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Source: Official Guide for GMAT Review 2016 Sentence Correction; #119


The World Wildlife Fund has declared that

The World Wildlife Fund has declared that global warming, a phenomenon most scientist agree to be caused by human beings in burning fossil fuels, will create havoc among migratory birds by altering the environment in ways harmful to their habitat.

3 Explanations


Anupam Chatterjee


I got this question correct. I was stuck between answer choice B and C. I rejected B on the ground that - The phenomenon is caused by "burning of fossil fuel" not by "Fossil fuel burned by Human". Was my understanding incorrect? I also took consideration of "that" which is discussed in this Video Explanation.


May 18, 2018 • Comment

David Recine

It could be argued that the phrase "caused by fossils burned by human beings" is unnecessarily complex in terms of grammar, with its two consecutive "by" prepositional phrases. However, this is a very subtle distinction. The difference between "by fossil fuels burned by human beings" and "by human beings' burning of fossil fuels" is very small. And even though the phrasing for (B) is not quite as good as the phrasing for (C), the (B) phrasing could arguably be acceptable on the GMAT.

In short, it's impressive that you could pick up n that small detail, and your observation is correct. However, GMAT SC would never base the right or wrong answer just on that kind of minor detail alone.

May 18, 2018 • Reply


Gravatar Mike McGarry, Magoosh Tutor

Aug 18, 2015 • Comment


Joo Hyun Oh


The only reason I did not pick (C) was because "human beings' burning of fossil fuels" somehow seemed to cram to many nouns together.

Can I get some help on this issue?


Aug 26, 2015 • Comment

Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

I understand what you mean, but "human being's burning of fossil fuels" is grammatically correct, direct, and concise.

"human beings'" and "fossil" actually function as adjectives here.

Aug 31, 2015 • Reply

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