Question

Foraging at all times of the day and night, but interspersing their feeding with periods of rest that last between one and eight hours, a sperm whale could eat so much as a ton of squid a day.

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

The sentence starts with two verb-ing modifiers — the second one containing a relative clause. The sentence structure is:

  • Foraging at all times of the day and night, (First verb-ing modifier for the subject “a whale”. The whale forages at all times)
  • but interspersing their feeding with periods of rest (Second verb-ing modifier for the subject “whale”. The whales — it has to be “whales”, not “whale” since the sentence uses plural pronoun “their” in the non-underlined part — intersperse their feeding with the periods of the rest.)
    • that last between one and eight hours, (relative clause modifying “periods of rest”. These periods last between one and eight hours)
  • a sperm whale could eat so much as a ton of squid a day. (Main clause. Subject – a sperm whale; verb – could eat. The sperm whales can eat as much as a ton of squid a day)

The original sentence has the following errors:

  1. We need to use plural subject “sperm whales” to match with the plural pronoun “their” in the non-underlined part.
  2. The use of “could” is incorrect. We are neither talking about a hypothetical scenario nor talking about the past. We’re simply presenting a fact, so we need to use “can”.
  3. The idiom “so much as …” is only used in negative contexts i.e. when we have “not so much as…”. For positive comparisons “as much as…” is used. Please note that “as much as…” is also used in negative comparisons i.e. “not as much as…” is also correct.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons explained above.

(B) Correct. All the errors of the original sentence have been corrected without introducing any new errors.

(C) Incorrect. Error no. 2 of the original sentence. The use “between X to Y” is incorrect. The correct idiom is “between X and Y”.

(D) Incorrect. Error no. 2 and 3 of the original sentence.

(E) Incorrect. Error no. 1 and 3 of the original sentence.

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