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This is from a question from GMAT.

The official correct answer is C. but I am wondering what is the difference between A and C. Both seem correct and clear to me.

  1. A large rise in the number of housing starts in the coming year should boost new construction dollars by several billion dollars, ___________________.

(A) making the construction industry’s economic health much more robust than five years ago

(C) making the construction industry’s economic health much more robust than it was five years ago

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    With that many words between five years ago what it refers to, it's a good idea to repeat the pronoun and auxiliary, especially if you're writing and not speaking. Whenever you delete words in a sentence, you create potential ambiguities. You wanted to ask about it, so you had a doubt in your intuition. Good. Follow that intuition, and don't promote ambiguity just to be shorter. – John Lawler Jul 29 '19 at 2:36
  • You don't give the actual question. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 28 '19 at 19:28
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The truth is, this is not exactly a great question. Both are grammatically acceptable. What you should think to yourself here, however, is which is slightly clearer. The addition of the "it was" verb phrase makes it manifest that the writer is comparing "the construction industry’s economic health" from five year's ago. That said, any fluent English speaker would know that regardless, and the "it was" can be elided.

There are potentially other somewhat similar cases with comparisons where the use of an actual verb phrase significantly boosts clarity, but I would argue this is not one.

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In a comment, John Lawler wrote:

With that many words between five years ago what it refers to, it's a good idea to repeat the pronoun and auxiliary, especially if you're writing and not speaking. Whenever you delete words in a sentence, you create potential ambiguities. You wanted to ask about it, so you had a doubt in your intuition. Good. Follow that intuition, and don't promote ambiguity just to be shorter.

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