GMAT Verbal : Illogical Predication

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Illogical Predication

In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who takes initiative and seeks out new tasks without having to be directly managed at all times.

Possible Answers:

In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that they most heavily prioritize applicants who take initiative and seek

Recruiters indicated in an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who take initiative, seeking

Recruiters indicated in an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies that they prioritize most heavily the quality in applicants who take initiative, seeking

In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicating that they most heavily prioritize applicants who have the quality of taking initiative and who seek

In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who takes initiative and seeks

Correct answer:

In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that they most heavily prioritize applicants who take initiative and seek

Explanation:

Choices "In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who takes initiative and seeks" and "Recruiters indicated in an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who take initiative, seeking" in this problem showcase a classic case of illogical predication:

"The quality they most prize is...someone who"

Is the person really the quality? The quality could be initiative, or they could be looking for someone who has that quality, but "the quality is someone" is illogical, saying that the quality is a person. Therefore "In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who takes initiative and seeks" and "Recruiters indicated in an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies that the quality they prioritize most in an applicant is someone who take initiative, seeking" are incorrect.

"Recruiters indicated in an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies that they prioritize most heavily the quality in applicants who take initiative, seeking" has a similarly incorrect meaning in that it speaks of one quality that it never defines: "they prioritize most heavily the quality in applicants who take initiative..." What is the quality?

"In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that they most heavily prioritize applicants who take initiative and seek" corrects these issues and is therefore correct - note that by omitting the words "the quality" altogether, "In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicated that they most heavily prioritize applicants who take initiative and seek" is able to describe the quality ("applicants who take initiative") while avoiding the awkward meanings that that the other options discussed have from trying to wedge in that phrase.

"In an extensive survey of Fortune 500 companies, recruiters indicating that they most heavily prioritize applicants who have the quality of taking initiative and who seek" simply isn't a complete sentence, as it does not have a verb for the subject "employers." "indicating" may look like a verb but appears as a participial modifier (think of "John running" vs. "John is running").

Example Question #1 : Illogical Predication

A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa is when issues of control and distorted body image result in a dangerously low weight within the context of age, developmental trajectory, and physical health.

Possible Answers:

Anorexia nervosa is a crippling disorder for many young women;

Anorexia nervosa is a crippling disorder for many young women,

A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa is

A crippling disorder that affects many young women, anorexia nervosa is

A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa develops

Correct answer:

A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa develops

Explanation:

In your initial scan of the answer choices, the only difference you will probably notice quickly is that between “is” and “develops” in "A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa is", "A crippling disorder that affects many young women, anorexia nervosa is", and "A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa develops". Why would you be given such a difference? Look at what follows the verb and you see that "A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa is" and "A crippling disorder that affects many young women, anorexia nervosa is" suffer from illogical predication – the subject “anorexia nervosa” is illogically linked by the verb “is” to a clause starting with “when”. An illness or disorder is not a timeframe! The verb “develops” works because the clause then explains when/how the illness develops so "A crippling disorder for many young women, anorexia nervosa develops" is correct. In "Anorexia nervosa is a crippling disorder for many young women,", you again have the problem of what the “when” clause is linked to – there is no action verb like “develops” that can be modified by the clause. For "Anorexia nervosa is a crippling disorder for many young women;" you have an improper use of a semicolon as the clause that follows is not an independent sentence. 

Example Question #2 : Illogical Predication

The study involved 1000 patients whose cardiac disease was not well controlled by existing medications – drugs such as ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers – and had suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year.

Possible Answers:

and suffered from persistent symptoms that had lasted for at least a year

but were suffering from persistent symptoms that had been lasting for a year or more

but had suffered from persistent symptoms that lasted for a year or more

and had suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year

and who suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year

Correct answer:

and who suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year

Explanation:

This sentence contains a tricky sentence construction issue that you will likely miss unless you “Slash and Burn” the unnecessary parts of the sentence. The sentence is trying to show that there are two things relating to the 1000 patients: patients “whose cardiac disease was not well controlled….and who had not suffered persistent symptoms”. In "and had suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year", "and suffered from persistent symptoms that had lasted for at least a year", "but were suffering from persistent symptoms that had been lasting for a year or more" and "but had suffered from persistent symptoms that lasted for a year or more" the verb forms following the dash are illogically referring back to cardiac disease. Take "and suffered from persistent symptoms that had lasted for at least a year" for instance - without the “and who” it reads like this: “patients whose cardiac disease was not well controlled and suffered…” The suffered is not referring back to patients but is necessarily part of the “whose” clause and is commanded illogically by “cardiac disease”. Only "and who suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year" corrects this issue - that choice should be a major “decision points” hint to carefully analyze why the “who” might be required in this sentence. Answer is "and who suffered persistent symptoms that had been lasting for at least a year".

