Question

Especially in the early years, new entrepreneurs may need to find resourceful ways, like renting temporary office space or using answering services, that make their company seem large and more firmly established than they may actually be.

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

  • Especially in the early years, (prepositional phrase modifying the clause)
  • new entrepreneurs may need to find resourceful ways, (Subject – “entrepreneurs”; Verb – “may need”)
    • like renting temporary office space or using answering services, (modifier within double comma. Provides examples of resourceful ways)
    • that make their company seem (relative clause modifying “resourceful ways”)
      • large (First member of the list)
      • and more firmly established than they may actually be. (Second member of the list)

The sentence talks about something that new entrepreneurs need to do especially in their early years. They may need to find resourceful ways to make their companies seem large and to make their companies seem more firmly established than the companies actually are.

The sentence has the following problems:

  1. The plural “they” in the comparison “than they may actually be” doesn’t agree with the singular “company”.
  2. The structures “way to verb” or “way of verb-ing” are preferred over “way that verb” because it is not the “way” that performs any action. The action is performed by someone else through the “way”. Thus, “ways to make their …” and “ways of making their…” are preferred over the given “ways that make their…”.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Correct. This option corrects both the errors in the original sentence. This option also changes “large” to “larger”, making this info also a part of the comparison “than they may actually be”. Structurally, “larger” fits in perfectly in the sentence. Even though there is a slight change in meaning, such meaning change is acceptable if the new meaning is logical. 

(C) Incorrect. As is, this verb-ing modifier “making…” modifies the preceding clause. However, the modification is illogical since the fact that entrepreneurs need to find resourceful ways doesn’t make their companies seem larger!

(D) Incorrect. This option distorts the meaning. As is, this option implies that the reason entrepreneurs need to find resourceful ways is that their companies seem larger… (‘so that’ indicates the purpose of the verb). However, this is not the reason or purpose for the “need”; this is the purpose of “ways”. Besides, this option doesn’t tell ‘ways to achieve what?’; saying “I need to find ways” will always yield a question ‘ways to achieve what?’. 

(E) Incorrect. This option has Error no. 1 of the original sentence.

Please note that this question is PRECEDENT-SETTING in a way that it uses ‘like’ to offer examples. The question, thus, puts the debate “whether like can be used to offer examples” to rest once and for all. Therefore, one should never reject an option just because it uses ‘like’ to offer examples.

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