Test: Meaning Clarity


10 Questions MCQ Test Verbal for GMAT | Test: Meaning Clarity


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QUESTION: 1

American Heart Association researchers have calculated that one person in the United Statesshould experience a coronary event every 26 seconds.

Solution:

The original sentence says something that differs from the logical intent. The verb “should” implies obligation; in this sentence, it indicates that one person in the United States ought to experience a coronary event every 26 seconds, as though the person deserves it, or, for that matter, as though any one person could continue indefinitely to have such frequent heart attacks. The American Heart Association clearly means that some person in the United States will experience a coronary event roughly every 26 seconds.
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) “Should” suggests that a person ought to experience a coronary event, rather than that a person will. Furthermore, “every 26 seconds” is an approximation, but the phrase “once in every 26 seconds” is too precise for the situation, suggesting coronary events occur with predetermined frequency.
(C) “Every 26 seconds” is an approximation, but the phrase “one person in the United States once in every 26 seconds” is too precise for the situation, suggesting that a specific person will suffer coronary events on a predetermined schedule.
Furthermore, "once in" is wordy and unnecessary.
(D) CORRECT. In this sentence, “will experience a coronary event” is free of the unintended connotations of “should experience a coronary event.”
(E) “Should” suggests that a person ought to experience a coronary event, rather than that a person will.

QUESTION: 2

By choosing glass apartments towering a hundred feet over brownstone units designed forearlier generations, seemingly younger-than-ever moneyed professionals have embraced amodern design ethic that accentuated their luxury-laden lives.

Solution:

The original sentence contains two problems. First, “towering a hundred feet over brownstone units” is unclear and implies the absurd meaning that the glass apartments are located directly over brownstone units in different buildings. Second, the verb "accentuated" should be in the present tense, since the earlier use of the present perfect tense ("have embraced") implies that the embracing is still happening, and therefore that the ethic accentuates the lives in the general present. Incidentally, in this context, "by choosing" and "in choosing" have nearly identical meanings; as a result, this split is immaterial.
(A) Incorrect, as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice repeats the errors from the choice (A) and adds another. The adjective “seeming” is incorrect, since adjectives modify nouns; it is not “seeming professionals,” but “seemingly younger... professionals.” An adverb must be used to describe an adjective.
(C) CORRECT. Using “in hundred-foot towers instead of” rather than “towering a hundred feet over” makes the intended meaning clearer. Also, the verb "accentuates" is in the proper tense (present).
(D) The verb "accentuated" should not be in the past tense, as noted above.
(E) In this choice, “towering a hundred feet over brownstone units” is unclear and implies the absurd meaning that the glass apartments are located directly over brownstone units in different buildings. The adjective “seeming” is
incorrect, as noted earlier in choice B. An adverb must be used to describe an adjective. Finally, the participle "accentuating" should arguably be replaced with the relative clause "that accentuates"; following a comma, the participle implies that the professionals are doing the accentuating, rather than the design ethic. This change of meaning is inadvisable.

QUESTION: 3

Nearly 2000 years after its initial construction, the United Nations declared the Romanaqueduct of Segovia to be a Heritage of Humanity in 1985, prompting the Spanish governmentto begin renovations on the aqueduct, which had been deteriorating.

Solution:

The original sentence contains a misplaced modifier, which alters the intended meaning of the sentence. The modifying phrase “Nearly 2000 years after its initial construction” incorrectly modifies “the United Nations,” the adjacent noun. However, it is the “Roman aqueduct” that was constructed nearly 2000 years earlier, not “the
United Nations.” Further, “declared the Roman aqueduct…to be a Heritage of Humanity” uses an incorrect idiom: “declare X to be Y.” The correct form of the idiom is: “declare X Y.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This sentence implies that it was the deterioration of the aqueduct that prompted the “Spanish government to begin renovations.” However, the intended meaning, as dictated by the original sentence, is that the United Nations’ declaration prompted the renovations. Further, “declared the Roman aqueduct…to be a Heritage of Humanity” uses an incorrect idiom: “declare X to be Y.” The correct form of the idiom is: “declare X Y.”
(C) The modifying phrase “After being declared…in 1985” incorrectly modifies the adjacent noun “Spanish government.” It is not the “Spanish government” that was declared a Heritage of Humanity, but rather the “Roman aqueduct.” Additionally, the modifying phrase “which had been deteriorating…” incorrectly modifies the immediately preceding noun, “Segovia.” Again, it was not “Segovia” that had been deteriorating, but rather the “Roman aqueduct.”
(D) The verbs “declared” and “prompted” are written with parallel structure. This changes the original meaning of the sentence by making these actions independent and sequential. However, the intended meaning is that the
“prompting” occurred not independently of the declaration, but as a consequence of the declaration. Further, “declared the Roman aqueduct…to be a Heritage of Humanity” uses an incorrect idiom: “declare X to be Y.” The
correct form of the idiom is: “declare X Y.”

