Lesson: Comparisons - Part II

Comment on Comparisons - Part II

Hi guys, I don't understand how "Sanjay is smarter than any student in his class" implies that he is smarter than himself? Because of "ANY" means that he is smarter than everyone including himself?
gmat-admin's picture

If we write "any student," then we are including Sanjay.

For example, let's say that a class consists of Ann, Bea, Cal and Sanjay. If I direct you to choose ANY student in the class, then you could select any student from the set {Ann, Bea, Cal, Sanjay}.

So, if we say that Sanjay is smarter than ANY student in his class, then we are saying that Sanjay is smarter than each member in the set {Ann, Bea, Cal, Sanjay}.

This means that Sanjay is smarter than Ann, Sanjay is smarter than Bea, Sanjay is smarter than Cal, and Sanjay is smarter than Sanjay.

great videos
when to use that and those? referring to 00;50 and 1:12 examples
gmat-admin's picture

Use "that" when replacing a singular noun, and use "those" when replacing a plural noun.

At 1:00, can the corrected sentence be "the chemical engineer certification process in Peru is more time- consuming than the process in Brazil"?
gmat-admin's picture

That seems reasonable to me. You've included the word "process," so it's clear what we're comparing here.


Please see this question:

Faced with an estimated $2 billion budget gap, the city’s mayor proposed a nearly 17 percent reduction in the amount allocated the previous year to maintain the city’s major cultural institutions and to subsidize hundreds of local arts groups.

Is this sentence correct

I am getting confused between the kind of omitting of words done in parallelism part-III 4:48 where you said that if we encounter any of the answer choices with certain omitted words in a question of parallelism then it is most likely a wrong answer,and the kind of omitting of words with placeholders discussed in this video.
gmat-admin's picture

As long as there is no ambiguity, then omitting words is fine (since it results in a sentence that's more concise). That's the most important concept to keep in mind.

Hi Brent,

Can you share link to quiz to practice placeholders, replacement of noun and verb. Also for use of few, less, more, high, etc. Your earlier link for adverb helped me lot, I tried comparison on same link but its simple and placeholders are not tested.

Thanks for your continued support
gmat-admin's picture

Here's a quiz for less/fewer (bottom of page): http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/fewerless.html

Much/more (bottom of page): http://www.grammar-quizzes.com/muchmore.html

Still looking for a placeholder quiz!!

Hi Brent,

Love this video! Just one question: Could you give me an example of using "it" as a placeholder in comparison?

Thank you!
gmat-admin's picture

Hi Kate,

Here's one: The sky is bluer in Vancouver than IT is in Winnipeg.


Hi Brent,

Please explain why A,B and D are wrong

gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-number-of-undergraduate-degrees-in-engine...

We can say that X is twice Y, which means X = 2Y
So, if we say that Vancouver's annual rainfall is twice that of Seattle, then we're saying:
Vancouver's rainfall = 2(Seattle's rainfall)

The same goes for "double"
So, if we say that Vancouver's annual rainfall is double that of Seattle, then we're saying:
Vancouver's rainfall = 2(Seattle's rainfall)

When it comes to the word "increase," we typically note the increase with an actual value (e.g., "The temperature increased 5 degrees." OR we note the proportional change (e.g., "The population increased 5 percent"0

Answer choices A and B combine "increase" with "twice" and "two times." This is both redundant and somewhat nonsensical.

Answer choice D says "WAS more than doubled." This suggests that some entity acted to do the doubling. Here's an analogous sentence:

"Joe WAS hit" - this suggests that something or someone hit Joe.

Alternatively, "Joe hit" suggests that it was Joe who performed the action of hitting.

Since there was no THING or PERSON doubled the number of undergraduate degrees, answer choice D is incorrect.


Hi Brent,

I did select right ans choice i.e. A but want to know is there any difference between "they were" and "they did" in ans choice A and C respectively

gmat-admin's picture

Link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/heating-oil-prices-are-expected-to-be-higher-...

WERE and DID are both fine here.

A) ...refiners are paying ... more for crude oil than they were (were PAYING) last year.
Here, the word PAYING is implied.

C) ...refiners are paying ... more than they did (PAID).
Here, the word DID serves as a placeholder for PAID.


Hi Brent,

Which of the following reads better,

"Maple trees shed their autumn leaves earlier than Oak trees do."

"Maple trees shed their autumn leaves earlier than Oak trees shed theirs."

