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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River

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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 125: Sentence Correction


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https://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/15/us/an-oyster-and-a-way-of-life-both-at-risk.html

Increasing demands on the river, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could over the next few years alter the saline content of the bay, robbing the oysters of their flavor, making them smaller, less distinctive, less in demand.

Originally posted by jerrywu on 13 Sep 2006, 11:28.
Last edited by Bunuel on 02 Nov 2018, 05:58, edited 1 time in total.
Renamed the topic and edited the question.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2017, 15:00
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There’s a lot of funny-sounding stuff in this one: two consecutive “which” modifiers in some answer choices, plus it’s really, really hard to quickly say “oysters there of their flavor” five times in a row. But by now, you don’t care about “sound” on SC… right? :)

Quote:
(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,

The first thing that jumps out at me is the underlined “which” modifier. I don’t think that it makes a whole lot of sense: “Apalachicola Bay” certainly doesn’t “rob oysters there of their flavor”, and neither does “the saline content of Apalachicola Bay.” The alteration of the saline content robs oysters of their flavor – but that’s a verb here (“could alter”), and “which” generally doesn’t modify a verb on the GMAT.

The parallelism is also a huge problem here. The phrase “to make” follows the “and”, so we’d need another infinitive verb earlier in the sentence. But I don’t see anything that could possibly work.

So we can eliminate (A).

Quote:
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,

Hopefully, the word “it” jumps out at you whenever you see it. You’re looking for a singular referent, but in this case, I don’t see a lot of great options: we have the saline content, Apalachicola Bay, or a couple of different rivers, but none of those are really performing the action of robbing oysters of their flavor. It’s the alteration of the saline content – caused by increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River – that rob the oysters of their flavor. So the pronoun “it” is wrong.

Plus, we have some funky parallelism stuff going on here: “rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” I’d be OK if there was an “and” before “make”: that way, “smaller”, “less distinctive”, and “less in demand” could all be parallel to each other.

But in this case, the list makes no sense: it’s a hodgepodge of verbs (“rob” and “make”) and modifiers (“less distinctive” and “less in demand”). (B) is definitely out.

Quote:
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,

This one is tricky! It looks like “rob” is parallel to the verb “could alter”, and I guess that’s OK: “… increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River… could alter the saline content… and rob oysters there of their flavor…” That doesn’t sound too bad, but we could argue that the alteration of the saline content is the thing that robs the oysters of their flavor, not the “increasing demands on the river” – so the two verbs “rob” and “could alter” probably shouldn’t be parallel to each other. That’s awfully subtle, and you shouldn’t feel badly if you didn’t notice that there’s a problem with it.

The other issue with (C) is the parallelism at the end of the sentence: “making them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.” So “less in demand” and “less distinctive” are both modifiers. Fair enough. But then “decrease in size” is a verb phrase, which can’t be parallel to those two modifiers.

Nasty stuff, in my opinion. (C) is gone.

Quote:
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,

This sounds weird. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller…” Hm, that’s a mouthful. Say it five times fast, and you probably won’t want to choose it as your answer.

But it’s right. “Robbing the oysters there of their flavor” is now a modifier, giving us more information about the entire previous clause about increasing demands on the river, and alterations of the saline content. That makes perfect sense: the entire, long-winded situation – beginning with the “increasing demands” on the river – robs oysters of their flavor, so the “-ing” modifier is perfect.

And the parallelism at the end of the sentence is great, too: “making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.” Three parallel modifiers, all describing what happens to the oysters.

Let’s keep (D).

Quote:
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

The comma after “flavor” is a minor issue. In general, the GMAT doesn’t spend a lot of time testing us on the subtleties of comma usage, but there’s no real need for the comma here, since “robbing” and “making” are very nicely parallel with each other. Don’t lose sleep over this, since it’s rarely – if ever – a deciding factor on these questions.

The bigger issue is the parallelism error at the end of the sentence: just as in (C), “decrease in size” isn’t parallel to “less distinctive” and “less in demand,” since “decrease” is a verb. And that’s the best reason to eliminate (E), and settle for (D).
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2013, 19:46
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sujit2k7 wrote:
Can some guru point out the difference between D, E with respect to usage of AND.
with one "comma + and" in another ' no comma + and'

D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size

Thanks in adv :dunnow


The rule is that you only use "comma" + "and" in lists consisting of more than two items. For example: "Oysters smell good, look shiny, AND taste great.

Let's look at why D is correct. Here is the list of items:
1) robbing oysters of their flavor AND
2) making them smaller
2.1) less distinctive AND
2.2) less in demand

As you can see there are two main lists marked as 1) and 2). AND is the marker that separates item1 from 2. This is why there is no comma used before "and". There is a sublist wihin item 2) that consists of three elements. There is comma in front of AND because the sublist consists of more than two items.

