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# Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail

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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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We covered this one in a recent YouTube webinar on comparisons, so if you prefer your explanations in video form, head on over here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dsa-RaX765o

Quote:
A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail
This one is similar to Monday’s QOTD: basically, the first order of business is to notice the word “unlike”, and then make sure that the two things that follow can logically be compared to each other. And in (A), we clearly have a problem: “Unlike mainstream American businesses…, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community…” Nope, we can’t compare “businesses” with a “failure rate for businesses.”

So (A) is out.

Quote:
B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than
half
(B) has exactly the same problem as (A): “Unlike mainstream American businesses…, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community…” It’s still wrong to compare any type of “businesses” to “the failure rate for businesses.”

I’m also really uncomfortable with the phrase between the commas: “in which the failure rate is more than half”. First of all, I’m not sure that “in” is the right preposition here. The failure rate is inside the businesses, somehow? (“The files are IN the computer?!”) Second, I’m not crazy about the phrase “the failure rate is more than half.” Half of what? I guess we can assume that it’s half of the total, but we could also do much better.

And even if you don’t buy anything I wrote in that last paragraph, the comparison is still very, very wrong, so we can ditch (B).

Quote:
C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail
(C) has exactly the same problem as (A) and (B): “Unlike mainstream American businesses…, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community…” It’s still wrong to compare any type of “businesses” to “the failure rate for businesses.”

Plus, the use of the modifier “where” is pretty illogical. A modifier beginning with “where” needs to modify a place or location of some sort. And sure, I suppose that “mainstream American businesses” are sometimes places, but there’s no good reason for us to emphasize the idea that “more than half of them fail” at the location of the businesses themselves.

And again: even if you don’t give a crap about anything I wrote in that last paragraph, the comparison is still very, very wrong. (C) is gone.

Quote:
D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half
The phrase “the rate of… failing is more than half” is an absolute mess. You could say “more than half of businesses fail” or maybe “the rate of failure is greater than 50%” – but I’m not even sure that that last one is ideal, when we could just say that more than half of businesses fail. But it’s definitely wrong to say “the rate of failing.”

So (D) is gone, and I really really hope that we like (E)…

Quote:
E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail
Party on, this fixes our problem with (D), and sets up the comparison in a completely reasonable and logical way: “While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.” We have two nice, clean clauses that nicely express the comparison between the failure rates of two types of businesses.

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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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ritjn2003
Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for
businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.
A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail
B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than
half
C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail
D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half
E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail

D looks correct but it has 2 major problems:

(1) incorrect construction "of + NOUN + ing form of verb".
(2)it's unidiomatic to say that a RATE is "half" (or "more/less than half"). you could say that a rate is 50%, but not "half".

IMO 'E'
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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Dear Friends,

Here is a detailed explanation to this question-
ritjn2003
Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

(A) Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail

(B) Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half

(C) Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail

(D) While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half

(E) While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail

Meaning is crucial to solving this problem:
Understanding the intended meaning is key to solving this question; the intended meaning of this sentence is that more than half of mainstream American businesses fail, but the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

Concepts tested here: Meaning + Comparisons + Pronouns + Awkwardness/Redundancy

• Comparison must always be made between similar elements.
• "where" can only be used to refer to a physical location.

A: This answer choice incorrectly compares "mainstream American businesses" to "the failure rate...Amish community"; please remember, a comparison must always be made between similar elements.

B: This answer choice incorrectly compares "mainstream American businesses" to "the failure rate...Amish community"; please remember, a comparison must always be made between similar elements. Further, Option B alters the meaning of the sentence through the phrase "in which the failure rate is more than half"; the construction of this phrase leads to an incoherent meaning; the intended meaning is that more than half of mainstream American businesses fail.

C: This answer choice incorrectly compares "mainstream American businesses" to "the failure rate...Amish community"; please remember, a comparison must always be made between similar elements. Further, Option C incorrectly refers to "mainstream American businesses" with "where"; please remember, "where" can only be used to refer to a physical location.

D: Trap. This answer choice alters the meaning of the sentence through the clause "the rate is...more than half"; the construction of this phrase leads to an incoherent meaning; the intended meaning is that more than half of mainstream American businesses fail. Further, Option D uses the needlessly wordy phrase "the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half", leading to awkwardness and redundancy.

