Making things even more difficult has been general market inactivity

Question

Making things even more difficult has been general market inactivity lately, if not paralysis, which has provided little in the way of pricing guidance.

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 first thing you need to figure out to understand the sentence is that the sentence is in inverted sentence structure. You can figure this out by seeing that “making things difficult has been market inactivity” doesn’t make sense in a regular sentence structure. Right?

To understand the meaning of the sentence better, let’s convert the sentence into a normal sentence structure:

General market inactivity, if not paralysis, which has provided little in the way of pricing guidance, has been making things even more difficult lately.

The sentence says that the market inactivity has not provided much pricing guidance. This market inactivity has been making things even more difficult lately.

There is one problem in the original sentence: “lately” shouldn’t appear after the subject. It should appear after “difficult”. As is, its placement not only creates confusion on what it modifies but also makes the reference of “which” to “inactivity” more difficult.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reason mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “Making things…” seems to play the role of a beginning verb-ing modifier in this option. However, it doesn’t modify anything since the main clause starts with “there”. Besides, there is no comma between the modifier and the main clause. The comma is necessary to delineate and clarify the beginning modifier.
  2. This option has two independent clauses (“there is…” and “it has…”). The two independent clauses are joined by a comma. Punctuation error.

(C) Incorrect. The beginning modifier “making things…” is not joined properly with the main clause. The beginning modifier must be joined with the main clause with a comma.

(D) Correct. Please note that this option converts the sentence into a normal sentence structure, with “inactivity” as the subject and “has provided” as the verb.

(E) Incorrect. This option is a fragment i.e. it doesn’t have an independent clause. There is no verb for “general market inactivity”. 

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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