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Sentence Correction: Relative Clauses - Overview

When releasing an animal that has lived in captivity back into a wild environment, zoologists can never be sure whether it will successfully adapt to its new habitat.

In the GMAT, If is used in Conditionals only. If you see if in a sentence and there's no condition, you should replace if with whether.

Think of whether as a choice between two possibilities dealing with the same subject or as a yes/no question.

Example: I do not know whether this will work. (yes or no)

He was not sure whether he wanted banana or chocolate cake. (a choice between 2 possibilities)

Although this answer choice is grammatically correct, it is stylistically flawed. Using or not after whether is redundant.

This answer choice is illogical. The relative clause that has lived in captivity is intended to modify the noun animal. In this answer choice, however, it follows the noun environment and it is illogical to say that an environment can live in captivity.

What helps us identify this question as a Relative Clause question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

who, which, that, whose, whom

This answer choice is illogical. The relative clause that has lived in captivity is intended to modify the noun animal. In this answer choice, however, it follows the noun environment and it is illogical to say that an environment can live in captivity.

What helps us identify this question as a Relative Clause question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

who, which, that, whose, whom

Great!

The relative clause that has lived in captivity should immediately follow the noun it modifies, namely, animal.

releasing an animal that has lived in captivity back into a wild environment, zoologists can never be sure whether it will successfully adapt to its new habitat
an animal that has lived in captivity is released back into a wild environment, zoologists can never be sure if it will successfully adapt to its new habitat
releasing an animal back into a wild environment that has lived in captivity, zoologists can never be sure whether it will successfully adapt to its new habitat
an animal is released back into a wild environment that has lived in captivity, zoologists can never be sure if it will successfully adapt to its new habitat
an animal that has lived in captivity is released back into a wild environment, zoologists can never be sure whether it will successfully adapt to its new habitat or not