Question

Chinese public buildings erected under a construction code of the Sung dynasty have withstood earthquakes well because the white cedar used has four times the tensile strength of steel and the timber frame, incorporating many joints and few nails, is flexible.

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)

Solution

Sentence Analysis

  • Chinese public buildings (Main Subject)
    • erected under a construction code (Verb-ed modifier modifying the main subject)
      • of the Sung dynasty (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “code”)
  • have withstood earthquakes well (“have withstood”: Main Verb)
    • because the white cedar used has (Dependent Clause modifying the main verb)
      • four times the tensile strength (Object for the verb “has”)
        • of steel (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “strength”)
    • and the timber frame (Subject of the Second Dependent Clause)
      • , incorporating many joints and few nails,  (Verb-ing modifier – modifies “frame”)
    • is flexible (“is”: Verb of the Second Dependent Clause)

Certain Chinese buildings have withstood earthquakes well for two reasons:

  1. High tensile strength of the white cedar used
  2. Flexibility of the timber frame

The sentence is correct as is. 

Option Analysis

(A) Correct.

(B) Incorrect. The second “has” has no subject. Neither “steel” not “tensile strength” can be a subject for this verb since “steel” is in a prepositional phrase (and thus cannot act as a subject) and “tensile strength” is an object for the first “has” and thus cannot act as a subject.

(C) Incorrect. For the following reasons:
“that was used in them” adds no more meaning than “used” does. Thus, the option is overly wordy and lower in quality.

The clause “the timber frame is flexible” is presented as a separate independent clause joined by a comma+and rather than as a second ‘because’ clause. From the meaning standpoint, this clause is not a separate idea but provides a reason why buildings have withstood earthquakes well.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The two verbs – incorporates and is – for the subject “the timber frame” are not joined properly. There needs to be an “and” between the two verbs
  2. The second issue of option C.

(E) Incorrect.  For the following reasons:

  1. The verb “does” is wrong. It needs to be “has” because steel “has” tensile strength and not “does” tensile strength.
  2. The first error of option D
  3. The second issue of option C.

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

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