Added to the increase in hourly wages requested last July, the railroad employees are now seeking an expanded program of retirement benefits.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)


Sentence Analysis

  • Added to the increase (Verb-ed modifier – modifies the main subject)
    • in hourly wages (Prepositional phrase – modifies “increase”)
      • requested last July, (Verb-ed modifier – modifies “increase”)
  • the railroad employees are now seeking (Main Subject: “employees”; Main Verb: “are seeking”)
    • an expanded program (Object for the main verb)
      • of retirement benefits.(Prepositional phrase – modifies “program”)

The sentence intends to say that the railroad employees are seeking retirement benefits on top of the increase in hourly wages.

The problem with the sentence is that the verb-ed modifier “added” modifies the main subject “the railroad employees”, leading to a nonsensical meaning that the employees are added to the increase in hourly wages.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reason mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. This option has the same error as option A has. In addition, the use of past perfect tense ‘had been requested’ is not correct since there is no other past event.

(C) Incorrect.

There are two errors in this option:

  1. The structure of this sentence is: The employees are now seeking x added to y. The only sense this construction makes is that the employees are demanding that x be added to y. (Not that they be given x in addition to y). A correct way to frame this sentence is: the employees are now seeking x, in addition to y. 
  2. The plural verb “were” is incorrect for the singular subject “increase”. If you think ‘that’ refers to ‘hourly wages’, you are not seeing the illogical meaning such reference would lead to. Such a reference would mean that the employees requested hourly wages last July. Were they not getting hourly wages before that? Were they working for free till then?

(D) Incorrect. This option repeats the second error of option C.

(E) Correct.

This solution was created by Anish Passi and Chiranjeev Singh.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

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