The Eastern State Penitentiary was established in 1822 by reformers

Question

The Eastern State Penitentiary was established in 1822 by reformers advocating that prisoners be held in solitary confinement and hard labor so as to reform them.

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 Eastern State Penitentiary was established in 1822 by reformers (Main Subject: Eastern State Penitentiary; Main Verb: was established)
    • advocating that (Verb-ing modifier modifying ‘reformers’)
      • prisoners be held in solitary confinement and hard labor (Dependent ‘that’ Clause – Subject: prisoners; Verb: be held)
        • so as to reform them. (Expresses the purpose of the verb ‘be held’)

The sentence says that a special prison was established by reformers who advocated solitary confinement and hard labor for prisoners to reform the prisoners.

The sentence has the following problems:

  1. ‘hard labor’ is not parallel to anything before ‘and’. It cannot be parallel to solitary confinement since ‘prisoners be held in hard labor’ doesn’t make sense.
  2. The doer of the verb ‘reform’ per the structure of the sentence is ‘prisoners’. This doesn’t make sense since prisoners are not reforming someone.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of the original sentence
  2. The given structure indicates that reformers were advocating prisoners. The reformers were advocating certain things (solitary confinement and hard labor) for the prisoners, not advocating the prisoners!

(C) Correct

(D) Incorrect. ‘for the means of prisoner reform’ is incorrect. We can say either ‘as the means of prisoner reform’ or, less preferably, ‘for prisoner reform’. Still, ‘as the means to reform prisoners’ is the best construction of all.

(E) Incorrect. It should be ‘means of prisoner reform’, not ‘means for prisoner reform’. Besides, ideally ‘solitary confinement and hard labor’ should come immediately after ‘advocating’.

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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eleven + 20 =