5

I have a question for which I am doubtful about which to choose among the two .. can someone help?

Please select one option for the blank:

After years of unchecked exploitation of its natural resources, the state, predictably, has _________ the population of its native plants and animals.

a) stymied
b) increased
c) reduced
d) normalized
e) decimated

I chose decimated as that is strong as the question says years of exploitation.

Will any other answer fit here? Will reduce fit in? I did not choose reduce as it is lighter than decimated...

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10

Your selection of decimated is indeed the best option here.

Reduced would imply that the decrease was the result of an intentional policy, which seems unlikely.

3

Reduced could be an option, if decimated was not on the list. "Reduced" is a rather mild term which just indicates a reduction in number, while "decimated" is a very strong one indicating an extreme change. The phrase "unchecked exploitation" in the first sentence is a very strong wording, so one would expect a similarly strong wording in the second part. "Decimated" is simply a better choice, and with multiple choice questions you must always choose the best choice.

If I may use recent current events, using "reduced" in this situation is similar to saying "Ebola is a highly contagious, life threatening disease with no known cure. It is mildly important to avoid people who have it." While technically accurate, I would expect the second sentence to be more along the lines of, "It is essential to your well-being to avoid people who have it."

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