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# In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la

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In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 12:15
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The Official Guide for GMAT Verbal Review 2018
Practice Question
Sentence Correction
Question no. 220

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

A. not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction
B. as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction
C. not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction
D. as not only a laxative but as a skin-softening lotion and in construction, as a
E. not only as a laxative, but a skin-softening lotion and in construction, a

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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2017, 22:42
12
4
anurag16 wrote:
I understand why C is correct

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. y and z

But why is B incorrect?

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

As per my understanding
Modifier In...civilization, Clause 1 castor oil served as not only x but also y, Clause 2 and it (Castor oil) was ..........rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. clause 1 and clause 2

Dear anurag16,

I'm happy to respond.

First, a little constructive criticism. I think this this color is exceedingly hard to see, so it would be best not to use it for anything you want seen.

If you think of the GMAT SC as a test of grammar, then the GMAT will trap you on question after question. The GMAT SC tests grammar, logic, and rhetoric all together, and SC mastery involves understanding the interplay of those three strands. If you focus exclusively on grammar, you will be lost on most of the harder questions. Here, you are making an argument about why (B) is grammatically correct. Of course (B) is grammatically correct---and that's precisely besides the point!

In this question, (B) is 100% grammatically correct, but it is not a good answer. Let's think about this. We are talking about uses of something. The most efficient way would be to say:
Castor oil was used as X, Y, and Z.
For whatever reason, the author wanted to highlight the contrast between the use as a "laxative" (something they put inside their bodies) with the other external uses. The author creates this contrast with the "not only . . . but also" structure. Thus,
Castor oil was used not only as a laxative, but also as Y and as Z.
That's still very elegant, and this is exactly what (C) does.
By contrast, (B) introduces a new clause for the third factoid, rather than simply include it on the same list. That's enormously clunky! New clauses should introduce something genuinely new, something that opens new logical ground. Why start an entire new independent clause for a single item that simply could be added to a list? That's an astonishingly poor rhetorical choice! There's no sense of elegance and style. This version is an absolute embarrassment compared to (C).

What's particularly tricky about this question is that the prompt also makes the same rhetorically disastrous choice, so this might make (B) appear not too bad. I am sure many GMAT takers focused exclusively on grammar fell for the trap of (B). Meanwhile, the hyper-literalist would see the change in (C) and think that's a "change in meaning," rather than simply the first appearance of high quality writing among the answer choices. These official questions are brilliant, and they are crafted at a very sophisticated level. The student who focuses purely on grammar will not fare well on these questions.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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14 Jun 2017, 19:06
1
1
In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

A. not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction
- In order to maintain Parallelism, 2nd item for BUT ALSO has to be a Noun and not a clause. Hence Incorrect
B. as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction
- In order to maintain Parallelism, 2nd item for BUT ALSO has to be a Noun and not a clause. Hence Incorrect
C. not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction
- Correct
D. as not only a laxative but as a skin-softening lotion and in construction, as a
- Correct pair is NOT ONLY X, BUT ALSO Y. In this option pair is AS NOT ONLY X, BUT AS Y. There are other errors as well in this option. Hence Incorrect
E. not only as a laxative, but a skin-softening lotion and in construction, a
- Correct pair is NOT ONLY X, BUT ALSO Y. In this option pair is NOT ONLY AS X, BUT Y. There are other errors as well in this option. Hence Incorrect
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2017, 09:32
Not Only X, but also Y is the correct idiomatic usage, hence correct answer will be (C)
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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15 Jun 2017, 11:44
1
In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.
A.not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction - Parallelism Not only X but also Y
B.as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction - Parallelism - noun phrase and clause
C.not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction - Correct
D.as not only a laxative but as a skin-softening lotion and in construction, as a - Parallelism Not only X but also Y
E.not only as a laxative, but a skin-softening lotion and in construction, a - Parallelism Not only X but also Y

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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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20 Jun 2017, 22:11
1
I understand why C is correct

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. y and z

But why is B incorrect?

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

As per my understanding
Modifier In...civilization, Clause 1 castor oil served as not only x but also y, Clause 2 and it (Castor oil) was ..........rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. clause 1 and clause 2

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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2017, 20:58
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2017, 23:05
Quote:
What's particularly tricky about this question is that the prompt also makes the same rhetorically disastrous choice, so this might make (B) appear not too bad. I am sure many GMAT takers focused exclusively on grammar fell for the trap of (B). Meanwhile, the hyper-literalist would see the change in (C) and think that's a "change in meaning," rather than simply the first appearance of high quality writing among the answer choices. These official questions are brilliant, and they are crafted at a very sophisticated level. The student who focuses purely on grammar will not fare well on these questions.

mikemcgarry
Exactly what happened!! Thanks a lot for your help..
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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02 Aug 2017, 03:35
i marked option B.For me even though gramaticaly C was correct bt changes the meaning which is illogical.It says for sliding giant stone blocks castor oil serve as a laxative, skin softeing solution and constructon lubricant.This is totally illogical.

