GMAT Verbal: Sentence Correction Example Problem #5

Problem:

The root systems of most flowering perennials either become too crowded, which results in loss in vigor, and spread too far outward, producing a bare center.

(A) which results in loss in vigor, and spread
(B) resulting in loss in vigor, or spreading
(C) with the result of loss of vigor, or spreading
(D) resulting in loss of vigor, or spread
(E) with a resulting loss of vigor, and spread

Solution:

Grammar Rule Tested! Either/or and parallelism

GMAT verbal students, take note: when you see the word “either” in a sentence, make sure that “or” is there, too.

Tip! “Either/or” is a structure that means “one of the two” and it needs both “either” and “or” to be correct.

Take a look at the sentence above.  Do you see “or” anywhere in that sentence?  Since “or” is nowhere to be found, you can eliminate any answer choices that do not introduce an “or.”  Cross out choices (A) and (E).

Tip! All items in a list must be parallel in structure.

The other concept being tested is parallelism.  In the original sentence, two things can happen to these flowering perennials:

  • either become too crowded
  • or spread too far outward

Does this list look parallel to you? It should. Each verb in the list is in the simple present tense.  Now eliminate the remaining answer choices that use a form of the “spread” other than the simple present.  Get rid of choices (B) and (C).  Note that these choices both use the gerund (-ING) form of the verb, something you should avoid on the test.

Tip! Avoid the gerund (-ING) form of the verb.

This leaves us with choice (D).  Choice (D) employs the proper “either/or” structure while also keeping the the two verbs “become” and “spread” in parallel structure.  There are no grammatical mistakes in choice (D), so it is the correct answer.

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

Sentence Correction #1

Sentence Correction #2

Sentence Correction #3

Sentence Correction #4

Sentence Correction #6

<a title="Sentence Correction #7" href="http://www.newgmat project app.org/?p=541″>Sentence Correction #7

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