Example Question #1 : Meaning

The endangered giraffes have sometimes been shot by farmers trying to save their crops when they are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers allowed access to help guard the fields.

Possible Answers:

who are trying to save their crops when they are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers who are

trying to save their crops when they are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers

trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers

trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers

who are trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers who are

Correct answer:

trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers

Explanation:

This problem is primarily testing logical meaning, pronoun reference, and sentence construction. Whenever you have a pronoun choice in the answers, start there: "trying to save their crops when they are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers" and "who are trying to save their crops when they are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers who are" use the pronoun “they” while the remaining choices use “animals”. This is a major hint that the pronoun “they” might have a reference problem and indeed it does: it is not the farmers who are “foraging for late-night snacks” but rather the giraffes! The use of the word “animals” corrects this problem so it must be "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers", "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers" or "who are trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers who are".

The most obvious decision point between the remaining choices is the use of “or poachers” in "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers" and "who are trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers who are" versus “or by poachers” in "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers". A closer look (and the use of slash-and-burn to simplify the sentence) shows that it should be: the giraffes have been shot by farmers doing X, or BY poachers doing Y. Without the word “by”, it seems that the last part is linked to what the animals are doing when it is really a separate component going back to who is shooting the giraffes. If you read "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers" and "who are trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks or poachers who are" carefully it seems that the giraffes might be foraging for poachers – clearly illogical! The correct answer is "trying to save their crops when the animals are foraging for late-night snacks, or by poachers".

Example Question #1 : Meaning

Until 2010, a state tax regulation known as the “80-20 rule” required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as ground-floor rent for restaurants.

Possible Answers:

required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as

required condominium associations to receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as

required condominium associations to receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and to have no more than 20 percent from other sources, like

requiring that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as

required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as

Correct answer:

required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as

Explanation:

The most important decision point in this problem relates to the sometimes subtle error of "illogical predication" - when the subject is not logically linked to what follows. Before you get to that, you can quickly eliminate as "requiring that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as" there is no active verb - “requiring” is just a participle. In "required condominium associations to receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as", "required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and have no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as", and "required condominium associations to receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and to have no more than 20 percent from other sources, like" “have no more…” is incorrect: you do not “have 20% of your income from other sources” you “receive 20% of your income from other sources”. Only "required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as" gets the predication correct: “require that associations receive at least 80% from this…, and no more than 20% from other sources” The comma confuses some students but it is there to make it clear that the first part ends after “from shareholders.” The sentence is really “receive at least 80% from this and no more than 20% from this…”. Answer is "required that condominium associations receive at least 80 percent of their gross income from their tenant-shareholders, and no more than 20 percent from other sources, such as".

Example Question #1 : Illogical Predication

Trust in the medical field has been declining for decades, and the most tangible and immediate damage of that change may be public health and safety.

Possible Answers:

has been

had been to

will be

may be to

Correct answer:

may be to

Explanation:

With only one concrete decision point (the verb choice and what follows), you need to figure out what is really going on in the sentence. Often this is best done by using “slash-and-burn” to eliminate any garbage and only read the core elements. The last part of the sentence in "may be" is really “the damage…may be public health and safety.” This is clearly illogical predication! Public health and safety are not “damage”.

Leveraging the fact that "had been to" and "may be to" have the necessary “to” at the end, you can see that "may be to" is correct: “the damage…may be TO public health and safety.” You can have damage TO public health and safety - this option makes sense. "had been to" – the only other answer with the necessary “to” – is incorrect as the past perfect tense “had been” cannot be used with present perfect “has been” used earlier in the sentence. Correct answer is "may be to".

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