Test: Numerical Idioms


10 Questions MCQ Test Verbal for GMAT | Test: Numerical Idioms


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QUESTION: 1

Having more than the usual numbers of fingers or toes on the hands or feet is termedpolydactyly.

Solution:

The original sentence incorrectly uses the phrase "numbers of" instead of the correct expression "number of."
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of." However, the present perfect tense verb "having had" is incorrectly used. The present perfect tense is used to indicate an event that started in the past and remains true in the present. Since this sentence simply defines the term "polydactyly," the present perfect tense is inappropriate. Instead, in order to maintain parallel structure, the phrase "is termed polydactyly" must be preceded by a noun phrase; the word "having" is a gerund, a verb that acts as a noun, and is therefore appropriate to open that phrase.
(C) CORRECT. This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of."
(D) This choice correctly replaces "numbers of" with "number of." However, the phrase beginning with the infinitive form "to have" is not parallel with the phrase "is termed polydactyly." To maintain parallel structure the phrase "is
termed polydactyly" must be preceded by a noun phrase; the word "having" is a gerund, a verb that acts as a noun, and is therefore appropriate to open that phrase.
(E) This choice incorrectly uses the phrase "numbers of" instead of the correct expression "number of." Moreover, the phrase beginning with the infinitive form "to have" is not parallel with the phrase "is termed polydactyly." To maintain parallel structure the phrase "is termed polydactyly" must be preceded by a noun phrase; the word "having" is a gerund, a verb that acts as a noun, and is therefore appropriate to open that phrase.

QUESTION: 2

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the recent increase in the amount of irrigationsystems sold by foreign conglomerates in the United States has resulted in more expensive prices for the American consumer.

Solution:

The original sentence uses the incorrect quantity expression “the amount” rather than the appropriate “the number” to describe the countable noun “systems.” The construction “the amount” can be used to describe only noncountable nouns, such as “water,” “ice,” and “information,” while "the number" can be used to describe countable nouns. Furthermore, the original sentence uses the incorrect expression “more expensive” to describe “prices.” While goods or services can be more or less expensive, their prices can be only higher or lower.
For example, you wouldn't say "This price is more expensive than that one"; instead, you would say "This price is higher than that one."
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) CORRECT. This answer choice supplies the proper quantitative expression “the number” to refer to the countable noun “systems” and replaces the incorrect phrase “more expensive” with the proper adjective “higher” that should be used to describe “prices.”
(C) This answer choice uses the incorrect phrase "the numbers of." Correct phrases can include the plural "a number of" or the singular "the number of" (which is the correct usage in this sentence) but will never include "the
numbers of."
(D) This answer choice uses the incorrect expression “more expensive” to describe “prices.” While goods or services can be more or less expensive, their prices can be only higher or lower.
(E) This answer choice uses the incorrect quantity expression “the amount” rather than the appropriate “the number” to describe the countable noun “systems.” The construction “the amount” can be used to describe only noncountable nouns, such as “water,” “ice,” and “information.”

QUESTION: 3

Like other performance indicators, the growth rate of a start-up business is generally relatedto the amount of time and resources dedicated to the endeavor.

Solution:

While “like” correctly compares the two nouns “indicators” and “growth rate,” “amount of” incorrectly modifies the countable noun “resources.” “Amount of” is applied to both components of the compound noun: “amount of time and (amount of) resources.”
“Amount of” can be used to modify uncountable nouns, such as “time,” but not countable nouns, such as “resources.” “Number of” should be used to modify countable nouns.
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) “Amount of” incorrectly modifies the countable noun “resources.” “Amount of” is applied to both components of the compound noun: “amount of time and (amount of) resources.” “Amount of” can be used to modify uncountable nouns, such as “time,” but not countable nouns, such as “resources.” “Number of” should be used to modify
countable nouns. Further, “just like” is unnecessarily wordy. The more concise “like” is preferred.
(C) While “number of” correctly modifies the countable noun “resources,” “like” incorrectly compares two verb phrases: “like other…indicators are, the growth rate…is.” “Like” can be used to compare nouns, but not verb phrases. “As” should be used to compare verb phrases.
(D) “As” is correctly used to compare two verb phrases: "as other...indicators are, the growth rate...is." However, “amount of” incorrectly modifies the countable noun “resources.” “Amount of” is applied to both components of the compound noun: “amount of time and (amount of) resources.” “Amount of” can be used to modify uncountable nouns, such as “time,” but not countable nouns, such as “resources.” “Number of” should be used to modify countable nouns.
(E) CORRECT. “As” correctly compares two verb phrases: “as other…indicators are, the growth rate…is.” Further, “number of” correctly modifies the countable noun “resources.”

QUESTION: 4

A recent study of the United States tort system indicates that in 2004, accident, productliability,and other tort costs totaled $260 billion, twice as many as 1990.

