The use of the bar code, or Universal Product Code

Question

The use of the bar code, or Universal Product Code, which was created in part to enable supermarkets to process customers at a faster rate, has expanded beyond supermarkets to other retail outlets and have become readily accepted despite some initial opposition when it was first introduced in 1974.

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 use of the bar code, (Main Subject)
    • or Universal Product Code, (Another name for “bar code”)
    • which was created in part to enable supermarkets to process customers at a faster rate, (relative clause modifying “bar code”)
  • has expanded beyond supermarkets to other retail outlets (First Main Verb – “has expanded”)
  • and have become readily accepted (Second Main Verb – “have become”)
    • despite some initial opposition (prepositional phrase modifying the Main Verbs)
      • when it was first introduced in 1974. (relative clause modifying “opposition”)

The sentence says:

The bar code was created partly to help supermarkets in processing customers faster. Even though the use of bar code met some initial resistance when it was introduced, it has since expanded beyond supermarkets to other retail outlets.

The sentence has one error: the plural verb “have” doesn’t agree with the singular subject “the use”.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the error mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. Pronoun referent disagreement - The plural pronoun “they” refers to singular “bar code”.

(C) Incorrect. For the following errors:

  1. Same subject verb disagreement error as in the original sentence
  2. In this option “when” is followed by a verb-ed modifier “introduced”. Such use is not incorrect. However, when such construction is used, the “when verb-ed” needs to be attached to the entity that it modifies. In this case, we know logically that it needs to modify “bar code”, which is far away from this phrase. Thus, we have a dangling modifier error.

(D) Correct. This option corrects the only error in the original sentence. This option also replaces the pronoun “it”, which referred to a far-away noun “bar code”, with the noun. The replacement adds clarity to the sentence. At times, we should replace the pronouns with actual nouns if the reference of the pronouns is difficult to establish.

(E) Incorrect. For the following errors:

  1. This option begins another independent clause. However, it is connected with the previous independent clause using just “and”. Thus, this option introduced a punctuation error.
  2. The use of singular pronoun “it” is incorrect since this option uses plural “bar codes”. Even if we say that singular “it” refers to “bar code” in the previous independent clause, such far-away reference is unwarranted given the same noun is available closer in this independent clause, albeit in a plural form.
  3. The change from “bar code” in the first independent clause to “bar codes” in the second independent clause subtracts from the clarity of the sentence.

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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