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# Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao

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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 28 Dec 2011
Posts: 4680
Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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10 Feb 2017, 12:09
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Mo2men wrote:
Dear Mike,

I'm little bit confused about 'less than' in this question.

Why do not we use ' fewer than 3 years'? Is not 'years' countable word?

Thanks

Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond.

The general rule, as you well know, is "fewer" for countable nouns and "less" for uncountable nouns.

A curious idiomatic exception to this pattern concerns units. Some units are so frequently used that they are, as it were, proxies for what they measure. Of course, the unit themselves are countable, but what they measure is typically uncountable. Thus
"less than \$10" really means "less money than \$10"
"less than seven hours" really means "less time than seven hours"
"less than five miles" really means "less distance than five miles"
"less than 25 lbs" really means "less weight than 25 lbs"

You see, when we are talking about a time of about 3 years, we are not really talking about three separate countable things: we are just talking about a continuous bulk of time. We would only talk about years as countable, say, if were were talking about something that very specifically happened just once a year, such as a big annual award. For example,
For the eight years inclusive from 1938 to 1945, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in fewer than half of those years.
In this context, the each year is a separate and countable thing. This is not how we are talking about time when we just want to know, how long did X last?

That last paragraph deals with subtleties far beyond what the GMAT is likely to test.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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10 Feb 2017, 20:44
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear nahid78,

I'm happy to respond.

The big idea here is that if a time interval is unmodified, then we typically use "in" or "for." Notice, that the modifiers such as "more than" or "less than" don't change the basic pattern.
In three days, I will do X
In less than two years, I will do X.
For more than six years, I did X.

BUT, and this is very important, when the the time interval is modified, by a preposition or a clause, we do NOT need a preposition.
Three days after the wedding, I did X. = preposition modifier
More than six years before the French Revolution, he did X. = preposition modifier
Less than five minutes after you called, I did X. = clause modifier
Two days before you returned to town, I did X. = clause modifier

In this sentence, the time interval "three years" is modified by a clause beginning with a subordinate conjunction ("after" in (A) and "since" in (C)). Because it's modified in this way, it does not need a preposition.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Yes I understand now.
Thank you very much.
But can you please share something about the use of "past participle" in option "C". Is C wrong because of the preposition "In" or "had been released" is also wrong?
Thanks again...
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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11 Feb 2017, 13:27
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nahid78 wrote:
Yes I understand now.
Thank you very much.
But can you please share something about the use of "past participle" in option "C". Is C wrong because of the preposition "In" or "had been released" is also wrong?
Thanks again...

Dear nahid78,

I'm happy to respond.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the grammar in (C)--it's 100% grammatically correct. It's just a bit wordy, a longer and less powerful way of saying the same thing that (A) says, but (A) is sleek, efficient, and direct.

Grammar is only one of the considerations on the GMAT SC. The GMAT loves to construct grammatically correct options that are wrong because of logical or rhetorical problems.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Mike McGarry
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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12 Feb 2017, 03:33
mikemcgarry wrote:
nahid78 wrote:
Yes I understand now.
Thank you very much.
But can you please share something about the use of "past participle" in option "C". Is C wrong because of the preposition "In" or "had been released" is also wrong?
Thanks again...

Dear nahid78,

I'm happy to respond.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with the grammar in (C)--it's 100% grammatically correct. It's just a bit wordy, a longer and less powerful way of saying the same thing that (A) says, but (A) is sleek, efficient, and direct.

Grammar is only one of the considerations on the GMAT SC. The GMAT loves to construct grammatically correct options that are wrong because of logical or rhetorical problems.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Dear Mike,

I got confused by your reply above about choice C. You just have eliminated C in earlier post because 'when the the time interval is modified, by a preposition or a clause, we do NOT need a preposition.'

Also, is the following construction grammatically correct?

since+past perfect, main clause with past perfect.

As I learned before, 'since' is used to give it must refer to a DEFINITE MOMENT in the past such as: since June, since 1990

Magoosh GMAT Instructor
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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13 Feb 2017, 11:16
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Mo2men wrote:
Dear Mike,

I got confused by your reply above about choice C. You just have eliminated C in earlier post because 'when the the time interval is modified, by a preposition or a clause, we do NOT need a preposition.'

Also, is the following construction grammatically correct?

since+past perfect, main clause with past perfect.

As I learned before, 'since' is used to give it must refer to a DEFINITE MOMENT in the past such as: since June, since 1990

Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond.

