This GMAT Sample Question is a verbal sentence correction practice question testing your understanding of Modifiers.
Question 13: Occupying a small portion of the island of Borneo, the tiny country of Brunei Darussalam had been having a low number of international visitors until 2017, when the numbers, attracted by its famously pristine rainforests, increased by 20%.
A quick look at the answer options helps us identify the differences across the options. Different options use different constructions for “attraction” and “increased”.
Some options use the form “tiny country” while some don't.
The number of visitors to the country of Brunei Darussalam used to be low until 2017. The numbers increased because people wanted to visit the country’s rainforests.
The sentence begins with the modifier “Occupying a small portion of the island of Borneo”. Who or what is occupying a small portion of the island? The word that is being described has to be right next to the modifier. Therefore, the underlined portion has to be begin with “the tiny country of Brunei Darussalam”.
Another modifier is “attracted by its famously pristine rainforests”. Who or what was attracted by the rainforests? The word that is being described has to be right next to the modifier and that should be “tourists”.
Options (B) and (E) can be eliminated because the word at the beginning of the option does not match the modifier “Occupying a small portion of the island of Borneo”
In (A) the word next to the modifier is “numbers”, which makes no sense. The tourists were attracted by the rainforests and not the numbers. Option (A) can be eliminated.
In option (D), the modifier “leading to an attraction for its famously pristine rainforests” implies that the increase in the number of tourists caused an attraction for the rainforests. This makes no sense – the intent of the sentence is to invert that cause-effect relationship; it is actually the attraction for the rainforests that caused an increase in the number of tourists. Option (D) can be eliminated.
Option (C) makes sure that all the modifiers make the correct reference and is the correct answer.
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