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Sentence Correction: Preposition and Idiom Questions - Overview

Sir Alec Jeffreys, pioneer of DNA fingerprinting, was the first geneticist to discover from a single DNA sample that it was possible to generate a distinct genetic profile for every individual.

Incorrect.

This answer choice is illogical. The modifier from a single DNA sample should logically refer to the verb to generate, but it follows the verb to discover, twisting the intended meaning by making it look like the discovery was made from a single DNA sample.

[[snippet]]

Incorrect.

This answer choice repeats the original logical mistake. The modifier from a single DNA sample should logically refer to the verb to generate, but it follows the verb to discover, twisting the intended meaning by making it look like the discovery was made from a single DNA sample.

[[snippet]]

In addition, the phrase the possibility to is non-idiomatic. The correct idiom is the possibility of for.

Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the original logical mistake, it is stylistically flawed. Placing the phrase from a single sample of DNA before the phrase a distinct genetic profile is awkward and confusing, because it separates the gerund generating from its object a distinct genetic profile:

... generating [from a single sample of DNA] a distinct genetic profile ...

Search for an answer choice that constructs the sentence in a more readable way.

Well done!

This answer choice corrects the original logic and style mistakes by:

(1) moving the misplaced modifier from a single DNA sample from its illogical and confusing position after the word discover; and

(2) properly separating this modifier from the verb to generate by commas, bringing together a verb and its object: to generate --> a distinct genetic profile.

 It also makes correct use of the idiom it was possible to.

Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the original logical mistake, it is stylistically flawed. The phrase it being possible is awkward and wordy.

Incorrect: ...discover it being possible ...

Correct: ...discover it was possible...

from a single DNA sample that it was possible to generate
from a single DNA sample the possibility to generating
the possibility of generating from a single sample of DNA
that it was possible, from a single DNA sample, to generate
it being possible, from a single DNA sample, to generate