Tough passage. The super-tricky thing about it is that it *seems* to follow a tried and true format (pro
) but at the last possible minute--and without warning--the author declares his/her overall point of view (pro
) with a sneaky double-negative, making the structure (pro
That last part of the final sentence: "it would be untenable to assert that the Egyptian government should never have built the Aswam Dam" actually means "yes, the Egyptian government probably should have built the dam." "Untenable" means "unable to be defended from attack"-- so if a conclusion is "untenable," it means that conclusion is wrong. If we say that the conclusion that they should NEVER have built the dam is WRONG, that means they SHOULD have built the dam.
The author is clearly coming out in favor of the dam
(despite some very serious negative effects laid out in most of the 2nd paragraph), so nix (B) and (E). Those serious negative effects kick (C) out of the running, since the author's support of the dam is not without reservation. This leaves (A) and (D). The wording of (A) is also quite tricky, because a reasonable person might say "hey, he/she's being inconsistent by swinging so strongly from pro to con to pro." But while the author's *tone* may seem inconsistent, and that last *sentence* may seem a little inconsistent with what immediately precedes it
, the author's *support* itself is consistent internally
--he/she supports the project. Choice (D) is our answer.Question (2)
I just posted in the CR forum about watching out for certain suspicious "red flag
" words in CR questions. The same thing holds true for RC questions.
"-- if you see the word "should" (or another word that implies a recommendation), make sure there is an actual recommendation asserted somewhere, and if there is one, that the recommendation's scope is worded very precisely. Not only is this a huge jump to make (all
plans? really? with any
kind of consequences?) but the author says nothing directly about a link between his/her approval of the damn and the fact that it met intended goals. Out.
" again--they should? always? says who? Out.
(C) This is very similar to the last sentence of the passage, right down that nasty double negative. Hold onto it.
" again. The author makes no recommendation about weighing side effects before starting the project. Also "before
" (and other time markers) can often fall into that "red flag word" category. Out.
" and "all
"--make sure any absolute statements are supported absolutely in the passage. ALL outcomes? Every possible one? That's a tall order. And NECESSARY? Says who?
You didn't post an OA for this q, but I'd go with C.
JP Park | Manhattan GMAT Instructor | Los Angeles
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