Air traffic routes over the North Pole are currently used by only

Question

Air traffic routes over the North Pole are currently used by only two or three planes a day, but it was found by a joint Canadian–Russian study to be both feasible as well as desirable if those routes are opened to thousands more commercial planes a year.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Sentence Analysis

  • Air traffic routes (Subject)
    • over the North Pole (Prepositional phrase modifying the main subject)
  • are currently used by only two or three planes a day, (Verb: ‘are used’; the prepositional phrase ‘by only…’ modifies the verb)
  • but it was found by a joint Canadian–Russian study to be both feasible as well as desirable (Another independent clause. Subject: the placeholder ‘it’; Verb: ‘was found’)
    • if those routes are opened to thousands more commercial planes a year. (A dependent clause starting with ‘if’. Meaning-wise, this clause should present what is both feasible and desirable; however, the ‘if’ structure distorts the meaning)

The sentence seems to say that while some air traffic routes are used by only 2-3 planes a day, a study has found that it is both feasible and desirable to open these routes to thousands more commercial planes a year.

The sentence has the following problems:

  1. ‘both..as well as..’ is idiomatically incorrect. The correct idiom is ‘both..and..’.
  2. The use of ‘if’ structure distorts the meaning of the sentence. Currently, it seems that something is feasible and desirable if the routes are opened. However, ‘what something is’ is not clear.
  3. ‘it was found by a study..’ is an unnecessarily indirect way of saying ‘a study found..’.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The opening verb-ed modifier ‘currently used’ modifies ‘study’, leading to a non-sensical meaning that the study is used by only 2-3 planes a day.
  2. Would be both feasible and desirable is not clear. The option says that if something is done, ‘it’ would be both feasible and desirable. However, what ‘it’ refers to is not clear.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. First error of the original sentence.
  2. There is no verb for the subject ‘study’.

(D) Correct.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The information contained in the beginning prepositional phrase ‘with air traffic…’ presents a contrast to the main clause and is not an additional information to the main clause. Therefore, the use of the prepositional phrase distorts the meaning.
  2. The correct idiom in the given context is “found to be”. “found as” is unidiomatic.
  3. The use of passive structure ‘X has been found as…” is less preferred than the active structure given in option D.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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