Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than are fungi

Question

Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than are fungi, in the form of carbon dioxide, and converting it to energy-rich sugars.

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

Here’s the sentence structure:

  • Plants are more efficient at
    • acquiring carbon than are fungi
      • , in the form of carbon dioxide,
    • and converting it to energy-rich sugars.

The sentence intends to compare the efficiency of plants and of fungi at two things: acquiring carbon and converting it into sugars.

There are two errors in the sentence:

  1. The current parallel structure produces these two parts:
    1. Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than are fungi, in the form of carbon dioxide
    2. Plants are more efficient at converting it to energy-rich sugars.

While in the first part, the comparison is clear, in the second part, the comparison is not clear since the second party of the comparison is not there.

  1. Currently, since “in the form of carbon dioxide” immediately follows “fungi”, it seems to modify “fungi”, leading to an illogical meaning “fungi are in the form of carbon dioxide”. Logically, this prepositional phrase should be placed adjacent to “carbon” since the carbon is acquired in the form of carbon dioxide.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors described above.

(B) Incorrect. In addition to retaining the two errors in the original sentence, this option also leads to ambiguous comparison. The given comparison could mean either of the following:

  • Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than fungi are (Plants compared with fungi)
  • Plants are more efficient at acquiring carbon than at acquiring fungi (carbon compared with fungi)

(C) Correct. This option corrects both the errors in the original sentence without creating any new errors.

(D) Incorrect. There is no main verb in this sentence.

(E) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Error no. 2 of the original sentence
  2. “converting it to…” in the non-underlined part is not parallel to anything before ‘and’ in this option.
  3. This option produces ambiguous comparison similar to the one in option B.

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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