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[Solution] Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence, the Neanderthals appear…

In this article, we’ll look at the solution to this GMAT sentence correction question. We have analyzed the 5 answer choices and arrived at the correct choice through 3 steps:

  1. Meaning analysis
  2. Error analysis
  3. Answer choice analysis

General information on this question

  • Difficulty level – High
  • 49% of people got this question correct
  • The average time taken to correctly answer this question – 1:21

Let’s look at the question and answer choices

Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence, the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, but their relatively sudden disappearance during the Paleolithic era indicates that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led o their extinction

(A) appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

(B) appear to have been equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

(C) appear as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,

(D) appeared as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,

(E) appeared to have been equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

gmat sentence correction solution on neanderthals
  • OG – PQID : SC07231

Solution

Sentence Structure

  • Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence,
  • the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, 
  • but their relatively sudden disappearance during the paleolithic era indicates
    • that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led to their extinction.

Meaning Analysis

  • Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence,

The sentence talks about something that has lots of physical and mental capabilities together. Let’s read on to find out what this something is.

  • the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, 

The something being discussed is the Neanderthals (ND). ND is a group of people. These people seem to be ready to face any environmental situation/ hurdle that they come across.

  • but their relatively sudden disappearance during the paleolithic era indicates

The use of but indicates that the sentence will now present a contrast. The sentence states that ND suddenly disappeared in the paleolithic era (PL), i.e. this group got extinct during the PL. This disappearance is an indicator of something.

  • that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led to their extinction.

As per the sentence, this disappearance shows that their extinction was caused by their failure to adjust with some environmental changes.

From the context, we know that NDs do not exist in the present time. However, it seems that they were all prepared for any changes in the past.

So, the sentence is about a group of people called NDs. It presents a contrast related to ND. The contrast is that even though NDs seem to have everything required to face environmental challenges, their sudden disappearance during the PL shows that they failed to adjust with some environmental changes.

Error Analysis

  • Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence,
  • the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, 
  • but their relatively sudden disappearance during the paleolithic era indicates
    • that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led to their extinction.

1. Idiom Error

The phrase appear as equipped is unidiomatic. The phrase appear as something means look like something. This meaning does not work in the context of this sentence. The correct idiomatic expression that we need in this sentence is appear to. Additionally, since we know that NDs do not exist in the present time, it would not be correct to say that NDs appear to be equipped because this expression illogically means that NDs in the present appear to be equipped with something.

2. Idiom Error

The phrase equipped for facing is incorrect. The sentence intends to present the intent behind being equipped. Hence, to face should be used instead of for facing.

Answer Choice Analysis

Choice (A): appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

Incorrect as discussed in error analysis

Choice (B): appear to have been equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

Correct

This choice uses the correct idiom appear to. Additionally, the expression appear to have been equipped correctly conveys that it seems (in the present) that NDs were equipped (in the past). Thus, the choice conveys a fact related to the NDs.

There is no other error. Hence, this choice is the correct answer choice.

Choice (C): appear as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,

Incorrect (12% People chose this option)

Idiom Error

This choice repeats the idiom error related to the use of appear as equipped as in choice A.

Choice (D): appeared as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,

Incorrect (22% people chose this option)

1. Idiom Error:

This choice repeats the idiom error related to the use of appear as equipped as in choice A.

2. Verb Tense Error

The use of the past tense verb appeared is incorrect since the sentence intends to convey a fact related to NDs. The fact that they were equipped to handle any situation holds correct in the present and will always remain valid. Hence, this fact that were equipped must be written in the simple present tense verb appear.

Choice (E): appeared to have been equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

Incorrect (14% people chose this option)

1. Idiom Error

This choice repeats the idiom error related to the use of equipped for facing as in choice A.

2. Verb Tense Error

The use of the past tense verb appeared is incorrect as in choice D.

Most asked queries on this question

The word ‘been’ is used in the present/past/future perfect tense verb in the passive voice and present/past/future perfect continuous tense verb in the active voice. In the correct answer choice, the verb ‘is’ appears to have been which is in simple present tense because appears is in the simple present tense. Please note that ‘have been’ cannot be the verb as it is preceded by to.

‘Have been equipped’ is in present perfect tense and not present perfect continuous tense. The usage of present perfect tense is correct in this sentence as this sentence is trying to make a judgement in the present about a past fact pertaining to Neanderthals.

Kindly go through the following article to see a few examples of the usage of present perfect continuous tense. Foundations of GMAT Grammar

To+verb signifies purpose. In this sentence, the author wishes to convey the purpose for which Neanderthals were equipped. Hence, the usage of ‘to+verb’ form is correct. We have discussed the usage of ‘to+verb’ vs ‘for verb-ing’ forms in detail in the following article. You can refer to it to cement your understanding.

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