A 5 minute read

[Solution] The 32 species that make up the dolphin family are closely related to whales

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 – Medium
  • 66% of people got this question correct
  • The average time taken to correctly answer this question – 1:16

Let’s look at the question and answer choices

(A) include the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow to be 30 feet long and is

(B) include the animal known as the killer whale, growing as big as 30 feet long and

(C) include the animal known as the killer whale, growing up to 30 feet long and being

(D) includes the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow as big as 30 feet long and is

(E) includes the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow to be 30 feet long and it is

  • OG – PQID : SC03207
gmat sentence correction question killer whale

Meaning Analysis

Sentence Structure

  • The 32 species
    • that make up the dolphin family
  • are closely related to whales
  • and in fact include the animal known as the killer whale,
    • which
      • can grow to be 30 feet long
      •  and is famous for its aggressive hunting pods.
  • The 32 species
    • that make up the dolphin family

The sentence talks about the 32-different species that together constitute the dolphin family.

  • are closely related to whales
  • and in fact include the animal known as the killer whale,

This part of the sentence states that these 32 species are closely linked to whales. The statement emphasizes this fact by saying that an animal called the killer whale also comes in the dolphin family and is one of these 32 species.

  • which
    • can grow to be 30 feet long
    •  and is famous for its aggressive hunting pods.

The sentence then describes the killer whales. It presents two characteristics of the killer whale:

  1. it can grow up to a length of 30 feet
  2. it is known for its hunting technique, which is to hunt in an aggressive group.

To sum it up, the sentence says that the 32 species that constitute the dolphin family are closely linked to the whales. This fact is emphasized on by mentioning that these 32 species include an animal known as killer whale. A killer whale can grow up to a length of 30 feet. It is known for its hunting technique, which is to hunt in aggressive groups.

Error Analysis

  • The plural verb include agrees in number with the plural subject The 32 species.
  • The idiom grow to be 30 feet long is grammatically correct and presents the intended meaning correctly.
  • In the given list, the two elements can grow and is famous are parallel. The subject for both these verbs is which.
  • The relative pronoun modifier which correctly modifies the preceding noun killer whale.

This sentence does not have any error and is correct as is.

Answer Choice Analysis

Choice (A): include the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow to be 30 feet long and is

Correct. This choice has no errors as pointed out in error analysis.

Choice (B): include the animal known as the killer whale, growing as big as 30 feet long and

Incorrect

  1. Modifier errors:
  2. The comma + verb-ing modifier growing… incorrectly modifies the preceding action include though logically it should modify killer whale.

The comma + verb-ing modifiers present the “how” aspect, the result, or the logical description of the preceding action.

It makes no sense to say the 32 species include the killer whale by growing as big as 30 feet. It also does not make sense to say that the action of including the killer whale leads to growing 30 feet.

Hence, this modifier cannot logically modify the preceding action.

  1. The adjective famous fails to connect to a noun in this choice.
  2. Expression Errors
  3. The use of the modifier comma + growing… fails to present the idea of possibility that is conveyed by which can grow in the original sentence.
  4. The expression as big as 30 feet long is incorrect since use of both big and tall results in redundancy. The correct usage can be
    • as big as 30 feet
    • to be 30 feet long
  5. Parallelism Error

The comma + verb-ing modifier growing… and the adjective famous are grammatically not parallel.

Choice (C): include the animal known as the killer whale, growing up to 30 feet long and being

Incorrect

  • Modifier Error

This choice repeats the comma + growing… modifier error as seen in Choice B.

  • Parallelism Error

The phrase being famous is neither logically nor grammatically parallel to the comma + verb-ing modifier growing….

Choice (D): includes the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow as big as 30 feet long and is

Incorrect (16% people chose this option)

  1. SV Number Agreement Error

The singular verb includes cannot be used with the plural subject The 32 species.

  • Expression Error

This choice repeats the second expression error with regards to the usage of as big as 30 feet long as seen in choice B.

Choice (E): includes the animal known as the killer whale, which can grow to be 30 feet long and it is

Incorrect

  1. SV Number Agreement Error

This choice repeats the SV number mismatch error as seen in Choice D.

  • Parallelism Error

The relative pronoun modifier which can grow… is grammatically not parallel to the independent clause it is….

  • Structure Error

The independent clause it is… is connected to the preceding independent clause The 32 species are closely related and include… just by the connector and. The correct connector to join two independent clauses is comma + and.

P.S.: The singular pronoun it correctly and unambiguously refers to the singular noun the killer whale. This is the only logical and grammatical noun that the pronoun it can refer to.

Most asked queries on this question

The article ‘a’ and ‘an’ are used with singular nouns. Article ‘the’ can be used for both singular and plural nouns.

No. The sentence talks about 32 different species that make up one family. Hence, 32 species is a plural subject, as clearly indicated by the sentence.

In Choice B, the growing modifier is placed after a clause and is preceded by a comma. Hence, it acts as an action modifier, not a noun modifier.

People who read this article also read

Let's discuss further - What's your take?

Payal Tandon
Co-founder, e-GMAT
Welcome to e-GMAT Support!
I am Payal, Co-Founder of e-GMAT.
Feel free to ask any Query.
Thank you for your query.
We will be contacting you soon on