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Sentence Correction: Subject Verb Agreement - Ving/to V Subject

Often people lie not because they are morally corrupt but because under certain circumstances to tell a lie are simpler or less painful than to tell the truth. 

Incorrect.

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The singular subject to tell does not agree with the plural verb are.

Remember that a subject in the form of To Verb is considered a singular subject.

Very good! On the GMAT, grammar and logic override style. While this answer choice is not the most concise of the five answer choices, it is the only logical, grammatically correct answer.  

Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake and is grammatically correct, it is illogical. The omission of the word because creates an awkward meaningless sentence:

Often people lie not because they are morally corrupt but under certain circumstances to tell a lie are simpler or less painful.

Incorrect.

While this answer choice is stylistically superior to the original sentence as it is more concise, it is  is grammatically incorrect.

This answer choice repeats the original mistake. The singular subject to tell does not agree with the plural verb are.

Remember that a subject in the form of To Verb is considered a singular subject.

If there's no perfect answer choice, and you need to choose between a grammatically correct but redundant answer choice and a concise but grammatically incorrect answer choice, always choose the grammatically correct answer. Grammar overrides style on the GMAT. The correct answer can be stylistically flawed (that is, redundant or ambiguous) but it can never be grammatically incorrect.   

Incorrect.

While this answer choice corrects the original Subject Verb Agreement mistake and is grammatically correct, it is illogical. The omission of the word but creates an awkward meaningless sentence:

Often people lie not because they are morally corrupt because under certain circumstances to tell a lie are simpler or less painful.

but because under certain circumstances to tell a lie are simpler or less painful
but because under certain circumstances it is simpler or less painful to tell a lie
but under certain circumstances to tell a lie is simpler or less painful
because under certain circumstances to tell a lie is simpler or less painful
but because under certain circumstances lying are simpler or less painful