Mauritius was a British colony for almost 200 years, excepting for the domains of administration and teaching, the English language was never really spoken on the island.
(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)
The sentence says that Mauritius was a British colony for almost 200 years. As we read further, we see that there is some exception we’re talking about. The sentence says “excepting for the domains of administration and teaching”. First, “excepting for” is idiomatically incorrect. We don’t use ‘for’ with ‘excepting’. (However, we do use ‘for’ with ‘except’). Second, this exception doesn’t seem to apply to what we have read so far; probably it’ll apply to the latter part of the sentence.
The sentence then says “the English language was never really spoken on the island”. As we read this part, we observe two things:
- The exception presented earlier applies to this part of the sentence. The exception means that English was probably spoken in the domains of administration and teaching. Now, having understood the context of this exception, we see that we need ‘in’ as the preposition, not ‘for’, as given in “excepting for”.
- This part is an independent clause in itself. Thus, we have two independent clauses joined by a comma. We have a punctuation error here.
(A) Incorrect. For the errors described above.
(B) Incorrect. For the punctuation error: Two independent clauses are joined by a comma.
(C) Correct. The two independent clauses are now correctly joined by comma + but.
(D) Incorrect. As we discussed in the sentence analysis, “excepting for” is incorrect. Besides, we need the preposition “in” in the sentence.
(E) Incorrect. For the below reasons:
- Two independent clauses joined by a comma.
- “with the exception of” distorts the meaning. Now, it is not clear to which aspect it is presenting an exception.