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GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Sentence Correction – Comparisons and Ellipsis

Hello! 🙂

Way to go Magoosh GMAT students! One of you asked me a great question about ellipsis, so here’s a video that will help. Take some time to memorize common instances and review ambiguous cases, and you’ll be good to go!

Leave me a comment or question below, and I’ll be happy to help. 🙂

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8 Responses to GMAT Tuesdays with Kevin: Sentence Correction – Comparisons and Ellipsis

  1. SG April 16, 2016 at 3:05 am #

    Hello Kevin

    Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last.

    Is this ok ?

    How about this ?
    Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year.

    and then
    Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year’s.

    3 choices : )

    Would love to get your thoughts.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 18, 2016 at 10:50 am #

      Hi SG,

      Happy to help 🙂

      Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last. –> Correct, because we’re allowed to omit “…[year’s prices]”

      Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year’s. –> Correct; we’re only omitting “…[prices]”

      Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last year. –> Incorrect, because here we’re comparing “prices” to “last year,” whereas we want to compare “this year’s prices” to “last year’s prices.”

  2. Gia Phat April 13, 2016 at 4:12 am #

    Hi Kevin,

    Since this video is about comparison and ellipsis, I’d like to ask for clarification with regards to their use in four questions from OG and Gmatprep. Here are four simplified versions of those questions:

    Correct: Wild animals have less total fat than livestock
    Incorrect: Wild animals have less total fat than that of livestock
    Ellipsis: yes

    Correct: More than three times as many institutions charge tuition fee of under $8000 as charge over $16000
    Incorrect: More than three times as many institutions charge tuition fee of under $8000 as those charging over $16000
    Ellipsis: yes

    Correct: Prices are higher now than those of a year ago
    Incorrect: Prices are higher now than a year ago
    Ellipsis: no

    Correct: Heating-oil prices are expected to be higher this year than last because refiners are paying about $5 a barrel more for crude oil than they were
    Ellipsis: yes

    In short, when it comes down to choosing between two choices with and without ellipsis, how can we know which one to choose?

    Thank you a lot

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 19, 2016 at 9:15 am #

      Hi Gia,

      As your answers indicate, more often than not, the GMAT will regard the ellipsis version of the sentence as the more elegant “correct’ one. But as you found out in the third example you showed here, ellipsis isn’t always the correct answer. Unfortunately, the correct choice between ellipsis and no ellipsis is very context dependent. So there’s no one rule for deciding whether to choose the phrase with ellipsis for the phrase without.

      If you post the full question containing “Prices are higher now than those of a year ago” here, I’ll be happy to look at the full context, and tell you why ellipsis wouldn’t be used in this case. And thanks for posting such a useful question!

      • Gia Phat April 19, 2016 at 9:44 am #

        Hi,

        Thanks for your response. Here’s the full question:

        Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now [start underline] than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the South are hurting crops and therefore raised [finish underline] corn and soybean prices.
        A. than a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the South are hurting crops and therefore raised
        B. than those of a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the South are hurting crops and therefore raising
        C. than a year ago and are going down, despite floods in the Midwest and drought in the South, and are hurting crops and therefore raising
        D. as those of a year ago and are going down, even though floods in the Midwest and drought in the South hurt crops and therefore raise
        E. as they were a year ago and are going down, despite floods in the Midwest and drought in the South, and are hurting crops and therefore raising

        Looking at the question as a whole, it’s clearer now that we rely not so much on ellipsis to solve this question as on context, as you said, and POE. But then, I’d be curious to know whether A or B would be chosen, if choice A were fixed as “…therefore raising” and the choice between A and B were to come down to ellipsis.

        Thank you : )

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 18, 2016 at 10:36 am #

          Hi Gia 🙂

          I think I understand your question better. You won’t actually see the use of an ellipse on SC on the GMAT. Rather, the ellipse is brought up to explain the idea of dropping a part of the sentence (a single word, phrase, or clause) without losing information in the sentence. In the actual sentence, the word, phrase, or clause will simply be omitted and an ellipse will not be used to “replace” this missing piece. The key is to determine whether removing that piece creates ambiguity in the sentence. If ambiguity is created in some way, then that specific part of the sentence must be included in the correct version.

          Does that make sense? If not, please let us know! 🙂

  3. Rose March 7, 2015 at 7:12 am #

    Hi Kevin,

    To remove the ambiguity from the sentence used in the example, I can also say:

    1) Jane knows more about cooking biscuits than Sean knows.

    If my version is correct then which one would be preferrable. The one I used or the one you used in the video

    Same for the example below.

    2) Jane knows more about cooking biscuits than about Sean.

    Thanks a lot in advance 🙂

    • Kevin Rocci
      Kevin March 9, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

      Hi Rose,

      If I am understanding your question, you want to know if your sentence works to eliminate ambiguity. And the answer is yes! 😀

      Also, you want to know which sentence is preferable:

      1) Jane knows more about cooking biscuits than Sean knows.
      2) Jane knows more about cooking biscuits than Sean does.

      Either sentence works fine. Both eliminating ambiguity and both are grammatically correct. So the decision to use one over the other is a stylistic one. I would read the two out loud and choose the one that sounds the best. Choose the one that is easy to read and rolls off the tongue with ease. 😀

      Does that help?

      Also, I am not sure what you are asking about with the other sentence you added. What do you find confusing here?


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