We are going deep down the rabbit hole of idioms here--technicalities far beyond what the GMAT expects you to know. We can use "years" without a preposition
Less than 35 years since . . . = concise & elegant
It's a little awkward to have just the preposition
In less than 35 years since . . . = not 100% wrong, but a little off
BUT, if we add the definite article, then we get a construction that sounds very sophisticated:
In less than the 35 years since . . . = correct & sophisticated, but more wordy
The definite article reifies that block of time, turns it into a definitive single lump of something. This is a very elegant way of speaking, very sophisticated, although admittedly, it's a bit wordy. It's a little more typical of highly adorned academic writing then of business writing, which tends to be more terse and to-the-point.
Again, all this is leagues beyond what you need to know for the GMAT.

The upshot is that (C) is perfect, elegant, and 100% grammatically correct--this certainly could be correct on the GRE, for example. Again, it is a fancy academic way of conveying the information. Conceivably it might be a correct GMAT SC answer on its own. It's only problem is that it is wordy, baggy, and indirect, so it looks sick by comparison with (A). Whereas (C) is fancy and highfalutin, (A) is direct, terse, and clear--much more in line with the GMAT's standards. There is no doubt that (A) is the best answer of the five.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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13 Feb 2017, 12:52
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond.

We are going deep down the rabbit hole of idioms here--technicalities far beyond what the GMAT expects you to know. We can use "years" without a preposition
Less than 35 years since . . . = concise & elegant
It's a little awkward to have just the preposition
In less than 35 years since . . . = not 100% wrong, but a little off
BUT, if we add the definite article, then we get a construction that sounds very sophisticated:
In less than the 35 years since . . . = correct & sophisticated, but more wordy
The definite article reifies that block of time, turns it into a definitive single lump of something. This is a very elegant way of speaking, very sophisticated, although admittedly, it's a bit wordy. It's a little more typical of highly adorned academic writing then of business writing, which tends to be more terse and to-the-point.
Again, all this is leagues beyond what you need to know for the GMAT.

The upshot is that (C) is perfect, elegant, and 100% grammatically correct--this certainly could be correct on the GRE, for example. Again, it is a fancy academic way of conveying the information. Conceivably it might be a correct GMAT SC answer on its own. It's only problem is that it is wordy, baggy, and indirect, so it looks sick by comparison with (A). Whereas (C) is fancy and highfalutin, (A) is direct, terse, and clear--much more in line with the GMAT's standards. There is no doubt that (A) is the best answer of the five.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Dear Mike,
Thanks for help and support as usual

Actually I hoped you can shed some light on the following grammar construction in choice C:

As far as I learned, what comes after 'since' is 'Past simple' or 'certain points such as: month, year..etc' NOT 'past prefect', especially that the main clause of the sentence has 'past prefect'.

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Posts: 4680
Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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14 Feb 2017, 11:09
Mo2men wrote:
Dear Mike,
Thanks for help and support as usual

Actually I hoped you can shed some light on the following grammar construction in choice C:

As far as I learned, what comes after 'since' is 'Past simple' or 'certain points such as: month, year..etc' NOT 'past prefect', especially that the main clause of the sentence has 'past prefect'.

Dear Mo2men,

I'm happy to respond.

The subordinate conjunction "since" helps to establish a time order, so this makes it less likely that the verb in that clause would be in the past perfect. I wouldn't make a 100% black/white rule out of this, but it certainly is a tendency.

In this question, curiously, the main verb is in the past perfect. Presumably this is because of what is happening in the tenses of other sentences around this sentence in whatever the original source might be. The GMAT really doesn't give us any rules for how to deal with this unusual situation--if the main clause has a past perfect verb, how do we show that another action in a subordinate clause is earlier? Notice that the GMAT sidesteps this entire issue in the OA, which involves a prepositional phrase rather than a subordinate clause.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Magoosh Test Prep

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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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16 Feb 2017, 12:02
skovinsky wrote:
study wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendents, popular known as killer bees had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

A. Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

B. In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

C. In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

D. It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when

E. It took less than 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then

cannot understand the verb tense agreement: 'release' and the verb 'had been'. Can someone explain after choosing the correct answer. Thanks

First, please make sure that you post the original sentence correctly! The non-underlined part doesn't make sense as written. The sentence should read:

Quote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

There's nothing glaringly wrong with the original, so we should either confidently pick it or scan the choices looking for differences.

If we choose to scan, we see that one difference is the opening phrase.

Let's combine the opening phrase with the final one, ignoring the parenthetical comments:

A) Less than 35 years after the release of X, their descendants had migrated as far as Y.

Sounds good!

B) In less than 35 years since releasing X, their descendants had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

"Their descendants" doesn't modify those who did the releasing, so "since releasing" is wrong - eliminate.

C) In less than the 35 years since X had been released, their descendants had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

"In less than the 35 years" is idiomatically incorrect. The proper idiom would be "In the less than 35 years" - and would change the meaning of the sentence - eliminate.

