Similar to other Mississippi Delta blues singers, the music

Question

Similar to other Mississippi Delta blues singers, the music of Robert Johnson arose from an oral tradition beginning with a mixture of chants, fiddle tunes, and religious music and only gradually evolved into the blues.

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 sentence seems to present the similarity between the music of other Mississippi Delta blues singers and the music of Robert Johnson. The similarity is that the music arose from an oral tradition. The sentence then presents two sets of information about the oral tradition:

  1. It began with a mixture of chants, fiddle tunes, and religious music
  2. It only gradually evolved into the blues

There are two grave errors in the sentence:

  1. The comparison is incorrect. The way it is presented, the sentence seems to compare other blues singer with the music of Robert Johnson. Either we should compare music with music or person with person. The comparison (or similarity) of persons with music is illogical.
  2. Lack of parallelism: The two sets of information presented about oral tradition are presented in a list using ‘and’. However, the two are not parallel. One is a verb-ing modifier (beginning) and the other is a verb (evolved). Since ‘evolved’ is in the non-underlined part, we can expect the beginning to change into “that began” in the correct option. Let’s see.

Also, the use of ‘similar to’ to present similarity at the beginning of the clause doesn’t seem very right. The use of ‘like’ will be preferred.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the errors explained above.

(B) Incorrect. This option illogically compares Robert Johnson with “that of singers”. We don’t know what ‘that’ stands for, and whatever it stands for, it is not going to make the comparison logical. Also, ‘like’ is preferred over ‘similar to’ to present similarities at the beginning of the clause.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. Lack of Parallelism: Error no. 2 of the original sentence
  2. ‘Like’ is more concise and clear than ‘as with’ to present similarities between nouns.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. This option illogically compares early blue singers with Johnson’s music.
  2. Lack of Parallelism: Error no. 2 of the original sentence.

(E) Correct. All the problems in the original sentences 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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