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Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC

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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 02:37
feruz77 wrote:
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached
an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
.

(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years



can you provide the answer explanation for reference
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 02:48
Alchemist14 wrote:
feruz77 wrote:
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached
an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
.

(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


1. Had implies that an event got over. 'Since 1966' implies from '1966 to now'. A fancy word for this concept is 'Present Participle'. In the sentence we are talking about something that started in the past and is continuing up untill now. Thus we need 'Present Participle. Eliminate A&D
2.Fewer- Countable Nouns- There are fewer children in Class X than in Class Y.
Less- Uncountable Nouns. There is less water is the tank.
Less is also used for 3 other things 1.Time, 2.Money, and 3.distance.
Eg- You can reach Bangalore in less than 3 hours.
Although this job is good, it pays less.

3. We are using a 'time frame' thus we need 'in less than three years'. Eliminate C&E. B is correct

Al


please explain when can we use fewer for countable years ?
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 03:15
mikemcgarry sir,
I am lost...
My understanding is....
Reaching is not continuing. So, past perfect should be used.
I am confused between LESS and Fewer. I think less is right as here amount of time is indicated.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 04:20
Why had and not have and why fewer and not less? This question on other sources says b is correct....
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 Mar 2017, 06:00
I think E is correct, can someone please explain why E is wrong? and why A is correct?
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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nahid78 wrote:
mikemcgarry sir,
I am lost...
My understanding is....
Reaching is not continuing. So, past perfect should be used.
I am confused between LESS and Fewer. I think less is right as here amount of time is indicated.

fleamkt wrote:
Why had and not have and why fewer and not less? This question on other sources says b is correct....

Dear nahid78 & fleamkt,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friends, we have a tricky issue here. This is a poor question, and it was written by somebody who simply doesn't understand the GMAT SC. Thus, the OA provided by the author of the question is wrong by GMAT standards. The best answer is (B), as others on this thread have argued, but unfortunately, I do not have the right to change the OA. You see, the question does not belong to me. If it were a Magoosh question with a mistake, I would have ever right to change the OA. Also, if the person posting the question had made a mistake copying from the source, I would have the right to change the question. But when the author of the question is the one who makes the mistake, that person is the owner of the question, and I don't have the legal right to alter it.

Here's the question.
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.
(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


Split #1: "fewer" vs. "less"
We use "fewer" for countable items (e.g. cars, countries, situations, businesses, etc.)
We use "less" for things that come in continuous bulk (time, space, money, etc.)
The case that always confuses people, and that confused the author of this question, is the case involving units. When we have units of quantities that come in uncountable bulk, we do NOT treat the units as countable entities. Thus
less than three years = less time than three years
less than five miles = less distance that five miles
less than $12 = less money than $12
All of those are correct. It would be incorrect to use "fewer," as the question author did. Choice (A) & (E) are wrong by GMAT standards.

Split #2: present perfect vs. past perfect
We use the past perfect tense when we need to show that one past action happened before another action. The past perfect is simply wrong here. We use the present perfect tense to show
(a) when an action began in the past and is still continuing, or
(b) when an action took place in the past, started & finished in the past, but its effects are still felt in the present time.
The present perfect tense is ideal here, because when a soldier is promoted to a rank, the action of the promotion is a one-time event, but the effect, the new rank, is something that continues into the present.
Choices (D) & (E) are wrong.

The "under three years" in (C) is a bit casual. This is not wrong enough to be a wrong answer by GMAT standards.

The strongest answer is (B).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 29 Mar 2017, 04:04
mikemcgarry wrote:
nahid78 wrote:
mikemcgarry sir,
I am lost...
My understanding is....
Reaching is not continuing. So, past perfect should be used.
I am confused between LESS and Fewer. I think less is right as here amount of time is indicated.

fleamkt wrote:
Why had and not have and why fewer and not less? This question on other sources says b is correct....

Dear nahid78 & fleamkt,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friends, we have a tricky issue here. This is a poor question, and it was written by somebody who simply doesn't understand the GMAT SC. Thus, the OA provided by the author of the question is wrong by GMAT standards. The best answer is (B), as others on this thread have argued, but unfortunately, I do not have the right to change the OA. You see, the question does not belong to me. If it were a Magoosh question with a mistake, I would have ever right to change the OA. Also, if the person posting the question had made a mistake copying from the source, I would have the right to change the question. But when the author of the question is the one who makes the mistake, that person is the owner of the question, and I don't have the legal right to alter it.

