If you often make mistakes in SC because you think the GMAT Subjunctive verbs are weird and difficult to comprehend, follow this article – GMAT Verbal SC- Subjunctive Verbs Practice Question #1

Question –

The UK government’s recommendations that weaning foods are to be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and should not be started before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time.

  1. weaning foods are to be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and should not be started
  2. weaning foods should be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits should be given next, followed by protein-rich foods and should not be done
  3. weaning foods be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and not be started
  4. weaning foods need to be introduced gradually, started with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and not be started
  5. weaning foods be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits following protein-rich foods but not be started

Answer choice: C

Solution –

Step 1: Understanding Intended Meaning

The UK government’s recommendations that weaning foods are to be introduced gradually,

  • We have here the format favouring the use of the subjunctive verb:
  • Note: In this GMAT Subjunctive Verbs example, the subjunctive verb should be used with both the verb and noun forms of directive words – for example with “recommend” as well as “recommendation”. Accordingly:
    • Directive word: recommendations
    • “that”
    • Subject: weaning foods
    • Verb: are to be
  • The use of “are” is not allowed with the subjunctive verb
    • Correct version: weaning foods be introduced

starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods

  • We have a list here which modifies the verb “are to be introduced”, telling us how the UK government will gradually introduce weaning foods.
    • First cereals, then vegetables and fruits and then protein-rich foods.

and should not be started before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time.

  • “And” is a list marker connecting two entities: recommendations that weaning foods
    • Are to be introduced
      • And
    • Should not be started
  • Use the subjunctive verb for both the verb entities above.
    • Correct version: recommendations that weaning foods
    • Be introduced
    • And
    • Not be started

Intended meaning:

  • The UK government’s recommendations are that:
      • gradually introduce weaning foods, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods
      • should not start before six months.
  • These recommendations are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time.

Step 2: Eliminate choices with identified errors

Checking for five aspects:

  1. Golden rules
  2. Meaning: distorted because
    1. Not allowed to use “are” with the subjunctive verb.
    2. Use the subjunctive verb for both verb entities above.
  3. Lists
    1. No error
  4. Tenses
    1. No error
  5. Idioms

Eliminate

No other choice has the errors present 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 UK government’s recommendations that weaning foods should be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits should be given next, followed by protein-rich foods and should not be done before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time

  • Cannot use “Should” with the subjunctive verb.
  • “should be given next” is too wordy a replacement for “followed by”
  • The list is logically not parallel -“ weaning foods …be introduced and…. not be done” – Weaning foods not be done makes no sense.

Incorrect Choice.

Choice C Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence

The UK government’s recommendations that weaning foods be introduced gradually, starting with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and not be started before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time

  • Logical
  • Clear,
  • Same as the intended meaning

Correct Choice.

Choice D Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The UK government’s recommendations that weaning foods need to be introduced gradually, started with cereals, vegetables and fruits, followed by protein-rich foods and not be started before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding until that time

  • “need to” is redundant with the use of “recommendations” which inherently mean something that needs to be done.
  • “Started” is a noun modifier, and what we need is a verb modifier.

Incorrect Choice.

Choice E Analysis

Fitting in the original sentence:

The UK government’s recommendations to gradually introduce weaning foods, starting with cereals, vegetables, and fruits following protein-rich foods but not before six months, are in line with recommendations for exclusive breastfeeding.

  • “following” modifies “fruits”, implying the fruits come after the protein-rich foods. This is not per the intended meaning.
  • No implication of a contrast for the use of “but”.

Incorrect Choice.

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