GMAT Sentence Correction: Infinitive v. Participle

To sneeze, to smash, to cry, to shriek, to jump, to dunk, to read, to eat, to slurp— all of these are infinitives. An infinitive will almost always begin with “to.” A participle is a verb form used as an adjective. A participle ending in “-ing” is called a present participle. Let’s take a look at a GMAT question involving these concepts!

The American Medical Association has argued that the rapidly rising costs associated with malpractice litigation are driving doctors from the profession and that reform of the tort system is imperative for bringing malpractice insurance premiums under control.

(A) that reform of the tort system is imperative for bringing malpractice insurance premiums
(B) that reform of the tort system is imperative if malpractice insurance premiums are to be brought
(C) that reform of the tort system is imperative to bring malpractice insurance premiums
(D) reform of the tort system is necessary in bringing malpractice insurance premiums
(E) the tort system needs to be reformed so that malpractice insurance premiums are brought

In constructions like this, the GMAT prefers the infinitive form to the participle form. Usually the phrase “imperative FOR” is followed by a noun.

“It is imperative FOR the success of the company that this merger be successful.”

Following “imperative FOR” with a participle verb is awkward.

“It is imperative FOR succeeding…” = Not Good

Generally, unless the participle is introducing a new clause, the GMAT prefers the infinitive.

If for no other reason, notice that “to bring” is slightly shorter (and thus more concise) than “for bringing.” The correct answer is (C)

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