In the 1940s popular magazines in the United States began to report

Question

In the 1940s popular magazines in the United States began to report on the private lives of persons from the entertainment industry, in despite of the fact that they previously had featured individuals in business and politics.

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

  • In the 1940s (Prepositional phrase modifying the main verb)
  • popular magazines (Main Subject)
    • in the United States (Prepositional phrase modifying the main subject)
  • began to report (Main Verb: began)
    • on the private lives of persons from the entertainment industry, (Prepositional phrase modifying ‘report’)
  • in despite of the fact (Presents a contrast)
    • that they previously had featured individuals in business and politics. (Dependent clause modifying ‘fact’ – Subject: they; Verb: had featured)

The sentence presents a contrast between what popular magazines reported before 1940s and what they started reporting in 1940s. In 1940s, they began to report on the private lives of persons from the entertainment industry. Before 1940s, they featured individuals in business and politics.

The sentence has one problem: ‘in despite of the fact’ is incorrect. The correct versions are ‘in spite of the fact’ and ‘despite the fact’.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reason mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The placement of ‘previously’ is incorrect. It should come between ‘publications’ and ‘featured’. In this option, ‘previously’ seems to modify ‘in spite of the fact’ – a nonsensical modification.
  2. Even though we can understand that ‘those’ refers to people, the better construction will be to replace it with ‘individuals’ or ‘persons’.
  3. Since the publications featured articles on people in business before they began to write on private lives of individuals from the entertainment industry, the use of ‘past perfect’ will bring clarity to the sentence.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. This option distorts the contrast. The original and sensible contrast is between what popular magazines reported before 1940s and what they started reporting in 1940s. However, this option changes the second part of the contrast to ‘there were those individuals’ – i.e. the presence of certain individuals.
  2. ‘in business and politics’ seems to modify ‘articles’ in this option. This further distorts the meaning.
  3. The construction ‘there were those individuals featured in articles’ doesn’t make any sense even in itself.

(D) Incorrect. This option distorts the contrast. The original and sensible contrast is between what popular magazines reported before 1940s and what they started reporting in 1940s. However, this option changes the second part of the contrast to ‘those individuals were in business and politics’ – this part doesn’t present any contrast to what the magazines started reporting in 1940s.

(E) Correct. This option corrects the error of the original sentence. Besides, the use of ‘these publications’ in place of ‘they’ brings more clarity to the sentence and makes it easier to read.

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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