Hopefully, now you can see why E is wrong.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2006, 11:50
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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

A. which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size (INCORRECT : which refers to Apalachicola Bay)
B. and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller (INCORRECT: The subjec tof the sentence is "increasing demands ". Cann't use it)
C. and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size(INCORRECT : use of making is wrong. It sounds like robbing the test is what causing the oysters to become smaller)
D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller (CORRECT)
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size (INCORRECT: "decrease in size" is wordy and improprely used in this context)
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Sep 2006, 14:32
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D for parallelism and concise than E.

increasing ... robbing ...making
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Feb 2013, 19:11
Can some guru point out the difference between D, E with respect to usage of AND.
with one "comma + and" in another ' no comma + and'

D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size

Thanks in adv :dunnow
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 23 May 2016, 19:27
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jerrywu wrote:
Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

A. which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size
B. and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller
C. and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size
D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size


Two ways to solve this problem

1st way:-

between 'decrease in size' and 'smaller', 'smaller' is apt as it maintains parallelism with 'less distinctive, and less in demand'. A C and E are out

B. and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller. 'it' refers to what? Also, we need the result of change in saline content of AB
D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller. -ing form correctly depicts result of change in saline content of AB. Parallelism is there in the sentence


2nd way:-

A. which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size 'Which' refers to AB. Not the intended meaning
B. and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller it refers to what?
C. and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size 'there of their flavor' does not sound right
D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller correct choice
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size ',' before making is not right; it requires complete sentence
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 27 Oct 2016, 23:12
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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

A. which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size
B. and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller
C. and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size
D. robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller
E. robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size

The first split is "decrease in size" and "smaller"
Decrease in size is describing an action (decrease the volume)
smaller is used to compare (X is smaller than Y)

Note: whenever the split is the last part of the options, an easy clue is generally found in the portion that comes after the underline part

That portion shows a list (...... less distinctive and less in demand)

So, both the elements less...and less.... are comparing

Hence, smaller is required(Parallelism)

A, C and E are out

In B, 'it' refers to 'increasing demands'(Noun pronoun mismatch)

So, B is out.

Therefore, D
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Aug 2017, 13:22
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In A, "which" seems to refer to "Apalachicola Bay", implying that the BAY itself would rob the oysters of their flavor. The intended meaning of the sentence is that the ALTERING OF THE SALINE CONTENT would rob the oysters of their flavor. Eliminate A.
In B, "it" lacks a clear antecedent. Eliminate B.
In C and E, "decrease in size" (verb + adverb) is not parallel with "less distinctive" (adverb + adjective). Eliminate C and E.
The correct answer is D.
D: Increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters of their flavor and making them smaller.
Here, it is clear from context that future oysters would be SMALLER than current oysters.
An SC from GMATPrep:
The success of the program has stimulated experts to pursue better control of such infections as measles and yaws.
Here, it is clear from context that the future level of control would be BETTER than the current level of control.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Oct 2017, 17:31
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souvik101990 wrote:
Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,


First glance

The sentence has a comma just before the start of the underline and the answer choices open with which, and, or robbing. Comma which and comma –ing are both Modifier markers. And is a Parallelism marker and can also factor into Sentence Structure.

Issues

(1) Modifier: which

Which is a noun-modifier marker, while comma –ing is an adverbial-modifier marker. Is this part of the sentence referring to a noun or to the main clause (the main subject and verb)?

A change in the saline content, not the mere existence of saline content, would rob oysters of their flavor. One level of saline content does give oysters their flavor; a different level could then rob them of their flavor. Therefore, the modifier should be referring to the full clause: increasing demands could alter the saline content. The comma which construction, a noun-only modifier, is not appropriate to use in this sentence. Eliminate answer (A).

(2) Parallelism / Meaning: X and Y
Parallelism: X, Y, and Z


The original sentence uses and twice. Here is the first instance:

“which would rob the oysters of their flavor and to make them decrease”

The Y element of the X and Y construction is the infinitive verb to make. An infinitive verb must be parallel to another infinitive verb, but, in answer (A), the prior verb is would rob, which is not in the infinitive (the infinitive form would be to rob). No other choices repeat this particular error; eliminate answer (A).

Answers (D) and (E) both have proper parallelism for this element: robbing and making. Answers (B) and (C) both change the sentence structure. The word and is no longer between robbing and making; instead, it has moved earlier in the sentence. Is that okay?

(B) Increasing demands could alter the saline content and it would rob the oysters…

(C) Increasing demands could alter the saline content and rob the oysters…

In choice (B), what is the antecedent for the pronoun it? Increasing demands is plural, so that can’t match with the singular it. Could it refer to saline content? This is tempting, but it’s a trap—the same one that made comma which wrong! The fact that there is saline content is not what robs the oysters of flavor. Rather, the fact that the saline content alters, or changes, robs oysters of their flavor.

