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# While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other

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Joined: 23 Feb 2015
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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09 Dec 2016, 16:24
mikemcgarry wrote:
Pasorns wrote:
Can someone please explain to me why the pronounce "they" in B has only one antecedent? Can "fixed costs" refer to the antecedent of "they" in the sentence too?

Thank you

Dear Pasorns,

I'm happy to respond. Here's (B), the OA:
While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

As a general rule, if there are multiple possible target nouns, a pronoun can refer to the nearest noun without ambiguity. Here, the writer deliberately repeated the words "nuclear plants" in the second half of the sentence, because using a pronoun there would have been too ambiguous. Even though this repetition is logically necessary, the very fact that these words are repeated--an exceptionally rare occurrence in a GMAT SC sentence!--gives them a kind rhetorical significance which makes even clearer the pronoun-antecedent relationship.

The pronoun-antecedent relationship is multilayered, involving grammar, rhetoric, and logic. In an ideal scenario, all three of those should work together, as they do in this OA.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi mikemcgarry,
In the OA, "that stem from building nuclear plants" is the modifier but the core is "the fixed costs make the electricity". My question is :how the fixed costs make the electricity??? Can you please explain it? Thank you!

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Last edited by iMyself on 10 Dec 2016, 00:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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10 Dec 2016, 00:25
Pasorns wrote:
Can someone please explain to me why the pronounce "they" in B has only one antecedent? Can "fixed costs" refer to the antecedent of "they" in the sentence too?

Thank you

One specific pronoun like "they" can't be used for 2 nouns in a sentence simultaneously. Example: if "they"is used for "students", then it can't be used for "boys" in a specific sentence and vice-versa.

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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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05 May 2017, 00:37
macjas wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 107
Page: 691

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(A) While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(B) While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

(C) Even though it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes the electricity they generate more expensive.

(D) It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants.

(E) The cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as other types of power plants, but the electricity they generate is made more expensive because of the fixed costs stemming from building nuclear plants.

First Glance

Yuck−the entire sentence is underlined. be prepared for anything, especially Structure, Modifier, Meaning, or Parallelism issues.

Issues

(1) Subject−Verb: makes

In the original sentence, the plural noun costs is the subject of the modifying clause that makes it more expensive. The verb makes, however, is singular.

Check the remaining answers for the same subject−verb mismatch. Answer (C) repeats the original error: costs....makes. The other answers don't maintain this error. Eliminate answers (A) and (C).

(2) Comparison: the same to do X as to do Y

The five answer choices contain small differences in the comparison structure:

(A) it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of plants
(B) the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of plants.
(C) it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of plants
(D) it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of plants
(E) the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as other types of plants

Each sentence requires the reader to carry some words of the comparison to both the X and the Y components. Answer (A0 is properly parallel and maintains an appropriate meaning: It costs the same to run X as [to run] Y. Likewise, in answer (B), the cost of running X is the same as [the cost] for [running] Y.

Answers (C), (D), and (E), however, are problematic. Answers (C) and (D) indicate that it costs the same to run X as [to run] Y. To run for plants? That's a big difference in meaning (and an illogical one). Answer (E) says that the cost of running X is the same as the cost running Y; the preposition (either of or for) is missing from the second part. Eliminate answers (C), (D), and (E).

(3) Meaning / Pronoun: it; they

The original sentence uses the pronoun it three times. Are all three instances clear, and do they refer to the same noun?

In the first instance, it is used as a dummy pronoun, as in the sentence "It is raining outside." This is an acceptable usage of it. Each additional instance of the word it in the sentence is also a dummy pronoun, but each refers to somewhat different abstract ideas. Such ambiguity is not preferred. Don't choose answer (A) unless all of the other answers contain clear error.

Answers (D) and (E) also introduce some ambiguity related to a pronoun. Both introduce nuclear plants versus other power plants and then use the word they. It's not clear until finishing the sentence that the pronoun they is intended to refer to the nuclear plants and not to the other power plants. Again, don't choose answer (D) or (E) unless all of the other answers contain clear errors.

Correct answer (B) offers a proper subject-verb pairing and a structure that accurately compares the two sets of costs. Furthermore, answer (B) doesn't contain even slight pronoun ambiguity.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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17 May 2017, 18:19
macjas wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 107
Page: 691

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(A) While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(B) While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

(C) Even though it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes the electricity they generate more expensive.

