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# QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction

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MBA Section Director
Joined: 19 Mar 2012
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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 03:43
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55% (hard)

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55% (00:50) correct 45% (01:00) wrong based on 478 sessions

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Verbal Question of The Day: Day 246: Sentence Correction

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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

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.

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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 03:44
3
5
Two things jump out at me right away, as we discussed in this YouTube video on sentence correction priorities. First, there seems to be a subject-verb agreement thing going on: we have “exists” and “exist”, and then “there is” and “there are.” Looks like we’ll get some cheap eliminations from this stuff.

And then there’s the modifier “little.” It’s a funny one. If it’s used to modify a countable noun (“dogs” or “doughnuts”, for example), it refers to size: “little dogs” or “little doughnuts” are both small things. But if “little” modifies a non-countable noun (“wine” or “homework”), then it refers to quantity: so if you “drink very little wine” or “do very little homework”, we’re clearly talking about the amount of those things.

So with all of that in mind…

Quote:
(A) little water or services exist

This sounds pretty good! But it’s wrong, anyway.

The subject-verb is OK. Since this is an expression with “or” in it, only the final noun is used to conjugate the verb, so “…services exist” is fine.

But the word “little” is a problem. “Little water” makes sense: since “water” is non-countable, the phrase is saying that there’s a small quantity of water. Trouble is, the adjective “little” seems to also modify “services,” and that doesn’t make sense: since “services” is countable, the phrase “little services” would suggest that we’re talking about size (i.e., physically very small services). And that doesn’t make sense: we’re trying to discuss the quantity of services, not the size of them.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) little water or services exists

Once again, “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that doesn’t make sense, since “services” is countable. See the explanation for (A) for more on that issue.

Plus, the subject-verb is wrong now: “services” is plural, but “exists” is the singular form of the verb. (If it helps, replace “services” with “they” to make it easier to hear the error: “they exists.”)

(B) is out.

Quote:
(C) few services and little water exists

Hm... "little water exists" sound pretty good to me! But it's wrong.

In (C), the “or” has been replaced with an “and”, so the subject (“services and water”) is plural. But the verb “exists” is singular, so it's incorrect. (If you’re not convinced: replace “services and water” with “they”. “They exists” is clearly wrong.)

But at least the modifiers are correct now: “few” is countable, and correctly modifies the countable noun “services”, while “little” modifies the non-countable noun “water”, so it indicates a small quantity of water.

But still: that subject-verb thing is a pretty big deal, so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available

(D) has the same problem as (A): “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that causes a problem, because “little services” doesn’t make logical sense. See the explanation for (A) for more on this issue.

In case anybody is wondering: I think the subject-verb agreement is OK here. When the subject of a clause contains the word “or”, then the verb generally is conjugated using the nearest noun: so “services or water IS” would be correct, for example. And in this case, “there is little water…” seems fine.

But that modifier problem is a pretty big deal. (D) is out.

Well poop, I hope we like (E), since we’ve eliminated everything else.

Quote:
(E) there are few services and little available water

I know what some of you are thinking: (E) arguably sounds wordy and awkward, and it seems like the phrase “there are” is a waste of words. I agree with all of that. I feel like there HAS to be a better way to write this sentence.

But writing the BEST possible version of the sentence isn’t our job. Our job on SC is to find the four answer choices that contain grammar or meaning errors. All of the first four answer choices have definite errors with either subject-verb agreement or modifiers. (E) has none of those mistakes: “few services” and “little available water” both are modified correctly, and “services and water” is correctly preceded by a plural verb phrase, “there are.”

So we’re stuck with (E), whether we like it or not.
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##### General Discussion
Senior Manager
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Joined: 24 Mar 2015
Posts: 278
QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 04:02
souvik101990 wrote:

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 246: Sentence Correction

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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

Every question of the day will be followed by an expert reply by GMATNinja in 12-15 hours. Stay tuned! Post your answers and explanations to earn kudos.

