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Answers to Sample GMAT Sentence Correction Questions

Answer to Question 1

At issue is the need for logical and formal parallelism in a coordinate series. B, the best choice, clearly and correctly uses parallel noun phrases to list three effects of a drop in oil prices: a lowering of..., a rally in ..., and a weakening of.... In place of the correct lower before/ears, choice A uses an incorrect participial adjective, lowering, that could cause confusion by seeming at first to function as a verb. A also violates parallelism. In C and D, the use of along with confuses meaning by making fears about inflation an independent effect, not an object of lowering. D and E violate parallelism by substituting an awkward gerund clause for the first noun phrase.

Answer to Question 2

In choice D, the best answer, the phrase contemporaries of Harriet Tubman presents a complete possessive without adding an apostrophe (e.g., Tubman's). Choices A, B, and C use a redundant possessive: contemporaries of Harriet Tubman's. All choices other than D have errors in verb tense. Because the sentence describes essentially simultaneous actions completed in the past, the simple past tense forms maintained and had are required. Thus, the present tense forms has and maintain are incorrect in A, B, and E, as are . the present perfect have maintained in C and the past perfect had maintained in E.

Answer to Question 3

A, the best choice, conveys the relevant information clearly and directly. Because the focus of interest is the sales of new small boats, that should be the subject of the sentence. Since the period of time covered began and ended in the past, the verb should be in the simple past tense (increased). The adverb annually fits most logically after the amount of the increases. B, C, D, and E all distort the focus and disrupt the sensible order of ideas. In addition, B, C, and D use incorrect verb tenses to refer to the simple past (is, have increased, and has occurred). In C, the expression five and ten percent makes no sense without the word between. Finally, E is especially clumsy and confused.

Answer to Question 4

Choice E is best; it best indicates purpose for crossbreeding-- partly to acquire. In A, in part that does not grammatically connect the underlined portion to the first part of the sen�tence (the independent clause). In both A and B, in part is not parallel with and partly in the nonunderlined portion. Choice C causes a misreading, suggesting that the steers' acquisition has caused the crossbreeding. D awkwardly and illogically shifts to the passive voice: certain characteristics should be acquired by their steers; the steers, however, are not agents in the acquisition.

Answer to Question 5

The main challenge in this sentence is to observe the agree�ment of subject and verb (the resulting flow pattern... is known...) despite the distraction of a complex intervening structure containing several plural elements (with crests and troughs...). Choices A, B, and D can, therefore, be eliminated because they use an incorrect plural verb form, are. Choice E uses the correct verb form, is, but it incorrectly introduces a dependent adverbial although clause into a prepositional phrase (with crests ...). Choice D also makes this error. Such dependent clauses can only occur in the predicates of full clauses. C, the best choice, uses the correct verb form, is, and correctly puts the although clause inside the predicate of the relative clause (that... rapidly).

Answer to Question 6

At issue is a comparison of Auden's language with Merrill's language. Only C, the best choice, uses the elliptical like Auden's (language being understood), to compare Auden's language with Merrill's language. A, B, and D compare Auden (the person) with Merrill's language. Choice E is awkward and unidiomatic.

Answer to Question 7

A, the best choice, correctly balances the contrasting terms low and high in parallel form (adjectives in the positive degree). It also makes clear who, exactly, is preparing for the coming school year (companies). B uses the plural pronouns their and they without an appropriately stated referent. C, D, and E violate the parallelism needed for the contrasting terms by making the second term an adjective in the com�parative degree (higher). Furthermore, the use of higher without a stated point of comparison makes it unclear what the expenses are higher than. E also uses the pronoun their without an appropriate referent.

Answer to Question 8

Only E, the best choice, clearly states that teratomas consist of tissues such as tooth and bone, and that such tissues are not normally found in the organ with the teratoma. Clear statement of this fact requires the repetition of tissues to establish the appositive--tissues normally found.... Without such repetition, A and B imprecisely state that the tooth and bone, as opposed to the tissues, are not normally found in the affected organ. Choices B and C alter the meaning with the use of like', that is, they suggest that the tissues are not tooth and bone, but only like them. The confused syntax of D states that their composition, not the tissues, is found in the organ....

Answer to Question 9

The sentence contains a relative clause (that...) indicating, in its compound predicate, two effects of the immigration legislation: (it) would grant x and (would) penalize y. The auxiliary would may be omitted before penalize, but the main verbs must remain parallel. Only C, the best choice, observes these conditions. A and B produce incoherent, fused sentences in which the two main clauses are not parallel. Furthermore, in A the referent of they is unclear, and in B the statement hiring illegal aliens would be a penalty makes no sense. D violates parallel structure by substituting a present participle (penalizing) for the second main verb. E introduces an incoherent passive infinitive construction that violates sense and parallel structure.

