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# Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

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Intern
Joined: 29 Sep 2012
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Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2012, 05:21
1
This post was
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A wildlife expert predicts that the reintroduction of the
caribou into northern Minnesota would fail if the density
of the timber wolf population in that region is more
numerous
than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

(A) would fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more numerous
(B) would fail provided the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more
(C) should fail if the timber wolf density in that
region was greater
(D) will fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is greater
(E) will fail if the timber wolf density in that region
were more numerous

Is not the "If" part a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?
If you have any questions
New!
Intern
Joined: 24 May 2012
Posts: 6
Concentration: Technology, Entrepreneurship
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Kudos [?]: 5 [0], given: 13

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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16 Oct 2012, 21:42
I believe it is not and the answer is D. In general, the Hypothetical Subjunctive is associated with unlikely or unreal circumstances. This is a prediction but does not fit the bill.
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 800
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Kudos [?]: 745 [0], given: 5

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2012, 06:37
shivahv1 wrote:
A wildlife expert predicts that the reintroduction of the
caribou into northern Minnesota would fail if the density
of the timber wolf population in that region is more
numerous
than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

(A) would fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more numerous
(B) would fail provided the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more
(C) should fail if the timber wolf density in that
region was greater
(D) will fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is greater
(E) will fail if the timber wolf density in that region
were more numerous

Is not the "If" part a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

The previous poster is right on. As the name suggests, the subjunctive is only used for things that haven't happen, are not happening and frankly aren't likely to happen. For example, "It would be funny if you were to wear a clown suit to work." I don't know anything about you, but it's probably safe to say that you wouldn't wear a clown suit to work.

In this example, we are dealing with an "expert" who is making a prediction about what is likely to happen in the future, therefore this would not use the 'hypothetical' subjunctive.

KW
_________________

Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Intern
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
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Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 14

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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18 Oct 2012, 10:04
KyleWiddison wrote:
shivahv1 wrote:
A wildlife expert predicts that the reintroduction of the
caribou into northern Minnesota would fail if the density
of the timber wolf population in that region is more
numerous
than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

(A) would fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more numerous
(B) would fail provided the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more
(C) should fail if the timber wolf density in that
region was greater
(D) will fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is greater
(E) will fail if the timber wolf density in that region
were more numerous

Is not the "If" part a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

The previous poster is right on. As the name suggests, the subjunctive is only used for things that haven't happen, are not happening and frankly aren't likely to happen. For example, "It would be funny if you were to wear a clown suit to work." I don't know anything about you, but it's probably safe to say that you wouldn't wear a clown suit to work.

In this example, we are dealing with an "expert" who is making a prediction about what is likely to happen in the future, therefore this would not use the 'hypothetical' subjunctive.

KW

Hi Kyle

I chose E over D on the the following points and I would like to know your opinion.

Greater than - this is used while comparing two different things, for example, the deficit level of state X is greater than that of state y
More than - this is used while talking about the increase in the same parameter, for example, the deficit level of state x is now more than double of what it was last year.

I presumed, perhaps foolishly, that "more numerous than" is a sub category of "more than". Was this a wrong assumption to make?

I also feel that "were" is usually used to provide an alternate reality for the present. "If I were a rich man.." I am not a rich man right now but if I were a rich man now....
"We will treat this issue as if were trivial and plan accordingly" The issue is in fact quite serious but we will treat it as a trivial one.

The expert is not making a hypothetical case in which the population timber wolf is less than 1/39 sq miles but rather he is talking about a possible conceivable future in which the population could go beyond 1/39 sq miles. Therefore were can not be used here.

Hence I was stuck between a problem in each D and E and I chose E over D. Perhaps my "greater than" issue is in fact a non-issue.
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 800
Followers: 367

Kudos [?]: 745 [1] , given: 5

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 06:35
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
harkabir wrote:
KyleWiddison wrote:
shivahv1 wrote:
A wildlife expert predicts that the reintroduction of the
caribou into northern Minnesota would fail if the density
of the timber wolf population in that region is more
numerous
than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

(A) would fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more numerous
(B) would fail provided the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more
(C) should fail if the timber wolf density in that
region was greater
(D) will fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is greater
(E) will fail if the timber wolf density in that region
were more numerous

Is not the "If" part a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

The previous poster is right on. As the name suggests, the subjunctive is only used for things that haven't happen, are not happening and frankly aren't likely to happen. For example, "It would be funny if you were to wear a clown suit to work." I don't know anything about you, but it's probably safe to say that you wouldn't wear a clown suit to work.

In this example, we are dealing with an "expert" who is making a prediction about what is likely to happen in the future, therefore this would not use the 'hypothetical' subjunctive.

KW

Hi Kyle

I chose E over D on the the following points and I would like to know your opinion.

Greater than - this is used while comparing two different things, for example, the deficit level of state X is greater than that of state y
More than - this is used while talking about the increase in the same parameter, for example, the deficit level of state x is now more than double of what it was last year.

