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

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

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05 Nov 2010, 07:33
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85% (hard)

Question Stats:

44% (00:55) correct 56% (01:02) wrong based on 1583 sessions

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

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28 Mar 2017, 09:30
4
12
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.

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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26 Jul 2011, 07:12
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MGMAT SC says whenever you use since, use it with a present perfect not past perfect.

Quote from page 109: "If you use SINCE with a time phrase, such as 1987, use the present perfect.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC  [#permalink]

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05 Nov 2010, 08:23
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How can we reconcile to a past perfect when the phenomenon is still going on. Let us drop all the - had reached choices -. Among B, C and E, although E seems to be the choice by grammar, C is more elegant and pleasant to hear, as I deem it is an acceptable form of idiom to say - under three years.-

If the official answer is not between C and E, then may I seek the OE for justifying the OA.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC  [#permalink]

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13 Nov 2011, 09:37
1
Ok, I read the MGMAT SC again and think the B is the right choice. Wtf, yes choose 'fewer' rather than 'less' does not make sense in this case. The year in this case is unit noun of the uncountable noun time. So we cannot say fewer than time... We have to say less than time => less three year OR fewer than three year number (I do not find the other nouns rather than number to express the example as in the MGMAT SC)
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC  [#permalink]

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11 Jun 2014, 08:16
1
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

The logic is simple. The time frame talked about is 3 years since 1966. Present perfect tenses always show some connection between what happened in the past and the present situation. It cannot be applied here as the time frame in the question is only in the past.

Between fewer and less, it is quite evident; when we ask the question how many?, we use "fewer", if we ask how much?, it would have been "less"

Hope it helps.

OA is also A i guess

Kudos if you like the post
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC  [#permalink]

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11 Jun 2014, 14:14
1
1
arichinna 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

The logic is simple. The time frame talked about is 3 years since 1966. Present perfect tenses always show some connection between what happened in the past and the present situation. It cannot be applied here as the time frame in the question is only in the past.

Between fewer and less, it is quite evident; when we ask the question how many?, we use "fewer", if we ask how much?, it would have been "less"

Hope it helps.

OA is also A i guess

Kudos if you like the post

refer this gmat prep question::
http://www.manhattangmat.com/forums/les ... t4355.html

less than is used with years.
Years is a unit and quantities measured in units are uncountable. e.g money, time or distance.

fewer than 3 years : is not correct.
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Re: #Top150 SC: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the  [#permalink]

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13 Dec 2015, 02:05
1
IMHO (B)

Quote:
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

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Re: #Top150 SC: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the  [#permalink]

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02 Jan 2016, 08:07
1
Although i picked B
,there is heavy debate over usage of less than or fewer in reference to year

Some say years as uncountable some say its countable

As OA given is B years can be considered as uncountable

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#Top150 SC: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the  [#permalink]

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19 Mar 2017, 00:05
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3
I could see many people are not clear on why E is correct. Here is the explanation:

Fewer refers to things that are countable.

Examples:
Fewer tornadoes occurred this year than last year.

Less refers to things that are not countable.

Examples:
Sue has less concern for her dog’s safety now that the backyard fence is completed.
Less talking would help my concentration.

However, the expression less than is used in front of a plural noun that denotes a measure of distance, amount, or time.
Examples:
We will go on vacation in less than four weeks.
She owes him less than \$30.
We had less than 25 miles to go but ran out of gas.

Everyone must learn this rule.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC  [#permalink]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

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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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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28 Jun 2019, 07:08
daagh wrote:
How can we reconcile to a past perfect when the phenomenon is still going on. Let us drop all the - had reached choices -. Among B, C and E, although E seems to be the choice by grammar, C is more elegant and pleasant to hear, as I deem it is an acceptable form of idiom to say - under three years.-

If the official answer is not between C and E, then may I seek the OE for justifying the OA.

daagh please refer to the attached screenshot of articles from the Wall Street Journal citing the correct usage of "in under three years"
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WhatsApp Image 2019-06-28 at 8.34.16 PM.jpeg [ 90.77 KiB | Viewed 1257 times ]

Re: Since 1966, roughly 21 percent of those enlisted in the USMC   [#permalink] 28 Jun 2019, 07:08
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