONGER 6 hours a week.

Aside from that, everything seems fine. Many thanks Please help... My GMAT is in 3 days and I still have a lot to cover!

First a disclaimer: this issue isn't important enough to worry about just before the exam! You should be doing light review, while making sure your addressing the psychological factors that can shape test performance. Put another way, mindset is more important than small content issues. [Disclaimer complete ]

As for your question, consider how the past perfect works: it indicates an action completed before something else in the past. For example:

"By 8pm last night, Tim had eaten all of the Pop-Tarts in the pantry, leaving him with no food for the remainder of the weekend."

The verb phrase "had eaten" conveys that the action was completed before "8pm last night," which is also in the past. Poor Tim is no longer eating Pop-Tarts! (And should maybe hire a dietician.)

Same thing here: "by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week." Again, the verb phrase "had spent" indicates an action completed before something else in the past, in this case 1997. Therefore, They'd spent 6 nearly hours before 1997. By 1997, they're no longer spending nearly six hours a week.

Contrast that with the OA: "by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week." Now "had grown" happened before 1997, meaning that the figure is no longer growing. This meaning is perfectly logical: the figure grew in the past, and then stopped growing.

More on verb tenses in this video if anybody needs to waste an hour.

Good luck on the exam -- let us know how it goes!
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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09 Feb 2014, 03:56
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
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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20 May 2016, 05:09
vaivish1723 wrote:
66.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

Meaning of the sentence- In 1981, children were spending less than two and a half hours/ week on average, but in 1997 they were spending 6 hours/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 past perfect is not required as this doesn't show the sequence of the events
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. Spending is compared with figure.
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 growing to is not required. The event happened in the past

Hi! experts and fellow learners, I opted out option A because past perfect is used (by 1997 they had spent), whereas chose option B because 'figure had grown' isn't a past perfect structure. Please advise if I am right.

Also is there any different between 'average of slightly less than two' and 'slightly less than an average of two' in option A and B respectively.

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

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02 Sep 2016, 10:08
sayantanc2k wrote:
geek_mnnit wrote:
Hi egmat,
Can you please explain why is A wrong?

The intended meaning is:
In 1981 the children spent X hours a week for some work.
In 1997 the children spent Y hours a week for some work.

For option A, first exclude the part "per week" - option A then would imply that when the year 1997 came, children had already spent certain number of hours working. (compare with this sentence: By 3 pm I had already completed 3 hours of exercise - meaning: I had been exercising from 12 noon to 3 pm). This meaning itself is wrong (it is not meant that the children had already completed certain number of hours by 1997). However addition of "per week" makes the sentence senseless altogether. (compare with: By 3 pm I had already completed 3 hours of exercise per day.)

Can you please help me understand why 'had' used for a later event makes B a correct answer choice? I am not clear. I rejected B at the first go because of the usage of 'had' , and then out of the remaining I chose D as the BEST answer.

But its strange B is correct. Kindly help.
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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15 May 2017, 10:15
1
abhimahna wrote:
Its like cramming something you feel strange. Anyways, we NEVER know what could help you out on GMAT.

Hi abhimahna, there's no cramming required here, since this concept is not really a variation / exception to the usage of Past perfect tense.

Let's take an example. We would say:

By 1947, British had ruled India for 150 years.

Basically, past perfect implies that two events should have happened in the past. In this case, the two events are:

i) The year 1947
ii) The 150 year rule of the British

Hence, the earlier of the two events (the 150 year rule of the British) is appropriately expressed as past perfect.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses an example based on this very sentence elaborately. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

Example - Past Perfect.pdf [11.35 KiB]

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

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30 Sep 2018, 04:26
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

How to choose between A and B ..on the basis of meanng
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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

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30 Sep 2018, 04:54
arun6765

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.

Sent from my iPad using GMAT Club Forum
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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

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

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

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

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

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05 Jun 2019, 14:51
GMATNinja I could not locate good error pointers in the ACs to test, would you consider eliminating A,C on the basis of meaning (that it's not as clear as B?) or is this a case of correct omission of words? My reasons for eliminating answers from from most confident to least confident.

