As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more

Question

As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, not only are thieves able to divert cash from company bank accounts, they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

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 sentence talks about simultaneous events. It uses “As” to depict simultaneity of the events. It says:

  • As criminal activity on the Internet becomes more and more sophisticated, two events happen:
    • thieves are able to divert cash from company bank accounts
    • they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors.

There are no other errors except a potential parallelism error. The sentence uses “not only.. but (also)” idiom (“also” in “but also” is optional). Let’s look at the elements that form part of this structure and see if they are parallel.

Before we even look at the elements, we can notice that there is no “but (also)”. Is it an error? Yes, in general. However, when we have independent clauses as elements in this idiom structure, we have an exception at hand. We need not have “but also” following “not only”. In these cases, we may have “also” as a modifier of the main verb in the second clause, as in the given sentence.

Therefore, even though we do not have “but (also)” in this case, it is not an error here.

Now, the two elements that form part of this structure are:

  • thieves are able to divert cash from company bank accounts (I have just put the verb “are” after the subject for clarity)
  • they can also pilfer valuable information such as business development strategies, new product specifications, and contract bidding plans, and sell the data to competitors. (We shouldn’t consider “also” as part of the element since it is a part of the idiom.)

We can see that the two elements are two independent clauses in active form, and logically also, they make sense since they depict two things that happen as criminal activities become more and more sophisticated.

Therefore, the original sentence has NO ERRORS.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct. There are no errors in this option.

(B) Incorrect. “selling” is not parallel to any part before “and”. We need a verb “sell” to stand parallel to “pilfer”.

(C) Incorrect. This option violates parallelism. “Not only” is followed by an independent clause. We need an independent clause in the second part of the idiom too. “pilfering…” is not an independent clause. In addition, from the sentence, we do not even know who is performing the action of “pilfering” and “selling”.

(D) Incorrect. This option violates parallelism. “Not only” is followed by an independent clause. We need an independent clause in the second part of the idiom too. “pilfer…” is not an independent clause; it doesn’t have a subject.

The change from “and sell” to “to sell” is fine. It changes the meaning; however, the changed meaning is also logical. The changed meaning is that the action of “pilfering” is done with an intention to sell. In the original sentence, “pilfering” and “selling” are two separate actions.

(E) Incorrect.  This option violates parallelism. “Not only” is followed by an independent clause. We need an independent clause in the second part of the idiom too. “pilfering…” is not an independent clause. In addition, from the sentence, we do not even know who is performing the action of “pilfering” and “selling”.

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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