Despite its covering the entire planet. Earth has


Despite its covering the entire planet. Earth has a crust that is not seamless or stationary, rather it is fragmented into mobile semirigid plates.

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)


Sentence Analysis

The sentence intends to say that:

Even though Earth’s crust covers the entire planet, it is neither seamless nor stationary. Rather, it is fragmented into some plates.

The original sentence has the following errors:

  1. The original verb-ing modifier “its covering” seems to modify “Earth”, leading to an illogical meaning that Earth covers the entire planet.
  2. “not seamless or stationary” doesn’t communicate the meaning clearly. It could mean that it is either “not seamless” or “stationary”, or it could mean that it is not “seamless or stationary”.
  3. “it is…” is an independent clause, joined with the preceding independent clause with a comma. Two independent clauses cannot be joined just by a comma.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors described above.

(B) Incorrect. Lack of parallelism: “seamless” and “is it stationary” are not parallel to each other. Also, the part after ‘but’ i.e. “is fragmented” is also not parallel to “seamless”.

(C) Incorrect. Lack of parallelism: “seamless” and “is it stationary” are not parallel to each other.

(D) Correct. All the errors have been corrected in this option.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Verb-ing modifier “covering” seems to modify “Earth”, leading to an illogical meaning that Earth covers the entire planet.
  2. Problem no. 2 of the original sentence

There are two interesting observations from this question:

  1. The use of “but” and “rather” together in the correct option: Generally, since both are contrast words, we do not need to use both together. However, in some cases, when we want to highlight the contrast, we may use both together.

Now, what about those people who may not know that we can use these two together in some cases? If you are one of those, you should have marked option D suspicious but not rejected it for only this reason. It is not a violation of one of the fundamental laws of grammar. At the worst, it seems to be a case of redundancy. So, even though you may have considered this use against this option, you shouldn’t have rejected the option. Now, if you had kept this option on hold and evaluated other options thoroughly, you’d have realized that other options had more serious issues. In such a case, you’d have been left with option D.

In general, you shouldn’t reject options for not-so-strong reasons in the first go. The objective should be to first get rid of all the options with deterministic errors i.e. the violations of the fundamental laws of grammar. Once you have eliminated all such options, you may then apply qualitative analysis (finding the ‘best’ option) to the remaining options.

  1. OG explanation for option E asserts that ‘Although’ should be followed by a clause. However, this assertion is not correct, as explained in detail in this article.

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 He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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