I will go with E

in A,
"little water or little services exist" doesn't make sense. Also, the plural verb form "exist" is not permissible

in B
as in A, it doesn't make sense

in C
singular verb form "exists" is not okay here

in D

it is not okay to say "little water or little service"

in E
"Few services and little water" is the correct way to expressing the meaning and thus is the right choice

thanks
Manager
Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 184
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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21 Mar 2018, 07:08
Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction of housing density, allows for more open space in areas where little water or services exist.

scanning the answer choices vertically we get a exist vs exists(subject verb) and few vs little (modifier) error

on this note straight away eliminate C (subject verb error)
now the modifier issue : water is not countable so little is good but services are countable so little services is wrong: A,B,D
coming to E : perfect sv error solved and modifier error resolved : correct answer

(A) little water or services exist :little water or service = Little water or little service wrong

(B) little water or services exists :little water or service = Little water or little service wrong

(C) few services and little water exists : modifier error corrected but usage of "exists'' makes a SV error

(D) there is little water or services available :little water or service = Little water or little service wrong

(E) there are few services and little available water :correct
Manager
Joined: 28 Jan 2018
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GPA: 3.34
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2018, 18:17
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E
Manager
Joined: 04 Apr 2015
Posts: 184
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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24 Apr 2018, 08:04
1
lary301254M7 wrote:
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E

In my opinion :first go for straight rules and then eliminate with meaning change : the correct option though suggests a meaning change but its the only grammatically correct option
Manager
Joined: 15 Nov 2016
Posts: 135
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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25 Apr 2018, 02:07
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
GMAT Club Verbal Expert
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GMAT 1: 780 Q51 V46
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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10 May 2018, 14:22
1
StrugglingGmat2910 wrote:
lary301254M7 wrote:
Doesn't "or" and "and" mean different things?
It sounds like "and" implies both conditions have to be present while or is more flexible.
For downzoning to be true, both 1) little water and 2) fewer services have to happen?
This is why I didn't pick E

In my opinion :first go for straight rules and then eliminate with meaning change : the correct option though suggests a meaning change but its the only grammatically correct option

I agree with you on this, StrugglingGmat2910! (And I also hope that you aren't actually struggling too much! ) lary301254M7, you might benefit from this article or this video -- both cover the same general idea that you want to eliminate answer choices with DEFINITE grammar errors first, and then worry about meaning next.

In this particular case, I'm not sure that it's clear whether "and" or "or" does a better job of conveying the intended meaning. I suppose that "and" (in answer choice E) suggests that downzoning allows for more open space where there's a shortage of BOTH water and services, and that makes sense. But I also don't see anything inherently wrong with using "or" -- it would just suggest that if either water or services were lacking, then downzoning would allow for more open space. There's not really a clear reason to choose one of those options over the other. The grammar is pleasantly clear, however.

I hope this helps!
_________________

GMAT Club Verbal Expert | GMAT/GRE tutor @ www.gmatninja.com (Now hiring!) | GMAT blog | Food blog | Notoriously bad at PMs

Beginners' guides to GMAT verbal
Reading Comprehension | Critical Reasoning | Sentence Correction

Series 1: Fundamentals of SC & CR | Series 2: Developing a Winning GMAT Mindset

SC & CR Questions of the Day (QOTDs), featuring expert explanations
All QOTDs | Subscribe via email | RSS

Hit the request verbal experts' reply button -- and please be specific about your question. Feel free to tag @GMATNinja and @GMATNinjaTwo in your post. Priority is always given to official GMAT questions.

Sentence Correction articles & resources
How to go from great (760) to incredible (780) on GMAT SC | That "-ing" Word Probably Isn't a Verb | That "-ed" Word Might Not Be a Verb, Either | No-BS Guide to GMAT Idioms | "Being" is not the enemy | WTF is "that" doing in my sentence?

Reading Comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and other articles & resources
All GMAT Ninja articles on GMAT Club | Using LSAT for GMAT CR & RC |7 reasons why your actual GMAT scores don't match your practice test scores | How to get 4 additional "fake" GMAT Prep tests for \$29.99 | Time management on verbal

Verbal Forum Moderator
Status: Greatness begins beyond your comfort zone
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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10 May 2018, 21:43
GMATNinja wrote:
Two things jump out at me right away, as we discussed in this YouTube video on sentence correction priorities. First, there seems to be a subject-verb agreement thing going on: we have “exists” and “exist”, and then “there is” and “there are.” Looks like we’ll get some cheap eliminations from this stuff.

And then there’s the modifier “little.” It’s a funny one. If it’s used to modify a countable noun (“dogs” or “doughnuts”, for example), it refers to size: “little dogs” or “little doughnuts” are both small things. But if “little” modifies a non-countable noun (“wine” or “homework”), then it refers to quantity: so if you “drink very little wine” or “do very little homework”, we’re clearly talking about the amount of those things.

So with all of that in mind…

Quote:
(A) little water or services exist

This sounds pretty good! But it’s wrong, anyway.

