Almost like clones in their similarity to one another, the cheetah

Question

Almost like clones in their similarity to one another, the cheetah species’ homogeneity makes them especially vulnerable to disease.

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

As we read the sentence from the beginning, we understand that somethings are almost like clones, and they are like clones in terms of their similarity to each other. So, as we read further, we expect to see a plural noun that can be “like clones”. However, we encounter the noun “the cheetah species’ homogeneity”. Please note that “cheetah species” is not a noun here; it’s acting as an adjective to “homogeneity”.

So, we have an error here – Illogical modification. We know that homogeneity cannot be like clones!

Also, since we have a pronoun “them” (‘makes them especially”), it needs to refer to a noun; however, cheetah species is not acting as a noun in this sentence. Thus, we do not have an antecedent for “them”. (Please note that in OG2017 Q805, a pronoun “she” refers to a noun in the possessive form. Since there is an official precedent that a pronoun can refer to a noun in the possessive form, this error is not deterministic i.e. we cannot reject an option just for this problem. However, it also doesn’t mean that we become completely indifferent to this rule. The presence of an exception to a rule doesn’t mean that we discard the rule altogether. I think it means that we use this rule but do not reject an option just for violating this rule.)

Therefore, the original sentence has two errors.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. This option has two errors as explained above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “Like” illogically compares “the cheetah species” with clones. The cheetah species is not like clones; it’s the members that are like clones. Besides, even if we say that one cheetah species can be like a clone of another cheetah species, then we should have used a plural verb “are” instead of “is” in the sentence.
  2. Since “species” is singular here, there is no antecedent for “their”.
  3. The presence of singular “species” also makes the use “one another” illogical.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “Like” illogically compares “homogeneity” with clones.
  2. No antecedent for “their”.
  3. The use of “one another” become illogical in the absence of a logical antecedent for “their”.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “Like” illogically compares “homogeneity” with clones.
  2. Even though logically “their” refers to “members of the cheetah species”, structurally the reference is difficult to make. After “almost like clones in their similarity to one another”, we would expect to see something that “are similar to each other”. To that “something”, we expect “their” to refer to. Thus, while we cannot say that the antecedent doesn’t exist, we can say that the structure of the sentence is wanting.

(E) Correct. “Like” correctly compares “members of the cheetah species” with clones. Also, “their” logically and structurally refers to “members of the cheetah species”.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with a score 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 +91 9971 0010 67 or CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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