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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]
Hello thereisaFire ,

Thank you for reaching out through the PM.

You said:

Quote:
Hi @egmat,

I have a confusion between choice A and choice B.

First, as per the rules, I believe we can use more than with both countable and uncountable nouns. Is that rule correct?
If yes, then why is option B incorrect here?

Second, the word number seems countable to me as we can count it as 1 number, 2 numbers for this noun. Hence, I believe "number" is a countable noun. In that case, choice A would be wrong.

Thanks.

There is a very simple explanation for this. How do we define 57 > 38? We say 57 is GREATER THAN 38. If we keep this point in mind, we will not have this confusion.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
CEdward wrote:
svasan05 wrote:
CEdward wrote:
Am I missing something here? A, B, and E all compare 'the numbers of the gyrfalcon' to a time as indicated by the presence of the relative modifier 'when'. You can't compare the numbers of the bird with a time...

Hi CEdward

(A) and (B) do not compare numbers to a point or period of time. Let us read (A) again:

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.

The sentence is comparing the numbers at a point in time ("now") to the numbers at another point in time ("when..."). The portion of the clause stating "its numbers" is common to both "now" and "when". It is not correct to consider the numbers only for the "now" portion and not for the "when" portion.

The current version of option (E) does indeed compare numbers to a point in time and is hence incorrect. This was not the case with the earlier version of option (E).

Hope this clarifies.

Thanks for this response.

I am not convinced.

"now" is redundant in the sentence, which would be exactly the same had we dropped it.

What's the indication that we're comparing numbers at another point in time for "when..." in the sentence?

Not sure if it will help, but we touched on this (admittedly) tricky point in this post and then answered a follow-up question in this post. Hopefully those will help a little!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Hi, GMATNinja

I read all your explanations. I understand why A is correct, and how E can be eliminated on the basis of the "what" error (which would have felt really counter-intuitive, had you not provided supporting examples).

While solving the question, I could not help but think about differences in how the comparison is carried out, and the use of "now". Please let me know if my understanding of the comparison, and of the use of "now" is correct.

Issue#1: the comparison (ellipsis)

In A,

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

its numbers, as written in the bracket, does logically fill the ellipsis because numbers is attached to its, meaning we know that the numbers are of the gyrfalcon.

However in E,

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

the numbers, in the bracket, does not clearly indicate whose numbers are referred to. Are these the numbers of the gyrfalcon? Unclear.

I drew a pattern of such questions and discovered that every time an ellipsis is conveyed in the sentence, the its or similar pronouns become important in justifying that ellipsis.

Issue #2: the use and placement of "now"

In A,

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

The placement of "now" is conveying the intended meaning that the numbers are now five times the old numbers.

But in E,

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

What I'm reading is: The gyrfalcon has survived...extinction, now "with" numbers five times greater...
This, to me, implies that the gyrfalcon has survived this time (now) with the help of numbers five times greater than...? I found this illogical and this is what helped me eliminate E while I was solving the problem with the clock ticking.

It would be really helpful if you could clarify my concerns. Thank you!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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, now with numbers five times greater than

Show SpoilerPrevious version of option (E)
(E) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than what they were

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

Hi EducationAisle VeritasKarishma, can you refer any blog/article/post that details out on usage of more and greater, I always find myself in soup when I need to evaluate the correct answer choice, and it becomes even more difficut for me, when I cant confidently evaluate whether the subject is countable or uncountable.

Appreciate the repsonse on this one.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
RohitSaluja wrote:
Hi EducationAisle VeritasKarishma, can you refer any blog/article/post that details out on usage of more and greater, I always find myself in soup when I need to evaluate the correct answer choice, and it becomes even more difficut for me, when I cant confidently evaluate whether the subject is countable or uncountable.

Appreciate the repsonse on this one.

Hi Rohit, our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses the topic of more vs greater. Have attached the corresponding section of the book, for your reference.
Attachments

More Vs Greater.pdf [13.41 KiB]

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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
This as a mathematical expression can be stated with greater than with more

(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than
This is very difficult to distinguish however since greater is better therefore we discard

(C) extinction, their numbers now fivefold what they were
one mistake ig is the absence of as a connector between 5 fold and what

(D) extinction, now with fivefold the numbers they had
The tense is incorrect

(E) extinction, now with numbers five times greater than
This is has to do with the comparison of noun therefore we discard '
Hence IMO C
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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dingodudesir wrote:
Hi, GMATNinja

I read all your explanations. I understand why A is correct, and how E can be eliminated on the basis of the "what" error (which would have felt really counter-intuitive, had you not provided supporting examples).