E: Correct. This answer choice avoids the comparison error seen in Options A, B, and C, as it does not directly draw a comparison. Further, Option E uses the clause "more than half of mainstream American businesses fail", conveying the intended meaning - that more than half of mainstream American businesses fail. Additionally, Option E avoids the pronoun error seen in Option C, as it does not use "where". Besides, Option E is free of any awkwardness or redundancy.

Hence, E is the best answer choice.

All the best!
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail - American businesses compared with the failure rate
B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than
half - American businesses compared with the failure rate
C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail - American businesses compared with the failure rate, and where is used for places
D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half - awkward construction
E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail -Correct
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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None of the options beginning with "unlike" compare the rates and hence A,B & C can be eliminated. D has a meaning and clarity problem.. While the original sentence means that more than 50% fail, this sentence at best would mean that 0.5% fail.. E is the only remaining option.
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

With Like and unlike we compare nouns. In the structure "Like A,B verb object", nouns A and B should be comparable.

Here mainstream American business is illogically compared with failure rate.

Lets do POE

A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail,

Illogical comparison as analyzed above.

B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half,

Illogical comparison as suggested above. Rate is more than half ia wrong. Half of what?

C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail,
Illogical comparison as suggested above. Usage of where is wrong. Where is used only to refer to places.

D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half,
Half of what? We need something like half of X.

Further, failing is wrong. Here failing is acting like a modifier modifying businesses so essentially here we are talking about "rate of American businesses" and the fact that they are failing is something suggested in addition. Here the emphasis is on the failure rate of American businesses. "Rate of American businesses" is also illogical. Read this part as follows and error will be clear:

While the rate of American businesses (that are failing) is more than half.

E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail,

This is correct. "While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail" is an adverbial/dependent clause preceding theaim clause.

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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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When we start a sentence with "unlike X, Y", we have to follow the following rules:
1. A comparison has already been started between X and Y.
2. X cannot be a clause.
3. X cannot be a prepositional phrase.
4. X and Y MUST be grammatically and logically parallel.

For this question, we have to use COMPARISON and MEANING to pick the correct answer.

Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail
Wrong. incorrect comparison (mainstream American business vs the rate)

B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half
Wrong. incorrect comparison (mainstream American business vs the rate)

C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail
Wrong. incorrect comparison (mainstream American business vs the rate). Also "where" is wrong because where is only used to refer places.

D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half
Wrong. correct comparison, but WRONG MEANING. "The rate is more than half" does not make sense. Half of what? half of 1% (0.5%); or half of 100% (50%). We never say "the rate is half". It's wrong.
i. The expression “businesses failing” the way it appears in this choice is not idiomatic.
ii. The phrase “rate is more than half” is not idiomatic. The correct expression is “rate is less than 50%” or "rate is more than 10%".

E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail
Correct. "more than half of X fail" = the rate is more than 50%. MEANING is the first priority in this question.
The first thing to note here is that we are not bound by the limitations of “Unlike” in this choice. Here “more than half” denotes the rate of the mainstream American businesses that fail. So the comparison is logical. And construction is also parallel because we have clauses on both sides of comma for comparison. This structure is more relaxed than that with “unlike”
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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Hello,

Actually, this official question is brilliantly crafted. It kind of plays a mind game with test takers.

The original sentence starts with the word Unlike. So even before reading the entire sentence we make up our mind to tally the noun following unlike with the main subject.

Needless to say that mainstream American businesses is definitely not logically parallel to the failure rate.

Now since we have started our analysis this way, and we are habitual to see very straight forward comparisons in such sentence ans since, the noun the failure rate falls in the non-underlined portion of the sentence, we in our mind conceive that the contrasting word HAS TO BE FOLLOWED by logically comparable entity such as failure rate or rate of failure, etc.

Because of this preconceived notion, it is difficult for us to accept Choice E as the correct answer because while is followed by more than half of mainstream American businesses, a noun very similar to what we saw in Choice A after unlike and hence we rejected that choice.

The thing to note here is that although while presents a contrast, it does NOT have a strict structure as we see in the case of unlike.

It is not mandatory to have the same sort of subjects in two clauses presenting contrast/comparison. Such two clauses must present logical contrast/comparison without any ambiguity. And this is exactly what Choice E does.

