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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar

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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

(A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

(B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

(C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

(D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

(E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 35: Sentence Correction

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Originally posted by pi10t on 11 Apr 2007, 03:17.
Last edited by Bunuel on 17 Oct 2018, 02:51, edited 2 times in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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21 May 2014, 12:12
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'Idiomatic usage' of comparison markers

Is 'idiomatic usage' of comparison markers a good way to eliminate options in questions that test comparisons?

My answer: not so much. The problem with focusing on idiomatic usage to analyze options is that our understanding of ‘typically’ correct idioms interferes with our understanding of the meaning that the option conveys. You need to be particularly careful about understanding the intended logic of the sentence when it makes a comparison.

Let's look at this official question to illustrate this point. I'd especially like to focus on why we can't argue that the correct answer is not 'really' correct because it doesn't use the "more X than Y" construction.

Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than
B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than
C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than
D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for
E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

Here’s how I would go about understanding this question. The original sentence contains a comparison that is expressed using the comparison marker ‘more than’. Okay, so my focus needs to be on whether the comparison makes logical sense in the original sentence. If it does, I know I need a correct answer that doesn’t change the intended logic. But if it doesn’t make sense in the original sentence, then I need to infer the correct logic from the original sentence, and then look for an answer that also uses the correct intended meaning.

So far so good. Let’s do the meaning analysis.

Meaning Analysis

Since we're looking at the use of ‘more than’, I’m going to focus only on the comparison in this meaning analysis.

Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

So the original sentence has two comparisons:

1. the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill => Comparison between ‘four quarters’ and ‘the dollar bill’
2. its weight… is far less than four quarters => Comparison between ‘its weight’ and ‘four quarters’

While the first comparison is logically correct, the second clearly isn’t. ‘Weight’ can’t be compared to ‘quarters’. The weight of something can logically be compared only with the weight of something else.

Error Analysis

Comparison errors in this sentence:

1. the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill => ‘More’ can’t be followed by ‘rather than’. ‘More’ indicates a comparison while ‘rather than’ is used to show contrast. Note that in the case of option A, it is perfectly fine to eliminate the option based on the usage of ‘more than’ compared to the usage of ‘rather than’. This is because the two phrases are used for different purposes. We already know from our meaning analysis that this sentence is making a comparison, not a contrast. So ‘rather than’ is out.
2. its weight… is far less than four quarters => Illogical comparison between ‘its weight’ and ‘four quarters’.

Process of Elimination:

As I've done above, I’m going to focus on the comparison issue to eliminate choices.

Option A: INCORRECT as discussed.

Option B: INCORRECT.

1. Comparison Error: ‘More as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill’ => This comparison is ambiguous. It could mean one of two things:

i) The dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill WILL. => Comparison between the dollar coin and the dollar bill.
ii) The dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters than FOR the dollar bill. => Comparison between four quarters and the dollar bill.

So you can see, there’s no justification for applying the ‘more X than Y’ logic here. In fact, I would say it’s a misconception that this use is ‘idiomatic’. Saying so implies that this structure is always correct, whereas really, it’s correct only when it conveys the intended logic correctly.

Option C: CORRECT

This choice says that the dollar coin will be used as a substitute for four quarters more than FOR the dollar bill. So, it clearly resolves the ambiguity present in option B.

Option D: INCORRECT

1. Comparison Error: ‘For’ is missing, leading to ambiguity.

Option E: INCORRECT

1. Comparison Error: ‘More’ is followed by ‘rather than’.

So, as you can see, going by idiomatic usage is unlikely to be the best way to solve a comparison question. Focusing on the logic behind the comparison is the way to go.

I hope these observations help.

Meghna
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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16 Jun 2017, 08:08
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Well, the first thing I notice here is the pronouns, "its" and "it." I really want to say that the pronoun is ambiguous, because it could refer back to "dollar bill" (which is the closest singular noun) or the Sacagawea dollar coin.

But we can't do anything about the "it" or "its" -- it's in all five answer choices, so it can't really be much of an issue. Plus, pronoun ambiguity is NOT an absolute rule on the GMAT. We'll say more about that in an upcoming Topic of the Week.

I guess I can't get any quick eliminations from the pronouns, so let's take these guys in order:

Quote:
A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

I don't like the comparison idiom here: "more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for..." But if you're not sure about the idiom, look for other stuff. (Check out this thread for more on idioms.)

The bigger issue is that the final comparison in the sentence doesn't make sense: "its weight... is far less than four quarters." We could say that the weight of the coin is less than the weight of the quarters, but it doesn't make sense to say that the weight of the coin is less than the quarters themselves. (A) is gone.

Quote:
B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

I think I would be a little bit happier if the first comparison said "more as a substitute for four quarters than FOR the dollar bill" -- the second "for" is missing, and that bugs me a little bit. But I'm not 100% sure that it's wrong.

More importantly: at the end of the sentence, it's saying that the coin "weighs 8.1 grams, far lighter than four quarters." You could say "the coin IS far lighter than four quarters" or "it weighs less than four quarters", but not "it weighs lighter than four quarters." Eliminate (B).

