Question

Tropical bats play important roles in the rain forest ecosystem, aiding in the dispersal of cashew, date, and fig seeds; pollinating banana, breadfruit, and mango trees; and indirectly help produce tequila by pollinating agave plants.

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

  • Tropical bats play important roles in the rain forest ecosystem, (Main clause. Subject – “Tropical bats”; Verb – “play”)
    • aiding in the dispersal of cashew, date, and fig seeds; (First verb-ing modifier modifying the preceding clause. How they play important roles? By aiding…)
    • pollinating banana, breadfruit, and mango trees; (Second verb-ing modifier modifying the preceding clause)
    • and indirectly help produce tequila by pollinating agave plants. (To maintain parallelism, this part needs to be a verb-ing modifier modifying the preceding clause)

The sentence says that Tropical bats play important roles in the rain forest ecosystem. How? By doing three things described in a list of three verb-ing modifiers. As we can see the three elements are separated by semi-colons and not commas. Why? Because the elements themselves contain commas. So, using commas to separate these three elements would create confusion.

Rather, separating elements in a list in which the elements themselves contain commas is one of the uses of a semi-colon.

The error in the sentence is a lack of parallelism in the third element. To maintain parallelism, the third element needs to be a verb-ing modifier.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the lack of parallelism described above.

(B) Correct.

(C) Incorrect. The clause “they indirectly help” is not parallel to the other two verb-ing modifiers. Also, if the intention were to present this information as a separate clause, then it needs to be joined with the previous clause using “comma + and” (Two independent clauses cannot be joined with just “and”). Also, presenting this information as a separate clause creates an additional error. There are only two members in the list: “aiding” and “pollinating”. These two members need to be joined with “and”, not with a comma.

(D) Incorrect. For the lack of parallelism.

(E) Incorrect. For the lack of parallelism. Also, “helping the producing of” is an awkward expression compared to “helping to produce”.

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