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[OG solution] Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can now…

In this article, we’ll look at the solution to the 700-level GMAT Official Guide Sentence Correction question. Here is some general information about this OG question – Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can now flatten uneven farmland almost perfectly so as not to waste rainwater in runoff down sloping fields.

  • Difficulty level – Hard
  • Most popular incorrect choice: A
  • Question Type: Idioms, Meaning

1. Official Guide Question – Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can now…

Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can now flatten uneven farmland almost perfectly so as not to waste rainwater in runoff down sloping fields.

[Refer to the Official Guide for options]

A machine needs human intervention to come to life and perform what it has been meant to do. Similarly, grammatical entities must convey logical meaning to serve their purpose as communication tools. No good are those grammatical structures that present illogic meaning, no matter how elegant they appear. This official sentence represents this very notion.

2. Sophisticated laser-guided land graders – Video Solution

3. Toil For Logic  

The most important skill you need to solve this question correctly is understanding the difference between what the sentence conveys and what it should convey. So, let’s just do so.

GMAT OG - Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can now…

This sentence talks about a machine called laser-guided land grader. The advanced version of this machine can flatten uneven farmland with near perfection.

Now comes the tricky part. So, please pay attention. You must understand the meaning of this part of the sentence to solve this question correctly. The phrase “so as to” means “in order to.” Now, the sentence says that land graders can flatten uneven farmlands “so as not to” = in order not to waste rainwater. So, the sentence suggests that the previous models of land graders used to waste rainwater. But this advanced model can flatten uneven land not to waste water. This meaning is illogical because land graders do not waste water any which way. Land graders have got nothing to do with rainwaters. This sentence presents an illogical meaning and hence is incorrect.                

4. Choice A – Wrong Part of The Machine

Choice A: so as not to waste rainwater

Now that we thoroughly understand that the original sentence presents illogical meaning, we can immediately point out the wrong part that makes this sentence dysfunctional. It indeed is the phrase “so as not to” that must be removed from the sentence to make it correct.

5. Choice B – Choose This Sophisticated Version

Choice A: so that rainwater is not wasted

Choice B is the version that has all the right parts, I mean, all the correct phrases we need to communicate the logical meaning.  This choice uses the phrase “so that,” which presents the purpose for action. For example,

The government tries to provide cheaper medical facilities so that the lower-income group can afford them.

In this example sentence, the part “so that…” presents the purpose of why the government tries to provide cheaper medical facilities.

Let’s now analyze the meaning presented by the sentence with Choice B. It says that the new version of land graders can flatten the farmland almost perfectly so that (purpose) the rainwater is not wasted in runoff down sloping fields. Indeed, the grammar aligns with the logic so well. Rainwater runs down the slopes of the fields and gets wasted. The new land graders can flatten the slopes and help save the runoff. Perfect. Everything is in perfect sync for smooth functioning here.

6. Grading All the Choices

Yes, we have found our best version, but let’s quickly look at the slopes and the bumps in other choices.

A. so as not to waste rainwater

B. so that rainwater is not wasted

C. so that there is no wasted rainwater

This model, I mean, answer choice, also has a wrong part that crashes the logic. It talks about “wasted” rainwater – the expression that makes the sentence illogical. The sentence intends to say that rainwater gets wasted by running down the slopes. It does not talk of rainwater that is already wasted.  

D. and thereby not waste rainwater

We need to look at the sentence structure to see what’s the misfit in this choice.

  • Sophisticated laser-guided land graders can
    • now flatten uneven farmland almost perfectly and
    • thereby not waste rainwater in runoff down sloping fields.

Can you see the misfit? This sentence has two verbs for the subject “land graders” – can flatten and (can) not waste. Did land graders ever waste rainwater that the new version cannot do so anymore? The meaning does not work here. 

E. and there is no rainwater wasted

Every entity in this choice is a misfit. Firstly, two independent clauses are connected just by “and.” This structure is ungrammatical. Secondly, the use of “and” wipes out the purpose of land graders in flattening the uneven farmland. It is a super dysfunctional choice.

7. Practice Question:

Want more practice in questions that meddle with structures and logic? Try your hand at this question to learn how some apparently correct expressions actually present illogical meaning.

Hope this helps.
Thanks.
Shraddha

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