Here's the question.
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.
(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


Split #1: "fewer" vs. "less"
We use "fewer" for countable items (e.g. cars, countries, situations, businesses, etc.)
We use "less" for things that come in continuous bulk (time, space, money, etc.)
The case that always confuses people, and that confused the author of this question, is the case involving units. When we have units of quantities that come in uncountable bulk, we do NOT treat the units as countable entities. Thus
less than three years = less time than three years
less than five miles = less distance that five miles
less than $12 = less money than $12
All of those are correct. It would be incorrect to use "fewer," as the question author did. Choice (A) & (E) are wrong by GMAT standards.

Split #2: present perfect vs. past perfect
We use the past perfect tense when we need to show that one past action happened before another action. The past perfect is simply wrong here. We use the present perfect tense to show
(a) when an action began in the past and is still continuing, or
(b) when an action took place in the past, started & finished in the past, but its effects are still felt in the present time.
The present perfect tense is ideal here, because when a soldier is promoted to a rank, the action of the promotion is a one-time event, but the effect, the new rank, is something that continues into the present.
Choices (D) & (E) are wrong.

The "under three years" in (C) is a bit casual. This is not wrong enough to be a wrong answer by GMAT standards.

The strongest answer is (B).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Yes, It makes sense! Thanks a lot for the explanation!

But I wonder why would such an ambiguous question be sent as "the question of the day". The questions are selected randomly maybe? Or Gmatclub just wanted us to experience this ambiguity to force us to learn the whole topic :-D Because I feel like I know the topic better now.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 09 Apr 2017, 08:46
Why past perfect is preferred to present perfect?

I assume the answer is E.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 16 Apr 2017, 06:52
jahidhassan wrote:
Why past perfect is preferred to present perfect?

I assume the answer is E.


Use of past perfect is absolutely wrong - the use of "since" calls for present perfect tense.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 18 Apr 2017, 06:24
feruz77 wrote:
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.

(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


I think the past participle should not be used in this case. Just because these people had already reached E-5 some time in the past doesn't mean that "Past Participle" should be used. At what time are we calculating the percentage is important, and clearly present participle is way better than assuming something else because we can safely assume that we are calculating now (at present). I would say unless all present participle usages are clearly/grammatically wrong, we can't choose past participle.
So we are left with B, C and E.
Here we are using 3 years, but that doesn't mean we need to use "Fewer". "Fewer" can be used when something is always a "Number". In this case, if we use "Fewer", it implies that the time taken for those to reach E-5 ranking is either 1 or 2 years. So according to that logic, no one has reached E-5 in say, 1.3 years, or 2.2 years etc.

So in this case, as we are referring to time, we should use "Less" not "Fewer". So the best answer is (B)

Hope this helps. Please reply if you think the explanation is wrong.

-Bharadwaj
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 27 May 2017, 22:53
I have question regarding subject verb agreement.

As per question options, we can only use "have" for "21 percent of those"
But can "21 percent of those" be singular/plural depending on its use or will it be plural always?

Can someone please clarify?
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Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2017, 05:24
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.

(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years[/quote]

In non-underlined portion "since" is used so we have to use have in-spite of had as it shows continuous action in that time period so option A and D eliminated. we use "less" because the sentence refers to a single period of time, not individual years so option C and E eliminated.
Answer is option B.


All the very best :-D
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2017, 05:38
I have question regarding subject verb agreement.

As per question options, we can only use "have" for "21 percent of those".
I have a general query.
can "21 percent of those" be singular/plural depending on its use or will it be plural always?
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2017, 16:32
dabhishek87 wrote:
I have question regarding subject verb agreement.

As per question options, we can only use "have" for "21 percent of those".
I have a general query.
can "21 percent of those" be singular/plural depending on its use or will it be plural always?

Dear dabhishek87,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The pronoun "those" is a plural pronoun. It is plural 100% of the time. Thus, "N% of those" will always be plural, 100% of the time.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2017, 18:53
Official explanation from Knewton:

"fewer" is for countable nouns, and "less" is for uncountable nouns with three exceptions: money, time, and distance (for which we use "less"). So we say "The event lasted less than two hours" and "I have less than two dollars in my wallet" and "Time ran less than two miles this morning" because these are all nouns describing time, money, or distance. Otherwise, we use "fewer" with countable nouns, even countable nouns preceded by a number. For example, "The class has fewer than 100 students."

