Question

In a review of 2000 studies of human behavior that date back to the 1940’s, two Swiss psychologists, declaring that since most of the studies had failed to control for such variables as social class and family size, none could be taken seriously.

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 a review of 2000 studies (Prepositional phrase modifying the main verb)
    • of human behavior (prepositional phrase modifying “studies”)
    • that date back to the 1940’s, (relative clause modifying “studies”)
  • two Swiss psychologists, (Main Subject)
    • declaring that (verb-ing modifier modifying the main subject)
      • since most of the studies had failed to control for such variables as social class and family size, (subordinate clause within “that” clause. Subject – “most of the studies”; Verb – “had failed”)
      • none could be taken seriously. (Main clause within “that” clause. Subject – “none”; Verb – “could be taken”)

The sentence says:

In a review of 2000 studies, two psychologists declared that none of the studies could be taken seriously because most of the studies had not controlled for variables such as social class and family size.

The use of past perfect “had failed” is correct since this event happened before the other events — “declared” and “could be taken”.

The sentence has one error: it doesn’t have a main verb.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the error mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. No main verb
  2. “failed in not controlling” reverses the original logical meaning.
  3. “such..like” is non-idiomatic
  4. This option presents “most of the studies failed…” and “none could be taken seriously” as two separate information. By doing so, it distorts the original logical meaning.

(C) Incorrect. No verb for the subject “most of the studies”.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The use of simple present “fail” is incorrect since we’re not presenting a general information or information true in the present. Since we are presenting an information about the past, we need to use past tense.
  2. “such…like” is non-idiomatic.

(E) Correct. This option corrects the error in the original sentence.

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