Quote:
C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

I like that first comparison: "as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill" -- nice parallelism in the comparison, much better than in (A) or (B). More importantly, the last part makes sense now: "it weighs... far less than..." Keep (C).

Quote:
D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

As in (A) and (B), I think the first comparison idiom would be much stronger if "for" was included before "the dollar bill." But the last part of the sentence is a bigger problem: "(the coin's) weight is far lighter than it is for four quarters..."?? At the very least, this is a wordy mess compared with (C). You could also argue that it's nonsense: if "it" refer's back to "the coin's weight", then the sentence becomes illogical ("the coin's weight is lighter than the coin's weight is for four quarters").

Either way, (C) is clearly better than (D), so (D) is gone.

Quote:
E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

First part of the underlined portion suffers from the same idiom issue as in (A). The second part of the underlined portion is similar to (D): "the coin's weight... is far less than it is for four quarters." Again, at the very least, this is wordier and inferior to (C); at worst, it's illogical.

(C) is our winner.
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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23 Jun 2010, 04:51
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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

--as mustdoit pointed out, the word "rather" does not belong here.

But even if you did not catch this, the phrase "its weight...is far less than four quarters" does not make sense.
It should be "its weight...is far less than that of four quarters."

Additionally, because of the positioning of the word "more" early in the sentence, this sentence is structurally should be saying "more as a SUBSTITUTE...than as a [Blank]"

So A is wrong.

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

Because of the positioning of the word "more" early in the sentence, this sentence is structurally should be saying "more as a SUBSTITUTE...than as a [Blank]"

Since this structure is violated, we know B is wrong. If you want to compare the four quarters and the dollar bill, you'll have to move the position of the word "more."

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

This is what we want! The position of the word "more" is further into the sentence so structurally, we are correctly comparing "four quarters" and the "dollar bill."

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

The phrase should be "the weight...is far LESS than" --this is preferred.

You can say "it weighs lighter than XYZ" --just like you can say "I weigh heavier than him." ---But when you begin with the form "its weight is" then you should finish it off with "LESS THAN" rather than "LIGHTER THAN." Likewise, you wouldn't say "my weight is heavier than his"---you would say "my weight is more than his"

And as previously mentioned, you also need the word "for" before "the dollar bill"

So either way, D is wrong.

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

Again, you don't want the word "rather" in "rather than" here. E is wrong.

The phrase "is far less than it is for"--is chunky. Other answer choices offer something that is simpler and more concise--like answer choice C.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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11 Apr 2007, 14:19
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pi10t wrote:
Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

The main point to consider here is what is being substituted.
The meaning of the passage is "The Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for four quarters more than the Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for the dollar bill".

A and B fall because of wrong comparison "more as a substitute"
D is gone, since there is no "for" before the dollar bill
E is too wordy, and hence follows D

Only C makes the correct comparison and maintains grammar.

Anand
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2010, 02:56
anandsebastin wrote:
pi10t wrote:
Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

The main point to consider here is what is being substituted.
The meaning of the passage is "The Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for four quarters more than the Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for the dollar bill".

A and B fall because of wrong comparison "more as a substitute"
D is gone, since there is no "for" before the dollar bill
E is too wordy, and hence follows D

Only C makes the correct comparison and maintains grammar.

Anand

OA is C.
I agree with you. However, the comparision "far less" in C, seems to be between Sacagawea dollar coin's weight and four quarters (which is incorrect since it would be four quarters' weight).
Could anybody clarify?
Thanks,
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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19 Jun 2010, 07:05
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C for perfection LOL

As a substitute for x more than for y because blah blah

as for x
as for y
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 11:21
noboru wrote:
anandsebastin wrote:
pi10t wrote:
Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

The main point to consider here is what is being substituted.
The meaning of the passage is "The Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for four quarters more than the Sacagawea dollar will be used as a substitute for the dollar bill".

A and B fall because of wrong comparison "more as a substitute"
D is gone, since there is no "for" before the dollar bill
E is too wordy, and hence follows D

Only C makes the correct comparison and maintains grammar.

Anand

OA is C.
I agree with you. However, the comparision "far less" in C, seems to be between Sacagawea dollar coin's weight and four quarters (which is incorrect since it would be four quarters' weight).
Could anybody clarify?
Thanks,

Nobody is going to elaborate on this?

I would like to see a "that" after the second "than" in C, in order to compare Sacagawea dollar coin's weight and four quarters' coin.

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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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27 Aug 2010, 11:34
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noboru -- "I would like to see a "that" after the second "than" in C, in order to compare Sacagawea dollar coin's weight and four quarters' coin."

No, this is not right.
(C) says: "...because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than"
It weighs far less than four quarters. --this is correct.