B seems correct because second clause mention another use of castor oil and first clause talks about uses in term of laxative and external use.

what is wrong with option B.sometime hard to understand what gmac is trying to do
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2017, 08:09
Hello! Thanks for this explanation, but why there is no comma before "but" in the answer choice C? Is it correct?

mikemcgarry wrote:
anurag16 wrote:
I understand why C is correct

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. y and z

But why is B incorrect?

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

As per my understanding
Modifier In...civilization, Clause 1 castor oil served as not only x but also y, Clause 2 and it (Castor oil) was ..........rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. clause 1 and clause 2

Dear anurag16,

I'm happy to respond.

First, a little constructive criticism. I think this this color is exceedingly hard to see, so it would be best not to use it for anything you want seen.

If you think of the GMAT SC as a test of grammar, then the GMAT will trap you on question after question. The GMAT SC tests grammar, logic, and rhetoric all together, and SC mastery involves understanding the interplay of those three strands. If you focus exclusively on grammar, you will be lost on most of the harder questions. Here, you are making an argument about why (B) is grammatically correct. Of course (B) is grammatically correct---and that's precisely besides the point!

In this question, (B) is 100% grammatically correct, but it is not a good answer. Let's think about this. We are talking about uses of something. The most efficient way would be to say:
Castor oil was used as X, Y, and Z.
For whatever reason, the author wanted to highlight the contrast between the use as a "laxative" (something they put inside their bodies) with the other external uses. The author creates this contrast with the "not only . . . but also" structure. Thus,
Castor oil was used not only as a laxative, but also as Y and as Z.
That's still very elegant, and this is exactly what (C) does.
By contrast, (B) introduces a new clause for the third factoid, rather than simply include it on the same list. That's enormously clunky! New clauses should introduce something genuinely new, something that opens new logical ground. Why start an entire new independent clause for a single item that simply could be added to a list? That's an astonishingly poor rhetorical choice! There's no sense of elegance and style. This version is an absolute embarrassment compared to (C).

What's particularly tricky about this question is that the prompt also makes the same rhetorically disastrous choice, so this might make (B) appear not too bad. I am sure many GMAT takers focused exclusively on grammar fell for the trap of (B). Meanwhile, the hyper-literalist would see the change in (C) and think that's a "change in meaning," rather than simply the first appearance of high quality writing among the answer choices. These official questions are brilliant, and they are crafted at a very sophisticated level. The student who focuses purely on grammar will not fare well on these questions.

Does all this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2017, 09:48
1
CorporateFinancier wrote:
Hello! Thanks for this explanation, but why there is no comma before "but" in the answer choice C? Is it correct?

Dear CorporateFinancier,

I'm happy to respond.

In the "not only . . . but also" structure, a comma is not necessary. It would used for organization of the first branch of the parallelism were particularly long. Here, the first branch is simply a small prepositional phrase "as a laxative," so the comma would be superfluous. Also, keep in mind, the GMAT does not test punctuation: no SC answer choice will be wrong purely on the basis of punctuation.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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04 Aug 2017, 11:56
In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

A. not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction
B. as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction
C. not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction
D. as not only a laxative but as a skin-softening lotion and in construction, as a
E. not only as a laxative, but a skin-softening lotion and in construction, a

Not Only As A.......... But Also As A................. And As A.............

Hence - C
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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05 Aug 2017, 01:02
Thanks, though for instance in this question - https://gmatclub.com/forum/next-month-s ... l#p1867854 - option C is eliminated on the basis of punctuation, as far as I understand:

Next month, state wildlife officials are scheduled to take over the job of increasing the wolf population in the federally designated recovery area, the number of which will however ultimately be dictated by the number of prey in the area.

A. area, the number of which will however
B. area; the size of the population, however, will
C. area, however the number of wolves will
D. area; the number of which will, however,
E. area, when the size of the population will, however,

mikemcgarry wrote:
CorporateFinancier wrote:
Hello! Thanks for this explanation, but why there is no comma before "but" in the answer choice C? Is it correct?

Dear CorporateFinancier,

I'm happy to respond.

In the "not only . . . but also" structure, a comma is not necessary. It would used for organization of the first branch of the parallelism were particularly long. Here, the first branch is simply a small prepositional phrase "as a laxative," so the comma would be superfluous. Also, keep in mind, the GMAT does not test punctuation: no SC answer choice will be wrong purely on the basis of punctuation.

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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30 Oct 2017, 05:08
mikemcgarry wrote:
anurag16 wrote:
I understand why C is correct

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. y and z

But why is B incorrect?