Choice (C) removes the pronoun, but the X and Y parallelism now requires that the subject increasing demands apply to rob the oysters of flavor. The increasing demands do not do this; rather, the fact that the saline content changes does. Eliminate choices (B) and (C) for illogical meaning.

Finally, the original sentence finishes off with a 3-item list:

“decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand”

The Y and Z elements (less distinctive, less in demand) are not underlined. These two elements are descriptions of what would happen if the oysters lost flavor: the oysters would be less distinctive; the oysters would be less in demand. The first item in the list should be in this same form, but it’s not appropriate to say that the oysters would be decrease in size. Eliminate answers (A), (C), and (E) for making this error.

The Correct Answer

Correct answer (D) employs a comma –ing modifier to refer to the full action: increasing demands could alter the saline content, and this event could cause the oysters to lose their flavor. This choice also correctly makes robbing and making parallel, and provides a parallel list to finish the sentence: the oysters could become smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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What makes the oysters lose the original flavor is neither the bay nor the saline content. Per se, the alteration of the saline content robs the flavor. One can see that there is no such noun as 'alteration' in the passage. Therefore, 'which' has no logical referent
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2018, 22:13
I just don't get why D is right
the present participle "robbing" seems to modify Apalachicola Bay . It is the exact reason that we eliminated A !

So my general question :
As a general rule , a noun modifier should touch its noun .
When we consider the modifier modifying the "whole action " : and in this case we allow the modifier not to touch the noun ( I think that is the case in D )
, and when we consider the modifier as noun modifier , in this case it must touch the modifier . ( as in A )

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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2018, 03:55
foryearss wrote:
I just don't get why D is right
the present participle "robbing" seems to modify Apalachicola Bay .

Hi foryearss, the present participle robbing is preceded by a comma in D.

Such Participial phrases modify the subject of the preceding clause. In this case, the preceding clause is:

Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

The subject of this clause is Chattahoochee River. So, the present participle phrase robbing the oysters there of their flavor..... is correctly modifying Chattahoochee River.

Quote:
It is the exact reason that we eliminated A !

That's correct.

p.s. Our book EducationAisle Sentence Correction Nirvana discusses Present Participial Phrases, their application and examples in significant detail. If someone is interested, PM me your email-id; I can mail the corresponding section.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2018, 04:24
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Hi foryearss, the present participle robbing is preceded by a comma in D.

Such Participial phrases modify the subject of the preceding clause. In this case, the preceding clause is:

Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

The subject of this clause is Chattahoochee River. So, the present participle phrase robbing the oysters there of their flavor..... is correctly modifying Chattahoochee River.

robbing does not modify Chattahoochee River. , it modifies the whole action . That is why i am confused .

Official explanation :
The sentence claims that demands for river water may
change the saline content of the bay, possibly altering
the flavor and size of oysters there and diminishing the
oysters’ marketability

I started a discussion about this type of present participle modifier , when it should refer to the previous subject ? or the second noun ? or to the whole action ?
https://gmatclub.com/forum/the-correct- ... 67466.html
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2018, 06:38
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Hi foryearss, such participial phrases will always modify the subject of the preceding clause. Period.

Let me know any exception that you've noticed.

Coming to your post, your last post mentioned that robbing modifies Apalachicola Bay, to which my response was that robbing would modify the subject of the preceding clause.

I did mis-read the sentence though. The preceding clause is:

increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay

So, robbing would modify the subject of this clause: increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River.

In addition, such participial phrases should be either a result of or a description of the previous clause.
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 09 Sep 2018, 18:19
Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

Subject: increasing demands so can't use it - eliminate B
making them decrease is wordy and passive - eliminate C,E
Which use refer to increasing demands - eliminate A

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Oct 2018, 10:25
how the oysters loose the original flavor??

"Altering the saline content of the bay"
What is the logical reference to this clause??

Present participle acts as modifier for the entire clause.
"Which" cannot act as a modifier for an entire clause.
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Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Oct 2018, 16:58
Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a list question you might find on the GMAT! Let's take a closer look at this question, one issue at a time, and determine our best course of action! First, here is the original question with any major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

After a quick glance over the options, a couple things clearly need to be addressed:

1. rob vs. robbing
2. decrease in size vs. smaller


We know already that this is an example of a list question. Whenever we see list questions, we know we must focus on the following:

1. Parallelism (ALL items in the list must be similar in word use, verb tense, structure, etc.)
2. Concision (ALL items should use the most concise wording whenever possible)


The best place to start with any list question is to find any part of the list that isn't underlined. Since that part of the sentence cannot change, ALL other items on the list must match it in verb tense, wording, tone, etc.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay[/color], [u]which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

The two items on the list that aren't underlined are "less distinctive" and "less in demand." Would it make more sense to use "decrease in size" or the more concise "smaller" here? Remember - we must use concise wording whenever possible!

