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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction

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

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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


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

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

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

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New post 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
Re: QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction   [#permalink] 21 Mar 2018, 07:08
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QOTD: Downzoning, zoning that typically results in the reduction

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