Answer to Question 10

Choice A, the best answer, preserves grammatical parallelism while allowing for logical expression of temporal relation�ships; A employs the parallel participial phrases spawned... and extending ... to modify filigree. Other choices present different grammatical constructions that are not participial modifiers and thus not parallel to spawned: extends in B is a present-tense verb; it extended in D begins a new clause; and is extending in E ungrammatically introduces a new predicate. In C, extended is nonparallel if it is assumed to be a past tense verb form; if it is assumed to be a past participle, it illogically states, as does D, that the filigree extended only in the past.

Answer to Question 11

Two instances of subject-verb agreement must be observed in this sentence: The period ... has been established and what is much more difficult to determine ... is. Both clauses have singular subjects and must have singular verbs. Only B, the best choice, observes these requirements. A incorrectly uses the plural form are in the second clause. Choices C and D incorrectly use the plural form have in the first clause, and D incorrectly uses are in the second clause as well. E incorrectly uses the plural form are in the first clause. Furthermore, because the date of the period in question was established before the writing of the sentence, the verb of that clause must be in the present perfect form (has been established).

Answer to Question 12

The best choice, A, offers an adjective phrase unequivocally modifying policy and exhibiting grammatical parallelism (decreasing ... and improving). In choice B, the gerund the decreasing is not grammatically parallel with the infinitive to improve. Likewise, in C and D, the decreasing of... costs is not parallel with improving the efficiency. In E, the infinitives to decrease and to improve, while parallel, are less idiomatic than the prepositional phrase of decreasing ... and improving in modifying the noun aim. Also, with the aim... improve can easily be construed as referring to the Baldrick Manufac�turing Company and so does not refer unequivocally to policy.

Answer to Question 13

Choices A, C, and D contain singular verbs that do not agree in number with the plural subject, papers. Furthermore, A violates parallelism by aligning the adjective important with the noun defense; C, employing the present progressive tense, wrongly suggests that the triple authorship of The Federalist papers is a developing situation rather than an accomplished fact; and D, employing the present perfect tense, suggests that the situation of triple authorship is no longer the case. D is also garbled syntactically because the conjunction and has been misplaced. In E, the wording is awkward. Choice B is best.

Answer to Question 14

In choices A and B, the pronoun it simultaneously refers forward to someone (or a person) and backward to the term "psychopath" As a result, the sentence asserts illogically that the term is actually a kind of person rather than a word referring to a kind of person. Choice C repeats this fault and adds an error in agreement: they (plural) does not agree in number with the term (singular). E omits a main verb, such as applied, that, in grammatical context here, is required after is. Also, the word people incorrectly shifts number from singular to plural. In choice D, the best answer, the verb refers is correctly used after it, and the alignment of pronouns and antecedents is both logical and grammatical.

Answer to Question 15

Choice D, the best answer, appropriately uses the adverb so to refer back to the verb accord. The other choices inappropriately use pronouns (it or this) to refer back to the verb. Also, A and B use the indicative verb rewards, whereas the logic of the sentence demands the conditional would reward (what Parliament believes to be the undue rewarding of illegal immigrants has not actually taken place but is considered only as an outcome of a hypothetical action).

Answer to Question 16

To convey the idea that shifting a portion of health-benefit costs back to workers has two complementary effects, the correct sentence must link grammatically parallel statements of these effects with and also or with not only ... but also. In choice A, helps ... but also undermines the and also paradigm, wrongly suggesting a contrast in the effects. In choice E, the unidiomatic not only ... and violates the not only ... but also paradigm. Choices B and D are not parallel. Also, the phrase helps the control in B is vague and unidio�matic. Choice C, the best answer, develops the parallel not only helps to... but also helps to.

Answer to Question 17

The enumeration of the rivals requires the conjunction and'. either the rivalry between x and y or the rivals x and y. Choices A and D wrongly substitute with for and in the first paradigm; choice B wrongly substitutes against for and in the second. Choice E does not clearly state that Chancellor is party to the rivalry. E also awkwardly pairs Chancellor and rivalry, not Chancellor and Ransom, as antecedents of they. Choice C, the best answer, correctly uses the between x and y paradigm and clearly and unequivocally identifies both parties in the rivalry.

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