Question: Pet Rock Craze

Comment on Pet Rock Craze


In the sentence - maybe none is more popular than Pet Rock craze, aren't we comparing other fads till today to the petrock. If so, the subject here seems to be other fads that are created until today. So shouldn't we use is(present) here instead of was(past). Please clarify.

Thanks in advance
gmat-admin's picture

The discussion is set largely in the past (with "has embraced"). So we're talking about all of the fads that have existed in the past (and POSSIBLY into the present). Also, the Pet Rock fad definitely occurred in the past. Considering all of this, "was" is a better option than "is."

I hope that helps.

Thank you for the explanation. Just one more doubt:-
If it is set largely in the past and we are talking about the fads existed in the past, wouldn't the past perfect tense be more suitable (i.e. HAD embraced.. followed by WAS, as oppose to HAS embraced and WAS)
please advice

Thank you!
gmat-admin's picture

We can use the PAST PERFECT when an action happens (and is completed) in the past BEFORE another event in the past.

So, if we want to use the past perfect "HAD embraced," we must be certain that the "embracing" occurred (as was completed) before the other past events .

That isn't the case here. We can't be certain that all of the embracing was completed BEFORE the other past events. So, we can't use the past perfect "HAD embraced."

More here:

Thank you for your prompt reply.
In that case, I am still puzzled as to why past tense is being used, since we are comparing an ONGOING event with a previous event.
E.g. None of the research findings in the recent years IS as good as the 'SAILOR' study, which was a significant study conducted during the 1990s.
I would imagine WAS would be inappropriate here
Please advice. Thank you very much

gmat-admin's picture

The "embracing" (of fads) is an action that may continue into the present and future. However, the fads that are being embraced are not necessarily not continuing into the presents and future.

gmat-admin's picture

Thank you.
Am I right to say that the events occurred in the past, although they may be ongoing till present, and that the comparison was done at a 'PAST' timeline, hence the use of past tense.
gmat-admin's picture

Yes, that should be fine.

"than pet rock craze" sounds very awkward to me, isn't there supposed to be a 'the' as well?
gmat-admin's picture

You're absolutely right! We'll have to change the video so that all of the answer choices include the word "the"

Thanks for the heads up!

As I was doing it my mind clicked the answer needs "the", which ultimately made it incorrect.

I eliminated for the same reason


I'm still confused about the tense after reading all the comments you explained.
Is this sentence correct?:
Of all the buildings that Chinese has built, the Great Wall is the most popular.(means that the Great Wall is still the most popular building today, and this is a common fact)
gmat-admin's picture

Since Chinese is plural, we need the plural HAVE. Also, I'm not sure that the Great Wall can be classified as a building.

I'd write something like:

Of all the structures the Chinese have built, the Great Wall is the most popular.


Hi Brent,

Choice B was eliminated because it doesn't have the "more than" construction. However, if "more than" was included, would it be correct?
"it may be that none was more popular than the" ..

"it may be that" sounds awkward. Please let me know, thanks!
gmat-admin's picture

"it may be that" does sound awkward, but I believe answer choice B would be grammatically correct if we added the "more than" construction.

Hi Brent! Just a heads up that the lack of "the" issue has not been fixed yet and it confused when solving this question. Moreover, I still don't understand why we are not talking about what fad is more popular today... ! Because that's what the original sentence seems to imply using "it", and hence C would be a more appropriate answer? How can I avoid this confusion? For example one could say: "Of all the music groups that Western culture has embraced over the years, maybe none is more popular than the Beatles, that began playing in 19XX and ended several years later" - I really don't want to be super obsessive, I just worry about a similar situation coming up on GMAT.
gmat-admin's picture

Thanks for the heads up about the video. It's on my to-do list.

If the Beatles were still playing today, then IS would be fine. Likewise, if Pet Rocks were still a fad today, then IS would be fine. However, we're told that the Pet Rocks fad ended in the 1970's. As such, we can't use the present tense IS.


Okay my problem here is that I do not think it should be pass tense because I think this is comparing with now and pass, so I chose C wrongly, I was so close to the answer but it happens every time that 2 choose 1 is wrong
gmat-admin's picture

The sentence tells us that the Pet Rock craze began in 1975 and ENDED six months later. Since the craze ended over 40 years ago, we must use the past tense.

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