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

We can eliminate options A, C, and E because they are overly wordy. Saying "decrease in size" and "smaller" mean the same thing. The GMAT prefers you use the most concise option whenever possible, so we have to throw these out.

Now that we're left with only options B & D, let's take a closer look. I've included the rest of the sentence surrounding it so problems might be easier to spot:

(B) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This option is INCORRECT because it includes a vague pronoun "it." We're not 100% sure what the pronoun is referring to: increasing demands of the Chattahoochee River, the Apalachicola River, or the Apalachicola Bay?

(D) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This is CORRECT! It doesn't contain any confusing pronouns, and the parallelism with "robbing" and "making" sounds nice. Also, it uses the concise "smaller" rather than the wordy "decrease in size."


There you go - option D is the best choice!


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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Jun 2019, 12:33
jerrywu wrote:
Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,


Verbal Question of The Day: Day 125: Sentence Correction


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https://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/15/us/an-oyster-and-a-way-of-life-both-at-risk.html

Increasing demands on the river, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could over the next few years alter the saline content of the bay, robbing the oysters of their flavor, making them smaller, less distinctive, less in demand.



This question is very interesting in itself. It has so many things that you'll wonder how diverse SC can get.
Coming to the point
Error 1 WRONG REFERENCE
We are saying that something happened that had some effect,
"A" incorrectly refers to the bay
C is actually acceptable but wrong for a different reason
Error 2 PARALLELISM
"B:" breaks the parallel structure as well as fails to follow the error 1 relationship
there's a very sharp kind of parallelism in C,D,E that makes D the winner but lets keep looking for better, common man approach

C can be eliminated as cause-effect relationship is not properly conveyed
E can be rejected because of parallelism, also D is concise and conveys the meaning
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Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Jun 2019, 04:30
EMPOWERgmatVerbal wrote:
Hello Everyone!

This is a great example of a list question you might find on the GMAT! Let's take a closer look at this question, one issue at a time, and determine our best course of action! First, here is the original question with any major differences between the options highlighted in orange:

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

After a quick glance over the options, a couple things clearly need to be addressed:

1. rob vs. robbing
2. decrease in size vs. smaller


We know already that this is an example of a list question. Whenever we see list questions, we know we must focus on the following:

1. Parallelism (ALL items in the list must be similar in word use, verb tense, structure, etc.)
2. Concision (ALL items should use the most concise wording whenever possible)


The best place to start with any list question is to find any part of the list that isn't underlined. Since that part of the sentence cannot change, ALL other items on the list must match it in verb tense, wording, tone, etc.

Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay[/color], [u]which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size, less distinctive, and less in demand.

The two items on the list that aren't underlined are "less distinctive" and "less in demand." Would it make more sense to use "decrease in size" or the more concise "smaller" here? Remember - we must use concise wording whenever possible!

(A) which would rob the oysters there of their flavor, and to make them decrease in size,
(B) and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller,
(C) and rob the oysters there of their flavor, making them decrease in size,
(D) robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller,
(E) robbing the oysters there of their flavor, and making them decrease in size,

We can eliminate options A, C, and E because they are overly wordy. Saying "decrease in size" and "smaller" mean the same thing. The GMAT prefers you use the most concise option whenever possible, so we have to throw these out.

Now that we're left with only options B & D, let's take a closer look. I've included the rest of the sentence surrounding it so problems might be easier to spot:

(B) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, and it would rob the oysters there of their flavor, make them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This option is INCORRECT because it includes a vague pronoun "it." We're not 100% sure what the pronoun is referring to: increasing demands of the Chattahoochee River, the Apalachicola River, or the Apalachicola Bay?

(D) Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River, which flows into the Apalachicola River, could alter the saline content of Apalachicola Bay, robbing the oysters there of their flavor and making them smaller, less distinctive, and less in demand.

This is CORRECT! It doesn't contain any confusing pronouns, and the parallelism with "robbing" and "making" sounds nice. Also, it uses the concise "smaller" rather than the wordy "decrease in size."


There you go - option D is the best choice!


Don't study for the GMAT. Train for it.


Dear EMPOWERgmatVerbal,

Thanks for the explanation. I am basic in Grammar so, please bear with me for basic questions
I request for detailed explanation of "decrease in size versus smaller"

bb generis GMATNinja

Thanks in advance
GMAT Club Bot
Re: Over the next few years, increasing demands on the Chattahoochee River   [#permalink] 17 Jun 2019, 04:30

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