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Diabetes together with its serious complications ranks as the nation

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Diabetes, together with its serious complications, ranks as the nation's third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer
(a)ranks as the nation's third leading cause of death, surpassed only
(b)rank as the nation's third leading cause of death, only surpassed
(c)has the rank of the nation's third leading cause of death, only surpassed
(d)are the nation's third leading causes of death, surpassed only
(e)have been ranked as the nation's third leading causes of death, only surpassed

[Reveal] Spoiler:
I understand why the official answer is correct in the question and dont have a problem is that.
However my question is regarding the usage of surpassed only and only surpassed.
As per the OG explanation , "Placed before surpassed , only would more ambiguously limit surpassed."
I am not able to understand this.
To give an example , is there any difference in the following two sentences.
1. Diabetes ranks as the nation's third leading cause of death, surpassed only by heart disease and cancer.
2. Diabetes ranks as the nation's third leading cause of death, only surpassed by heart disease and cancer.
Kindly explain my doubt here !!!!

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2 Answers

MagooshGMAT
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Top Pick from Magoosh

//

answered Jun 10, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
GMATwithCJ
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Top Pick from GMAT with CJ

Solution

Sentence Analysis

  • Diabetes, (Main Subject)
    • together with its serious complications, (Additional info between double commas)
  • ranks as the nation's third leading cause of death, (Main Verb ? "ranks")
    • surpassed only by heart disease and cancer. (Verb-ed modifier modifying the subject "Diabetes")

The sentence says that Diabetes is the nation?s third leading cause of death. In terms of the causes of death, Diabetes is surpassed only by heart disease and cancer (the first two leading causes of death, logically).

The sentence is logical and has no grammatical errors.

Option Analysis

(A) Correct .

(B) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. Plural verb "rank" doesn?t agree with the singular subject "Diabetes".
  2. The placement of "only" before "surpassed" distorts the meaning. Now, "only" seems to modify "surpassed" rather than "by heart disease and cancer". The sentence now means that diabetes was ?only surpassed? (and not done to anything else) by heart disease and cancer!

(C) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. "has the rank of _" is an overly wordy of expressing the same idea communicated concisely in the original sentence. It is like saying "He has the rank of the school?s third leading basketball player". Well, we know a much better way: "He ranks as the school?s third leading basketball player".
  2. Error no. 2 of option B

(D) Incorrect . The plural verb "are" doesn?t agree with the singular subject "Diabetes". Also, "causes" is incorrect since "Diabetes" is singular. (Even though "Diabetes" has an "s" at the end, it is not plural. It is a name standing for a single disease.)

(E) Incorrect . For the following reasons:

  1. The plural verb "have been ranked" doesn?t agree with the singular subject "Diabetes".
  2. The use of "causes" is incorrect since "Diabetes" is singular.
  3. Error no. 2 of option B
answered Jun 10, 2017 by Beginner (1 point)
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