If you have gone through the blog already, let’s test your understanding of Subjunctive Verbs on the GMAT with this practice question 1. Do not forget to solve practice question 2 here – GMAT Subjunctive Verbs – Practice Question #2.

Question –

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” should be allowed to access assisted dying, a process offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill.

  1. adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” should be allowed to access assisted dying, a process offers
  2. adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” are to be allowed to access assisted dying, a process offering
  3. adults be allowed to access assisted dying suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”, a process that offers
  4. adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” be allowed to access assisted dying, a process that offers
  5. adults who are suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” must be allowed to access assisted dying, a process that offers

Answer: Choice D

Solution –

Let’s go back and solve this Subjunctive Verbs GMAT question before scrolling down to the solution!

Step 1: Understanding Intended Meaning

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults

  • We have here the format favouring the use of the subjunctive:
    • Directive word: ruled
    • And the use of “that”
  • Thus, we should look out for the correct usage of the subjunctive verb.
  • So, we are talking about a ruling of the Supreme Court of Canada. This ruling is about competent adults.

suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”

  • “suffering” modifies the noun “adults”
  • So, the ruling is about competent adults who are suffering from a serious medical condition that cannot be cured

should be allowed to access assisted dying,

  • Do not use “should” with Subjunctive verbs
    • The use of “should” is incorrect with the use  of the directive word “ruled” along with the format indicated by the use of “that” after “ruled”
    • Correct version: “….adults…be allowed..”
  • So, the ruling is: adults have access to assisted dying.

a process offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill.

  • This clause consists of two independent clauses separated by a comma.
    • This construction is incorrect.
  • The clause “ a process…..” is actually giving us more information about “assisted dying” mentioned in the preceding clause. Thus, convert “a process…” to a flexible modifier by adding “that” after “a process.”
    • Correct version:  “….assisted dying, a process that offers…”

Intended meaning:

  • The Supreme Court of Canada passed a ruling about competent adults.
  • The ruling says that competent adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” can access assisted dying.
  • Assisted dying is a process that offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill.

Step 2: Eliminate choices with identified errors

Checking for five aspects

  1. Golden rules
  2. Meaning: distorted because
    1. Incorrect use of the subjunctive
    1. Comma separating two independent clauses.
  3. Lists
    1. No error
  4. Tenses
    1. No error
  5. Idioms

Eliminate

No other choice has the errors in choice A.

Step 3: Evaluate meaning of remaining choices

Done for Option B, C, D and E . Detailed out below each choice.

Choice A Analysis

Incorrect and Eliminated in Step 2

Choice B Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” are to be allowed to access assisted dying, a process offering medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill.

Subjunctive verbs do not allow the use of verbs “is”, “Are”, and “Am”.

Incorrect Choice

Choice C Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults be allowed to access assisted dying suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”, a process that offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill

  • The ing modifier “suffering” placed next to “assisted dying” implies that “assisted dying” suffers from a medical condition – illogical.

Incorrect Choice

Choice D Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults suffering from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” be allowed to access assisted dying, a process that offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill

  • The words in bold indicate the correct format for the use of
    • Subjunctive verb
    • Flexible  modifier (noun + noun modifier)
  • Logical
  • Clear,
  • Same as the intended meaning

Correct Choice.

Choice E Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults who suffered from a “grievous and irremediable medical condition” must be allowed to access assisted dying, a process that offers medical assistance in dying to people who are terminally ill

  • The use of the simple past “suffered” indicates that these competent adults may not be suffering at present.
  • In that case, it becomes a bit illogical to allow them access to assisted dying.
  • Also, the use of “must” with “ruled” is redundant as “ruled” implies something that must be followed.

Incorrect Choice.

Suggested Read: 5 most common GMAT mistakes and how to avoid them