Question –

Although premature babies making less friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood, they improve when they get to school.

Option Choices –

A. Although premature babies making less friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood, they improve

B. Although premature babies making less friends, feeling less accepted by peers and spending less time socializing in early childhood, they improve

C. Although premature babies make fewer friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood, they improve

D. Although feeling less accepted by peers and spending less time socializing in early childhood, premature babies make fewer friends, improving

E. Premature babies make fewer friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood and they improve

Correct Answer: C

Solution –

Step 1: Understanding Intended Meaning

  • Although premature babies making less friends,
    • “making less friends” is modifying “premature babies”.
      • MeM does not agree logically – How can premature babies make friends when they are premature babies? They can definitely make friends when they grow up but that is not the meaning conveyed by this construction.
    • Incorrect modifier used: “Less” cannot be used for the countable plural noun (babies). We should use “fewer” friends.
    • Note: The “although” is intended to convey a contrast which we should look out for.
  • feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood,
    • There are two Verbs in a list here – the list is grammatically parallel
    • Subject -premature babies
    • feel less accepted by peers
      • and
    • spend less time socializing
      • in early childhood
  • The previous segment “Although premature babies making less friends
    • is most likely a part of this list as then only it would make sense
    • Correct version:
    • Although premature babies
      • make fewer friends
      • feel less accepted by peers
        • and
      • spend less time socializing
        • in early childhood
  • they improve when they get to school.
    • This clause offers the contrast promised by “although”
    • So, the premature babies who face difficulties in early childhood, improve when they get to school.

Intended meaning:

  • Premature babies face some difficulties in their early childhood; they
    • make fewer friends
    • feel less accepted by peers
      • and
    • spend less time socializing.
  • But they improve on all these fronts when they get to school.

Step 2: Eliminate choices with identified errors

Checking for five aspects

  1. Golden rules
    • MeM does not agree logically    
    • Incorrect modifier used
  2. Meaning
    • illogical
  3. Lists
    • No error
  4. Tenses
    • No error
  5. Idioms

Eliminate

The following choice/s have one or more of the errors present in Choice A –

Choice B.

Step 3: Evaluate meaning of remaining choices

To be done for Option C, D and E . Detailed out below each choice –

Choice A Analysis

Incorrect and Eliminated in Step 2

Choice B Analysis

Incorrect and Eliminated in Step 2

Choice C Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence

Although premature babies make fewer friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood, they improve when they get to school

  • Logical
  • Clear
  • Same as the intended meaning

Correct Choice.

Choice D Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

Although feeling less accepted by peers and spending less time socializing in early childhood, premature babies make fewer friends, improving when they get to school.

  • The entire structure distorts the intended meaning.
  • There is no contrast that is logical between the following two segments – both are negative.
    • Although feeling less accepted by peers and spending less time socializing in early childhood,
    • premature babies make fewer friends.
  • “Improving” is preceded by a comma – this means “improving” is modifying the result of the action “make fewer friends”. How can “make fewer friends” be an improvement from the early childhood days.
    • MeM does not agree logically.

Incorrect Choice.

Choice E Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

Premature babies make fewer friends, feel less accepted by peers and spend less time socializing in early childhood and they improve when they get to school

  • The sentence is logical and grammatically correct.
  • However, it does not bring about the contrast indicated in the intended meaning.
  • The connector “and” simply provides two pieces of information without indicating any contrast between the two.

Incorrect Choice.