GMAT Verbal: Sentence Correction Example Problem #3

Example ProblemsProblem:

The number of undergraduate degrees in engineering awarded by colleges and universities in the United States increased by more than twice from 1978 to 1985.

(A) increased by more than twice
(B) increased more than two times
(C) more than doubled
(D) was more than doubled
(E) had more than doubled


Grammar Rule Tested! Redundancy

Remember the three golden rules of the GMAT verbal section: clear, concise, and precise.  In this problem, you are asked to make the sentence more concise and precise by eliminating any redundancy.

Think about this sentence:

“Last summer, I had a wonderful summer vacation during the months of July and August.”

This sentence is an example of a repetitive sentence.  If you had a summer vacation, then clearly it took place during the summer.  Likewise, the months of July and August are in the summer, so any vacation during this time is by definition a summer vacation.

Now take a look at this sentence:

“Last July and August, I had a wonderful vacation.”

The same ideas are conveyed in both sentences, but the second sentence eliminates any redundancy.  Therefore it is more clear, concise and precise.

Tip! Always pick the most clear, concise, and precise answer.

Now let’s take a look at the problem at hand.  Is there a more clear, concise, and precise way to say “increased by more than twice?”  You bet.  Eliminate choice (A), which is cluttered with an unnecessary prepositional phrase and says a basic idea in far too many words.  We can also eliminate choice (B) because there is a much more concise way to say “more than two times,” specifically “doubled.”



Now let’s evaluate choices (C) , (D) , and (E).  Choice (E) introduces the perfect tense, which is unnecessary since we do not have a sequence or series of events.  Choice (D) uses the passive voice, which we also want to avoid at all costs.  Get rid of (D) and (E).


This leaves us with choice (C).  Note that this is our shortest answer choice.  It states the exact same idea as all the other choices, but does it in a clear, precise way that does not repeat any information or introduce any extra phrases or odd grammatical phrases.  It is, without a doubt, the best answer.

Tip! Correct answers never repeat information.


Find more sentence correction problems and solutions by clicking on the links below:

Sentence Correction #1

Sentence Correction #2

Sentence Correction #4

Sentence Correction #5

Sentence Correction #6

Sentence Correction #7

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