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UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012

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UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2015, 17:33
mvictor wrote:
Mike, I agree with you. The answer should present new information so that to make the argument less believable, but my concern though is that age of marriege can be interpreted as the period during which people are married. Maybe because i am a non native speaker, and thus such expressions are not familiar to me. When i meant "inferred" i meant from the answer choice and not the argument.
Let's say that statement a talks about the average time during which people stay married - this has absolutely no influence on the main conclusion.
If the answer choice stated that the average age when women decide to get married has increased - i would have picked the answer without any doubt. I hope i made myself clear this time :)

Dear mvictor:
I'm happy to respond, my friend. :-) I think you have made yourself clear.

The prompt concerns the "marriage rate (that is the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year)." The denominator are all the "unmarried women," the women eligible to marry for their first time. Any woman who gets married and later divorces or is widowed may be single and eligible to marry again, but such a woman would not be included in this particular statistic, the "marriage rate." How long a marriage lasts is indeed irrelevant to the question. All that matters is when women first get married.

I think your question is a very unusual idiom question. The phrase "the age of marriage," to a native English speaker, could only mean the age a person is when he or she gets married. The states in the US define minimum age of marriage, which varies from state to state. Without parental consent, folks can't married until they are 18, but with parental consent the age of marriage can be a low as 12(!) Logically I see how someone interpreting English from a non-native perspective might think "the age of marriage" might refer to how long two people were married, but it's hard to explain----there is absolutely no way those words would be used to refer to that idea. If we were talking about how long people were married, we might talk about "the average length of marriages" or "the average duration of marriages" or "the average length of time people were married." At least in English, it would be very confusing to speak about the marriage of two people as having its own "age," because this easily could get confused with statements about the "ages" of the individuals.

In English, people have ages, and it is natural to speak of plants and animals having ages----one's cat's age, or the age of a particularly large tree, for example. The word "age" would be a very funny word to refer to an inanimate object, such as a car, unless we were really personifying the object in a metaphorical way. The word "age" is not a word typically used of institutions, or governments, or agreements between people---including marriage. It would be perfectly natural to say
The United States of America is 239 years old.
but it would sound a little awkward to say
The age of the United States of America is 239 years.
For all kinds of inanimate objects (cars, appliances, buildings, etc.) it is quite natural to use the former construction, "X is N years old" but the word "age" is not used.

For a marriage, we neither speak of the "age" of the marriage nor say that a certain marriage is "20 years old." Instead, we would speak of the "length" of a marriage, the "duration" of a marriage, and we would say:
Those two people have been married for 20 years.

My friend, I completely understand how this idiom difficulty derailed you in this particular CR question. In my understanding, this may be a problem with the question that a private test company writes, but this would not be a problem on the real GMAT, on which each question has been subjected to repeated and rigorous testing. Nevertheless, it does raise the issue of the many layers of challenge on the Verbal section for a non-native speaker. My friend, there is no way to learn a complete list of all possible idioms and rules. The only way to develop an "ear" for the language is to cultivate a habit of reading. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2015, 19:11
mikemcgarry wrote:
mvictor wrote:
Mike, I agree with you. The answer should present new information so that to make the argument less believable, but my concern though is that age of marriege can be interpreted as the period during which people are married. Maybe because i am a non native speaker, and thus such expressions are not familiar to me. When i meant "inferred" i meant from the answer choice and not the argument.
Let's say that statement a talks about the average time during which people stay married - this has absolutely no influence on the main conclusion.
If the answer choice stated that the average age when women decide to get married has increased - i would have picked the answer without any doubt. I hope i made myself clear this time :)

Dear mvictor:
I'm happy to respond, my friend. :-) I think you have made yourself clear.

The prompt concerns the "marriage rate (that is the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year)." The denominator are all the "unmarried women," the women eligible to marry for their first time. Any woman who gets married and later divorces or is widowed may be single and eligible to marry again, but such a woman would not be included in this particular statistic, the "marriage rate." How long a marriage lasts is indeed irrelevant to the question. All that matters is when women first get married.

I think your question is a very unusual idiom question. The phrase "the age of marriage," to a native English speaker, could only mean the age a person is when he or she gets married. The states in the US define minimum age of marriage, which varies from state to state. Without parental consent, folks can't married until they are 18, but with parental consent the age of marriage can be a low as 12(!) Logically I see how someone interpreting English from a non-native perspective might think "the age of marriage" might refer to how long two people were married, but it's hard to explain----there is absolutely no way those words would be used to refer to that idea. If we were talking about how long people were married, we might talk about "the average length of marriages" or "the average duration of marriages" or "the average length of time people were married." At least in English, it would be very confusing to speak about the marriage of two people as having its own "age," because this easily could get confused with statements about the "ages" of the individuals.

In English, people have ages, and it is natural to speak of plants and animals having ages----one's cat's age, or the age of a particularly large tree, for example. The word "age" would be a very funny word to refer to an inanimate object, such as a car, unless we were really personifying the object in a metaphorical way. The word "age" is not a word typically used of institutions, or governments, or agreements between people---including marriage. It would be perfectly natural to say
The United States of America is 239 years old.
but it would sound a little awkward to say
The age of the United States of America is 239 years.
For all kinds of inanimate objects (cars, appliances, buildings, etc.) it is quite natural to use the former construction, "X is N years old" but the word "age" is not used.