Think: "I weigh more than him."--this is also correct. You do not need the word "that"---you DO need "that" if you say:

"Its weight is far less than that of four quarters." --Notice the difference between "it weighs" and "its weight"---one uses the word "weighs" as a VERB and the other uses "weight" as a NOUN.

seekmba--no I do not find anything wrong with "its" in A, D, and E.
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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26 May 2014, 21:31
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eGMAT- Great question indeed! Kudos

Please share more 700+ questions of this kind...

Just a quick check - both the statements below are right I think,
1. more as a substitute for four quarters than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

comparison between four quarters and bill

2. as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

comparison between coin and bill

Correct me please, if I'm wrong.
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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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04 Jun 2014, 22:45
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Hi @bagdbmba,

Thanks for the appreciation.

As explained above, "for" is required so that the comparison has no ambiguity. Given the context of the sentence, I think it's ideal to place "as a substitute" before "more". However, I wouldn't say the second version is correct since it doesn't have "for" before "the dollar bill" and hence contains ambiguity.

Hope this helps!

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Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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05 Jun 2017, 09:09
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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for

It is not necessary to get into unnecessary considerations regarding this question. This is a comparison issue and you must look forward to an orange-to-orange comparison or an apple-to-apple comparison. If you are considering the dollar coin, then you must compare it with the four quarters coin. On the other hand, if you are comparing the weight of the dollar coin, the corresponding comparison also should involve the weight of the four quarters on the other side.
As per this basic tenet, it is clear that A is out and that only B and C survive. We can get rid of D and E because it is not clear whether the pronoun 'it' stands for the coin or for the weight.
Between B and C, In B, 'it' weighs far lighter than is unidiomatic. Something can weigh far less than some other thing. Therefore, C remains in the final.
This much may be sufficient to solve this daunting question.
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 16 Jun 2017, 11:09
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Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar coin will be used more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than four quarters, which weigh 5.67 grams each.

A) more as a substitute for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than -Incorrect. The comparison here is between dollar coin's weight and quarter, which is wrong. "less than THAT OF" would have been correct

B) more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far lighter than -Incorrect comparision.

C) as a substitute for four quarters more than for the dollar bill because it weighs only 8.1 grams, far less than -CORRECT. Comparing dollar coin with the quarter.

D) as a substitute for four quarters more than the dollar bill because its weight of only 8.1 grams is far lighter than it is for -Incorrect comparision

E) as a substitute more for four quarters rather than for the dollar bill because its weight, only 8.1 grams, is far less than it is for -Incorrect. Usage of "more" is inappropriate. "it" pronoun is dangling.

Originally posted by gmatexam439 on 16 Jun 2017, 08:41.
Last edited by gmatexam439 on 16 Jun 2017, 11:09, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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16 Jun 2017, 11:04
i think it is A.

only option A seems to compare 4 quarters with dollar.

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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 21 Jun 2017, 05:27
Ashokshiva wrote:
i think it is A.

only option A seems to compare 4 quarters with dollar.

Hello Ashokshiva,

Choice A is incorrect because the comparison has not been presented in grammatically parallel list.

The original sentence uses the phrase more X than Y in which X and Y should be parallel. But per choice A, X = as a substitute for four quarters and Y = for the dollar bill. Clearly, the two entities are not parallel. Also, use of rather with this comparison idiom is incorrect.

Choice C corrects this parallelism by changing the structure of the comparison idiom to X more than Y in which X = for four quarters and Y = for the dollar bill.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Last edited by egmat on 21 Jun 2017, 05:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2017, 00:12
is the conjunction rather than incorrect in option A?
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2017, 23:46
haardiksharma wrote:
is the conjunction rather than incorrect in option A?

Hi haardiksharma, you are right. The issue is the following incorrect usage:

more...rather than

The correct idiom is: more...than (or less...than).

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses this usage as part of idioms. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

More than.pdf [9.86 KiB]

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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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14 Sep 2017, 20:34
In C, is far less than correct? Shouldn't it be far lighter than?
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Re: QOTD: Officials at the United States Mint believe  [#permalink]

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21 Sep 2017, 13:13
In C, is far less than correct? Shouldn't it be far lighter than?

Yup, "far less than" is correct because of the way the comparison is structured: "it weighs... far less than four quarters." You certainly wouldn't say "it weighs... far lighter than four quarters", though you could say "it is... far lighter than four quarters."

I hope this helps!
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Joined: 19 Oct 2018
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GMAT 1: 730 Q49 V41
Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar  [#permalink]

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10 Mar 2019, 04:50
A compares ‘weight’ to ‘four quarters’. This is incorrect, so A is out.
B suffers from ambiguity. ‘more as a substitute for four quarters than the dollar bill’ can mean one of two things. It could be comparing the dollar bill and the dollar coin, or the dollar bill and four quarters. Also a bad option
C resolves this ambiguity and does not seem to have any other major issues.
D is missing a ‘for’.
E ‘more’ is followed by ‘rather than’. ‘more’ is for comparison and ‘rather than’ is for contrast. The two are not supposed to be used together.

C is the right choice.
Re: Officials at the United States Mint believe that the Sacagawea dollar   [#permalink] 10 Mar 2019, 04:50

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