Source: Official Guide for the GMAT 13th Ed. Sentence Correction; #78 Official Guide for the GMAT 2015 14th Ed. Sentence Correction; #78


A proposal has been made to trim

A proposal has been made to trim the horns from rhinoceroses to discourage poachers; the question is whether tourists will continue to visit game parks and see rhinoceroses after their horns are trimmed.

3 Explanations


Among A,B, and C- A and B both have 'are trimmed' which is not correct leaving C.

Jan 8, 2016 • Comment

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Yes, that's right! :)

Jan 8, 2016 • Reply


Gravatar Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

Hi! Yes, a pronoun can have an antecedent before a semicolon. That's not really the problem in (B).

In (B), we actually can't have "one" in the first place, since we have no singular antecedent. And if we have "one" referring to "rhinoceros" then it doesn't make sense to have "their" referring to rhinoceroses.

We could replaced "one" with "them" and keep the "their," leaving some but arguably an acceptable degree of pronoun ambiguity. The GMAT does seem to allow pronouns with multiple possible antecedents, though the same pronoun can NEVER refer to two different antecedents.

Regardless, even with "them" and "their," (C) is a clearer (albeit slightly longer) sentence and the best answer. I hope that helps.

Mar 29, 2015 • Comment


Gravatar Mike McGarry, Magoosh Tutor

May 23, 2013 • Comment

Hi Mike,
Something about the pronoun ambiguity in this questions:
You say that since 'one' is singular, 'their' has only one possible antecedent, 'tourists', which doesn't make sense.

But why 'their' cannot refer to 'rhinoceroses' in the previous sentence before semicolon?

For example in Verbal Review 2nd Edition, #110, correct answer C:

'She' in the sentence after semicolon has no antecedent, and its antecedent is 'author Bharati Mukherjee' which is located before semicolon.

So in this rhinoceroses question, 'their' CAN refer to 'rhinoceroses' which is located before the semicolon. Can't it?

Mar 25, 2015 • Reply

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