For a marriage, we neither speak of the "age" of the marriage nor say that a certain marriage is "20 years old." Instead, we would speak of the "length" of a marriage, the "duration" of a marriage, and we would say:
Those two people have been married for 20 years.

My friend, I completely understand how this idiom difficulty derailed you in this particular CR question. In my understanding, this may be a problem with the question that a private test company writes, but this would not be a problem on the real GMAT, on which each question has been subjected to repeated and rigorous testing. Nevertheless, it does raise the issue of the many layers of challenge on the Verbal section for a non-native speaker. My friend, there is no way to learn a complete list of all possible idioms and rules. The only way to develop an "ear" for the language is to cultivate a habit of reading. See:
http://magoosh.com/gmat/2014/how-to-imp ... bal-score/

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)



Thank you Mike for your valuable time and for the great explanation. Indeed, the verbal part is very challenging for a non-native speaker, especially when English is the second foreign language, yet I believe that even non-native speakers can achieve great results, especially by having such discussions on gmatclub. I thank you one more time for clarifying this mysterious idiom.

P.S. I have been a subscriber of Magoosh for over a year, your explanations are always top-notch.

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2017, 08:59
Hi expert,
Do we count those women who are currently unmarried but got marriage at least once unmarried?

If it counts,choice B maybe another contender as the number of unmarried women will rise.This will also weaken the argument.(i.e. the number of women getting married is the same,while the number of unmarried women rise)

Did I miss anything?
Thanks

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2017, 11:31
sleepynut wrote:
Hi expert,
Do we count those women who are currently unmarried but got marriage at least once unmarried?

If it counts,choice B maybe another contender as the number of unmarried women will rise.This will also weaken the argument.(i.e. the number of women getting married is the same,while the number of unmarried women rise)

Did I miss anything?
Thanks

Dear sleepynut,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's the prompt again.
UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year) fell from 110 marriages a year per 1,000 unmarried women to just 37, a stunning 66 percent decline. Given this trend, there will likely be no women getting married for the first time by 2050!

My friend, the language of GMAT CR is precise, and you have to read these prompt very carefully. You have to take the prompt as a whole and understand it all together, contextually.

Think about it. The focus of the question is "adult women over 16 who get married for the first time." Thus, a woman who is currently not married and who never was married would count, but not a woman is who currently unmarried but who was married at some previous point.

You can't look at the word "unmarried" in the middle of the prompt and try to interpret it while ignoring what else was said in the prompt. The prompt forms a coherent whole that you need to apprehend.

Does this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 27 Jan 2017, 20:56
Hi mikemcgarry,
Thanks for your response. :-D
I'm aware that we are talking about adult women over 16 who get married for the first time;however,my question is that as we are dealing with the ratio of those women over unmarried women,does the unmarried women include those who once married but now divorce?

This argument starts from the lowering marriage rate,then concludes that there will be no more marriage for the first time in 2050!!
Definitely,there is a flaw.My thought is that what if women still get married,but somehow the ratio goes down.
Option B tells us that the divorce rate will rise.I interpret this as the number of unmarried women will rise;hence,the marriage rate will fall even there is still the same number of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year.

Hope I did better to convey my thoughts
Thanks

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2017, 19:06
sleepynut wrote:
Hi mikemcgarry,
Thanks for your response. :-D
I'm aware that we are talking about adult women over 16 who get married for the first time;however,my question is that as we are dealing with the ratio of those women over unmarried women,does the unmarried women include those who once married but now divorce?

This argument starts from the lowering marriage rate,then concludes that there will be no more marriage for the first time in 2050!!
Definitely,there is a flaw.My thought is that what if women still get married,but somehow the ratio goes down.
Option B tells us that the divorce rate will rise.I interpret this as the number of unmarried women will rise;hence,the marriage rate will fall even there is still the same number of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year.

Hope I did better to convey my thoughts
Thanks

Dear sleepynut,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Once again, I will say that the answer is already in the prompt. Here, once again, is the prompt:
Between 1962 and 2012, the marriage rate (that is the percentage of adult women over 16 who get married for the first time each year) .....
In other words, of all the woman who possibly could get married for the first time, what percent of them do? That percent is the rate. Anyone who has already gotten married for the first time, whether they are still married or divorced or whatever, is irrelevant to this rate, and has no business in the denominator. The rate is about "married for the first time" out of "all with no prior experience of marriage at all." The rate would be zero if all the women who had no previous experience of marriage at all remained unmarried: it wouldn't change the first-time marriage rate at all if a large number of already married women divorced and remarried, some grand husband-swapping ritual. By contrast, the rate would be 100% if every women with no prior experience of marriage ran to the altar to get married for the first time. In order to be a realistic percentage that can go from 0% to 100%, it would have to have as its denominator only all the women who had no prior experience of marriage, that is, only those women capable of having the experience of getting married for the first time. If we included also all the unmarried women who were married before, then those woman would be unable to show up in the numerator, and the percent could never go up to 100%, so it would not be a true rate.