(D) chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997
makes it sound like the "children ... doing chores" is compared with "a figure"

(E) chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997
wrongly uses simple present to talk about an action finished in the past

(A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week
"[children] spent six hours a week" doing what?

(C) chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997
passive voice "were spent" ... by whom? doing what?

(B) chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week
"that figure" refers back to the average
"had grown" is correct past perfect form
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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21 Jun 2019, 08:47
I read all the posts but I still face difficulty in eliminating D. My doubt how can one understand that the comparison here is between children spend vs the figure.
Doesn't the words "the figure of nearly six hours" in option D means a logical comparison to some numbers/figure? I mean why can't we read it as:
In 1981 children in the United States 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
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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27 Jun 2019, 14:41
energetics wrote:
GMATNinja I could not locate good error pointers in the ACs to test, would you consider eliminating A,C on the basis of meaning (that it's not as clear as B?) or is this a case of correct omission of words? My reasons for eliminating answers from from most confident to least confident.

(D) chores, compared with a figure of nearly six hours a week in 1997
makes it sound like the "children ... doing chores" is compared with "a figure"

(E) chores, that figure growing to nearly six hours a week in 1997
wrongly uses simple present to talk about an action finished in the past

(A) chores; by 1997 they had spent nearly six hours a week
"[children] spent six hours a week" doing what?

(C) chores, whereas nearly six hours a week were spent in 1997
passive voice "were spent" ... by whom? doing what?

(B) chores; by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week
"that figure" refers back to the average
"had grown" is correct past perfect form

As a general rule, I wouldn't try to figure out if words in a sentence are missing, because, well, mind-reading is hard.

Instead, we simply want to ask ourselves if the given sentence, as written, clearly conveys a logical and unambiguous meaning. For example, If I write, "Tim has more rainbow-colored parakeets than Nancy," it's true that I left out the word "does" at the end of it, but no reasonable person would misinterpret the sentence to mean that Tim has more parakeets than he has Nancy! This sentence is fine.

But if I write, "Tim loves rainbow-colored parakeets more than Nancy," I could be conveying more than one possible meaning: that Tim loves parakeets more than Tim loves Nancy, or that Tim loves parakeets more than Nancy loves parakeets. So this one is a problem.

That said, I think your explanations are mostly dead-on. I'd add that in (E), we have a faulty VERB-ing modification. The figure didn't grow to 6 hours a week as a result of children having spent little time doing household chores in the past. Moreover, it sounds as though the growth from less than 2.5 to 6 took place in entirely in 1997. Compare this to the meaning in (B), that the growth had taken place by 1997, possibly over several years. The latter interpretation is more logical.

And for a more on why (A) is wrong, take a look at my earlier post in this thread.

But you only need one valid reason for eliminating an answer choice, so you did excellent work here.

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

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14 Jul 2019, 01:29
The point of reference in B is quite clearly the same activity. This is made abundantly clear by "that figure".

A de-contextualises the point of reference by merely stating that the subjects "spent" x hours per week.

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

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28 Jul 2019, 00:35
GMATNinja wrote:
vikas9945 wrote:
GMATNinja @mikemcgerry

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

This question causes endless confusion. Whee.

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.

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!

Hi GMATNinja , I've tried many times reading your explanation in B. Why do you say that it implies that the children NO LONGER spends 6 hours a week? How did the past perfect NEGATE the meaning? because it's literally written as "by 1997 that figure had grown to nearly six hours a week". I don't see where it implied that it's NO LONGER 6 hours a week.

Aside from that, everything seems fine. Many thanks Please help... My GMAT is in 3 days and I still have a lot to cover!
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Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les  [#permalink]

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31 Jul 2019, 21:01
[quote="humtum0"]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

i think the focus of this question is clearness. tense and grammar in choice a ,c and d are fine but meaning is unclear in choice a,c and d
choice a.
they had spean 6 hour doing what. this is unclear
choice c
6 hour were spent by who doing what. this is unclear
choice d
compared to a figure of 6 hours of my learning english? 6 hours for doing what, for my learning english? this is unclear

choice b, "that figure" make clear that
two hour figure had become 6 hours by 1997. this meaning is clear. b is good
Re: In 1981 children in the United States spent an average of slightly les   [#permalink] 31 Jul 2019, 21:01

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