Even though the direct costs of malpractice disputes amounts to a sum lower than one percent of the $541 billion the

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Even though the direct costs of malpractice disputes amounts to a sum lower than one percent of the $541 billion the nation spent on health care last year, doctors say fear of lawsuits plays major role in health-care inflation.

(A) amounts to a sum lower
(B) amounts to less
(C) amounted to less
(D) amounted to lower
(E) amounted to a lower sum



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What is the difference between amounts and amounted?

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A) amounts to a sum lower
1. PRONOUN NUMBER AGREEMENT ERROR. The subject "direct costs" is plural so it requires a plural verb and NOT the singular verb "amounts".
2. TENSE ERROR - Also, as per the context of the sentence, usage of the simple past tense will make more sense. As the usage of simple present tense sounds as if it is a general fact that the direct costs always in general amount to a sum lower than one percent of the $541 billion the nation spent on the health care. That is not the intended meaning. Also, the time marker -- "last year" clearly specifies the use of past tense. INCORRECT

(B) amounts to less
Similar errors as in choice A. INCORRECT

(C) amounted to less
Here, the verb tense error is resolved. Also, the usage of LESS is correct here. CORRECT.

(D) amounted to lower
Usage of LOWER is incorrect here. INCORRECT.

(E) amounted to a lower sum
This would be correct if we swap the position of sum with lower. That is,
amounted to a sum lower