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# QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay

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QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2018, 03:56
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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 258: Sentence Correction

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Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and they occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(A) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and they occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(B) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos, surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(C) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, the Malay peninsula and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are where fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive.

(D) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

(E) Surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, less than 400 Sumatran rhinos occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

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https://www.nytimes.com/1997/01/14/science/genetic-differences-in-rhinos-complicate-conservation-effort.html

Fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, occupying a small fraction of the species' former range, the International Rhino Foundation says. It is the remnant Borneo population, numbering about 70 animals, that particularly concerns scientists at Columbia University. They report in the February issue of the journal Conservation Biology that DNA studies clearly distinguish the rhinos on Borneo from other members of the species, indicating that they have been isolated for thousands of years.

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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2018, 03:57
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Quote:
(A) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and they occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

This sounds perfectly fine to me… but it’s wrong, unfortunately. Whenever “less” is used to modify a noun, that noun must be non-countable. And you can definitely count rhinos, so it’s wrong to say “less than 400 Sumatran rhinos.”

So (A) is out.

Quote:
(B) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos, surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(B) has exactly the same error as (A): “less” can only modify a non-countable noun, and “Sumatran rhinos” are still countable.

For whatever it’s worth, I’m also not sure that I understand why “surviving on the Malay peninsula…” has been turned into a modifier. That phrase makes more sense as part of the main clause, as it is in (A).

But even if you don’t agree with me on that, the “less… rhinos” thing is definitely a problem. (B) is gone.

Quote:
(C) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, the Malay peninsula and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are where fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive.

Ha ha, this is literally saying that “the Malay peninsula and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo” literally occupy “a small fraction of the species’ former range." And that makes no sense -- how could a peninsula occupy the rhinos' range? (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please read this article about “-ing” modifiers.)

More generally, the construction of this sentence hides the most important part of the sentence. We have no idea that the sentence is about Sumatran rhinos until the last few words. That’s not cool.

So we have plenty of reasons to ditch (C).

Quote:
(D) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.

This looks better! “Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range” correctly modifies the following clause: “fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive…” That works, especially since the countable modifier “fewer” correctly modifies “rhinos.”

So let’s keep (D).

Quote:
(E) Surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, less than 400 Sumatran rhinos occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

This isn’t terrible, except for that little modifier again: “less than 400 Sumatran rhinos” doesn’t work, since “less” can only modify non-countable nouns, and rhinos are clearly countable. (And large. I have a friend in Namibia who was tossed by one. He flew about 15 feet in the air, and lived to tell the tale. Tough dude.)

Anyway, (E) is gone, and (D) is our winner.
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##### General Discussion
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2018, 06:34
IMO C

A. " They " is ambiguous. 2 plural nouns - rhinos and islands.
B. Change of meaning - rhinos are occupying the species.
C. Correct.
D. Modifier error. The modified noun " islands " is far from the modifier.
E.change of meaning - rhinos occupy species

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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2018, 08:39
IMO D

A -- Usage of less with countable noun.
B --Usage of less with countable noun.
C-- Distorts meaning
E-- Usage of less with countable noun.
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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05 Apr 2018, 08:48
IMO will be D, its parallel and using "fewer" instead of "less"
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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17 Apr 2018, 07:19
IMO D. fewer should be used for number of rhinos. C has modifier errors.
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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21 May 2018, 02:23
So is the modifier at the beginning of the sentence would read - Occupying a small fraction of the species then can be continuing sentence be the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo?? I first marked option c as the answer then got to know that the range is in the places that follow the modifier which is incorrect .
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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13 Jun 2018, 23:17
HI mikemcgarry, GMATNinja , GMATGuruNY

Quote:
For whatever it’s worth, I’m also not sure that I understand why “surviving on the Malay peninsula…” has been turned into a modifier. That phrase makes more sense as part of the main clause, as it is in (A).

Can you please explain a bit about the verb -ing (surviving on the Malay peninsula) present here?
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2018, 03:02
Split: Fewer / less.
Fewer is used for countable nouns.
Less is used with uncountable nouns.

What is counted here?
400 Sumatran rhinos. As rhinos are countable, we should use fewer here.
This eliminates A, B, E.

Between C and D, there is a modifier issue.
"Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range" - who / what?
The answer is rhinos. So, rhinos should precede the clause.
This eliminates C.
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2018, 04:21
NandishSS wrote:
Can you please explain a bit about the verb -ing (surviving on the Malay peninsula) present here?

In B and E, surviving serves to modify rhinos occupy, implying that act of SURVIVING is HOW the rhinos OCCUPY a small fraction of the species' former range.
This meaning is illogical.
Eliminate B and E.
In the OA, occupying serves to modify rhinos survive, implying that the act of OCCUPYING a small fraction of the species' former range is HOW the rhinos SURVIVE.
This meaning is logical.
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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16 Jul 2018, 23:03
Please explain me the meaning of first sentence....i.e what does species former range means?
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2018, 04:32
Bishal123456789 wrote:
Please explain me the meaning of first sentence....i.e what does species former range means?

In the context:
range = the area occupied by a species.
Consider the following case.

Former range:
The rhinos used to live on a parcel of land with an area of 1000 square miles.
Current range:
The rhinos now live on a parcel of land with an area of 100 square miles.
Since 100/1000 = 1/10, the rhinos now occupy a small fraction -- 1/10 -- of the species' former range.
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Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay  [#permalink]

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17 Jul 2018, 05:48
Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and they occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(A) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, and they occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(B) Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos, surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.

(C) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, the Malay peninsula and the islands of Sumatra and Borneo are where fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive.

(D) Occupying a small fraction of the species’ former range, fewer than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. --> correct

(E) Surviving on the Malay peninsula and on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, less than 400 Sumatran rhinos occupy a small fraction of the species’ former range.
Re: QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay &nbs [#permalink] 17 Jul 2018, 05:48
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# QOTD: Less than 400 Sumatran rhinos survive on the Malay

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