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# The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with

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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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rish2708 wrote:
Hello Experts daagh , GMATNinja ,
I have a small query here:
Will the placement of now matter in the sentence?

Statement 1:
now its numbers are five times greater than when they werewhen the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

Statement 2:
its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

Is there any difference in statement 1 and statement 2?
Although I prefer the second one, I don't think it'll make much of a difference, as the meaning is clear either way.

Now the company's profits are five times greater than they were two years ago.
The company's profits are now five times greater than they were two years ago.

This is assuming that we are not looking at any alternate meanings of now. Otherwise, we could say something like this:
Now, the company's profits are five times greater than they were two years ago. Here the now could be used to emphasize whatever comes after it.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
The subject is gyrfalcon, a singular. So their numbers in C and they in D are wrong, not withstanding the grammar of using the comma itself in these cases. In addition five folds are not the same as five times greater. Five folds are 5x (original x + four folds) while five times greater is 6x (original x+ five times). This subtle point adds a significant alteration to the intent.

In E, the intent is altered by using the preposition with, as if the bird of prey has survived the close brush with extinction because of the five fold numbers now. On the contrary the original passage implies that five time greater number is the result of the survival rather than the cause of the survival.

B is dumped for using the inappropriate comparison term more to denote a countable plural subject numbers.

This leaves the original one as the right choice, which uses the correct description greater than for the countable plural subject of numbers.

If somebody claims Answer is E, I am bound to repudiate.

I struggled btwn A and E , I understood why E is wrong. but I still dont understand in A if it ends with "Than" should be completed with some comparison phrase.
((Number greater than when..)) sounds very awkward.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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Mohammad Ali Khan wrote:
I struggled btwn A and E , I understood why E is wrong. but I still dont understand in A if it ends with "Than" should be completed with some comparison phrase.
((Number greater than when..)) sounds very awkward.
What's happening here is that some words are not being mentioned explicitly in that sentence. Here are a couple of other examples to help you see this:

1. You're taller than when I last saw you.
is the same as
You're taller than you were when I last saw you.

2. Students solve questions more quickly at home than when they are at a test center.
is the same as
Students solve questions more quickly at home than they do when they are at a test center.

Similarly,
Its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted.
is the same as
Its numbers are now five times greater than they were when the use of DDT was sharply restricted.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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boeinz wrote:
The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than

(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than

(C) extinction, their numbers now fivefold what they were

(D) extinction, now with fivefold the numbers they had

(E) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 233: Sentence Correction

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https://www.nytimes.com/1986/01/07/science/science-watch-reduction-of-pesticides-nets-increase-in-bird-populations.html

As recently as a decade ago, the scientists noted, bald eagles were sighted in only 39 states. Now their number has increased by 92 percent to 37,000 and the living national symbol, which feeds mainly on fish, can be sighted in every state but Hawaii. The gyrfalcon, an Arctic species that feeds on snowshoe hares and grouse, has survived a close brush with extinction, its numbers rising fivefold since the early 1970's to 500. The number of peregrine falcons, which breed in cities and wilderness areas across the continent, have climbed 19 percent in 14 years to an estimated total of 1,200. But during the same period the population of Harris's hawk, a dweller of the Southwestern deserts, declined 38 percent to 5,600.

Edit: Watch out - There is a similar but modified version of this question HERE

(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
CORRECT

(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than
When we compare numbers themselves, we use 'greater than'. E.g. five is greater than four. While we use 'more than' to compare things. E.g. I have eaten more food today than yesterday. Thus, 'more than' is wrong here.

(C) extinction, their numbers now fivefold what they were
Few things are wrong here. First, 'their' is wrong as subject is singular. Second, fivefold means 4x greater (original x + 4x), while original meaning conveys 5 times or 6folds (original x + 5 times). Third, 'what' is wrong here because it wants to say 'the things that' So, it would look like ' their numbers now fivefold THE THINGS THAT they were'. Lastly, 'they' is wrong because it refers to what? It intends to refer to bird (which is singular)

(D) extinction, now with fivefold the numbers they had
Same errors as in C. Refer to above for 'fivefold' and 'they'

(E) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were
Here, things are ok until 'what they were'. 'What' means 'the things that'. so if we substitute, it becomes a mess, if the sentence was ' its numbers are now five times greater than they were' then ok, but with 'what' it is nonsense.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Hi GMATNinja

Thanks for your detailed explanations here.

