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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41

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In 1979 lack of rain reduced India's rice production to about 41 million tons, nearly 25 percent less than those of the 1978 harvest.
(A) less than those of the 1978 harvest
(B) less than the 1978 harvest
(C) less than 1978
(D) fewer than 1978
(E) fewer than that of India's 1978 harvest

3 Answers

MagooshGMAT
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answered Jun 10, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
gmatclubforum
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We only want to use "that of" or "those of" if we are comparing something *belonging* to something else:
The design of the new tablet is similar to that of its predecessor. (The design of one is similar to the design of the other.)
Jack wanted clothes similar to those of his friends. (He wants his clothes to be similar to his friends' clothes.)
In the above examples, it would be a big problem to get rid of the relative pronoun:
The design of the new tablet is similar to its predecessor. (The design is similar to the predecessor?)
Jack wanted clothes similar to his friends. (He wants his clothes to be similar to his friends?)
In B, we are correctly comparing the production in 1979 to the harvest in 1978. If we go with gmatfighter12's proposed phrasing, "less than that of," we have to ask what "that" stands for. If we say "less than that of the 1978 harvest," then "that" doesn't seem to stand for anything. If we say "less than that of 1978," the antecedent for "that" isn't entirely clear, although "production" seems like the most reasonable choice. E would then be clearer than the other wrong answer choices, but still not as clear as B.
Note that in my examples, it was very clear what "that" and "those" stood for. If we don't know what our pronouns stand for, we should probably replace them. In general, a specific noun is preferable to a vague pronoun (unless that specific noun is clearly wrong!).

answered Jun 10, 2017 by Beginner (21 points)
GMATwithCJ
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Solution

Sentence Analysis

The sentence says that in 1979 shortfall of rain reduced India?s rice production to about 41 million tons. This amount was nearly 25% less than the production in 1978.

The important thing to understand here is that we are comparing the production in 1979 to the production in 1978. We are not comparing tons in the two years; ?tons? is just a unit of production.

Thus, the use of "those of" is incorrect.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect . For the error mentioned above.

(B) Correct . The production of 1979 is compared to the production (or harvest) of 1978.

(C) Incorrect . The production is compared to a year, 1978.

(D) Incorrect . In addition to repeating the error in option C, this option also uses the incorrect comparison word "fewer" to compare productions of two years. "production" is an uncountable noun, so we cannot use "fewer".

To learn more about countable and uncountable nouns and the appropriate comparison words for them, please read this article .

(E) Incorrect . The use of "fewer" is incorrect, as explained in option D. Also, "that of" is incorrect, as explained in the sentence analysis.

answered Jun 10, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
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