A 1972 agreement between Canada and the United States reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump into the Great Lakes.

  1. reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities had been allowed to dump
  2. reduced the phosphate amount that municipalities had been dumping
  3. reduces the phosphate amount municipalities have been allowed to dump
  4. reduced the amount of phosphates that municipalities are allowed to dump
  5. reduces the amount of phosphates allowed for dumping by municipalities

Highlight to see answer: D

Please post your explanations in the comments below!

2 Responses to “GMAT Sentence Correction – Phosphates”

rick says:

It’s D (because it continues in the present)

Paul says:

Rick, you are right!

Past perfect is used to indicate something that happened before something else – and because we are only given one sentence on SC, that other thing also needs to be in this sentence.

It might seem like we are saying “they used to be allowed to dump X amount and now they can dump Y amount” – two different things, right? But the sentence doesn’t actually spell that out. It just mentions the one event. We don’t have a second event or activity that occurs after… so we can’t use past perfect.

Present tense (“are”) is appropriate to use here because it tells us that the state of affairs is still true today, so we know D must be right.

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