This GMAT sample practice question is a verbal sentence correction question testing your understanding of subject verb agreement, placement of adverbs (degree and frequency adverbs) and use of correct idioms.
Question 1: In the U.S., German luxury brands have succeeded in getting people who might have once thought the cars were out of their league in buying and leasing some snazzy rides.
Look for differences across the answer options to identify what is being tested in the sentence.
Some of the options use the plural verb “have succeeded” and some use the singular construction “has succeeded”.
Some options use the construction “in buying and leasing” and some use the “to buy and lease” construction.
Also, the placement of the word “once” varies across the options.
The subject of the sentence is “German luxury brands”, which is plural. Therefore, the corresponding plural verb should be “have succeeded”. So, one of the aspects tested in this question is noun verb agreement. If the noun is singular the corresponding verb should be singular and if the noun is plural the corresponding verb should also be plural.
It is idiomatic to say “in getting x... to do y”. The correct construction should be “in getting people... to buy and lease”.
The word “once” should always be placed before the word that it has to refer to. In this sentence, “once” refers to the verb “thought”. Therefore, “have once thought” should be the correct placement. Pay attention to placement of adverbs of the following types - degree adverbs and frequency adverbs. Usually, these adverbs qualify the word that immediately follow the adverb.
Choice (A) is incorrect because the construction “in buying” is not idiomatic.
Choice (C) can be eliminated because the adverb “once” has been misplaced.
Choices (D) and (E) can be eliminated because of the usage of the singular verb “has succeeded”. Moreover, choice (E) can be eliminated for the construction “in buying”.
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