While solving the question, I could not help but think about differences in how the comparison is carried out, and the use of "now". Please let me know if my understanding of the comparison, and of the use of "now" is correct.

Issue#1: the comparison (ellipsis)

In A,

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

its numbers, as written in the bracket, does logically fill the ellipsis because numbers is attached to its, meaning we know that the numbers are of the gyrfalcon.

However in E,

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

the numbers, in the bracket, does not clearly indicate whose numbers are referred to. Are these the numbers of the gyrfalcon? Unclear.

I drew a pattern of such questions and discovered that every time an ellipsis is conveyed in the sentence, the its or similar pronouns become important in justifying that ellipsis.

Issue #2: the use and placement of "now"

In A,

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

The placement of "now" is conveying the intended meaning that the numbers are now five times the old numbers.

But in E,

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

What I'm reading is: The gyrfalcon has survived...extinction, now "with" numbers five times greater...
This, to me, implies that the gyrfalcon has survived this time (now) with the help of numbers five times greater than...? I found this illogical and this is what helped me eliminate E while I was solving the problem with the clock ticking.

It would be really helpful if you could clarify my concerns. Thank you!

Regarding issue #1: I agree, that the "its" in (A) helps clarify that we are comparing the gyrfalcon's numbers now to the gyrfalcon's numbers in the early 1970's.

Regarding issue #2:

• In (E), the "now" part seems to modify the preceding clause. As you explained, that doesn't make much sense.
• In (A), we have, "its numbers are now five times greater than [they were] when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970's" Here, the "now" part very clearly modifies the verb "are". When are its numbers five times greater than they were when the use of DDT was sharply restricted {...}? Now.

I don't think either of these points is enough to definitively eliminate (E), though. And I certainly wouldn't try to turn these into rules that you can blindly apply to other questions. You looked at the differences, compared those differences based on meaning, realized that these tiny differences made the meaning clearer in (A), and then counted them as votes in favor of (A) over (E) -- and that's exactly the sort of thing that we encourage our students to do.

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

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

Two things jump out at me right away in (A), and neither of them are a problem. First, the semicolon needs to separate two independent clauses, and it does exactly that. Second, the “its” needs to refer back to a singular noun, and it does exactly that – “its” refers to “the gyrfalcon.”

So I wouldn't eliminate (A) right away. But it is awfully similar to (B), so let’s put them side-by-side:
Quote:
(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than

The only difference is that (A) uses the phrase “greater than”, and (B) uses “more than.” In real life, I don’t think that either of these necessarily sounds better than the other, and I probably wouldn't notice if somebody said the incorrect version.

Here’s the thing: if you’re comparing numbers themselves – not quantity in general, but actual numbers – it’s generally better to use “greater than” instead of “more than.” For example, you would read the mathematical expression 20 > 10 as “twenty is greater than ten.”

Or you consider the following two sentences:
• I ate more burritos than Mike last night. → we’re comparing quantities of burritos in general, not the numbers themselves, so “more” is OK
• I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike last night. → now that we’re comparing the numbers, we need to use “greater”
• I ate a more number of burritos than Mike last night. → not remotely tempting to use “more” to compare the numbers themselves in this case, right?

Back to the GMAT question. Since we’re directly and literally comparing the numbers themselves, we need to use “greater than”, and not “more than”.

So we can eliminate (B), and hang onto (A).

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

Hopefully, the pronouns jump right off the page at you. “Their” needs to refer to a plural noun, and… well, we don’t have any plurals earlier in the sentence. “The gyrfalcon” is singular.

So (C) is out.

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

(D) has a similar problem as (C): there’s some general awkwardness, but the much more important issue is that “they” doesn’t have a logical referent. The only plural noun earlier in the sentence is “the numbers”, and that definitely wouldn’t work: “… now with fivefold the numbers the numbers had…” Yikes. Of course, “they” is logically trying to refer to “the gyrfalcon”, and that’s singular.

So (D) is gone, too.

