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Answers (A) - (C) are wrong because the initial "they", in the clause preceding the comma, refers to "travelers". It makes more sense for that "they" to refer to "customs inspectors", as it does in (D) and (E).
There are several problems with (E):
i) the words "by travelers" are too far away from the verb they are intended to modify ("treated"). An adverbial modifier such as "by travelers" need not be right next to the verb it is intended to modify, but it should be close enough to be unambiguous. In answer choice (E) "by travelers" could be functioning as an adjectival modifier, describing "poachers".
ii) in the expression "not X, but Y", parallelism requires that if X starts with a preposition such as "like", Y must also start with a preposition. So, as you pointed out, the omission of "like" after "but" is a problem with (E).
iii) it is idiomatically better to say "treat as" than to say "treat like".
Choices A,B,C, can be eliminated immediately because of the use of the antecedent "they," which appears before the comma. In this sentence, "they" is modifying "customs inspectors" not travelers.
Reread it like this: "No matter how patiently [TRAVELERS] explain their reasons for confiscating certain items, TRAVELERS often treat customs inspectors like wanton poachers rather than government employees." Does that make sense? NO. Travelers aren’t confiscating items from themselves.
Does this make sense: "No matter how patiently [CUSTOMS INSPECTORS] explain their reasons for confiscating certain items, [THEY] are often treated… wanton poachers rather than government employees."
This makes sense also, and ultimately this construction is correct: "No matter how patiently [THEY] explain their reasons for confiscating certain items, [CUSTOMS INSPECTORS] are often treated… wanton poachers rather than government employees."
There really isn’t a way for either of choices A, B, or C to be correct. (Antecedents can be deadly.)
Choices D and E are the only viable options. Honestly, both D and E are wrong to me. But D has the least sever problem, thus it is ultimately the answer. The biggest problem with D is the use of the word “were.” Doesn’t the use of this word here break the tense rule? “… Inspectors ARE often treated by travelers as if they WERE...” This construction is problematic! “Were” seems to change the tense of the sentence here, doesn’t it?
The glaring problem with E, though, makes it incorrect. Choice E leaves out the final “like” which is necessary to completely relate the idiom – not like X…. but [like] Y. That really is the only thing wrong with choice E.
I don’t agree with the argument that treated like is idiomatically incorrect. I’d like to add some complex deep reason for why I disagree with this argument, but I don’t have one. My reasoning is really quite simple. The phrase “treated like” is used regularly by writers for New York Times, as well the Associated Press. I know we don’t all always agree with the political ideals the Times seems to represent, but I think it goes without saying that the best writers in the world write for that paper; they don’t make mistakes. Ever. Hence, my rule of thumb regarding grammar: If it’s in the Times it’s right… that’s it.
though , there is modifier issue,I will go with option A. A correctly compares using LIKE. and RATHER THAN. B wrongly use AS and INSTEAD OF. C wrongly use AS IF and BUT. D wrongly use AS IF and RATHER THAN. E BY TRAVELLERS is misplaced
No matter how patiently they explain their reasons for confiscating certain items, travelers often treat customs inspectors like wanton poachers rather than government employees. (A) travelers often treat customs inspectors like wanton poachers rather than government employees (B) travelers often treat customs inspectors as wanton poachers instead of government employees (C) travelers often treat customs inspectors as if they were not government employees but wanton poachers (D) customs inspectors are often treated by travelers as if they were wanton poachers rather than government employees (E) customs inspectors are often treated not like government employees but wanton poachers by travelers
In my opinion,the best option among the five would be D.
My analysis is that the first line is supposed to modify customs inspectors,hence A,B and C are cleared. In between D and E, D is better as E has some confusion in the parallel nature of the clause "not like government employees but like wanton poachers" -Missing the like in the comparison. D has some confusion with what the "they" is referring to, but it is the best option in the answer choices.
Answer is E Here is the reason. A modifier must be as close to what it's modifying! In this case the customs inspectors should come right after the coma. That makes A, B & C Wrong. Between D & E, D uses "if they were" to compare things. Use Like to compare similar things and "such as" for giving examples. Secondly, "If" is used for hypothetical scenarios.
As if they were: It must be noted that it is not the use of just ‘if’ but ‘as if’ that is in focus. The effect of comparison comes because of the conjunction “as”. “As if” is a legitimate comparative phrase, used in the past subjunctive mood. We are required to use the verb of the past subjunctive “were” since the treatment as wanton poachers is a hypothetical one and not real. ‘As if they are’ can be used only in actual cases.
Pronoun ‘they’: Theoretically ‘they’ might refer to travelers or inspectors. But logically? Can ‘they’ refer to travelers? If you replace ‘they’ with ‘travelers’, the sentence will read: customs inspectors are often treated by travelers as if travelers (they) were wanton poachers rather than government employees. The absurdity of the hypothetical ambiguity is obvious. Hence ‘they’ refers to inspectors only.
D is the right one
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whats the OA and the OE for this . people state IMO ABCDE without any explanation, guys this is not a voting procedure , and the GMAT doesn't go with the popular vote. i vote for abcde, whats the sense in posting votes ?
this is a confusing SC ,' as if they were' can be used only in actual cases ? is that a rule ?
pronoun reference 'they' is used for inspectors only , going with the logic of the sentence ...so D is valid, but whats wrong with A ?
What is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy.
(A)No matter how patiently they explain their reasons for confiscating certain items, travelers often treat customs inspectors like wanton poachers rather than government employees.
Might be correct just a doubt about "rather", "insteadé would sound better for me. However the idiom "to treat like" is correct. I leave it for now
(B) travelers often treat customs inspectors as wanton poachers instead of government employees "To treat as" incorrect, hence out.
(C) travelers often treat customs inspectors as if they were not government employees but wanton poachers
(D) customs inspectors are often treated by travelers as if they were wanton poachers rather than government employees Too wordy, too long, on my experience GMAT does not like passive (in 90 pc od the case passive are wrong answer choice). "As if" sounds incorrect hence out.
(E) customs inspectors are often treated not like government employees but wanton poachers by travelers
are treated "not like" sounds awknward... I go with A!!! I am not a native speaker. Any Official Answer pleeaasse?