Question

Statisticians studying the health effects of uranium mining on Navajo communities have found others besides miners and mill workers to be affected; birth defects, children’s cancer, and altered birth ratios of males and females are much higher in mining than in non-mining communities.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

Solution

Sentence Analysis

  • Statisticians (Subject of the first IC)
    • studying the health effects (verb-ing modifier modifying “Statisticians”)
      • of uranium mining (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “health effects”)
      • on Navajo communities (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “health effects”)
  • have found others (“have found”: Verb of the first IC)
    • besides miners and mill workers (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “others”)
    • to be affected (Infinitive Phrase – modifies “have found”)
  • ; birth defects, children’s cancer, and altered birth ratios (Compound Subject of the second IC)
    • of males and females (Prepositional Phrase – modifies “birth ratios”)
  • are much higher in mining than in non-mining communities. (“are”: Verb of the second IC)

Certain statisticians have found people other than miners and mill workers to be affected by uranium mining. Mining communities have a higher incidence of birth defects, cancer among children, and altered birth ratios of males and females than non-mining communities.

There are two issues in the sentence:

  1. The sentence has a meaning problem. The predicate “are higher” doesn’t go with any of the subjects. Neither of the following constructions makes sense:
    1. Birth defects are much higher in X (“Higher birth defects” doesn’t make sense).
    2. Cancer among children is higher in X (“cancer is higher” doesn’t make sense).
    3. “Altered birth ratios are higher in X” (“altered ratios are higher” doesn’t make sense)

The correct construction can talk about the incidence of the above three things or can say that these three things occur more frequently in one community than in another community.

  1. There is another issue with this sentence: children’s cancer means that we are talking about a specific kind of cancer that is exclusive to children. It makes more sense to say that we are talking about cancer in general among children i.e. cancer among children.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) IncorrectHas the first error of the original sentence. Besides, “male
and female ratios” is non-sensical since we don’t have male ratios and female
ratios. We have “ratios of males and females”. In addition, “ratios at birth”
means that we are calculating the ratios at the time of birth. Birth of whom?
No idea!

(C) Correct

(D) IncorrectRepeats both the errors of the original sentence.

(E) Incorrect. The word ‘frequently’ needs to come after ‘much more’ since we are comparing the frequency of these three problems. Saying “cancer occurs much more in X than in Y” or “altered ratios occur much more in X than in Y” doesn’t make sense.

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

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