Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher

Question

Prices at the producer level are only 1.3 percent higher now 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 corn and soybean prices.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Sentence Analysis

The statement presents a contrast: X, even though Y.

X presents two facts about prices at the producer level. These prices:

  1. are only 1.3 percent higher now than a year ago
  2. and are going down

In the comparison part, ellipsis has been used. Without ellipsis, it should be “these prices are only 1.3 percent higher now than they were a year ago”. We can see that the elided part contains a verb (were) different from the verb (are) in the first part of the comparison. In such cases, we strongly prefer to not elide the different verb for clarity.

Y says that

  1. floods in the Midwest (First subject)
  2. and drought in the south (Second subject)
    1. are hurting crops (first verb)
    2. and therefore raised corn and soybean prices. (second verb)

It says that floods and droughts are hurting crops and, thus, raising prices. However, the sentence has used simple past tense “raised” for the result part. This use distorts the meaning of the sentence and is thus incorrect.

Therefore, the sentence has one error and one area of improvement.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons described above. OG17 explanation says that this option compares prices with a year. However, I disagree with this part of the explanation. If this explanation is correct, the correct option in this question shouldn’t be correct. (OG explanations are ‘almost always’ correct but not always. However, OG questions are ALWAYS correct.)

(B) Correct. Both the errors in the original sentence have been corrected. The first part logically compares the prices now with the prices of a year ago.

(C) Incorrect. In this option, it’s hard to find the subject for “are hurting… and raising”. The only structural possibility for the subject is “Prices at the producer level’. However, such a subject-verb pair won’t make any sense.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “more…as” is incorrect. “more…than” is the correct idiom.
  2. The “even though” part uses simple present tenses “hurt” and “raise”, presenting the information as a general fact rather than as an ongoing action that would make sense with the ongoing action “are going down” in the first part of the sentence.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “more…as” is incorrect. “more…than” is the correct idiom.
  2. Same error as in option C.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with a score of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at +91 9971 0010 67 or CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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