The subject-verb is OK. Since this is an expression with “or” in it, only the final noun is used to conjugate the verb, so “…services exist” is fine.

But the word “little” is a problem. “Little water” makes sense: since “water” is non-countable, the phrase is saying that there’s a small quantity of water. Trouble is, the adjective “little” seems to also modify “services,” and that doesn’t make sense: since “services” is countable, the phrase “little services” would suggest that we’re talking about size (i.e., physically very small services). And that doesn’t make sense: we’re trying to discuss the quantity of services, not the size of them.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) little water or services exists

Once again, “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that doesn’t make sense, since “services” is countable. See the explanation for (A) for more on that issue.

Plus, the subject-verb is wrong now: “services” is plural, but “exists” is the singular form of the verb. (If it helps, replace “services” with “they” to make it easier to hear the error: “they exists.”)

(B) is out.

Quote:
(C) few services and little water exists

Hm... "little water exists" sound pretty good to me! But it's wrong.

In (C), the “or” has been replaced with an “and”, so the subject (“services and water”) is plural. But the verb “exists” is singular, so it's incorrect. (If you’re not convinced: replace “services and water” with “they”. “They exists” is clearly wrong.)

But at least the modifiers are correct now: “few” is countable, and correctly modifies the countable noun “services”, while “little” modifies the non-countable noun “water”, so it indicates a small quantity of water.

But still: that subject-verb thing is a pretty big deal, so we can eliminate (C).

Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available

(D) has the same problem as (A): “little” seems to modify both “water” and “services”, and that causes a problem, because “little services” doesn’t make logical sense. See the explanation for (A) for more on this issue.

In case anybody is wondering: I think the subject-verb agreement is OK here. When the subject of a clause contains the word “or”, then the verb generally is conjugated using the nearest noun: so “services or water IS” would be correct, for example. And in this case, “there is little water…” seems fine.

But that modifier problem is a pretty big deal. (D) is out.

Well poop, I hope we like (E), since we’ve eliminated everything else.

Quote:
(E) there are few services and little available water

I know what some of you are thinking: (E) arguably sounds wordy and awkward, and it seems like the phrase “there are” is a waste of words. I agree with all of that. I feel like there HAS to be a better way to write this sentence.

But writing the BEST possible version of the sentence isn’t our job. Our job on SC is to find the four answer choices that contain grammar or meaning errors. All of the first four answer choices have definite errors with either subject-verb agreement or modifiers. (E) has none of those mistakes: “few services” and “little available water” both are modified correctly, and “services and water” is correctly preceded by a plural verb phrase, “there are.”

So we’re stuck with (E), whether we like it or not.

Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available
--> water is nearer to the verb 'is'. So, as per the subject-verb agreement rule, the verb should agree with water? (I know that in normal construction(Not subject-verb inversion) the verb agrees with the nearer subject)

In case of subject-verb inversion, if we have 2 subjects( water and services) in this case, to check for subject-verb agreement we flip the order of subject so as to put water next to the verb in normal order?

services or water IS --After converting the inverted sentence into a normal one. So, here the verb IS should agree with subject WATER ?

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert -- please enlighten
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Magoosh GMAT Instructor
Joined: 30 Oct 2017
Posts: 146
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction [#permalink]

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12 May 2018, 14:40
Skywalker18 wrote:
Quote:
(D) there is little water or services available
--> water is nearer to the verb 'is'. So, as per the subject-verb agreement rule, the verb should agree with water? (I know that in normal construction(Not subject-verb inversion) the verb agrees with the nearer subject)

In case of subject-verb inversion, if we have 2 subjects( water and services) in this case, to check for subject-verb agreement we flip the order of subject so as to put water next to the verb in normal order?

services or water IS --After converting the inverted sentence into a normal one. So, here the verb IS should agree with subject WATER ?

AjiteshArun , GMATNinja , mikemcgarry , egmat , sayantanc2k, RonPurewal , DmitryFarber , MagooshExpert -- please enlighten

Hi Skywalker18!

Happy to help

You are correct. Since "water" is closer to the verb, we would want to use "is". So this would be correct:

...allows for more open space in areas where there is water or services.

However, that's not the sentence that we actually have. Instead, we have:

...allows for more open space in areas where there is little water or services.

The "little" makes a difference here, because it is supposed to be referring to both "water" and "services". However, "little" cannot refer to "services", since "services" is plural. That's why D is wrong here.

Does that make sense?
-Carolyn
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Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction   [#permalink] 12 May 2018, 14:40
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