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In this article, we’ll look at the solution to this GMAT Official Guide sentence correction question – The percentage of the labor force that is unemployed has dropped sharply this month, even though it may be only temporarily.

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 this GMAT OG question

• Difficulty level – Hard
• 55% of people got this question correct.
• The average time taken to correctly answer this question – 1:09
• Source – Official Guide (OG) [Pre-2000]

## 1.1 Question – The percentage of the labor force…

The percentage of the labor force that is unemployed has dropped sharply this month, even though it may be only temporarily.

[Refer to the GMAT Official Guide for options]

## 1.2 Meaning Analysis

### 1.2.2 Meaning

The sentence states that the percentage of the unemployed workforce has decreased this month. Presenting the contrast, the sentence says that this decline may be short-term.

## 1.3 Error Analysis

1. Pronoun Error: There is no logical antecedent for the pronoun “it” in the underlined portion of the sentence.  The pronoun intends to refer to the drop in the percentage, but no noun in the original sentence can serve as a logical antecedent.

2. Modifier Error: The adverb “temporarily” is not grammatically correct in the sentence.  This adverb cannot grammatically or logically modify the verb “may be.” The grammatically and logically correct modifier here would be the adjective “temporary” to modify the specific noun “the drop” that needs to replace the ambiguous pronoun “it.”

#### A. even though it may be only temporarily

Incorrect: Errors discussed in the error analysis.

#### B. but it may be temporary only

Incorrect:

1. Pronoun Error: This option repeats the pronoun error in the original sentence.

2. Structure Error: The adverb “only” comes after the adjective “temporary” that it intends to modify.  This structure is grammatically incorrect. Note – Adverbs that modify adjectives must come directly before the adjectives they modify.

#### C. but the drop may be only temporary

Correct:  This option corrects the errors in the original sentence without introducing any new errors.  The pronoun “it” has been replaced with the specific noun “the drop.” The use of “but” instead of “even though” continues to present the intended contrast. The adverb “temporarily” has been appropriately changed to the adjective “temporary” and correctly modifies the noun “the drop.”

#### D. even though the drop may only be temporary

Incorrect: Structure Error: The adverb “only” is separated from the adjective “temporary” that it modifies.  As discussed in option B, this adverb must come directly before the adjective.

#### E. but such a drop may only be a temporary one

Incorrect: Structure Error: This option is wordy and imprecise. The adverb “only” is separated from the adjective “temporary” that it modifies.  As discussed in option B, this adverb must come directly before the adjective.

## 1.5 Takeaways:

1. Always make sure that the pronouns in a sentence have a logical and grammatically correct antecedent.

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