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

(E) is just a crappier version of (A). The only real difference is that (E) adds the phrase “what they were” to the end of the sentence, and there’s no good reason to do that – it adds nothing to the meaning, and just makes the sentence wordier and messier.
[edited by @plaverbach: GMATNinja made a full analysis on A vs E below]

We can eliminate (E), and (A) is the best we can do.

GMATNinja
I am your Big fan, I have watched all your Youtube videos and always scroll down to see if you have explained a certain question! I really love your approach and explanation.

In this particular explanation I have one doubt. You mentioned the following sentence in the explanation which I feel is ambiguous:
I ate more burritos than Mike last night.

Should we not say "I ate more burritos than Mike did last night."?
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Lalitmohan777 wrote:
I am your Big fan, I have watched all your Youtube videos and always scroll down to see if you have explained a certain question! I really love your approach and explanation.

In this particular explanation I have one doubt. You mentioned the following sentence in the explanation which I feel is ambiguous:
I ate more burritos than Mike last night.

Should we not say "I ate more burritos than Mike did last night."?

Thank you for the kind words!

As for your question, you want to bear in mind that sometimes the verb in a comparison can be implied, as long as there's no other reasonable interpretation. In this case, no reader would look at that sentence and think, "Wait. Someone wants to eat burritos more than he wants to eat Mike! Cannibal alert!"

Instead, the reader would recognize that the only way the sentence conveys a sensible meaning is if the second "ate" is implied. "I ate more burritos than Mike [ate.]" That's okay.

If, however, there were a genuine ambiguity, then we'd have a problem. For example, if I wrote "I love burritos more than Mike", this could mean that I love burritos more than Mike loves burritos OR it could mean that I love burritos more than I love Mike. Now we'd want the second verb so that it's clear to the reader what we wish to convey.

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

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

Two things jump out at me right away in (A), and neither of them are a problem. First, the semicolon needs to separate two independent clauses, and it does exactly that. Second, the “its” needs to refer back to a singular noun, and it does exactly that – “its” refers to “the gyrfalcon.”

So I wouldn't eliminate (A) right away. But it is awfully similar to (B), so let’s put them side-by-side:
Quote:
(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than

The only difference is that (A) uses the phrase “greater than”, and (B) uses “more than.” In real life, I don’t think that either of these necessarily sounds better than the other, and I probably wouldn't notice if somebody said the incorrect version.

Here’s the thing: if you’re comparing numbers themselves – not quantity in general, but actual numbers – it’s generally better to use “greater than” instead of “more than.” For example, you would read the mathematical expression 20 > 10 as “twenty is greater than ten.”

Or you consider the following two sentences:
• I ate more burritos than Mike last night. → we’re comparing quantities of burritos in general, not the numbers themselves, so “more” is OK
• I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike last night. → now that we’re comparing the numbers, we need to use “greater”
• I ate a more number of burritos than Mike last night. → not remotely tempting to use “more” to compare the numbers themselves in this case, right?

Back to the GMAT question. Since we’re directly and literally comparing the numbers themselves, we need to use “greater than”, and not “more than”.

So we can eliminate (B), and hang onto (A).

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

Hopefully, the pronouns jump right off the page at you. “Their” needs to refer to a plural noun, and… well, we don’t have any plurals earlier in the sentence. “The gyrfalcon” is singular.

So (C) is out.

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

(D) has a similar problem as (C): there’s some general awkwardness, but the much more important issue is that “they” doesn’t have a logical referent. The only plural noun earlier in the sentence is “the numbers”, and that definitely wouldn’t work: “… now with fivefold the numbers the numbers had…” Yikes. Of course, “they” is logically trying to refer to “the gyrfalcon”, and that’s singular.

So (D) is gone, too.

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

(E) is just a crappier version of (A). The only real difference is that (E) adds the phrase “what they were” to the end of the sentence, and there’s no good reason to do that – it adds nothing to the meaning, and just makes the sentence wordier and messier.
[edited by @plaverbach: GMATNinja made a full analysis on A vs E below]

We can eliminate (E), and (A) is the best we can do.

Hi,
Isn't the comparison inaccurate in A, if I am being literal with meaning, numbers are being compared to a time period?
For this reason only I chose C even though it did the pronoun error
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
AmandeepSingh0796 wrote:
GMATNinja wrote:
I kinda hate this question. And I swear that I’m basically a very happy person.