(E) CORRECT. This sentence is clear in meaning. The modifying phrase “which had been deteriorating…” correctly modifies the immediately preceding noun “aqueduct.” Also, the phrase “prompting the Spanish government…” is subordinate to “declared,” making it clear that the “prompting” occurred as a result of the declaration. Finally, “declared the Roman aqueduct…a Heritage of Humanity” uses the correct form of the
idiom: “declared X Y.”

QUESTION: 4

Geologists once thought that the molten rock known as lava was an underground remnant ofEarth's earliest days, sporadically erupting through volcanoes, but they now know that it iscontinuously created by the heat of the radioactivity deep inside the planet.

Solution:

The original sentence does not contain any errors. The verb clause "was an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days" is correct in tense (simple past "was") and number (singular "molten rock" paired with singular "was"). Moreover, the modifier "sporadically erupting through volcanoes" correctly modifies "an underground remnant of Earth's earliest days."
(A) CORRECT. This choice is correct as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice unnecessarily and incorrectly changes the simple past "was" to the past perfect "had been," which is used only when describing the earlier of two past actions. Moreover, the use of "and" here equates the geologists' false understanding of lava with the fact that it sometimes erupts through volcanoes.
(C) This choice improperly uses the relative pronoun "which" to modify "Earth's earliest days" instead of "molten rock known as lava."
(D) This choice incorrectly changes the simple past "was" to the conditional "would be." Moreover, the use of  that" implies that eruption through volcanoes was part of what the geologists erroneously believed about lava.
(E) In this choice, "having sporadically erupted" incorrectly places this modifier in the past tense, implying that lava no longer erupts through volcanoes

QUESTION: 5

Disease, pollution, and overfishing have devastated the bountiful oyster harvests that oncesustained the residents of the Chesapeake Bay area.

Solution:

The given sentence is correct as written. "The residents of" a certain place is the proper idiom. It is also correct to refer to the residents living in the "area" of the Chesapeake Bay, rather than in the Bay itself.
(A) CORRECT. The original sentence is correct as written.
(B) This answer incorrectly implies that the residents are living "in" the Bay itself as well as the area surrounding the Bay. (Note that if we were talking about residents with houseboats or the like, they would be living "on" the Bay, not "in" it.)
(C) This answer implies that the residents reside only in or on the Bay itself rather than near it or around the Bay area; though there may be some residents living on boats, the meaning of the original sentence indicates it was
not intended to be limited to those living in or on the Bay. In addition, logic dictates that the residents cannot live "in" the Bay.
(D) "Around the vicinity of" is both redundant and the incorrect idiom; to live in the "vicinity" of a landmark already includes the area "around" that landmark. The correct idiom is "in the vicinity of."
(E) "Living in and around the Chesapeake Bay area" is redundant; living "in" a particular "area" implies living "around" that same area.

QUESTION: 6

The spending on durable goods like household appliances and automobiles is a cyclical patternthat depends on if the overall economy is healthy, whereas non-durable goods like food andshelter remain constant regardless of the economy.