"Maple trees shed autumn leaves earlier than Oak trees do"

To me, the latter two sound better than the first. Please help!
gmat-admin's picture

I think the first two are fine, but the third sentence has an ambiguity problem. The ambiguity lies in whether the maple trees shed their own leaves or some other trees' leaves.

Analogous sentence: Abbie brushes hair.
This could be interpreted as Abbie brushing hair other than her own.

Hi Brent, can you help me understand the usage of pronouns THAT and THOSE in the context of this lesson, can these two be interchangeably used?

In the context of this lesson, THAT and THOSE are pronouns that are placeholders for some noun. They cannot be used interchangeably.

Use THAT when the pronoun represents a SINGULAR noun.
Use THOSE when the pronoun represents a PLURAL noun.

Two examples:
Townville's city hall bigger than THAT found in Villageton (here, THAT = "city hall")
Claire's dogs are friendlier than THOSE found in Maltania (here, THOSE = "dogs")


Hi,Is there any mistake in the below sentence.

Government barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies where they hold stakes.
gmat-admin's picture

There are a couple of problems with that sentence:

1) We need something that modifies GOVERNMENT, so we know WHICH government is involved.
e.g., The CANADIAN GOVERNMENT barred online....

2) There's a problem with "... where THEY hold stakes."
It's unclear who THEY is referring to.
THEY could refer to GOVERNMENT, or THEY could refer to FLIPKART and AMAZON.


I think there is also a problem with the preposition WHERE since according to your previous videos we should use "in which" instead of "where".

Government barred online marketplaces like Flipkart and Amazon from selling products of companies in which they hold stakes.

Am I right,
gmat-admin's picture

You're absolutely right. Good point!

Is it correct to say "The chemical engineer certification process in Peru is more time-consuming than it is in Brasil"?
gmat-admin's picture

That's a perfect sentence.
IT logically refers to "the chemical engineer certification process," and we have parallelism with "IN Peru" and "IN Brasil"

Hi Brent,


While I understand the proper comparison use in the correct sentence, imo the part after but ' rather fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.' should be an independent clause.

But it doesn't seem to have a verb. please help.
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/despite-its-covering-the-entire-planet-earth-...

I'm assuming you're referring to the correct answer, D, which is:
(D) Although it covers the entire planet, Earth's crust is neither seamless nor stationary, but rather fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

We don't necessarily need a clause after BUT.
For example: Joe enjoys salmon and trout, BUT not tuna.
Or: Joe did not avoid his enemies, but rather invited them to dinner.

I thought - if its comma, + Fanboys - it needs to be followed by an independent clause?
gmat-admin's picture

If we have two independent clauses separated by a coordinating conjunction, and we need a comma.
If we don't have two independent clauses, it's not necessary to have a comma, but it's not necessarily incorrect.
For example, we might write: Joe enjoys hot dogs, but not french fries.

Thank you for this clarification


Hi Brent,

IMO the comparison here is between 'Financial uncertainties' and 'Political opposition'. Then why does the correct option have an 'is'

Please help!
gmat-admin's picture

Question link: https://gmatclub.com/forum/financial-uncertainties-from-the-accident-at-...

The sentence compares the deterring effects of two things: Financial uncertainties and political opposition

Financial uncertainties ARE deterring to the nuclear industry
And, political opposition IS deterring to the nuclear industry

So, even though we're reversing the word order (...than IS political opposition), we still have subject-verb agreement with the singular noun OPPOSITION and the singular verb IS.

Does that help?


Isn't the comparison in option D better?

Independent contractors are paid less consistently than are statutory employees - Isn't this the right comparison?

Please let me know
gmat-admin's picture

Sorry, but I prefer not to answer unofficial Verbal questions since they often don’t represent what you’ll encounter on test day (please see comment policy)

That said, for answer choice D, there's an issue with ARE.

(D) Independent contractors pay higher taxes and are paid less consistently than ARE statutory employees
We have two pieces of information about independent contractors:
1) They PAY higher taxes
2) They ARE PAID less consistently
Here, PAY is active and ARE PAID is passive.
This presents a problem regarding whether we should say "than DO statutory employees" or "than ARE statutory employees.

If we focus solely on the first piece of information we have: Independent contractors PAY higher taxes than ARE statutory employees. In this case, it should be "than DO statutory employees"

If we focus solely on the second piece of information we have: Independent contractors ARE PAID less consistently than ARE statutory employees. In this case, it makes sense to have "than ARE statutory employees"

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