A professor at the university has taken a sabbatical to research on James Baldwin’s books that Baldwin wrote in France while he was living there.

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 says that a professor has taken a sabbatical to do something i.e. to research books written by James Baldwin. He wrote these books while he lived in France.

The sentence has the following errors:

  1. The sentence is redundant to the point of hilarity! Do we need to say that James Baldwin’s books were written by Baldwin?! Or do we need to say that he wrote the books in France while he lived in France? If he didn’t live there, how would he write the books there?
  2. When ‘research’ is used as a verb, the object of the research should immediately follow the verb without any preposition. Therefore, “to research on the books” is incorrect. We need to have “to research the books”. (If ‘research’ is used as a noun, then ‘research on’ is fine e.g. He conducted research on fatty acids.) A bit of caution: these rules may not be universally applicable.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. ‘research about’ is non-idiomatic.

(C) Incorrect. ‘research into’ is non-idiomatic. Also, “while” is France seems to illogically modify “books”, meaning that the books were in France.

(D) Incorrect. “research on” is non-idiomatic. 

(E) Correct. The option is idiomatic and concise. Please note: ‘that’ has been skipped after ‘books’. The option, with ‘that’, will read “the books that JB wrote…”. ‘that’ can be skipped when ‘that’ is acting as an object in its clause.

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