The Commerce Department reported that the nation’s economy

Question

The Commerce Department reported that the nation’s economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 3.7 percent in the second quarter, but that while businesses were expanding their production, unsold goods piled up on store shelves as consumer spending is slowed sharply.

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

  • The Commerce Department reported (Main Subject: Department; Main Verb: reported)
    • that the nation’s economy grew at a brisk annual pace of 3.7 percent in the second quarter, (Dependent clause – Subject: economy; Verb: grew. The prepositional phrase ‘at a brisk…percent’ and ‘in the second quarter’ both modify the verb ‘grew’.)
    • but that while businesses were expanding their production, (Dependent clause – Subject: businesses; Verb: ‘were expanding’)
    • unsold goods piled up on store shelves (Dependent clause – Subject: ‘goods’; Verb: ‘piled up’)
      • as consumer spending is slowed sharply. (Dependent clause – Subject: spending; Verb: ‘is slowed’)

The commerce department reported two things, which are at a contrast.

  1. The nation’s economy grew quite well. (Positive news)
  2. While businesses were growing their production, unsold goods increased as consumer spending slowed. (Worrisome news)

The only problem with the sentence is the use of simple present tense ‘is slowed’. The use of ‘as’ indicates simultaneous events. Thus, since ‘piled up’ is in past tense, the verb ‘is slowed’ needs to be converted into past tense.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reason mentioned above.

(B) Correct. This option corrects the error in the original sentence. I believe that both ‘unsold goods were piling up’ and ‘unsold goods piled up’ are correct.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The use of past perfect ‘had piled up’ is incorrect since there is no sequence of events here. We’re talking about three simultaneous events.
  2. The use of ‘as structure’ to communicate cause-effect relationship and simultaneity of the events is very apt. The use of prepositional phrase ‘with a sharp slowing…’ is much inferior to the ‘as structure’.

(D) Incorrect. The use of prepositional phrase ‘with the piling up…’ is much inferior to the ‘as structure’. Besides, if we use ‘as structure’, the part ‘consumer spending was slowing sharply’ needs to come in the ‘as clause’ since this part indicates the reason for the piling up of the unsold goods.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The use of present perfect ‘has slowed’ is incorrect since it doesn’t make sense with past continuous tense ‘were expanding’ in the while part. It must be simple past tense or past continuous tense.
  2. The problem of option D.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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