I presumed, perhaps foolishly, that "more numerous than" is a sub category of "more than". Was this a wrong assumption to make?

I also feel that "were" is usually used to provide an alternate reality for the present. "If I were a rich man.." I am not a rich man right now but if I were a rich man now....
"We will treat this issue as if were trivial and plan accordingly" The issue is in fact quite serious but we will treat it as a trivial one.

The expert is not making a hypothetical case in which the population timber wolf is less than 1/39 sq miles but rather he is talking about a possible conceivable future in which the population could go beyond 1/39 sq miles. Therefore were can not be used here.

Hence I was stuck between a problem in each D and E and I chose E over D. Perhaps my "greater than" issue is in fact a non-issue.

In this case, "greater than" and "more than" are almost certainly viewed as synonymous comparison terms. If you look closely, you are really dealing with "greater than" and "more numerous than", and in both cases the phrases properly compare a future state against the stated benchmark. So yes, your assumption about greater than/more than was off. For GMAT comparisons questions, you will see errors/splits on the things being compared (comparing things illogically) or you will see obvious errors in the comparison phrases ("more as" instead of "more than").

Your analysis of is/were is right on. These verb tense splits are very often tested on the GMAT, so for this problem you should have picked the answer choice that got the verb tense correct.

KW
_________________

Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Intern
Joined: 13 Oct 2012
Posts: 29
Followers: 1

Kudos [?]: 16 [0], given: 14

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 08:32
KyleWiddison wrote:
harkabir wrote:
shivahv1 wrote:
A wildlife expert predicts that the reintroduction of the
caribou into northern Minnesota would fail if the density
of the timber wolf population in that region is more
numerous
than one wolf for every 39 square miles.

(A) would fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more numerous
(B) would fail provided the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is more
(C) should fail if the timber wolf density in that
region was greater
(D) will fail if the density of the timber wolf
population in that region is greater
(E) will fail if the timber wolf density in that region
were more numerous

Is not the "If" part a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

Hi Kyle

I chose E over D on the the following points and I would like to know your opinion.

Greater than - this is used while comparing two different things, for example, the deficit level of state X is greater than that of state y
More than - this is used while talking about the increase in the same parameter, for example, the deficit level of state x is now more than double of what it was last year.

I presumed, perhaps foolishly, that "more numerous than" is a sub category of "more than". Was this a wrong assumption to make?

I also feel that "were" is usually used to provide an alternate reality for the present. "If I were a rich man.." I am not a rich man right now but if I were a rich man now....
"We will treat this issue as if were trivial and plan accordingly" The issue is in fact quite serious but we will treat it as a trivial one.

The expert is not making a hypothetical case in which the population timber wolf is less than 1/39 sq miles but rather he is talking about a possible conceivable future in which the population could go beyond 1/39 sq miles. Therefore were can not be used here.

Hence I was stuck between a problem in each D and E and I chose E over D. Perhaps my "greater than" issue is in fact a non-issue.

In this case, "greater than" and "more than" are almost certainly viewed as synonymous comparison terms. If you look closely, you are really dealing with "greater than" and "more numerous than", and in both cases the phrases properly compare a future state against the stated benchmark. So yes, your assumption about greater than/more than was off. For GMAT comparisons questions, you will see errors/splits on the things being compared (comparing things illogically) or you will see obvious errors in the comparison phrases ("more as" instead of "more than").

Your analysis of is/were is right on. These verb tense splits are very often tested on the GMAT, so for this problem you should have picked the answer choice that got the verb tense correct.

KW

Thanks a lot Kyle and a kudos to go with the appreciation. Your corroboration helps my confidence. If you have a little time could you give me two examples each of the correct usage of greater than and more numerous than. It will help me immensely. Thanks again
Manhattan GMAT Instructor
Joined: 30 Apr 2012
Posts: 800
Followers: 367

Kudos [?]: 745 [1] , given: 5

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"? [#permalink]

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22 Oct 2012, 20:42
1
KUDOS
Expert's post
Happy to help. Here are a few quick examples:

The waste material was rejected because the known carcinogen content was greater than 1 part per million
The waste material was rejected because the known carcinogen content was more numerous than 1 part per million.

My candy intake is greater than 2 pieces per day.
My candy intake is more numerous than 2 pieces per day.

With these examples you see that both are probably fine, but the "greater than" examples seem to have a more sensible (or understandable) meaning. In both cases, the comparison doesn't really compare to things, but rather they compare something against a benchmark (1 part per million, 2 pieces per day).

Hope that helps!

KW
_________________

Kyle Widdison | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Utah

Manhattan GMAT Discount | Manhattan GMAT Course Reviews | View Instructor Profile

Re: Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?   [#permalink] 22 Oct 2012, 20:42
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# Is the "If" part not a "Hypothetical Subjunctive"?

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