Question

Diabetes, together with its serious complications, ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.

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

  • Diabetes, (Main Subject)
    • together with its serious complications, (Additional info between double commas)
  • ranks as the nation’s third leading cause of death, (Main Verb – “ranks”)
    • surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. (Verb-ed modifier modifying the subject “Diabetes”)

The sentence says that Diabetes is the nation’s third leading cause of death. In terms of the causes of death, Diabetes is surpassed only by heart disease and cancer (the first two leading causes of death, logically).

The sentence is logical and has no grammatical errors.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Plural verb “rank” doesn’t agree with the singular subject “Diabetes”.
  2. The placement of “only” before “surpassed” distorts the meaning. Now, “only” seems to modify “surpassed” rather than “by heart disease and cancer”. The sentence now means that diabetes was ‘only surpassed’ (and not done to anything else) by heart disease and cancer!

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “has the rank of …” is an overly wordy of expressing the same idea communicated concisely in the original sentence. It is like saying “He has the rank of the school’s third leading basketball player”. Well, we know a much better way: “He ranks as the school’s third leading basketball player”.
  2. Error no. 2 of option B

(D) Incorrect. The plural verb “are” doesn’t agree with the singular subject “Diabetes”. Also, “causes” is incorrect since “Diabetes” is singular. (Even though “Diabetes” has an “s” at the end, it is not plural. It is a name standing for a single disease.)

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The plural verb “have been ranked” doesn’t agree with the singular subject “Diabetes”.
  2. The use of “causes” is incorrect since “Diabetes” is singular.
  3. Error no. 2 of option B

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