GMAT Tip of the Week: GMAT Tip of The Week: Don't Be Redundant

Do you remember that Tag Team song “Whoomp! (There It Is)” from the early 1990s?  Are you still bumping the ESPN Jock Jams CD in your car?  If so, you’ll know what we’re talking about.  One of the funnier-if-you-listen-closely lyrics in world history is this gem from the one-hit-wonder:

Tag Team, back again, check it to wreck it, let’s begin…

This song was Tag Team’s first (and only successful) single from its first album.  Yet the group leads by saying that they are “back” (implying that they had been there before when clearly they hadn’t) “again” (meaning that this was at least the second time that they were back).  While catchy, the lyric is illogical – it implies a minimum third time that the group had been in this successful spot, when it was only doing it for the first time.

If you didn’t notice that piece of illogical greatness in 1994, don’t worry.  But on the GMAT you should make a point to notice illogical meanings and redundancy (which tends to lead to a ridiculous meaning).  Consider this question, courtesy the Official Guide for GMAT Review 11th edition:

Many house builders offer rent-to-buy programs that enable a family with insufficient savings for a conventional down payment to be able to move into new housing and to apply part of the rent to a purchase later.

(A) programs that enable a family with insufficient savings for a conventional down payment to be able to move into new housing and to apply

(B) programs that enable a family with insufficient savings for a conventional down payment to move into new housing and to apply

(C) programs, which enable a family with insufficient savings for a conventional down payment to be able to move into new housing, applying

Notice anything redundant in the answer choices?

In each choice, the programs “enable” a family to do something.  But as in A and C, it’s redundant to then follow that with “to be able” – “enable” has already covered that part.  You wouldn’t say “his shoes enabled Michael Jordan to be able to jump higher than any guard in the league”.  The two phrases “enable” and “to be able” say the same thing, and putting them both together creates an awkward, somewhat ridiculous meaning.

Here, B (the correct answer) fixes that redundancy by using the cleaner, non-redundant structure:  “The programs enable families to move into new housing”.

Remember – redundancy errors do occur in GMAT Sentence Correction, so double-check for them.  And at the risk of sounding redundant, let’s reiterate – redundancy is wrong on GMAT Sentence Correction!

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