When viewed from the window of a speeding train

Question

When viewed from the window of a speeding train, the speed with which nearby objects move seems faster than that of more distant objects.

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

  • When viewed from the window of a speeding train, (Opening verb-ed modifier modifying the main subject)
  • the speed (Main Subject)
    • with which nearby objects move (Dependent clause modifying the main subject – Subject: nearby object; Verb: move)
  • seems faster than that of more distant objects. (Main Verb: seems)

The sentence compares the speed of the nearby objects with the speed of the distant object from the perspective of someone viewing from the window of a speeding train. The sentence says that the speed of the nearby objective seems greater than the speed of the more distant objects.

The sentence has the following problems:

  1. The opening verb-ed modifier ‘viewed’ nonsensically modifies ‘the speed’. It should modify the objects that are viewed.
  2. The elements being compared are not structurally parallel. The two ways to make the elements parallel are: ‘the speed of the nearby objects seems greater than that of more distant objects’ and ‘the speed with which nearby objects move seems greater than that with which more distant objects move’.

Please note that ‘more’ in ‘more distant objects’ is used without any ‘than’. This construction is valid since the comparison is clear. (more distant – compared to nearby objects)

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of the original sentence
  2. In ‘the speed that nearby objects move’, ‘the speed’ is the object of ‘move’. For example: in ‘the items that these machines move’, ‘the items’ is the object of the verb ‘move’ i.e. the items are being moved. Clearly, ‘the speed’ cannot be the object of ‘move’. The construction should be ‘the speed at which nearby objects move’ (ideal) or ‘the speed that nearby objects move at’ (possible but less than ideal).
  3. ‘for’ after ‘than’ is not parallel to anything, leading to an incorrect comparison.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of the original sentence
  2. The speed of nearby objects is being compared with ‘more distant objects’. Clearly, an incorrect comparison.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of the original sentence
  2. The construction “nearby object’s speeds’ is significantly less preferred over ‘speeds of the nearby objects’.
  3. The elements being compared are not structurally parallel. One way to make the elements parallel is ‘the speeds of the nearby objects seem to be greater than those of more distant objects’.

(E) Correct.

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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