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## QN 74 - OG 12th ed (perfect past vs simple past)

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gurpreetsingh.1982 Rising GMAT Star
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QN 74 - OG 12th ed (perfect past vs simple past) Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:30 pm
Elapsed Time: 00:00
• Lap #[LAPCOUNT] ([LAPTIME])
Good day everyone,

In the below question (qn 74 from OG 12th ed), the answer to this question is D. the methodology used is that the agreement extends till present day, hence "are allowed" should be used instead of "had been allowed".
However, what I would like to know is 1. how this assumption (that the agreement extends till present day) is derived, and
2. why can't I use A to be my answer? "had been allowed" is in the perfect past, which contrasts with "reduced" that's in the simple past

QUOTE

A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United
States reduced the amount of phosphates that
municipalities had been allowed to dump into the
Great Lakes.
(A) reduced the amount of phosphates that
municipalities had been allowed to dump
(B) reduced the phosphate amount that
(C) reduces the phosphate amount municipalities
have been allowed to dump
(D) reduced the amount of phosphates that
municipalities are allowed to dump
(E) reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for
dumping by municipalities

UNQUOTE

Thanks!
Gurpreet

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Bill@VeritasPrep GMAT Instructor
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Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:43 pm
The agreement can only reduce the amount of phosphates being dumped going forward; it can't reduce them in the past. Thus, we can use present tense ("are allowed"), but past perfect ("had been allowed") doesn't work with the meaning of the sentence.

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scholardream Rising GMAT Star
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Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:12 am
Hi Bill,
I am not clear with the explanation of " Thus, we can use present tense ("are allowed"), but past perfect ("had been allowed") doesn't work with the meaning of the sentence. "
I thought the action of dumping the waste into the Great Lakes happened before the agreement. So, the action was happening and stopped by the time agreement was reached. Is it right ?

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Bill@VeritasPrep GMAT Instructor
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Fri Apr 06, 2012 9:31 am
If we think about the events on a timeline, we have:

Past-------(dumping occurs)-------1972: reduction happens---------------Present

Right away, we can get rid of C and E for using the present tense "reduces" for an event that happened in 1972. A, B, and D all used "reduced" correctly.

A and B both use past perfect (A uses "had been allowed" and B uses "had been dumping"). What happened before the reduction agreement is actually irrelevant; it has already occurred, and the agreement can't affect that. Rather, the reduction affects the amount of phosphates dumped in 1972 and beyond, so we need a tense that reflects that.

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gurpreetsingh.1982 Rising GMAT Star
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Sun Apr 08, 2012 12:43 am
Hi Bill,

Fair enough. If we have to make a decision (between A,B and D) based on the assumption that the 1972 agreement would continue till today, then D would be the choice that makes logical sense here.

The perspective that I had was that this sentence was describing what happened since the past (when dumping occurred) till 1972 (when reduction happened) only. Had not taken consideration for the period of time from 1972 till present, which would have helped me answer the question correctly.

I guess it's a matter of interpreting this question. Thanks for your help, will keep a look-out when dealing with other questions like this.

Gurpreet

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