As a follow-up, I think a lot of the confusion, including my own, with A vs. E has to do with the literal interpretation of the comparison as mentioned by another user above:
E reads "extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than they were.... Otherwise, it incorrectly compares "its numbers" with "when the use of DDT was sharply restricted."

The thing that helped me understand why this is false is to think of the use "greater". Its quite common to use "greater" alone, but it is uncommon and perhaps incorrect to say x more than (alone) as the comparison is implied in the word, greater, by itself when we use it to compare numbers.

For example: Things are looking great this financial year; our revenue is 5% greater when the GFC hit, but our costs have shrunk by \$5.0m from the same period.

I interpreted a literal comparison between the "numbers" and "when", perhaps from reading others' explanations on here, but still my own fault!

Please correct me if i'm wrong.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Hi GMATNinja

Looking for a bit more clarity on the comparison part of this question.
Quote:
extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

Looking at option E...would it be correct to say that:

Had the sentence been like " extinction; The numbers of the gyrfalcon are now five times greater than what they were" it was correct.

Thanks
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
daagh wrote:
The subject is gyrfalcon, a singular. So their numbers in C and they in D are wrong, not withstanding the grammar of using the comma itself in these cases. In addition five folds are not the same as five times greater. Five folds are 5x (original x + four folds) while five times greater is 6x (original x+ five times). This subtle point adds a significant alteration to the intent.

In E, the intent is altered by using the preposition with, as if the bird of prey has survived the close brush with extinction because of the five fold numbers now. On the contrary the original passage implies that five time greater number is the result of the survival rather than the cause of the survival.

B is dumped for using the inappropriate comparison term more to denote a countable plural subject numbers.

This leaves the original one as the right choice, which uses the correct description greater than for the countable plural subject of numbers.

If somebody claims Answer is E, I am bound to repudiate.

Sir i have doubt that does original sentence is comparing numbers with numbers i have that doubt as after greater than we need the numbers please explain and that is why i those option E
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
dcummins wrote:
Hi GMATNinja

Thanks for your detailed explanations here.

As a follow-up, I think a lot of the confusion, including my own, with A vs. E has to do with the literal interpretation of the comparison as mentioned by another user above:
E reads "extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than they were.... Otherwise, it incorrectly compares "its numbers" with "when the use of DDT was sharply restricted."

The thing that helped me understand why this is false is to think of the use "greater". Its quite common to use "greater" alone, but it is uncommon and perhaps incorrect to say x more than (alone) as the comparison is implied in the word, greater, by itself when we use it to compare numbers.

For example: Things are looking great this financial year; our revenue is 5% greater when the GFC hit, but our costs have shrunk by \$5.0m from the same period.

I interpreted a literal comparison between the "numbers" and "when", perhaps from reading others' explanations on here, but still my own fault!

Please correct me if i'm wrong.

I think you are on the right track here. Consider the following examples:

• "In 1970, when bird hunting was very popular, the bird's numbers fell to about 100,000. Now, its numbers are five times greater." - We don't need to say, "... Now it's numbers are five times greater than about 100,000" or "Now it's numbers are five times greater than when bird hunting was very popular". It is very clear that we are comparing the current numbers to the 1970 number, so we don't have to repeat those qualifiers. Changing that up a bit, we get the following...
• "The bird's numbers are now five times greater than [the numbers] when bird hunting was very popular in 1970." - Do we really need the part in brackets? Yes, we are comparing two figures, but, from the context, it is clear that we are comparing the current numbers to some numbers in the past. The part in brackets is not necessary, so we can go with something cleaner and less wordy:
• "The bird's numbers are now five times greater than when bird hunting was very popular in 1970." - This is pretty much identical to what's in choice (A). We do not need to repeat "the numbers" because it is clear that we are comparing present numbers to past numbers.

I hope that helps!

rishabhmishra wrote:
Sir i have doubt that does original sentence is comparing numbers with numbers i have that doubt as after greater than we need the numbers please explain and that is why i those option E

gmataaj wrote:
Hi GMATNinja

Looking for a bit more clarity on the comparison part of this question.
Quote:
extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

Looking at option E...would it be correct to say that:

Had the sentence been like " extinction; The numbers of the gyrfalcon are now five times greater than what they were" it was correct.