(D) It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants.

(E) The cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as other types of power plants, but the electricity they generate is made more expensive because of the fixed costs stemming from building nuclear plants.

A "It" does not agree in number with "power plants."
B Correct.
C "Make" does not agree in number with "fixed costs."
D "As for" is illogical. After "as," you replace the original verb of the clause as follows: "It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as it costs to run for other types of power plants." The phrase "it costs to run for" is nonsensical.
E This sentence equates the "cost of running nuclear plants" with "power plants" themselves.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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25 May 2017, 01:42
macjas wrote:
The Official Guide for GMAT Review 2015

Practice Question
Question No.: SC 107
Page: 691

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(A) While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

(B) While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

(C) Even though it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes the electricity they generate more expensive.

(D) It costs about the same to run nuclear plants as for other types of power plants, whereas the electricity they generate is more expensive, stemming from the fixed costs of building nuclear plants.

(E) The cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as other types of power plants, but the electricity they generate is made more expensive because of the fixed costs stemming from building nuclear plants.

look at the OA choice B. the comparison pattern here is not parallel. the first element in the first part of sentence, nuclear plant , is direct object of a participle , "running", and the second element of comparison in the second part is the direct object of a preposition, "for",

so, it is not paralel pattern.

but it is correct because the pattern is logic and not ambiguity.

we are obsessed with ellipsis and parallelism. but gmat, by offering choice B, shows that we do not need parallelism to be correct. provided that the pattern is not ambiguous , it is correct. that is all.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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31 May 2017, 12:18
kivalo wrote:
I understand that in A (after the comma) is wrong. But what's wrong with the comparison, can't it be:

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as [it costs to run] other types of power plants?

Hello kivalo,

I am not sure if your query still persists. Nonetheless, here is my response to your query.

When as is used to present comparison, it must be followed by a clause.

When as is followed just be a noun entity, then it presents the role of that noun entity. For example:

John is a big soccer fan, as is Jack.

In the above mentioned sentence, as has been used to present a comparison between John and Jack. They have been compared because they both are soccer fan. In the sentence, as is followed by a clause.

John joined the soccer team as a goalkeeper.

In the above mentioned sentence, as has been used to present the role of John. John joined the teams as a goalkeeper. Hence, John = goalkeeper.

Now let's take a look at the official sentence.

While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other types of power plants, it is the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants that makes it more expensive for them to generate electricity.

Please note that in this official sentence, as is followed by a noun phrase other types of power plants. Hence, the original sentence does not present comparison. It presents the role of nuclear plants. The sentence suggests that nuclear plants run as other types of power plants. This meaning certainly does not make any sense.

Now let's evaluate the correct answer choice B that says: While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as for other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

By looking at this choice, you may say in this choice too, as is not followed by a clause. It is rather followed by a prepositional phrase for other types of power plants. Then how does it present comparison.

Let me explain you the reason. See, choice B can be written in the following way:

While the cost of running nuclear plants is about the same as the cost is for running other types of power plants, the fixed costs that stem from building nuclear plants make the electricity they generate more expensive.

Since, the clause the cost is is common before and after as, it has been kept understood after as. So is the word running. The preposition for does the job of presenting the intended comparison. If we remove this preposition after as, then again we will have the same structure as we see in Choice A. Again as will be followed by the noun entity other types of power plants, and the choice will present the role rather than comparison.

This topic is dealt in details with quite a few examples in our SC course in the concept named Usages of As.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
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Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other [#permalink]

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03 Feb 2018, 21:58
imhimanshu wrote:
Yes, I do understand that Choice B is best amongst all, and this is what I have mentioned above as well.
But, I also acknowledge the fact that there is always something to learn from every correct official answer, and that learning should be carried forward. That is the only way to improve.

sdas wrote:
You see, leaving apart too many rules, we need to chose the answer which is best out of the given options. All other choices except for B, in the question above, have noticeable grammar issues. Quite unlike, Choice B, only uses an additional preposition, which if you notice, most other choices uses as well, so...we choose an option which overcomes other more critical grammar issues (the logical comparison and SV error)

Very good explanation on ellipsis .
Re: While it costs about the same to run nuclear plants as other   [#permalink] 03 Feb 2018, 21:58

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