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

Two things jump out at me right away in (A), and neither of them are a problem. First, the semicolon needs to separate two independent clauses, and it does exactly that. Second, the “its” needs to refer back to a singular noun, and it does exactly that – “its” refers to “the gyrfalcon.”

So I wouldn't eliminate (A) right away. But it is awfully similar to (B), so let’s put them side-by-side:
Quote:
(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than

The only difference is that (A) uses the phrase “greater than”, and (B) uses “more than.” In real life, I don’t think that either of these necessarily sounds better than the other, and I probably wouldn't notice if somebody said the incorrect version.

Here’s the thing: if you’re comparing numbers themselves – not quantity in general, but actual numbers – it’s generally better to use “greater than” instead of “more than.” For example, you would read the mathematical expression 20 > 10 as “twenty is greater than ten.”

Or you consider the following two sentences:
• I ate more burritos than Mike last night. → we’re comparing quantities of burritos in general, not the numbers themselves, so “more” is OK
• I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike last night. → now that we’re comparing the numbers, we need to use “greater”
• I ate a more number of burritos than Mike last night. → not remotely tempting to use “more” to compare the numbers themselves in this case, right?

Back to the GMAT question. Since we’re directly and literally comparing the numbers themselves, we need to use “greater than”, and not “more than”.

So we can eliminate (B), and hang onto (A).

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

Hopefully, the pronouns jump right off the page at you. “Their” needs to refer to a plural noun, and… well, we don’t have any plurals earlier in the sentence. “The gyrfalcon” is singular.

So (C) is out.

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

(D) has a similar problem as (C): there’s some general awkwardness, but the much more important issue is that “they” doesn’t have a logical referent. The only plural noun earlier in the sentence is “the numbers”, and that definitely wouldn’t work: “… now with fivefold the numbers the numbers had…” Yikes. Of course, “they” is logically trying to refer to “the gyrfalcon”, and that’s singular.

So (D) is gone, too.

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

(E) is just a crappier version of (A). The only real difference is that (E) adds the phrase “what they were” to the end of the sentence, and there’s no good reason to do that – it adds nothing to the meaning, and just makes the sentence wordier and messier.
[edited by @plaverbach: GMATNinja made a full analysis on A vs E below]

We can eliminate (E), and (A) is the best we can do.

Hi,
Isn't the comparison inaccurate in A, if I am being literal with meaning, numbers are being compared to a time period?
For this reason only I chose C even though it did the pronoun error

Hi,

Now in LHS of than clearly indicates the time comparsion.

Always remember RHS of than can have verb / noun / and sometimes the entire phrase in ellipsis as long as it doesn't create ambiguity.

Eg I am closer to Penny than Leonard

Take me I = A
Penny = B
And Leonard = C

Now remember this standard ABC test to check ambiguity

AB more than AC

I(A) am closer to Penny(B) than I (A) closer to Leonard

or,

AB more than CB

I (A) am closer to Penny (B) than Leonard (C) is closer to Penny

What the heck? Who is closer to who ? Can't make out of it. Hence meaning ambiguity.

(In such cases we can't keep RHS in ellipsis)

On the contrary if I want relation 1 --> I will add preposition after than ( I am closer to Penny than to leonard)

Or if I want relation 2--> I will explicitly mention verb after than ( I am closer to Penny than Leonard is )

This is where ellipsis was not possible ( omitting preposition or verb was not feasible because of meaning ambiguity)

* Self activity--> Try doing ABC test in option A, you won't find any reason to keep everything RHS of than in ellipsis.

The biggest battle in this question is between Greater and More. I am attaching one framework below that might help you in this.

Posted from my mobile device
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
AmandeepSingh0796 wrote:
Hi,
Isn't the comparison inaccurate in A, if I am being literal with meaning, numbers are being compared to a time period?
For this reason only I chose C even though it did the pronoun error

As explained in that post, the comparison isn't fundamentally illogical or confusing in (A). And, as you mentioned, (C) has a glaring pronoun error, so it has to be eliminated. Unfortunately, (A) is the best we can do here!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
lets say we have

''its numbers are now five times lower than before''

isn't 'lower' here literally means lower in height or something.

when do we use less/lesser/lower
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
himanshu0123 wrote:
lets say we have

''its numbers are now five times lower than before''

isn't 'lower' here literally means lower in height or something.

when do we use less/lesser/lower

Hello himanshu0123,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, the use of "lower" need not refer to a literal "lower" physical position; it can also metaphorically mean "lesser".