Thanks

The pronoun in (E) isn't really the issue. Check out this post for an explanation of (A) vs (E), and let us know if you still have questions!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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I was recently pointed by one of my students that the incorrect option (E) in the given question (let's name it Version 1) is the correct option in this question (let's say Version 2): https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-gyrfalco ... 13398.html

In my research, I found out Version 2 in GMAC Paper Test (Test Code 42 Section 5 Question 4). However, I have not been able to find Version 1. Rather, I have found Version 3 in OG 10 (Ques 251), Verbal Review 2017 (Q 208), and Verbal Review 2019 (Q 209). The tags for Version 1 suggest that this version is there in OG 10, VR 2017, and VR 2019. However, Version 1 is not there in these 3 guides.

Given my research, I'm doubtful that Version 1 even exists. Can somebody point to an official guide that has this version?

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daagh wrote:
Let me put it this way. When you are comparing two nouns, the focus is on the nouns and not on the actions. For example:
John is taller than his brother . We don not say John is taller than his brother is. Because the comparison is just between two nouns namely John and his brother and not how tall both are.

However, look at this now.

John jumps higher than his brother- This is wrong; Here we are comparing John’s jumping with his brother‘s jumping, a comparison of two actions and hence both the actions must be explicitly stated.

In the given case, the numbers of the previous times are being compared with the numbers of the present time – essentially a comparison of two nouns. Hence, we can afford to drop the verbal comparison.

Context plays a large role in such cases than any given rule IMO.

Kudos to superfreak for his dogged quest of knowledge

I beg to differ here. I believe both the given examples are incorrect.

"John is taller than his brother is" is absolutely fine.

"John jumps higher than his brother" is also absolutely fine as far as the comparison is concerned.

Let me start with the second one. The reason given to reject the second sentence is that while comparing two actions, the action needs to be explicitly stated in both parts of the comparison. This reasoning is not correct. If the comparison is clear, the action need not be repeated (Doesn't mean that repeating an action is wrong; just that repeating it is optional). There are multiple official questions in which two actions have been compared but the verb (or action) is not repeated in the second part of the comparison. Here are five such sentences from official SC questions:

1. On the tournament roster are listed several tennis students, almost all of whom play as well as their instructor (Link)

In this sentence, the comparison is around "playing" - an action. However, the second part of the comparison "their instructor" doesn't have the verb "plays". The reason is that the comparison is amply clear without repeating the verb in the second part. If we had this verb "play" in the second part, the sentence would still be fine. The verb "play" is thus optional in the second part.

2. Last year, land values in most parts of the pinelands rose almost as fast as, and in some parts even faster than, those outside the pinelands. (Link)

In this sentence, the comparison is around the verb "rose" - which rose faster? Here again, in the second part of the comparison, "those outside the pinelands" is not followed by the verb "rose". If we had this verb "rose" in the second part, the sentence would still be fine. The verb "rose" is thus optional in the second part.

3. Ranked as one of the most important of Europe’s young playwrights, Franz Xaver Kroetz has written forty plays; his works—translated into over thirty languages—are produced more often than those of any other contemporary German dramatist. (Link)

In this sentence, the comparison is around the verb "are produced". In the second part of the comparison here, "those of any other contemporary German dramatist" is not followed by the verb "are produced". If we had this verb "are produced" in the second part, the sentence would still be fine. The verb "are produced" is thus optional in the second part.

4. Salt deposits and moisture threaten to destroy the Mohenjo-Daro excavation in Pakistan, the site of an ancient civilization that flourished at the same time as the civilizations in the Nile delta and the river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates. (Link)

In this sentence, the comparison is around the verb "flourished". In the second part of the comparison here, "the civilizations in the Nile delta and the river valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates" doesn't have the verb "flourished". If we had this verb "flourished" in the second part, the sentence would still be fine. The verb "flourished" is thus optional in the second part.

