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GMAT OG 2019 The Commerce Department reported that

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GMAT OG 2019 The Commerce Department reported that

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The Commerce Department reported that the nation’s economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 3.7 percent in the second quarter, but that while businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply.

A. unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply
B. unsold goods were piling up on store shelves as consumer spending slowed sharply
C. unsold goods had piled up on store shelves with a sharp slowing of consumer spending
D. consumer spending was slowing sharply, with the piling up of unsold goods on store shelves
E. consumer spending has slowed sharply, with unsold goods piling up on store shelves

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Hello Everyone!

Let’s take a closer look at this question so we can narrow it down to the correct option.

The Commerce Department reported that the nation's economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 3.7 percent in the second quarter, but that while businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply.

(A) unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply
(B) unsold goods were piling up on store shelves as consumer spending slowed sharply
(C) unsold goods had piled up on store shelves with a sharp slowing of consumer spending
(D) consumer spending was slowing sharply, with the piling up of unsold goods on store shelves
(E) consumer spending has slowed sharply, with unsold goods piling up on store shelves

After taking a quick glance over each of the options, two major differences jumped out to me that we must address:

1. Linking the two events with the words “as” or “with”
2. The verb “slow”: is slowed/slowed/slowing/was slowing/has slowed

Which item would eliminate the most options quickly? Number 1 - using “with” or “as” to link together both events. No matter which one you choose, it will knock off either 2 or 3 options immediately, giving you a better chance of finding the right one!

Since we are talking about two events that happen at the same time, it is best to use the word “as” to link them together.

The word “with” forces writers to use gerunds or awkward phrases like “with a sharp slowing of” or “with the piling up of.” So let’s eliminate answers C, D, and E right away because they don’t use the best word to connect the two events.

This leaves us with only A and B to choose from, which should make this an easier choice! Let’s focus on A and B, and look closely for any glaring problems in one or the other:

(A) unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply

Okay, so I already see a red flag in this answer! This sentence is discussing events that all happened in the past, yet this sentence uses the present tense “is slowed.” This answer is INCORRECT because it uses an improper verb tense!

(B) unsold goods were piling up on store shelves as consumer spending slowed sharply

This leaves us with only one option left, and it is the CORRECT answer. Answer B uses past tense verbs throughout (“were” and “slowed”), and it clearly shows that both events were happening at the same time.

There you go - option B is the correct answer!


Don’t study for the GMAT. Train for it.

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BFR wrote:
The Commerce Department reported that the nation’s economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 3.7 percent in the second quarter, but that while businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply.

A. unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply
B. unsold goods were piling up on store shelves as consumer spending slowed sharply
C. unsold goods had piled up on store shelves with a sharp slowing of consumer spending
D. consumer spending was slowing sharply, with the piling up of unsold goods on store shelves
E. consumer spending has slowed sharply, with unsold goods piling up on store shelves
Dear GMATGuru,

In the OA, should not the progressive past tense attached to simple past tense after using when or while? for example:

While I was eating, my kid arrived home.

Can you elaborate please?

Thanks in advance

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Mo2men wrote:
Dear GMATGuru,

In the OA, should not the progressive past tense attached to simple past tense after using when or while? for example:

While I was eating, my kid arrived home.

Can you elaborate please?

Thanks in advance
were + VERBing is the plural form of the PAST PROGRESSIVE tense (also known as the past continuous tense).
The past progressive tenses serve to express actions that happen CONTINUOUSLY FOR A LIMITED DURATION OF TIME.

OA: While businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods were piling up on store shelves.
Here, the purpose of the past progressive verbs in blue is to convey that both actions happened continuously in the past for a limited duration of time.

The following would not be grammatically incorrect:
While businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods piled up on store shelves.
Here, the verb in red (simple past) conveys that the act of piling happened at some point in the past.
This verb does NOT convey that the act of piling happened CONTINUOUSLY in the past FOR A LIMITED DURATION OF TIME.
Thus, the verb in red -- while correct -- does not convey the intended meaning of the OA.

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