You see, my friend, you have to understand how a real world rate works. In order for a real world rate to be a percentage, it must be possible and meaningful for that percentage to go from 0% to 100%. There are some exceptions to this pattern in Physics (e.g. thermodynamic efficiency, which has an upper limit governed by the Second Law), but in the social sciences, this is how rates tend to be defined.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 04 Sep 2017, 08:34
mikemcgarry wrote:
Dear aditya8062,
I am happy to respond to your private message. :-) I see you already have gotten some explanations from the brilliant Karishma. I will explain as best I can.

This is a very well written question, and the answer is very tricky to understand.

Let's say that in the 1960s, up to 1992, the average marrying age was 20. Let's say, for simplicity that the average marrying age in 2012 is 35. Now, think about all the women in the 20-35 age range. In 1962, many of them would be married already, and the many of the one who hadn't been married yet would be trying to get married ---- if the average marrying age was 20, then a 28-year-old unmarried woman would be worried and feel pressure to get married, and so many of the unmarried women in the 20-35 range would be apt to get married.

Now, fast-forward to 2012. In 2012, most of the women in the 20-35 range are unmarried, and there's no social pressure to get married at this "young" age, because at this point, people tend to get married at 35. So there would be very little incentive for people to "rush" to get married, and the percentage of women in this age bracket now would have a very low marriage rate --- not because they never plan to get married, but because they plan to get married later, when they are 35.

Another way to say this is --- if women on average get married later, then each woman spends a greater fraction of her life unmarried. If every woman spends a greater fraction of her life unmarried, that increases the total number of unmarried women alive at any one time. If the number of marriages stays the same, and the number of unmarried women alive at any one time increases, then the rate (marriages/unmarried women) will decrease --- make a denominator bigger, and the fraction decreases, even when the numerator stays constant.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)


The logic in this question is very hard to understand. If average age of marriage is increasing- that would mean that the women are getting married, just at a later age? So if the women who were once getting married at 16 are now getting married at 35, (ie same pool of women/#/etc), how is that decreasing the marriage rate, which is defined as over 16?

So for example: Let's say average marriage age increased from 16 to 35. In a particular year, you have a "batch" of 16 year olds who are not marrying because average marriage age has increased (though they would have in the past) and in that same year, you also have a "batch" of 35 year olds who are getting married (they would have already been married in the past), offsetting the dip in the 16 year olds marriages.

mikemcgarry can you help?

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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012 [#permalink]

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New post 05 Sep 2017, 14:36
omizzle wrote:
The logic in this question is very hard to understand. If average age of marriage is increasing- that would mean that the women are getting married, just at a later age? So if the women who were once getting married at 16 are now getting married at 35, (ie same pool of women/#/etc), how is that decreasing the marriage rate, which is defined as over 16?

So for example: Let's say average marriage age increased from 16 to 35. In a particular year, you have a "batch" of 16 year olds who are not marrying because average marriage age has increased (though they would have in the past) and in that same year, you also have a "batch" of 35 year olds who are getting married (they would have already been married in the past), offsetting the dip in the 16 year olds marriages.

mikemcgarry can you help?

Dear omizzle,

I'm happy to respond. :-)

Here's what's really tricky about this scenario: it's about a rate. The rate is "X marriages a year per 1,000 unmarried women." That's a fraction, and to determine what happens to the value of a fraction, we need to look at both the numerator and the denominator.

You were looking only at the numerator, number of marriages. Technically, there are slightly few 35 year old, because it's a very sad fact of life that a small number of people die between the ages of 16 and 35. If the marriage age went up from 16 to 35, all these unfortunate women would die unmarried. That, though, is a fraction of 1% of the population, so we can ignore that. Let's say, as a good approximation, that the number of 16 yo getting married in 1962 is essentially the same as the number of 35 yo woman getting married in 2012. We can agree the the numerator of the fraction, number of marriages, remains more or less unchanged.

My friend, you were ignoring the denominator of the fraction, the pool of unmarried women. Let's pretend, for simplicity, that in 1962, every woman got married at 16 yo. Let's pretend, for simplicity, that in 2012, every woman got married at 35 yo. How would the number of unmarried women older than 16 compare in those two years? In both cases, there would be some much older women, divorced or widowed, who would be single. In the idealized 1962 scenario, those older women who lost a husband would be the only unmarried women, and that would be a relatively small number. In the idealized 2012 scenario, to those older women we add ALL the women between the ages of 16 and 35, a huge number of women. Thus, the number of unmarried women older than 16 yo is much much bigger in 2012.

If we keep the numerator more or less the same size, and increase the denominator, what does this do to the fraction? Of course, the fraction is smaller, so the rate would be smaller.

Does all this make sense?
Mike :-)
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Re: UCLA Sociologist: Between 1962 and 2012   [#permalink] 05 Sep 2017, 14:36

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