5. wild animals have less total fat than livestock fed on grain (Link)

In this sentence, the comparison is around the verb "have" - having less fat. In the second part of the comparison here, "livestock fed on grain" doesn't have the verb "have". If we had this verb "have" in the second part, the sentence would still be fine. The verb "have" is thus optional in the second part.

Now, let me talk about the first one: "John is taller than his brother is".

I do not have an official SC question that follows this structure since the verb "is" is usually skipped. However, this doesn't mean that "John is taller than his brother is" is incorrect. I found it hard to research this exact issue. However, when I researched the issue of "than I or than me", it became amply clear that "Ram is taller than I am" is a perfectly fine construction. Many a time, "am" is skipped. So, the sentence becomes "Ram is taller than I". All in all, all three below constructions are correct:

1. Ram is taller than I am.
2. Ram is taller than I.
3. Ram is taller than me.

You can refer to the following this link and this link to be sure that what I am saying is correct

So, we understand that "Ram is taller than I am" is absolutely fine. It's now easier to see that "Ram is taller than Shyam is" should also be correct since it follows the exact same structure. So, "John is taller than his brother is" is also correct.

I hope this post clears some misconceptions.

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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
I have my GMAT in 10 days. I am really concerned about the SC section of VA. What would you recommend me to do in these 10 days to improve my SC section significantly ?
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
tpatel1997 wrote:
I have my GMAT in 10 days. I am really concerned about the SC section of VA. What would you recommend me to do in these 10 days to improve my SC section significantly ?

Hi tpatel1997, no strategy or concepts can be drastically altered within the 10 day duration.

So, my suggestion would be to practice as many official questions as possible and intently read expert explanation for each question on GMATClub, to develop a better sense of what kind of errors GMAT SC tests you on.

Good luck for your exam!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Quote:
The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than
(C) extinction, their numbers now fivefold what they were
(D) extinction, now with fivefold the numbers they had
(E) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

In E, Are 'what they were' and 'when' redundant themselves?
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
TheUltimateWinner wrote:

In E, Are 'what they were' and 'when' redundant themselves?

Hi

"What they were" refers to the number of gyrfalcon that were present in a given scenario. "When" refers to the relevant time period that is being referred to ie; "when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's". These two are not redundant and refer to different things.

As has been detailed in earlier posts, (E) is the same as (A) but for the inclusion of "what they were", which is only serving to make the option wordier and does not add any significant meaning. Hence, between the two, (A) is the better choice.

Hope this helps.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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GMATaxe001 wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
I kinda hate this question. And I swear that I’m basically a very happy person.

Dear GMATNinja, I know you hate this question so I am sorry that I have to bring your attention back to this again.
In your explanation below option B, is it correct to say that "I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike last night"? Should it not be "I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike DID, last night"?, since ate is a verb?

PS : kudos to your SC and RC videos, my accuracy has drastically improved.

To be clear, just because I don't like an SC problem doesn't mean I don't like answering questions about it! And I'm honored that hear that the videos have helped.

When comparing actions, sometimes the second action is implied. For example:

When he was chased by a bear, Tim ran faster than his two-year-old.

There's an implied action here: we mean that Tim ran faster than his two-year-old ran. (Or that Tim ran faster than his two-year-old did.) This is fine: there's no other reasonable way to interpret the sentence, so there's no need to explicitly state the verb.

Same thing with "I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike." No one would read that and think "wait, this person ate more burritos than he ate people named 'Mike?'" Clearly it means that "I" ate more burritos than Mike ate. Because this is logical and unambiguous, even without the verb, there's no need to explicitly state it.

I hope that helps!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
GMATNinja wrote:
Thank you GMATNinja, but I am positing that A is incorrect (not just more concise). A has an incorrect parallelism issue. It would have to read: "extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than they were.... Otherwise, it incorrectly compares "its numbers" with "when the use of DDT was sharply restricted." Am I reading this incorrectly? Would love souvik101990 to weigh in with the source of this Q and reasoning behind OA. I always find it strange when the data reveals overwhelming support for a "wrong" answer (49% chose E vs. 34% for A).

Sadly, (A) is unambiguously the correct answer. It's an official question, straight from the official GMAT verbal guide. And keep in mind that when you take an actual, adaptive GMAT, the test is trying to find the level of question at which you get roughly half of the questions right -- so if this is a 700-level question, we'd expect close to half of the test-takers who get 700s to get it wrong. And in a broader population, we might expect much more than half to miss a really hard question, unfortunately.

