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I think you are interested in knowing the difference between C and D
Well , in 99% of the cases - "which " is ambiguous which refers back to the last word - growth in this case however , its not the growth but the woolly whatever retards growth also putting commas makes this as non-restrictive clause , however this is an essential part
For other options - E uses " and " , also their is ambiguous
For the second Screenshot, IMO - B -Option C,D,E are incorrect due to the incorrect use of 'Of' - By using 'Of', we are comparing 'Expectations' instead of 'personal spending'. - Option A is Incorrect, due to incorrect tense. Main clause is in Present while the Subordinate clause is in the Past tense. _________________
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The first question starts with a modifier ("By sucking sap...") which lets us get rid of A and B because the modifier must touch the noun it modifies-- here the woolly adelgid (not the tree growth) is doing the sucking. Yes, A and B are written in the passive voice, but that's not the main issue-- occasionally a correct answer will demand the passive voice, so the passive/active distinction should be a tie-breaker decision between two remaining choices rather than an automatic elimination round in your first split.
I agree with the above poster that the relative pronoun "which" is a problem in choice C ("which" following a comma must in almost all cases be right next to the thing that it modifies--and again, "tree growth" is not what we're looking for).
Choice E is incorrect because the GMAT does not like usage of an unattached "that" or "this" -- if the sentence said "this ACTION causes..." it would be fine, but when "that"/"this" is not attached to a noun, the GMAT frowns. Additionally, the two things that are caused by the action of sucking sap should be parallel --choice D does this ("to change" and "to drop") but choice E does not (present tense "causes" versus the action noun "dropping"). _________________
The second question may seem tricky because with all those modifiers, it is hard to sift out what the actual meaning of the sentence is! Try to mentally "cross off" a few modifiers to see the underlying structure of the sentence. Sales rose in August, and this had some effect on expectations about spending in the summer quarter compared to spending in the previous quarter. Although the first verb you encounter in the sentence is in the simple past tense ("rose") you cannot use a simple past tense verb to describe expectations. The August sales had an effect on expectations about July through SEPTEMBER, so during August those expectations were forward-looking--lose A and C, which are in the simple past tense.
In choice D, the word "doubling" is modifying the incorrect thing. An "-ing" word that is NOT preceded by a comma is a noun modifier (versus an "-"ing" word that does follow a comma). Here are some silly examples to illustrate:
The man chased the mouse eating my cheese. (Noun modifier--which mouse? The mouse eating my cheese.)
The man chased the mouse, eating my cheese. (Adverbial modifier--how did the man chase the mouse? While the man was eating my cheese.)
There are many issues with choice E. One big one is that the comma breaks up the first part of the sentence into the following basic structure: "retail sales rose..intensifying expectations of personal spending" (the same problem exists in choice C). What exactly are more intense "expectations of personal spending?" They could be expectations of a high level, low level, whatever-- it's unclear.
That leaves B. It's still an unwieldy sentence; personally, I think it's a little awkward to say that spending in one quarter doubled the *growth rate* of spending in the previous quarter, but unfortunately all 5 answer choices make this same comparison. B is the best of an awkward group. _________________