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

As per my understanding
Modifier In...civilization, Clause 1 castor oil served as not only x but also y, Clause 2 and it (Castor oil) was ..........rollers.

2 parallelisms
1. not only x but also y 2. clause 1 and clause 2

Dear anurag16,

I'm happy to respond.

First, a little constructive criticism. I think this this color is exceedingly hard to see, so it would be best not to use it for anything you want seen.

If you think of the GMAT SC as a test of grammar, then the GMAT will trap you on question after question. The GMAT SC tests grammar, logic, and rhetoric all together, and SC mastery involves understanding the interplay of those three strands. If you focus exclusively on grammar, you will be lost on most of the harder questions. Here, you are making an argument about why (B) is grammatically correct. Of course (B) is grammatically correct---and that's precisely besides the point!

In this question, (B) is 100% grammatically correct, but it is not a good answer. Let's think about this. We are talking about uses of something. The most efficient way would be to say:
Castor oil was used as X, Y, and Z.
For whatever reason, the author wanted to highlight the contrast between the use as a "laxative" (something they put inside their bodies) with the other external uses. The author creates this contrast with the "not only . . . but also" structure. Thus,
Castor oil was used not only as a laxative, but also as Y and as Z.
That's still very elegant, and this is exactly what (C) does.
By contrast, (B) introduces a new clause for the third factoid, rather than simply include it on the same list. That's enormously clunky! New clauses should introduce something genuinely new, something that opens new logical ground. Why start an entire new independent clause for a single item that simply could be added to a list? That's an astonishingly poor rhetorical choice! There's no sense of elegance and style. This version is an absolute embarrassment compared to (C).

What's particularly tricky about this question is that the prompt also makes the same rhetorically disastrous choice, so this might make (B) appear not too bad. I am sure many GMAT takers focused exclusively on grammar fell for the trap of (B). Meanwhile, the hyper-literalist would see the change in (C) and think that's a "change in meaning," rather than simply the first appearance of high quality writing among the answer choices. These official questions are brilliant, and they are crafted at a very sophisticated level. The student who focuses purely on grammar will not fare well on these questions.

Does all this make sense?
Mike

Hi Mike,

Please correct me if I am wrong but is option B wrong only because a new clause is added for the 3rd fact? Is that something that GMAT tests as oppose to option C ?
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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31 Oct 2017, 16:33
pra1785 wrote:

Hi Mike,

Please correct me if I am wrong but is option B wrong only because a new clause is added for the 3rd fact? Is that something that GMAT tests as oppose to option C ?

Dear pra1785,

I'm happy to respond.

I would say that, by turning the third element in the list into its own clause, (B) became quite awkward, and answer choices that sound awkward are wrong on the GMAT. The GMAT definitely has a ear for the rhetorical fitness of the answer choices. I would discourage you from trying to formulate a mathematical black & white rule about this, because it's as much a matter of "feel" as anything else.

As you may have heard me say before, you can't arrive at GMAT SC mastery by assembling some collection of rules. You have to develop a "feel" for how the language sounds, and the only way for a non-native to hone this sense is by developing an assiduous habit of reading. See:
How to Improve Your GMAT Verbal Score

Does this make sense?
Mike
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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02 Dec 2017, 16:20
CorporateFinancier wrote:
Thanks, though for instance in this question - https://gmatclub.com/forum/next-month-s ... l#p1867854 - option C is eliminated on the basis of punctuation, as far as I understand:

Next month, state wildlife officials are scheduled to take over the job of increasing the wolf population in the federally designated recovery area, the number of which will however ultimately be dictated by the number of prey in the area.

A. area, the number of which will however
B. area; the size of the population, however, will
C. area, however the number of wolves will
D. area; the number of which will, however,
E. area, when the size of the population will, however,

Hello,

Trying to help here...

I think what mikemcgarry said was punctuation itself does not make an option correct or incorrect, but the meaning does. When punctuation changes the meaning, so, because of the change in meaning, a choice can be correct or not.

In the example above, using comma makes the next clause refers to/explain the previous word (in this case, area). Letter A: 'the number of which' refers to 'area'....That's why is incorrect, because 'the number' is referring to area, something clearly awkward.

On the other side, using semi-colon separates two independent clauses (Letter C) giving the correct meaning: two independent information about the same theme.

Best,
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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26 Nov 2018, 08:55
1
A. not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction
B. as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction
C. not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction
D. as not only a laxative but as a skin-softening lotion and in construction, as a
E. not only as a laxative, but a skin-softening lotion and in construction, a
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Re: In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2019, 00:26
the word *it* in both A and B is ambiguous right ?
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In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la  [#permalink]

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20 Feb 2019, 18:10
AbdurRakib wrote:
In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

A. not only as a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction
B. as not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction
C. not only as a laxative but also as a skin-softening lotion and as a construction

the word *it* in both A and B is ambiguous right ?