Anyway, here are (A) and (E) again:

Quote:
The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's.

(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(E) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

Let me come at (E) from a different direction this time. Sorry friends, I was a little bit lazy above in basically saying "hey, you really don't need the extra words" in (E). But there's a more technical problem: "what" is trying to act as some sort of pronoun in (E), and I don't think that works. "What" can occasionally be used as a pronoun in a non-question (technically, a relative pronoun if you like jargon), but when it is used as a pronoun, it basically is a singular phrase that means "the things that." So these two sentences would be OK:

• "What I did after drinking 17 beers last night was regrettable." --> In other words, "the things that I did last night [were] regrettable." Grammatically, that works fine.
• "Mike couldn't believe what he saw on the beach in Chile." --> Mike couldn't believe "the things that he saw" on the beach. That also works fine.

But in (E)? We have "its numbers are now five times greater than the things that they were when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's." And that doesn't quite make sense.

Honestly, I agree with the heart of what some of you are arguing here. If the sentence said "it's numbers are now five times greater than they were when the use of DDT was sharply restricted...", then I'd be happier. That would set up the comparison nicely. But that's not one of our options, and the word "what" turns (E) into a mess.

In (A), the key is that the comparison isn't fundamentally illogical or confusing -- even though I agree that it would be clearer if "they were" were added. We're directly comparing the numbers in two different time periods: "its numbers are now five times greater than when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's." Logically, that actually makes perfect sense, and the GMAT would argue that there's no need to repeat "they were," because it's clear enough (at least in the GMAT's view) that we're comparing those two time periods. And adding the phrase "what they were" would definitely be wrong in (E), for the reasons I explained above.

To be fair: this one is tricky, and I can't really understand why the GMAT thinks it's important to test these concepts. But (A) is unambiguously correct, sadly.

I hope this helps!

Hi GMATNinja AndrewN

While i agree to the explanation above, there is some sense of ambiguity with option A. In option A, it appears that we are comparing numbers with time, since the part after than begins with "When". When typically denotes time.
In general, when do we know that concision is correct and when do we know that concision is causing ambuguity.
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shanks2020 wrote:
While i agree to the explanation above, there is some sense of ambiguity with option A. In option A, it appears that we are comparing numbers with time, since the part after than begins with "When". When typically denotes time.
In general, when do we know that concision is correct and when do we know that concision is causing ambuguity.

In the vast majority of cases, GMAC abides by the following rule:
When one clause is compared to another, the main verb may be omitted in the second clause if the two clauses are in the SAME TENSE and the implied comparison is clear.

OA: Wild animals have less total fat than livestock fed on grain.
Implied comparison:
Wild animals have less total fat than livestock fed on grain [have total fat].
Here, both clauses are in the same tense, and the implied comparison is clear.

If the two clauses are in different tenses, the second clause will generally supply its own verb.

OA: Demographers would have to know a great deal more than they do now.
Implied comparison:
Demographers would have to know a great deal more than they know now.
Here, the two clauses are in different tenses, so the second clause supplies its own verb (do).

As with virtually every rule, there is an exception.

Forms of to be include the following:
infinitive = to be
simple past singular = was
simple past plural = were

Notice what the two OAs below have in common:

OA: Its numbers are now five times greater than [its numbers were] when the use of DDT was sharply restricted.
OA: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than [heating-oil prices were] last [year].

In each case, the words in brackets are omitted, but their presence is implied.

As indicated by the verbs in red:
Both the antecedent verb in the first clause and the omitted verb in brackets are forms of to be.
The omitted verb in brackets is in the simple past tense.

As indicated by the modifiers in blue:
In each sentence, both clauses conclude with an adverb that refers to time.

The OAs above seem to imply that an omitted verb in the second clause may be in a different tense from the antecedent verb in the first clause if:
Both verbs are forms of to be.
The omitted verb is in the simple past tense.
Both clauses conclude with an adverb that refers to time.

Originally posted by GMATGuruNY on 12 Feb 2021, 04:50.
Last edited by GMATGuruNY on 15 Feb 2021, 15:07, edited 1 time in total.
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