The nineteenth-century chemist Humphry Davy presented the results

Question

The nineteenth-century chemist Humphry Davy presented the results of his early experiments in his "Essay on Heat and Light", a critique of all chemistry since Robert Boyle as well as a vision of a new chemistry that Davy hoped to found.

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

Humphry Davy was a 19th century chemist. He presented the results of his early experiments in his “Essay on Heat and Light”. This essay was:

  • a critique of all chemistry since Robert Boyle
  • as well as a vision of a new chemistry that Davy hoped to find

This is what the sentence intends. The sentence presents the two facts about the “Essay” using a modifier, which, in technical terms, is called an appositive.

The modifier has two elements: “a critique” and “a vision”, which are parallel, properly connected by “as well as”, and logically provide additional information about the “Essay”.

The sentence, therefore, has no errors.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “a critique” and “envisioning” are not entirely parallel. When an action noun exists (vision), we should avoid using the gerund form (envisioning) in parallel constructions with other nouns.
  2. “also” is redundant.
  3. “his” is also redundant since the latter part of the sentence says “that Davy hoped…”

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 1 of option B
  2. “as well” is redundant

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. “critiquing” and “a vision” are not parallel. When an action noun exists (critique), we should avoid using the gerund form (critiquing) in parallel constructions with other nouns. In this option, “critiquing” is rather acting as a verb-ing modifier (modifying the preceding clause)
  2. “also” is redundant
  3. “from Robert Boyle forward” is an incorrect way to express “since Robert Boyle”

(E) Incorrect. This option is wrong for the following reasons:

  1. While “critiquing” and “envisioning” are presented parallel in a list using “as well as”, these elements cannot be parallel because while “critiquing” is acting as a verb-ing modifier, “envisioning” is acting as a noun. If “envisioning” were acting as a verb-ing modifier, the construction would be “as well as envisioning a new chemistry” and not as given “as well as envisioning of a new chemistry”.
  2. “his own” is redundant since the later part of the sentence says “that Davy hoped to find”

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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