Solution:

The original sentence contains several errors. First, "household appliances and automobiles" are specific examples of durable goods, so they ought to be introduced with "such as" instead of "like." Similarly, "food and shelter" are specific examples of non-durable goods, so “like” is used incorrectly there, too. Second, the use of "if" in this context is incorrect. On the GMAT, "if" is used only to introduce conditional clauses (e.g. “if X, then Y”). Here, the author should have used "whether" instead of “if” to indicate uncertainty about the health of the overall
economy. Third, it is illogical to say that "spending…is a cyclical pattern". The author clearly means that spending follows a cyclical pattern. Finally, the author’s intent is to make a comparison between spending on durable goods and spending on non-durable goods, but the original sentence incorrectly compares “spending on durable goods” to “non-durable goods.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) First, "household appliances and automobiles" are specific examples of durable goods, so they ought to be introduced with "such as" instead of "like." Similarly, "food and shelter" are specific examples of non-durable goods, so “like” is used incorrectly there, too. Additionally, it is illogical to say that "spending…is a cyclical pattern". The author clearly means that "spending" follows a "cyclical pattern."
(C) CORRECT. The specific examples of durable and non-durable goods are correctly introduced with “such as.” The comparison is made in a logically and structurally parallel way: “spending on durable goods…follows a cyclical pattern” is parallel to “spending on non-durable goods…remains constant.”
(D) The phrasing of this choice is wordy and awkward, and “determines the cyclical pattern of spending on durable goods” is not structurally parallel to “non durable spending … remains constant.” Finally, “non-durable spending” has a nonsensical meaning; it is the goods that are non-durable, and the author’s intent was to refer to spending on such goods. NOT parallel.
(E) "Food and shelter" are specific examples of non-durable goods, so they ought to be introduced with "such as" instead of "like." Also, this choice states that "non-durable goods...remain constant" when what is meant is that "spending on non-durable goods...remains constant.”

QUESTION: 7

One characteristic of top-performing sales organizations is that they have a tendency to haveconcentrated greater resources in the direction of a smaller, more careful selection of anumber of important customers than is the case with other sales organizations.

Solution:

The original sentence correctly compares a characteristic of top-performing sales organizations with that of other sales organizations. However, the original sentence is unnecessarily wordy in its use of “they have a tendency” as well as “in the direction of” and “is the case.” Moreover, the use of the present perfect verb construction “have
concentrated” is inappropriate, since the simple present tense is sufficient to describe a regular feature of “sales organizations.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice is clear and concise. However, in its use of “toward other sales organizations,” this choice does not draw the correct and logical comparison between the behavior of top sales organizations and the behavior of other sales organizations. Instead, this choice illogically compares the level of resources concentrated on
certain important customers and the resources directed toward other sales organizations. Finally, the construction “concentrate more resources to” is unidiomatic; the appropriate idiom is “to concentrate on.”
(C) This choice incorrectly draws a comparison between the level of resources concentrated on a number of important customers and the resources directed towards other sales organizations in its use of “as opposed to other sales organizations.” The correct comparison is between the behavior of top sales organizations and that of other sales organizations.
(D) CORRECT. This choice correctly draws a comparison between a characteristic of top sales organizations and that of other sales organizations, and is otherwise clear and concise.
(E) This choice incorrectly draws a comparison between the level of resources directed toward a number of important customers and the resources directed toward other sales organizations in its use of “as opposed to.” The correct comparison is between top sales organizations and other sales organizations.

QUESTION: 8

When airline carriers are able to impose a significant fare increase without deterring many price-sensitive passengers, it is an encouraging sign for the health of the airline industry.

Solution:

In C, D and E, the two it’s have to mean the same thing, which is not the case.
The meaning of the original sentence is clear: If passengers are not deterred by a significant fare increase, the airline industry must be doing well. The original sentence also uses concise language ("price-sensitive passengers") to make its point. Additionally, the pronoun "it" in the original sentence clearly refers to the fact that passengers are not deterred by a significant fare increase.
(A) CORRECT. This choice is correct as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This choice incorrectly replaces the concise phrase "price-sensitive passengers" with the wordy alternative "passengers who are price-sensitive."
(C) In this choice, the pronoun "it" is used initially to refer to a fare increase. In the non-underlined portion of the sentence, a second "it" is used to refer not to a fare increase, but to the fact that a fare increase does not deter price sensitive passengers. The use of the pronoun "it" is incorrect in this answer choice as it causes the antecedent to be unclear for the second "it" in the nonunderlined portion of the sentence. Also, "acting as a deterrent" is unnecessarily wordy, and the use of the term "may raise" suggests that the airlines are being given permission to increase their fares.
(D) In this choice, the pronoun "it" is used initially to refer to a fare increase. In the non-underlined portion of the sentence, a second "it" is used to refer not to a fare increase, but to the fact that a fare increase does not deter pricesensitive passengers. The use of the pronoun "it" is incorrect in this answer choice as it causes the antecedent to be unclear for the second "it" in the nonunderlined portion of the sentence. Also, the use of the term "may raise" suggests that the airlines are being given permission to increase their fares.
(E) In this choice, the pronoun "it" is used initially to refer to a fare increase. In the non-underlined portion of the sentence, a second "it" is used to refer not to a fare increase, but to the fact that a fare increase does not deter pricesensitive passengers. The use of the pronoun "it" is incorrect in this answer choice as it causes the antecedent to be unclear for the second "it" in the nonunderlined portion of the sentence.