The correct answer to this question should be choice B: "have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years." We need "less" because "three years" is a measure of time. "I have less than two dollars" is also the correct expression because "two dollars" is a measure of money.

Note that not every noun preceded by a number takes "less." For example: "There are fewer than 10 students in the class." This is correct because "students" is not an expression of measurement, time, money, or distance. The number "10" is basically just further proof that "students" are countable. So we use "fewer."
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 29 May 2017, 19:30
mikemcgarry wrote:
dabhishek87 wrote:
I have question regarding subject verb agreement.

As per question options, we can only use "have" for "21 percent of those".
I have a general query.
can "21 percent of those" be singular/plural depending on its use or will it be plural always?

Dear dabhishek87,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

The pronoun "those" is a plural pronoun. It is plural 100% of the time. Thus, "N% of those" will always be plural, 100% of the time.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)


Thank you Mike for clarification.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2017, 05:28
mikemcgarry wrote:
nahid78 wrote:
mikemcgarry sir,
I am lost...
My understanding is....
Reaching is not continuing. So, past perfect should be used.
I am confused between LESS and Fewer. I think less is right as here amount of time is indicated.

fleamkt wrote:
Why had and not have and why fewer and not less? This question on other sources says b is correct....

Dear nahid78 & fleamkt,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

My friends, we have a tricky issue here. This is a poor question, and it was written by somebody who simply doesn't understand the GMAT SC. Thus, the OA provided by the author of the question is wrong by GMAT standards. The best answer is (B), as others on this thread have argued, but unfortunately, I do not have the right to change the OA. You see, the question does not belong to me. If it were a Magoosh question with a mistake, I would have ever right to change the OA. Also, if the person posting the question had made a mistake copying from the source, I would have the right to change the question. But when the author of the question is the one who makes the mistake, that person is the owner of the question, and I don't have the legal right to alter it.

Here's the question.
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.
(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


Split #1: "fewer" vs. "less"
We use "fewer" for countable items (e.g. cars, countries, situations, businesses, etc.)
We use "less" for things that come in continuous bulk (time, space, money, etc.)
The case that always confuses people, and that confused the author of this question, is the case involving units. When we have units of quantities that come in uncountable bulk, we do NOT treat the units as countable entities. Thus
less than three years = less time than three years
less than five miles = less distance that five miles
less than $12 = less money than $12
All of those are correct. It would be incorrect to use "fewer," as the question author did. Choice (A) & (E) are wrong by GMAT standards.

Split #2: present perfect vs. past perfect
We use the past perfect tense when we need to show that one past action happened before another action. The past perfect is simply wrong here. We use the present perfect tense to show
(a) when an action began in the past and is still continuing, or
(b) when an action took place in the past, started & finished in the past, but its effects are still felt in the present time.
The present perfect tense is ideal here, because when a soldier is promoted to a rank, the action of the promotion is a one-time event, but the effect, the new rank, is something that continues into the present.
Choices (D) & (E) are wrong.

The "under three years" in (C) is a bit casual. This is not wrong enough to be a wrong answer by GMAT standards.

The strongest answer is (B).

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


Hello Mike,

Sir i don't understand what you mean by "When we have units of quantities that come in uncountable bulk, we do NOT treat the units as countable entities".
Can you please elaborate on the topic.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 30 May 2017, 14:55
goforgmat wrote:
Hello Mike,

Sir i don't understand what you mean by "When we have units of quantities that come in uncountable bulk, we do NOT treat the units as countable entities".
Can you please elaborate on the topic.

Dear goforgmat,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

On the distinction of countable items vs. uncountable bulk, I will suggest this post:
GMAT Grammar: Less vs. Fewer

Let me know if you have further questions.

Mike :-)
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC [#permalink]

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New post 15 Nov 2017, 13:14
feruz77 wrote:
Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years.

(A) had reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years
(B) have reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(C) have reached an E-5 ranking in under three years
(D) had reached an E-5 ranking in less than three years
(E) have reached an E-5 ranking in fewer than three years


B is correct because-
1) Present perfect tense required -( 21% have reached E5 rabking + counting)

2)Less than three years is the correct phrase( Less is used with numbers when they are on their own and with expressions of measurement or time refer https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/less-or-fewer)
Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC   [#permalink] 15 Nov 2017, 13:14

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