As with ants, the elaborate social structure of termites

Question

As with ants, the elaborate social structure of termites includes a few individuals reproducing and the rest serve the colony by tending juveniles, gathering food, building the nest, or battling intruders.

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

  • As with ants, (‘As’ structure used to present comparison)
  • the elaborate social structure of termites includes (Main subject: ‘social structure’; Main Verb: ‘includes’)
    • a few individuals reproducing (Object of the verb ‘includes’)
    • and the rest serve the colony by (A clause currently not parallel to the object above)
      • tending juveniles,
      • gathering food,
      • building the nest,
      • or battling intruders.

The statement says that the social structure of termites is same as that of ants. The social structure of termites is such that a few individuals reproduce, and the rest serve the colony by doing a number of activities.

The given sentence has the following problems:

  1. It compares ants with ‘the elaborate social structure of termites’. Either ants should be compared with termites or social structure of ants should be compared with social structure of termites.
  2. ‘a few individuals reproducing’ (a noun) is not parallel to ‘the rest serve..’ (a clause)

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. ‘includes a few individuals to reproduce’ means that the social structure includes a few individuals with a purpose to reproduce i.e. the purpose of ‘including’ is reproduction. Clearly, this meaning doesn’t make sense.
  2. The part in the non-underlined part ‘the rest serve the colony’ is not parallel to anything before ‘and’ in this option.
  3. Even though ‘as do ants’ can be used to present comparison (meaning that ants also have an elaborate social structure just as termites have), the concise and preferred construction is ‘like ants’. Both structures communicate the same meaning; just that the latter construction is a neater construction.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. First error of the original sentence.
  2. Second error of option B
  3. ‘including’ is generally used to present instances of an entity. For example: ‘Developing nations, including China and India, are growing’. Here, ‘including’ is introducing instances of developing nations. In the given option ‘individuals’ are not instances of social structure. Besides, the use of ‘comma+verb-ing’ is inappropriate here since ‘comma+verb-ing’ is not providing information directly relevant to the clause.

(D) Correct. This option corrects both the errors of the original sentence. The part in the non-underlined part ‘the rest serve the colony..’ is parallel to ‘a few individuals reproduce’.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. ‘that’ in ‘that of ants’ doesn’t refer to anything. For it to refer to ‘social structure’, we needed ‘the social structure of termites’ rather than ‘the termite social structure’.
  2. Third error of option C.
  3. Second error of option B.

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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