It does present the logical contrast in correct grammar. It clearly conveys that while more than half of business A fails, the failure rate of business B is limited.

From meaning point of view there is no issue at all.

Again, if we talk about grammatical structure, then the sentence employs the structure while X, Y in which both X and Y are clauses. So where is the issue?

At e-GMAT, we always emphasize on paying attention to the meaning more than grammar. Such questions drive the same point home with a little more emphasis.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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Hi sdas,
This is in response to your PM.

Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

Meaning Analysis:

Half of mainstream American businesses fail. But this is not the case with Amish community businesses. Their failure rate is just around 5 percent.

Error Analysis:

One thing we need to heed here is that when we use the word “Unlike/like” for comparison, we must make sure that the entity compared should be grammatically and logically parallel.
So, per this rule, the original sentence is incorrect because in presence of “Unlike”, “mainstream American businesses” cannot be logically compared to “the failure rate”.

PoE:

A. Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail: Incorrect for the reason stated above.

B. Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half: Incorrect.
i. This choice repeats the error of choice A.
ii. The phrase “rate is more than half” is not idiomatic. The correct expression is “rate is less than 50%”.

C. Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail: Incorrect.
i. This choice repeats the error of choice A.
ii. Use of “where more than…” is not correct.

D. While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half: Incorrect.
i. The expression “businesses failing” the way it appears in this choice is not idiomatic.
ii. The phrase “rate is more than half” is not idiomatic. The correct expression is “rate is less than 50%”.

E. While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail: Correct. The first thing to note here is that we are not bound by the limitations of “Unlike” in this choice. Here “more than half” denotes the rate of the mainstream American businesses that fail. So the comparison is logical. And construction is also parallel because we have clauses on both sides of comma for comparison. This structure is more relaxed than that with “unlike”

Hope this helps.
Thanks.

---

Thank you. I understood why D is wrong. But still not clear why E is right. In E we are comparing "half of mainstream American businesses" with failure rate. How is that correct? If we correct the mistakes in 'D' would it be better choice?
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
rashwiniyer
Thank you. I understood why D is wrong. But still not clear why E is right. In E we are comparing "half of mainstream American businesses" with failure rate. How is that correct? If we correct the mistakes in 'D' would it be better choice?
Option E does not include a direct comparison between two nouns. The initial part of the sentence is:

While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail...

There is a verb (fail) at the end.
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
GMATNinja, isn't option E comparing verb to a noun?
more than half of mainstream American businesses fail vs failure rate?
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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GMATNinja, isn't option E comparing verb to a noun?
more than half of mainstream American businesses fail vs failure rate?

No,

Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

(E) While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail
You can re-write it as :
While 50+ % xx business fail, failure rate xx

50+% vs failure rate
failure rate ( with efficiency less than 50% ) vs around 5% failure rate

Structure: [While Noun <verb> , Noun ]
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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ritjn2003
Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

(A) Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail

(B) Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half

(C) Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail

(D) While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half

(E) While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail

This question is based on Comparison.

The sentence begins with the conjunction ‘unlike’ or ‘while’, which implies a contrast. The contrast or comparison is with the “failure rate for businesses in the Amish community”.

Options A, B, and C contrast American businesses with the failure rate. Since this comparison is illogical, these three options can be eliminated.

Furthermore, in Option B, the modifier “in which the failure rate is more than half” is awkward and wordy. It conveys the meaning that the failure rate is in the businesses. So, that is another reason to rule out Option B.

In Option C, the adverb ‘where’ is inappropriate since it is usually used to convey a sense of the place of an action. Businesses are not places of action. So, Option C can also be ruled out on this basis.

Option D is wordy and the phrase “the rate of mainstream American businesses failing” is wordy and unclear. So, Option D can also be ruled out.

In Option E, the comparison is appropriate. “More than half” can be logically compared to the failure rate of businesses. Therefore, E is the most appropriate option.

Jayanthi Kumar.
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
ritjn2003
Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail, the failure rate for businesses in the Amish community hovers around 5 percent.

