Turtles, like other reptiles, can endure long fasts, in their ability to survive on weekly or even monthly feedings; however, when food is readily available, they may eat frequently and grow very fat.
(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)
The original sentence is unclear regarding the relationship that “in their ability to survive” has with the remaining sentence. The phrase seems incorrectly worded: “Turtles can endure long fasts in their ability…” doesn’t make much sense.
The independent clause after the semi-colon says that when food is available, the turtles may eat frequently and thus grow very fat.
The sentence has one error: the use of “in their ability…”.
(A) Incorrect. For the reason mentioned above.
(B) Incorrect. “their” is redundant since it is obvious that they have their own ability! Also, this option doesn’t express the meaning (causality) as clearly as option D. Since we have to choose one option among the give five, option D scores over this option.
(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:
- “due to” is generally used to modify nouns, not verbs. In this option, “due to” is used to modify the verb “can endure”. Even though lately, “due to” has started appearing as an adverb in WSJ.com and NYTIMES.com, we’re unclear regarding the stance of GMAT on this issue. Thus, we should hold the use of “due to” as an adverb against the option. However, I’d suggest that you don’t reject an option just for this reason.
- “ability of surviving” is non-idiomatic. The correct idiom is “ability to verb” i.e. “ability to survive” in this case.
(D) Correct. The option clearly expresses the causality.
(E) Incorrect. “ability of surviving” is non-idiomatic. Even if we correct this error, option D is clearer than this option.