The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had long been expected

Question

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had long been expected to announce a reduction in output to bolster sagging oil prices, but officials of the organization just recently announced that the group will pare daily production by 1.5 million barrels by the beginning of next year, but only if non-OPEC nations, including Norway, Mexico, and Russia, were to trim output by a total of 500,000 barrels a day.

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 Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had long been expected (First Independent Clause. Subject – OPEC; Verb – had been expected)
    • to announce a reduction in output to bolster sagging oil prices, (infinitive phrase modifying the verb)
  • but officials of the organization just recently announced (Second Independent Clause. Subject – Officials; Verb – announced)
    • that the group will pare daily production (subordinate clause providing additional info about “announced”)
      • by 1.5 million barrels (prepositional phrase modifying “will pare”)
      • by the beginning of next year, (prepositional phrase modifying “will pare”)
      • but only if non-OPEC nations, (“If” clause presenting a condition to the clause before it. Subject – “non-OPEC nations”)
        • including Norway, Mexico, and Russia, (modifies “non-OPEC nations”)
      • were to trim output by a total of 500,000 barrels a day. (Verb for the “If” clause – “were to trim”)

The sentence says:

For a long time, OPEC had been expected to announce a reduction in output. Why? To boost declining oil prices. However, officials of OPEC recently announced that the group will cut production by the beginning of the next year only if a condition is satisfied. What is the condition? Non-OPEC nations also cut output.

The sentence has the following errors:

  1. The sentence presents the “if then” condition in which “if” is followed by a hypothetical subjunctive verb “were to trim” indicating a hypothetical scenario and “then” is followed by a future tense verb “will pare”. Since “will pare” is part of the non-underlined part, the verb in the “then” part needs to be changed to simple present tense.
  2. “but” in “but only if” not only is redundant but seems to, illogically, imply the beginning of a new independent clause.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors pointed out above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 2 of the original sentence
  2. “which” refers to plural “non-OPEC nations” whereas the verb is singular “includes”. Therefore, there is subject verb disagreement.
  3. The passive construction in the “if” clause changes the meaning. Now, it is not clear who trims the output. Clearly, an active voice construction which says that nations trim output is preferred.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The use of hypothetical future tense “would be trimmed” in the “if” clause is incorrect.
  2. Error no. 3 of Option B

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 2 of option B
  2. Error no. 1 of the original sentence

(E) Correct. Both the errors of the original sentence have been corrected in this option.

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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