To attract the most talented workers, some companies are offering a wider range of benefits, letting employees pick those most important to them.
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- To attract the most talented workers, (Infinitive phrase indicating the purpose of the main verb)
- some companies are offering a wider range of benefits, (Main Subject: some companies; Main Verb: are offering)
- letting employees pick those most important to them. (Comma+verb-ing modifier modifying the main clause. ‘those’ refer to benefits. ‘most important to them’ is a modifier for ‘those’. We could also have written it this way ‘those benefits that are most important to them’. However, clearly, the given construction is concise.)
The sentence talks about what some companies are doing to attract the most talented workers. The companies are offering a wider range of benefits and letting employees pick the benefits most important to them.
The sentence is correct as is.
(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:
- Here, both ‘them’ and ‘themselves’ seem to refer to ‘employees’, leading to a nonsensical meaning. Logically, ‘them’ needs to refer to benefits and ‘themselves’ to employees.
- The use of the reflexive pronoun ‘themselves’ in this construction creates ambiguity. Are we saying ‘letting employees pick X to themselves’ (“to themselves” modifies “pick”) or saying ‘most important of them to themselves’ (“to themselves” modifies “most important”). The first construction, which seems more likely given the sentence structure, implies that we are talking about absolute importance of benefits i.e. there is an absolute ranking of the importance of the benefits and that all employees will choose the most important of the benefits. This does not seem to be the intended meaning.
(C) Incorrect. It is not clear ‘the most important of what?’. Besides, the use of reflexive pronoun ‘themselves’ creates the problem described in the analysis of option B.
(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:
- ‘let’ is not parallel to anything before ‘and’. If we say ‘let’ is parallel to ‘are offering’ in that both are verbs for the subject ‘some companies’, there is no reason to justify the shift from present progressive (are offering) to simple present (let). Thus, the list will still be incorrect.
- It is not clear ‘the most important of what?’.
(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:
- Error no. 1 of option D
- Since ‘those’ refer to benefits and ‘that clause’ modifies ‘those’, ‘that’ also refers to ‘benefits’. In this case, ‘themselves’ also refers to ‘benefits’, producing a nonsensical meaning that benefits are most important to the benefits.
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