Solution:

The word “many” is used to modify countable items, for example “many apples.” For uncountable things, the modifier “much” should be used, as in “much money.” Here, the quantity word refers to the "tort costs." It would be correct to say that the “costs of x are as much as the costs of y.” It could also be correct to say that “costs of x are as many as the costs of y,” but only if referring to the number of types of costs (e.g. fixed, variable, tax-deductible, etc.), rather than the amount of the expenses. Here, since it is the amount that is compared, “as much as” should
replace “as many as” in the original sentence. Additionally, “tort costs” are illogically compared to the year “1990,” rather than to “tort costs in 1990.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice correctly uses “as much as” to compare the amount of the costs. However, the comparison is still incomplete: “tort costs” are illogically compared to the year “1990,” rather than to “tort costs in 1990.”
(C) CORRECT. The phrase “twice the amount spent in 1990” modifies $260 billion, correctly conveying the idea that in 1990 the amount spent was $130 billion.
(D) The plural pronoun “those” cannot refer to the singular “a number,” which is the logical antecedent.
“Those” could refer to “tort costs,” but if that is the case, then a comparison is illogically drawn between $260 billion and tort costs. The logical comparison would be between $260 billion and the amount of the
tort costs in 1990. The construction is wordy and awkward, with the possessive “of 1990’s” having no following noun to clearly possess. (not fully followed)

(E) The construction is wordy and awkward, with the possessive “of 1990’s” having no following noun to clearly possess.

QUESTION: 5

Poor weather in early 14th-century Europe created meager harvests, causing the result ofmass starvation in some areas and the elimination of as many as 15 percent of the population.

Solution:

There are two errors in the original sentence. First, the expression “causing the result of” is nonsensical; it is impossible for something “to cause the result of” something else. Either “an event causes an effect,” “an event results in an effect,” or “an effect is the result of an event.” Second, the expression “as many as” refers to a portion of the “population,” which is an uncountable noun (i.e., one cannot say “one population, two population”); hence, the correct expression here is “as much as” rather than “as many as.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) The expression “causing the result of” is nonsensical; it is impossible for something “to cause the result of” something else. This choice does correctly use "as much as" rather than “as many as” to refer to the unquantifiable noun "population."
(C) CORRECT. This choice correctly uses the expression “as much as” rather than “as many as” to refer to the uncountable noun “population.” In addition, this choice uses the grammatical form “Poor weather … created meager harvests resulting in X and Y” where the entire phrase beginning with “resulting” directly modifies “harvests,” and where X, “mass starvation … ,” and Y, “the elimination of … ” are parallel to each
other in structure.
(D) The expression “as many as” refers to a portion of the “population,” which is an uncountable noun; hence, the correct expression here is “as much as” rather than “as many as.” In addition, the construction “Poor weather…created meager harvests… and resulted in mass starvation …” changes the meaning of the sentence slightly by asserting that the poor weather, rather than the meager harvests, was the direct cause of the starvation and the elimination of some of the population.
(E) The expression “as many as” refers to a portion of the “population,” which is an uncountable noun; hence, the correct expression here is “as much as” rather than “as many as.”

QUESTION: 6

The declining number of graduate students majoring in engineering has resulted in less skilledengineers qualified to work in modern industries that have become increasingly high-tech.

Solution:

The original sentence incorrectly uses the modifier “less” to refer to the countable plural noun “engineers.” The modifier “less” can be applied only to non-countable nouns, for example “less water” or “less evidence.” By contrast, countable nouns, such as “engineers,” should be described by the modifier “fewer” rather than “less.” In
addition, the phrase “less skilled engineers” can be easily misconstrued to assert that the engineers in the job pool have declined in skills rather than in quantity.

(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) CORRECT. This choice properly uses “fewer” rather than “less.”
(C) The plural verb “have resulted” does not agree with the singular subject “the … number.”
(D) The past perfect tense “had resulted” is not appropriate here because it should be used only in combination with another verb that describes a subsequent action; the past perfect tense is used to make it clear that the event it describes happened before another event in the past (“The train had just left [earlier event] when we arrived
at the station [subsequent event].”).
The present perfect form “has resulted” is appropriate here because it  escribes an event which started in the past and is still continuing. In addition, the modifier “fewer” should be used instead of “less.”
(E) The plural verb “have resulted” does not agree with the singular subject “the … number.” In addition, the modifier “fewer” should be used instead of “less.”

QUESTION: 7

The administration has increased the number of fines for mining safety violations as part oftheir campaign to protect miners.

Solution:

The original sentence contains one error; the plural “their” can not refer to the singular “administration.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice repeats the original error; the plural “their” can not refer to the singular “administration.” Furthermore, the plural “have increased” does not agree with “administration.”
(C) CORRECT. Choice C correctly employs the singular “has increased” and “its”; both agree with the singular “administration.”
(D) This choice correctly uses the singular “has increased” and “its”; both agree with the singular “administration.” However, the use of “amount” is incorrect. “Amount is used for uncountable quantities. “Fines” are countable, and so “number” should be used.
(E) Choice E incorrectly uses “amount.” “Amount is used for uncountable quantities. “Fines” are countable, and so “number” should be used. Also, the plural “have increased” and the plural “their” cannot refer to the singular “administration.”

