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The chances of sighting large groups of the North Atlantic Right Whale off the coast of Cape Cod will be lower this fall than last because the numerous shipping lanes passing through these waters are growing busier every year.
This answer choice is stylistically flawed. Using both each year and annually is redundant.
What helps us identify this question as a Redundancy question as well as identify this mistake is the following Stop Sign:
annual + year
This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The correct comparative construction is adjective+er than and not adjective+er from (lower from).
In addition, the corrected sentence changes the meaning of the original question. The original question says that the shipping lanes are growing busier every year. However, by introducing the noun phrase annual growth in the number of shipping lanes, the corrected sentence is saying that the number of shipping lanes is growing every year.
This answer choice is grammatically incorrect and changes the meaning of the original question.
By changing the adjective numerous to the number of, the subject of the second clause changes from shipping lanes (plural) to the number of shipping lanes (singular). As a result the plural verb are no longer agrees with the subject.
This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The preposition of is an unnecessary addition to the sentence. By changing than last to than of last, the corrected sentence violates the parallelism of the comparative construction lower this fall than last [fall].
This answer choice makes correct use of the comparative term than (lower than), and correctly constructs the parallelism of the comparative construction: lower this fall than last [fall].