Many experts regarded the increase in credit card borrowing

Question

Many experts regarded the increase in credit card borrowing in March not as a sign that households were pressed for cash and forced to borrow, rather a sign of confidence by households that they could safely handle new debt.

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

  • Many experts regarded (Main Clause. Subject – “experts”; Verb – “regarded”)
    • the increase in credit card borrowing in March (The object of “regarded”. This is X in “regarded X not as Y but as Z”)
      • not as a sign that households were pressed for cash and forced to borrow, (This is Y in “regarded X not as Y but as Z”)
      • rather a sign of confidence by households that they could safely handle new debt. (This should be Z in “regarded X not as Y but as Z”. As is, this is not parallel to “not” part)

The basic structure of the sentence is: Many experts regarded X not as Y rather Z. The sentence has the following errors:

  1. The structure “not X rather Y” is non-idiomatic. The correct structure is “not X but Y”.
  2. The element after ‘not’ i.e. “as a sign…” is not parallel to the element after ‘rather’ i.e. “a sign…”

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “not X yet Y” is non-idiomatic.
  2. The structure in the “not” part has a clause after “sign” whereas in this option, the structure in the “yet” part has a prepositional phrase after “sign”. Even though this is not a deterministic error, it is better to have as much parallel structures as possible.
  3. “sign of households' confidence that it was safe for them” is an indirect and wordy way to express the same idea expressed directly and concisely in option D.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The element after ‘not’ i.e. “as a sign…” is not parallel to the element after ‘but’ i.e. “a sign…”
  2. Problem no. 2 of option B

(D) Correct. The structures after “not” and “but” are completely parallel. “not X but Y” is the correct idiom.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “not X but also Y” is non-idiomatic. This structure also distorts the meaning since “also” indicates that the second part is in addition to the first part. On the contrary, the second part is a alternative to the first part.
  2. The position of “safely” is incorrect. “safely” should appear after “to”.

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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