D) It took less than 35 years from the release of X, when their descendants had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

"when" must refer to a time period; "it took less than 35 years" isn't a time period - eliminate. (The author could have said "It took less than 35 years from the release of X for their descendants to migrate as far as Southern Texas.)

E) It took less than 35 years after the time that X were released and then their descendants had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

So many errors, so little time! The whole thing sounds horrible (always a good reason to eliminate a choice), the tenses don't make any sense and "it took less" certainly doesn't go with "and then" - eliminate.

Concerning the explanation for B)

Why should "Their descendants" modify the people who released the bees ?
Could anyone explain that to me ?
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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22 Feb 2017, 08:40
study wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

A. Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

B. In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

C. In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

D. It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when

E. It took less than 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then

[Reveal] Spoiler:
cannot understand the verb tense agreement: 'release' and the verb 'had been'. Can someone explain after choosing the correct answer. Thanks

to use tense correctly we need to know that a time indicator show a period or a point of time. tense use is decided by the time indicators, most of them time prepositions

"less than 35 year..." shows a point of time. so , "had done" in the main clause has a time past marker and, so, is correct.
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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25 Feb 2017, 13:18
Hi All,
I have a very basic doubt regarding the antecedent of pronoun "their ". We donot have any clear antecedent subject for their. I mean what we have is "the release of African honeybees", can African honeybees work as antecedent of their ?

I know its a very basic question but please respond.

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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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27 Feb 2017, 10:09
shalabhg27 wrote:
Hi All,
I have a very basic doubt regarding the antecedent of pronoun "their ". We donot have any clear antecedent subject for their. I mean what we have is "the release of African honeybees", can African honeybees work as antecedent of their ?

I know its a very basic question but please respond.

Dear shalabhg27,

I'm happy to respond.

Here's the OA version, (A):
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

The antecedent of "their" is "African honeybees." It doesn't matter at all that the antecedent was the object of a preposition.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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28 Feb 2017, 07:20
Hi Mike,
Just for my clarification, so only in case of relative pronouns we will look for proper noun instead of prepositional noun ?
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Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2017, 03:41
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Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as southern Texas.

A) Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

B) In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

C) In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

D) It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when

E) It took less than the 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then

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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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28 Mar 2017, 08:03
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smanujahrc wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as southern Texas.

A) Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, - Correct

B) In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, - distorts meaning. descendants of honeybees didn't release them

C) In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, - no time is specified in the sentence and hence use of past perfect continuous tense is incorrect

D) It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when - What does "It" refers to? use of when to modify Sao Paulo, a place, is incorrect

E) It took less than the 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then - same error as D

A is correct. After getting rid of modifiers we get following sentence -

Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo their descendants had migrated as far north as southern Texas.

"their" refers back unambiguously to "African honeybees". Errors in other options are written above. Hope this helps

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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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14 May 2017, 16:38
sandipchowdhury wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendents, popular known as killer bees had migrated as far north as Southern Texas.

A. Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,
B. In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,
C. In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,
D. It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when
E. It took less than 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then

"Less than 35 years" is just a modifier introducing the situation.

The sequence is:

* 35 years ago, some bees were released
* Over the next 35 years, the bees move north
* And now those bees are in Texas

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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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15 May 2017, 01:30
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smanujahrc wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as southern Texas.

A) Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

B) In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

C) In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

D) It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when

E) It took less than the 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then

In the correct choice, Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,, I believe the clause should start with in as in option B. Without the in, the opening modifier doesn't seem to appropriately modify their descendents
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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15 May 2017, 02:17
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smanujahrc wrote:
Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, their descendants, popularly known as killer bees, had migrated as far north as southern Texas.

A) Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,

B) In less than 35 years since releasing African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Since releasing is continuous - incorrect

C) In less than the 35 years since African honeybees had been released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil,
Inccorrect use of had been released.

D) It took less than 35 years from the release of African honeybees outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, when
Pronoun when is incorrect

E) It took less than the 35 years after the time that African honeybees were released outside Sao Paulo, Brazil, and then
Ungrammatical

Sent from my iPhone using GMAT Club Forum mobile app
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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25 May 2017, 09:22
A correctly modifies their descendents.
B does not correctly modifies
had been is incorrect in C.
It in D and E is incorrect.
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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29 Jun 2017, 04:39
"had migrated" is a trap, test takers should be aware of it
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Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2017, 03:12
Can somebody please explain why "had migrated" is used here and , what is the sequence of events. According to MGMAT "had" is used only when you want to denote an action or event occurred prior to some past event.
Re: Less than 35 years after the release of African honeybees outside Sao   [#permalink] 02 Aug 2017, 03:12

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