QUESTION: 8

The portion of the interest earned on the state university's endowment that is set aside tofund merit scholarships for outstanding high school seniors is more numerous than that setaside to fund the university's high-powered athletic program.

Solution:

The sentence compares "the portion of the interest" set aside to fund x to "that" (the portion of the interest) set aside to fund y. Since the "portion of the interest" is a singular quantity, it cannot be described using the phrase "more numerous," which can be used only for plural nouns. (A countable plural noun such as "students" could be described as "more numerous." For example, one could say "The merit-scholarship students are more
numerous than the athletic-scholarship students.") To compare a singular quantity, the phrase "greater than" should be used instead.

(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice incorrectly uses the modifier "more numerous" to describe the singular quantity "the portion of interest." Moreover, the plural verb "are" does not agree with the singular subject "the portion of interest."
(C) CORRECT. This choice correctly uses the phrase "greater than" to compare two singular quantities: "The portion of interest" set aside to fund x "is greater than that" set aside to fund y.
(D) While this choice correctly uses the word "greater" to compare two singular quantities, it incorrectly omits the word "than" thereby creating an incomplete comparison: "The portion of interest . . . set aside to fund [x] is greater that set aide to fund [y]."
(E) This choice correctly uses the phrase "greater than" to compare two singular quantities: "The portion of interest" set aside to fund x "is greater than that" set aside to fund y. However, the plural verb "are" does not agree with the singular subject "the portion of interest."

QUESTION: 9

According to the international investment memorandum recently signed in Geneva, France isone of the 4 European nations planning to provide fewer tax incentives for foreign investmentin production of heavy industrial machinery.

Solution:

The original sentence uses the correct idiomatic construction “planning to provide.” Additionally, the appropriate quantity modifier “fewer” is used to refer to the countable noun “incentives.”
(A) CORRECT. This answer choice is correct as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This answer choice uses the incorrect quantity modifier “less” to refer to the countable noun “incentives.” The modifier “less” can be applied only to non-countable nouns, for example “less water” or “less evidence.” Countable nouns, such as “incentives,” should be described by the modifier “fewer” rather than “less.”
(C) This answer choice uses the unidiomatic construction “to plan on.” The appropriate idiom is “to plan to.”
(D) This answer choice also uses the less idiomatic construction "planning on." The singular verb "is planning" does not agree with the plural subject "nations."
Additionally, the use of "which" is incorrect in this context. "Which" should only be used to introduce a modifier that is not integral to the meaning or structure of the sentence; here, the fact that France is one of the 4 nations planning to provide tax incentives is the main purpose of the sentence, and the omission of the language following "which" would result in an incomplete sentence.
(E) This answer choice supplies the incorrect singular verb construction “is planning” that does not agree with the plural subject “nations.” (as "nations" is followed by the correct relative pronoun, "that", the verb must agree with the plural noun immediately preceding "that"). Furthermore, this answer choice uses the incorrect quantity
modifier “less” to refer to the countable noun “incentives.” The modifier “less” can be applied only to non-countable nouns, for example “less water” or “less evidence.” Countable nouns, such as “incentives,” should be described by the modifier “fewer” rather than “less.”

QUESTION: 10

Of the three major candidates for President in 2004, Ralph Nader, an independent who hadrepresented the Green Party in the 2000 election, received the least media coverage andultimately the fewest votes.

Solution:

The original sentence correctly uses the superlatives “least” and “fewest,” rather than the comparatives “less” and “fewer,” to relate the amount of media coverage and the number of votes received by three candidates. Also, this sentence correctly uses a form of less, “least,” to modify the non-countable noun “media coverage” and a form
of few, “fewest,” to modify the countable noun “votes.”
(A) CORRECT. This choice is correct as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) The comparative form “less” incorrectly relates the amount of media coverage received by three candidates. “Less” should be used to make comparisons between two entities, not three. Further, the comparative form “fewer” incorrectly relates the number of votes received by three candidates. Again, the comparative form should be used only to make comparisons between two entities.
(C) The comparative form “less” incorrectly relates the amount of media coverage and the number of votes received by three candidates. “Less” should be used to make comparisons between two entities, not three. Also, “less” incorrectly modifies the countable noun “votes.” “Less” should be used to modify non-countable nouns while a form of "few," in this case “fewest,” should be used to modify countable nouns.
(D) “Less” incorrectly modifies the countable noun “votes.” “Less” should be used to modify non-countable nouns while a form of "few," in this case “fewest,” should be used to modify countable nouns.
(E) The phrases “smallest amount of media coverage” and “smallest number of votes” are unnecessarily wordy. The more concise phrases “least media coverage” and “fewest votes” are preferred.

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