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# In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing

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In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing [#permalink]

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28 Sep 2005, 07:05
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In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing developments out into areas where little water or vegetation exist.

(A) little water or vegetation exist
(B) little water or vegetation exists
(C) few plants and little water exists
(D) there is little water or vegetation available
(E) there are few plants and little available water

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28 Sep 2005, 07:16
B

normally when there is a compound subject(A and B) , the verb form depends on the last mentioned noun. here vegetation appears last. and vegetation is singular. hence "exists".

also remember...."equipment" is a singular noun. there is no "equipments"..

i hope OA is B
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only if i could choose....

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28 Sep 2005, 09:24
GMATT73 wrote:
In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing developments out into areas where little water or vegetation exist.

(A) little water or vegetation exist
(B) little water or vegetation exists
(C) few plants and little water exists
(D) there is little water or vegetation available
(E) there are few plants and little available water

B and C need to have plural verb "exist" rather than "exists".
D is wrong b/c it uses "little" to describe vegetation.
Between A and E, I choose E for being more descriptive.

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28 Sep 2005, 09:38
bonhonina wrote:
GMATT73 wrote:
In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing developments out into areas where little water or vegetation exist.

(A) little water or vegetation exist
(B) little water or vegetation exists
(C) few plants and little water exists
(D) there is little water or vegetation available
(E) there are few plants and little available water

B and C need to have plural verb "exist" rather than "exists".
D is wrong b/c it uses "little" to describe vegetation.
Between A and E, I choose E for being more descriptive.

B doesn't need the plural verb. Vegetation is a singular noun (like "Everyone"... we say "Vegetation is" not "vegetation are"). The "or" means the verb is dependent on the subject/object closest to it. Vegetation being close to "exists".. verb form will be singular.
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28 Sep 2005, 11:19
E....for me

in B exists...implies are singular area...whereas we have "areas" which is plural...if B had

second, water is available is a better choice of words..

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28 Sep 2005, 12:33
(A) little water or vegetation exist
(B) little water or vegetation exists
(C) few plants and little water exists
(D) there is little water or vegetation available
(E) there are few plants and little available water

I can't see anything wrong with B. Both water and vegetation are uncountable, so little can be used for both. Exists is singular as it should be to agree with vegetation. So why change the words as E does?
The following is a similar problem where it is clearly E.

Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.
(A) little water or services exist
(B) little water or services exists
(C) few services and little water exists
(D) there is little water or services available
(E) there are few services and little available water

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28 Sep 2005, 17:45
This is a tricky SC indeed. Here is the OE from Bell Curves, I hope it clarifies things.

OE:

When comparing answers pay careful attention to changes in meaning. Little cannot be used to describe vegetation because it can only modify uncountable nouns like water. Look for an answer that has a different adjective modifying vegetation.

Eliminate A, B, and D

C versus E

C contains a verb error. Exists cannot be used for both vegetation and water. Exist is the correct verb to use for multiple things. Eliminate C

OA is E.

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28 Sep 2005, 19:56
waow, I was sure of A
I don't see how vegetation could be countable ? sounds weird too me. YOu can not say : one vegation, two vegetation, ...
I am not a specialist of SC so I would like to see if everybody agree on this or not ? Maybe B is wrong for another reason too

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29 Sep 2005, 16:13
I knew it was E
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hey ya......

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29 Sep 2005, 20:10
1) Can someone explain the flaw in A ?
2) Everybody here agree that Vegetation is countable ?

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29 Sep 2005, 20:15
Vegetation refers to a collection of plants, trees, or what have you.

So if you look at vegetation as say a collection of plants, then you can count the number of plants and thus can count vegetation.
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29 Sep 2005, 20:20
Antmavel wrote:
1) Can someone explain the flaw in A ?
2) Everybody here agree that Vegetation is countable ?

1) The noticeable flaw (to me) in A is the plural form of "exist". Since its "a or b <verb>" - the verb needs to go with the subject closest to it, vegetation in this case is singular.
2) IMO vegetation is non-countable. The context is critical for vegetation to be countable - i.e. if it specifically means "plants". Plant life - is not countable.

Here is the definition from dictionary.com
1) The act or process of vegetating.
2) The plants of an area or a region; plant life: The vegetation is lush on the Hawaiian Islands

Anyways... interesting SC.... but still don't know why B is wrong.
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01 Oct 2005, 23:02
I think there is a problem here.
Please check OG question 107 SC
it is exactly the same idea, for those who don't have it now please have a look :

the sentence is :
"downzoning....allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist"
the choices are exactly the same as now, just plug WATER and SERVICES instead of VEGETATION and WATER.
The final OA is E :
"where there are few services and little available water"

HOWEVER the difference is that in that OG SC Water is non countable but Services is countable. This is why A is not correct.

In this SC, Water and Vegetation are non countable. So A should be the good OA in that case.

Please note that in B and C, as the OG said, vegetation and water are being discussed as a pair so they should logically be treated as a coumpound subject requiring a plural verb. This is why D also would not been acceptable and this why A is better than B or C.

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02 Oct 2005, 00:01
Antmavel> I have just e-mailed the source about why B can not be correct in this question. I too disagree with the OA and OE. IMO vegetation is UNCOUNTABLE, like water, and therefore B correctly compounds the two.

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02 Oct 2005, 00:56
Antmavel> Apparently little can only be used to describe "mass nouns" like water, but not vegetation.

I then googled mass nouns and vegetation to come to the following:

1. In English grammar, a mass noun (also uncountable noun or non-count noun) is a type of common noun that cannot be modified by a number without specifying a unit of measurement; thus mass nouns have singular but no plural forms. Count nouns have plural forms, and can be modified by numerals and quantifiers like "one", "two", "every", "most", etc.

It is often erroneously thought that mass nouns represent substances not easily quantified by a number, such as water. Mass nouns like "furniture" or "cutlery", which represent easily quantified substances, show that the mass/count distinction should be thought of as a grammatical property of the expressions themselves, rather than as a property of the substances they represent: consider the fact that the same set of chairs can be referred to both as "seven chairs" and as "furniture". Thus it is the expressions, not the entities or substances they refer to, which can be characterized as mass or count. Thus the definition in the first paragraph makes reference to what other expressions a mass noun can co-occur with, not what the mass nouns refer to.

2. Vegetation is a general term for the plant life of an area; it refers to the ground cover provided by plants. The term is general. It is related to, but not synonymous with, flora but is broader in that it is not limited to information on species composition alone. Perhaps the closest synonym is plant community.

Putting one and two together, and substituting plant community for vegetation for vegetation, it is ungrammatical to say:

In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing developments out into areas where little water or plant community exists. As stated in B.

<or>

In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing developments out into areas where little water or plant communities exist. As in A.

Therefore E provides the only syntactically correct option by rewording the ending to properly count both the plant community and water availability in the Southwest.

One more thing, as you know I just got back from a roadtrip in Arizona and it is indeed DRY, with little available water! Without the Colorado river, the whole area would be a parched, desolate dust bowl.

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02 Oct 2005, 02:13
Thanks for the help on this one GMATT73

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02 Oct 2005, 02:13
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# In the southwest, urban sprawl has increased new housing

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