(A) Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail

(B) Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half

(C) Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail

(D) While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half

(E) While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail

Verbal Question of The Day: Day 183: Sentence Correction

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Show SpoilerArticle

The businesses, which favor such Amish skills as furniture-making, quilting, construction work and cooking, have been remarkably successful. Despite a lack of even a high school education (the Amish leave school after the eighth grade), hundreds of Amish entrepreneurs have built profitable businesses based on the Amish values of high quality, integrity and hard work. A 2004 Goshen College study reported that the failure rate of Amish businesses is less than 5 percent, compared with a national small-business default rate that is far higher. (According to a federal study, only two-thirds of all small-business start-ups survive the first two years and fewer than half make it to four years.)

Show SpoilerArticle

Professor Kraybill, who co-wrote “Amish Enterprise: From Plow to Profits,” estimates that more than half of Amish households now earn their primary income from small business rather than farming and in some Amish settlements (there are more than 400 different settlements in North America), the percentage of households earning their income from nonfarming commerce is over 90 percent.

The businesses, which favor such Amish skills as furniture-making, quilting, construction work and cooking, have been remarkably successful. Despite a lack of even a high school education (the Amish leave school after the eighth grade), hundreds of Amish entrepreneurs have built profitable businesses based on the Amish values of high quality, integrity and hard work. A 2004 Goshen College study reported that the failure rate of Amish businesses is less than 5 percent, compared with a national small-business default rate that is far higher. (According to a federal study, only two-thirds of all small-business start-ups survive the first two years and fewer than half make it to four years.)

This is a comparison question, solved as below:

(A) Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail --- Incorrect, as the comparison entities are not the same. For example, Unlike Jack, Chris plays Tennis. Comparing Apple to apple
(B) Unlike mainstream American businesses, in which the failure rate is more than half --- Incorrect same stated in A

(C) Unlike mainstream American businesses, where more than half of them fail --- Incorrect same stated in A

(D) While the rate of mainstream American businesses failing is more than half --- Incorrect, as the comparison is not complete, IS MORE THAN HALF ????, what is the comparison here

(E) While more than half of mainstream American businesses fail - Correct answer
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
VeritasKarishma egmat GMATNinja and other respected moderators

I just am not able to understand why would we leave the perfect parallelism in option D for idiomatic errors (such as rate of failing should be rate of failure or the rate can not be half - which kind of means 50%)
and select option E which has imperfect parallelism

Also I would ask our respected moderators to think of my question in a way that incase you see this que in the actual GMAT, how should one react to it

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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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VeritasKarishma egmat GMATNinja and other respected moderators

I just am not able to understand why would we leave the perfect parallelism in option D for idiomatic errors (such as rate of failing should be rate of failure or the rate can not be half - which kind of means 50%)
and select option E which has imperfect parallelism

Also I would ask our respected moderators to think of my question in a way that incase you see this que in the actual GMAT, how should one react to it

Hi shauryahanda,

While is different from like. In like X, Y structures, we try to make sure that X and Y are logically comparable. But while is a conjunction, sort of like an although. It is quite common to see "different" nouns around while.

Also (generally speaking), we can't ignore idiomatic issues. To be clear, I don't really like to see idiomatic usage tested on the GMAT, but if a structure is unidiomatic, that means that options with that structure cannot be correct.
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Re: Unlike mainstream American businesses, more than half of which fail [#permalink]
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shauryahanda
VeritasKarishma egmat GMATNinja and other respected moderators

I just am not able to understand why would we leave the perfect parallelism in option D for idiomatic errors (such as rate of failing should be rate of failure or the rate can not be half - which kind of means 50%)
and select option E which has imperfect parallelism

Also I would ask our respected moderators to think of my question in a way that incase you see this que in the actual GMAT, how should one react to it

The question does not have any elements in parallel.

Like/unlike constructs are comparison constructs and you need to compare comparable elements. So you can either compare American businesses with Amish businesses or you can compare failure rate of American businesses with failure rate of Amish businesses but you cannot compare American businesses with the failure rate of Amish businesses.
That is why (A), (B) and (C) are incorrect.

"While" introduces a dependent clause and that doesn't need to be parallel to the main clause (if by parallel you mean that they must have the same subject or the same type of subject or comparable elements)

(D) is incorrect. "rate of businesses failing is more than half" is incorrect. "rate of ..." demands the noun for which we are giving the rate. So it could be "rate of failure", "rate of work" etc.

You need to say - "failure rate is half or 50%" or "more than half of the businesses fail".

(E) does not NEED parallelism. "while" is used to show the contrast between the two situations.
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