Further, "less" and "lesser" are used to refer to singular nouns and uncountable nouns.

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

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

Two things jump out at me right away in (A), and neither of them are a problem. First, the semicolon needs to separate two independent clauses, and it does exactly that. Second, the “its” needs to refer back to a singular noun, and it does exactly that – “its” refers to “the gyrfalcon.”

So I wouldn't eliminate (A) right away. But it is awfully similar to (B), so let’s put them side-by-side:
Quote:
(A) extinction; its numbers are now five times greater than
(B) extinction; its numbers are now five times more than

The only difference is that (A) uses the phrase “greater than”, and (B) uses “more than.” In real life, I don’t think that either of these necessarily sounds better than the other, and I probably wouldn't notice if somebody said the incorrect version.

Here’s the thing: if you’re comparing numbers themselves – not quantity in general, but actual numbers – it’s generally better to use “greater than” instead of “more than.” For example, you would read the mathematical expression 20 > 10 as “twenty is greater than ten.”

Or you consider the following two sentences:
• I ate more burritos than Mike last night. → we’re comparing quantities of burritos in general, not the numbers themselves, so “more” is OK
• I ate a greater number of burritos than Mike last night. → now that we’re comparing the numbers, we need to use “greater”
• I ate a more number of burritos than Mike last night. → not remotely tempting to use “more” to compare the numbers themselves in this case, right?

Back to the GMAT question. Since we’re directly and literally comparing the numbers themselves, we need to use “greater than”, and not “more than”.

So we can eliminate (B), and hang onto (A).

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

Hopefully, the pronouns jump right off the page at you. “Their” needs to refer to a plural noun, and… well, we don’t have any plurals earlier in the sentence. “The gyrfalcon” is singular.

So (C) is out.

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

(D) has a similar problem as (C): there’s some general awkwardness, but the much more important issue is that “they” doesn’t have a logical referent. The only plural noun earlier in the sentence is “the numbers”, and that definitely wouldn’t work: “… now with fivefold the numbers the numbers had…” Yikes. Of course, “they” is logically trying to refer to “the gyrfalcon”, and that’s singular.

So (D) is gone, too.

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

(E) is just a crappier version of (A). The only real difference is that (E) adds the phrase “what they were” to the end of the sentence, and there’s no good reason to do that – it adds nothing to the meaning, and just makes the sentence wordier and messier.
[edited by @plaverbach: GMATNinja made a full analysis on A vs E below]

We can eliminate (E), and (A) is the best we can do.

GMATNinja,
Thank you sir for the nice explanation. I'm confused on this question as this one has one more similar official version. According to you this choice (E) is the crappier version of A but this version (E) is also the right choice in another similar official question.

In the following question, choice A is the correct one which resembles choice E in the question that we have in our hand.
https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-gyrfalco ... 13398.html

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

(A) its numbers are now five times greater than what they were when
(B) its numbers now fivefold what they were when
(C) its numbers now five times more than when
(D) now with fivefold the numbers it had when
(E) now with its numbers five greater since
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
Eliminates d on basis of pronoun they. e on basis of what.
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
TBT wrote:
Eliminates d on basis of pronoun they. e on basis of what.

Hello TBT,

We hope this finds you well.

To answer your query, yes; Option D incorrectly modifies “close brush with extinction” using “now with fivefold the numbers they had…1970s”, illogically implying that close brush with extinction has fivefold the numbers the gyrfalcon had when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970s.; the intended meaning of this sentence is that the gyrfalcon is an Arctic bird of prey that has survived a close brush with extinction, as evidenced by the fact that its numbers are now five times greater than its numbers when the use of DDT was sharply restricted in the early 1970s; remember, in a “noun + comma + phrase” construction, the phrase must correctly modify the noun.

Option E displays a similar error in modifying “close brush with extinction” using “now with numbers five times greater than…1970s”.

To understand the concept of "Phrase Comma Subject" and "Subject Comma Phrase" on GMAT, you may want to watch the following video (~1 minute):

All the best!
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Re: The gyrfalcon, an Arctic bird of prey, has survived a close brush with [#permalink]
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