Hi aditliverpoolfc - Although I understand why you think that there may be
pronoun ambiguity in A and B—no, in B, there is no ambiguity, and in A,
I would be very hesitant to eliminate on the basis of pronoun ambiguity.

AS is a preposition in both instances, "used to refer to the function or character that ... something has: Oxford Online Dictionary, HERE

Option B is grammatically correct and has no pronoun ambiguity issues

B) [C]astor oil served AS not only a laxative, but also a skin-softening lotion, and it was a construction[/u] lubricant for sliding giant stone blocks over wooden rollers.

CASTOR OIL
-- served AS
----------[not only]
--------a laxative
----------[but also]
--------a skin-softening lotion
, AND
IT
-- was
-------a construction lubricant

It logically refers back to castor oil in part because
castor oil and it are parallel subjects of two independent clauses,
and in part because meaning is clear from context:
Mesopotamians used castor oil for three things.

Option A? Eliminate because it ruins Not only as X but also as Y

I would not use pronoun ambiguity to eliminate A.
I would leave pronoun ambiguity as a last decision point
unless the question explicitly tests pronoun ambiguity.

A) Castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also [_____] a skin-softening lotion and it was a construction lubricant . . .

In A's structure, AS is not repeated.
The word as should be repeated in the highlighted area.
This rule is subtle.
It is tested more frequently than I would have expected.

Not only X but also Y is a parallelism marker.
Lingo: the words are a correlative conjunction.
Correlative conjunctions are words that come in pairs; that conjoin; and that mark parallelism.

The moment we add a preposition, for example, to one element,
we must add that preposition to the other element.

There are two ways to "attach" the preposition to both elements.
We need the the preposition AS to "distribute" to both elements:

1) Put the preposition outside the [not only X but also Y] structure

In this approach, the word as "WILL distribute" to both terms [in the reader's mind]
AS(not only X. . . but also Y)
(If this were Quant, and AS were a variable, this way, "as" is factored out but applies to both terms): p(a + b)

2) Put the preposition inside the [not only . . . but also] structure TWO times
In this approach, the word as "has been distributed" to both terms [the reader can see that AS is attached to each term]
Not only AS X but also AS Y
(If this were Quant, this way, "as" has been "multiplied" by each term: (ap + bp)

Correct: Not only as X but also as Y
Correct: As not only X but also Y

Wrong: Not only as X but also Y
Wrong: As not only X but also as Y

mikemcgarry has an excellent post on parallelism and correlative conjunctions, HERE.

Option A incorrectly uses the first wrong example.

Castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also __:( ___ a skin-softening lotio
Wrong.
Correction: Castor oil served not only as a laxative, but also as a skin-softening lotion.
Option C has this correct structure.

• Option A - "it was" compared to C? Option A loses

Suppose that we did not catch the parallelism error in A.

Maybe we notice that the "it was" is weird,
not because we think that the pronoun is logically confusing,
but because the sentence discusses three functions that
castor oil played but for reasons unknown sticks in an "it was" clause
rather than what should be just the third element in a list.

Move on. Compare to (C).
Is there any doubt that C is better than A?

I would not use up precious time trying to find
very particular grammar errors in each option before I moved to the next option.

If I cannot find an obvious error (such as may be the case in B), I move on.
Of the next three options, C is the best by far.
Now I compare B to C. No contest.

If I had not seen the error in A, I would use the same process
as what I just described. (A) versus (C)? C wins.

• Option A: Pronoun ambiguity?
Although I would rather not get into this area, I will try to answer.

I guess I would say that
• IF we did not catch the incorrect structure of not only as X but also Y , and
• IF it were not obvious that C is superior to A, then
• eliminate A because the pronoun IT could be clearer.

The subject is castor oil. What follows describes the ways in which castor oil was used.

The preposition AS has these direct objects: laxative and lotion.
They describe functions of castor oil.

Logically, there is no reason to suppose that "construction lubricant"
is different from laxative or lotion; that is, construction lubricant is yet another function that castor oil had.

Laxative and lotion are objects of prepositions that describe the subject castor oil.
Why would IT suddenly refer to the object of a proposition rather than the subject?

The argument is not airtight, but I would not eliminate option A on the basis
of pronoun ambiguity. YMMV.

The GMAC will tolerate quite a bit of pronoun ambiguity. The pronoun IT is not ideal in A, but I would use pronoun ambiguity as a last resort.

Hope that helps.
_________________
Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?
-- Mary Oliver

For practice SC questions go to SC Butler, here.

In early Mesopotamian civilization, castor oil served not only as a la   [#permalink] 20 Feb 2019, 18:10
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