Question

A new study suggests that the conversational pace of everyday life may be so brisk it hampers the ability of some children for distinguishing discrete sounds and words and, the result is, to make sense of speech.

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

Let’s first try to understand the meaning of the sentence:

A new study suggests something about the conversational pace of everyday life. The fast pace may hamper the ability of some children to distinguish discrete sounds and words. As a result, the fast pace may hamper the ability of the children to make sense of speech.

The sentence seems to use an idiomatic construction: so X that Y. In this structure, Y explains the extent of X. In the sentence “it hampers the ability…” seems to explain how brisk the conversational pace is.

The original sentence has the following errors:

  1. The current structure — “so brisk” followed by an independent clause — is not correct. We need to have “so brisk that it hampers…”.
  2. “ability for distinguishing” is incorrect. “ability for verb-ing” is always wrong. The correct idiom is “ability to verb”.
  3. The part after ‘and’ — “and the result is to make sense of speech” — doesn’t make any sense. It’s an independent clause, but as is, it doesn’t lead to any sensible meaning. At best, it can mean that the result of the previous clause (which talks about hampering the ability to distinguish sounds) is to make sense of the speech. Clearly, illogical.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons explained above.

(B) Correct. This option corrects all the errors in the original sentence. The parallelism here is between “to distinguish discrete sounds and words” and “to make sense of speech”. “as a result” after ‘and’ clarifies the chain of causality.

(C) Incorrect. “The result of this” is a noun phrase dangling alone without a verb. It cannot grammatically modify the whole clause as it logically needs to. 

(D) Incorrect. In this option “results” is parallel to “hampers”, leading to the structure: “The pace is so brisk that it results in not making sense of speech”. As we can see, it is not clear who is not making sense of speech.

(E) Incorrect. The construction “so adjective as to verb phrase explaining the adjective” is correct. This option is incorrect for the following reasons:

  1. “ability for distinguishing” is incorrect. “ability for verb-ing” is always wrong. The correct idiom is “ability to verb”.
  2. “resulting in being unable” – In this construction, it is not clear who is being unable to make sense of speech.

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