Bunuel wrote:

The sudden and overwhelming interest in exotic pets that were spurred by recent television shows has unsurprisingly led to the mistreatment and even abandonment of these animals by people who did not realize the level of maintenance required.

A. were spurred by recent television shows has unsurprisingly led to the mistreatment and even

B. were spurred by recent television shows have unsurprisingly led to the mistreatment and even

C. was spurred by recent television shows have unsurprisingly led to the mistreatment and even

D. was spurred by recent television shows has unsurprisingly led to the mistreatment and even

E. was spurred by recent television shows has unsurprisingly led to mistreatment and even the

VERITAS PREP OFFICIAL SOLUTION:

The clearest of decision points on this problem relate to Subject-Verb Agreement - the decision between "were" and "was" at the first word of each choice, and the decision between "has" and "have" a few words in (before "unsurprisingly led"). With that in mind, you should look for the proper subject, which in this case is the singular "interest" for both verbs. Logically the interest "was spurred by recent TV shows" and "has led to" the effects later in the sentence, and you should see that "in exotic pets" is a modifier (describing "interest") and that "that were spurred by recent TV shows" performs that same modifying function.

So you can eliminate (A), (B), and (C), each of which uses a plural verb (were or have), and focus on the subtler decision between (D) and (E). Note that the only decision to be made there is between:

(D): led to the mistreatment and even abandonment of these animals

(E): led to mistreatment and even the abandonment of these animals

Here parallel structure and logical meaning can be your guides: in (D), the definite article "the" can apply to both items in that list (mistreatment and abandonment) if it comes before the first term of the series, but in (E) that parallelism is broken because only the second item gets the article "the" (before "abandonment"). And also, think logically: without a parallel structure between "mistreatment and abandonment," the portion that follows abandonment ("of those animals...") applies to only abandonment. This leaves the list as two things that this interest has led to:

1) mistreatment (of what?)

2) the abandonment of these animals by people who did not realize...

"Mistreatment" in this situation stands as an incomplete thought, so choice (E) must be incorrect,

leaving (D) as the correct answer.
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