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In this article, we’ll look at the solution to this GMAT Official Guide sentence correction question – The odds are about 4 to 1 against surviving a takeover offer, and many business consultants therefore advise that a company’s first line of defense in eluding offers like these be to even refuse to take calls from likely corporate raiders.

We have analyzed the 5 answer choices and arrived at the correct choice through 3 steps:

1. Meaning analysis
2. Error analysis

## General information on GMAT OG SC question

• Difficulty level – Medium
• 65% of people got this question correct.
• The average time taken to correctly answer this question – 1:49
• Sessions – 2458
• Source – GMAT Official Guide [Pre-2000]

## 1.1 Question – The odds are about 4 to 1 against surviving a takeover offer…

The odds are about 4 to 1 against surviving a takeover offer, and many business consultants therefore advise that a company’s first line of defense in eluding offers like these be to even refuse to take calls from likely corporate raiders.

[Refer to the GMAT Official Guide for options]

## 1.2 Meaning Analysis

### 1.2.2 Meaning

The sentence starts by saying that the chances of getting past a takeover offer are very slim. As a result, many business consultants suggest that a company should not even accept calls from those companies that may present such offers. Not accepting such calls has been identified as the first line of defense in avoiding the takeover offers.

## 1.3 Error Analysis

1. Modifier Error: The adverb “even” has been used to modify the action “to take calls” as the sentence intends to say that a company should not “even accept calls” from “likely corporate raiders”. So, “even” must be placed right before “to take calls”. The placement of this modifier in this choice is incorrect.

Note:

1. This sentence uses the trigger word “advise” that calls for the usage of either the subjunctive verb or a ‘to verb’ phrase. This sentence correctly uses the subjunctive verb “be” for the subject “a company’s first line of defense”.

2. GMAT does not consider the use of “like” to present examples anymore. There are a few newer official questions in which “like” has been used to present examples in the correct sentence. This is a very old question, and some may say that the use of “like” is incorrect in this sentence.

### A. that a company’s first line of defense in eluding offers like these be to even refuse

Incorrect: This choice is incorrect for the Modifier Error identified in the original sentence.

### B: that a company’s first line of defense in eluding such offers be to refuse even

Correct: This choice corrects the modifier error of the original sentence. It also uses the precise expression “such offers” to convey the intended meaning clearly.

### C. a company defending itself against offers of this kind that, as a first line of defense, they should even refuse

Incorrect:

• Structure Error: The structure of this sentence is ungrammatical. If the verb “advise” is to be followed by the subjunctive verb, then the correct structure is ⟶ advise + that + a company’s first line of defense (subject) + be (subjunctive verb).  This choice certainly violates this structure.
• Verb Error: The subjunctive verb does not include the verb “should”.
• Modifier Error: This choice repeats the modifier error identified in Choice A.
• Pronoun Error: This choice uses the plural pronoun “they” to refer to the singular noun “a company”.

### D. companies which are defending themselves against such an offer that, as a first line of defense, they should even refuse

Incorrect: This choice repeats the first three errors of Choice C.

### E. that the first line of defense for a company who is eluding offers like these is the refusal even

Incorrect:

1. Modifier Error: The noun modifier “who” is used to modify humans. This choice should use the noun modifier “that” to modify “company”.
2. Verb Error: The use of the trigger word “advise” calls for the use of the subjunctive verb. But this choice uses the simple present tense singular verb “is”. This usage is incorrect.

## 1.5 Takeaways

1. Trigger words require the use of subjunctive verbs that must be used in a proper grammatical structure.
2. The placement of a modifier must be correct to logically modify the entity that it is meant to modify.
3. A pronoun must agree in number with its logical antecedent.

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