November is traditionally the strongest month for sales of light trucks, but sales this past November, even when compared with sales in previous Novembers, accounted for a remarkably large share of total vehicle sales.

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)


Sentence Analysis

The sentence begins by saying that November is generally the strongest month for sales of light trucks. Then, we have ‘but’, so we can expect some contrast. The sentence then says ‘sales this past November’ followed by a modifier within double commas. A modifier within double commas means it is not essential to the meaning of the sentence. The part after ‘but’ says that sales in last November accounted for a very large share of total vehicle sales, even in comparison to sales in previous Novembers.

So, the contrast is just that even though November is generally the strongest month for sales but last November still produced exceptionally high sales.

Everything appears fine here. The sales of past November are correctly compared with sales of past Novembers.

Some people carry a misconception that “when compared” is always wrong. Well, this question should clear that misconception.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct. There is no error in the original sentence.

(B) Incorrect. In this option, ‘it’ stands for November. Therefore, this option illogically compares November in general to previous Novembers. If it had compared last November to previous Novembers, it might still have made sense; however, the given comparison is completely illogical. 

(C) Incorrect. In this option, ‘they’ (plural pronoun) can refer to sales, light trucks (nouns appearing earlier than ‘they’), or sales this past November (noun appearing after ‘they’). Doesn’t matter which of these nouns it refers to, the comparison with previous Novembers is going to be illogical.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  • Even though ‘so that’ is generally used to provide purpose, it can also be used in the sense of ‘with the result that’. The sentence seems to be using ‘so that’ in the latter sense. However, the latter part is not the result of the first part; it is rather presented, quite logically, as a contrast in the original sentence. Therefore, the use of ‘so that’ is incorrect.
  • This option compares ‘sales of light trucks’ with previous Novembers. Clearly, an illogical comparison.

(E) Incorrect. It repeats the ‘so that’ error of option D. Also, since the sales do not belong to November (they just happen in November), it is preferable to say “sales this past November” or “Sales in previous Novembers” rather than “this past November’s sales” or “previous November’s sales”. 

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