GMAT Question of the Day: Presidential Debate Edition

American flags

As a participant in the second debate and, more importantly, as an emblem of American panache, Kenneth Bone has arguably become the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election, who has sparked discussion of a number of topics including environmental policy, domestic job security, and red quarter-zip sweaters.

A) Kenneth Bone has arguably become the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election, who has sparked discussion of a number of topics including

B) Kenneth Bone, arguably the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election, has sparked discussion of a number of topics that include

C) Kenneth Bone has arguably become the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election, sparking discussion of a number of topics including

D) arguably the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election is Kenneth Bone, who has sparked discussion of a number of topics including

E) arguably the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election, Kenneth Bone, has sparked discussion of a number of topics including

Click here for the answer and explanation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Explanation

This is a question about modifiers—phrases that describe nouns. There are a few modifiers in this sentence; one is the section before Kenneth Bone is mentioned: “As a participant in the second debate and, more importantly, as an emblem of American panache….” As we can see, the noun that’s being modified (Kenneth Bone) comes right after the comma at the end of the modifier. This is correct.

Later in the sentence, though, there’s the phrase “who has sparked…sweaters.” This is a modifier too, and it is clearly referring to Mr. Bone. But the noun right before the comma here is “election,” which is wrong. This rules out Choice (A).

The other wrong answer choices fix this major mistake but create new ones. Choice (B) creates the phrase “…a number of topics that include environmental policy…,” which is a confusing way to say a group includes something. Choice (C) fixes the mistake in Choice (B) and doesn’t create any new ones, so could be correct. Choices (D) and (E) create the phrase “…as an emblem of American panache, arguably the most popular public figure in the 2016 presidential election is….” This is extremely confusing and also breaks the same modifier rule that Choice (A) does, just in a different place.

The correct answer is Choice (C).