QUESTION: 9

The pioneering research of Lewis Latimer and Thomas Edison, who became known for hisinvention of the light bulb, accelerated the development of the first power plant, which openedin New York City in 1882 .

Solution:

In the original sentence, the pronoun “his” lacks a clear antecedent, making it unclear whether it was “Lewis Latimer” or “Thomas Edison” who “became known for his invention of the light bulb.” In fact, the plural phrase "Lewis Latimer and Thomas Edison" leads us to expect a plural pronoun later on; if we only wish to refer to "Thomas Edison," we should position the modifying phrase so as to refer to "Thomas Edison" only.
Also, the construction “who became known for his invention” is wordy and could be replaced by the more concise form “known for his invention.”
(A) This choice is incorrect as it repeats the original sentence.
(B) This answer choice replaces the wordy construction “who became known for his invention” with the more concise form “known for his invention,” but retains the original ambiguity stemming from the lack of a clear antecedent for the pronoun “his.”
(C) CORRECT. By placing the modifier “known for his invention of the light bulb” immediately after “Thomas Edison” and prior to the introduction of “Lewis Latimer,” this answer choice resolves the original ambiguity and makes it clear that the pronoun “his” refers to “Thomas Edison” rather than “Lewis Latimer.” The construction “known for his invention” is also more concise than the original form “who became known for his invention.”
(D) This answer choice illogically states that it was the “pioneering research” rather than “Thomas Edison” that became “known for his invention of the light bulb,” thus altering the original meaning of the sentence. Further, this answer choice retains the original problem of ambiguity by failing to provide a clear antecedent for the pronoun
“his.”
(E) This answer choice uses the passive construction “research that was conducted by Thomas Edison” rather than the more direct and concise form “research of Thomas Edison.” Further, while the placement of the modifier “who became known for his invention of the light bulb” next to Thomas Edison and prior to the introduction of
“Lewis Latimer” resolves the ambiguity, the phrase “who became known for his invention” is wordy; the more concise form “known for his invention” is preferable.

QUESTION: 10

The bowerbirds of Australia derive their name from the fact that the males build elaboratebowers of sticks and twigs to attract females, decorating them with flowers and othervegetation in a display of courtship.

Solution:

The original sentence contains the pronoun "them" but it is not grammatically clear whether the pronoun's antecedent is "bowers of sticks and twigs" or "females." Logically, we know that the antecedent is "bowers", so we need to find a replacement that makes this clear. Moreover, the bowerbird does not derive its name from the fact that it builds bowers, but from the bowers themselves.
(A) This choice is incorrect as it is the same as the original sentence.
(B) CORRECT. This choice rewrites the sentence to make it clear that the name derives from the bowers and not from the fact of building them, and it also eliminates the pronoun "them" and instead refers to "structures" to make the relationship clear.
(C) This choice does not make it clear that the males build the bowers and decorate them. Instead, it seems to suggest that the bowers exist on their own and that the male uses only the flowers and vegetation to attract females.
(D) This choice uses the phrase "having decorated them" improperly. It is not necessary to use "having" in this context because the sentence describes an ongoing event, not one that occurred in the past.
(E) This choice is in the passive voice, which is not preferable to active voice when a grammatical active version (such as B) is also offered. Moreover, the placement of the modifier "that are built by the males" incorrectly implies the sticks and twigs are built by the males. Also the phrase "and decorated with flowers and other vegetation to attract females" seems to further imply that the sticks and twigs are also decorated with flowers...

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