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Prep Test #1 SC

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fangtray Really wants to Beat The GMAT!
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Prep Test #1 SC Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:13 am
Elapsed Time: 00:00
• Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
According to public health officials, in 1998 Massachusetts became the first state in which more babies were born to women over the age of thirty than under it.

a. than
b. than born
c. than they were

I was looking for the answer that contained "than were born" but since there wasn't one, i thought since "were born" was the phrase we need to keep parallel, we can drop "were" and simply say "than born". What's the rule for this question?

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Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:48 am
The comparison is between women over and under 30. If we use "born" in the second half of the sentence, then it sounds like it's talking about babies born under 30 (i.e. in choice B "born under it"). We can eliminate B, D, and E. In C, "they" is ambiguous and could refer to babies or women.

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fangtray Really wants to Beat The GMAT!
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Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:16 am
Bill@VeritasPrep wrote:
The comparison is between women over and under 30. If we use "born" in the second half of the sentence, then it sounds like it's talking about babies born under 30 (i.e. in choice B "born under it"). We can eliminate B, D, and E. In C, "they" is ambiguous and could refer to babies or women.
i see what you mean. is there a trick to spot this?

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Thu Apr 05, 2012 7:49 am
As soon as I see a comparison term (than, more/less than, as many/much as, etc.), I immediately look for the items being compared. In this case, the first half says "more babies were born to women over the age of thirty." "More babies" on its own is meaningless, so the key there must be the age of their mothers. This means that I must parallel that in the second half of the comparison.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 5:51 am
Bill@VeritasPrep wrote:
As soon as I see a comparison term (than, more/less than, as many/much as, etc.), I immediately look for the items being compared. In this case, the first half says "more babies were born to women over the age of thirty." "More babies" on its own is meaningless, so the key there must be the age of their mothers. This means that I must parallel that in the second half of the comparison.
as soon as i read the sentence during the exam, i know the author means to say "...more babies were born to women over the age of thirty than were born to women under the age of thirty". the problem i'm having is how to make it correctly parallel when that is obviously not going to be one of the answer choices, or else it would be too easy. Since I already have the intended meaning of the sentence in my head, i read the other answer choices, such as B, without seeing the fact that the meaning may be ambiguous. Are babies either born to women over the age of thirty or are they themselves born under the age of thirty?

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 8:01 am
If they don't give you the comparison you went, then you have to scrutinize the word choice. We know we're comparing the women, so does B saying "born under it" apply to women? No. C's "than they were under it"? Ambiguous. D's "there had been?" No need for past perfect. E's "than had been born?" No need to for past perfect or "born."

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fangtray Really wants to Beat The GMAT!
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Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:24 pm
Bill@VeritasPrep wrote:
If they don't give you the comparison you went, then you have to scrutinize the word choice. We know we're comparing the women, so does B saying "born under it" apply to women? No. C's "than they were under it"? Ambiguous. D's "there had been?" No need for past perfect. E's "than had been born?" No need to for past perfect or "born."
how do we know that B can only apply to babies and not women? how do we know that its not ambiguous. perhaps this is the lesson i need to learn.

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Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:53 pm
fangtray wrote:
Bill@VeritasPrep wrote:
If they don't give you the comparison you went, then you have to scrutinize the word choice. We know we're comparing the women, so does B saying "born under it" apply to women? No. C's "than they were under it"? Ambiguous. D's "there had been?" No need for past perfect. E's "than had been born?" No need to for past perfect or "born."
how do we know that B can only apply to babies and not women? how do we know that its not ambiguous. perhaps this is the lesson i need to learn.
The verb "born" in B is the giveaway. We're comparing women having babies at various ages, so using 'born" to describe women under thirty doesn't make much sense.

Even if it were simply ambiguous instead of incorrect, that would be enough to eliminate it.

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