Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe that they used to dress a statue of the goddess Athena and that this robe depicted scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants.
Okay, before moving to the answer options, I like to dissect the sentence to make it more digestible. This takes some time but doing so makes me reach the answer quicker and so I reduce the overall time spent on the question.
First, remove the fluff from the sentence. The following parts can be removed -
- Based on records from ancient Athens, This is a modifier and does not contribute to the structure of the core of the sentence.
- each year young Athenian This describes the women, hence not important
- new woolen Adjectival phrase to describe the robe, in itself, not important
- a statue of the goddess Athena What they used to dress is not important. For clarity, we can replace this with something
- scenes of a battle between Zeus, Athena's father, and giants Again we can replace it with something
So the sentence now becomes Women collaborated to weave a robe that they used to dress something and that this robe depicted something. From this simplified sentence, we see there are two independent clauses connected by and. In the first clause, the subject is Women and the verb is collaborated to weave and in the second clause the subject is robe and the verb is depicted. But wait, these two clauses don't look parallel - there is a that in second clause which is missing.
Could the sentence not be made simpler by dropping the that. I'm not sure.
Now the answer options.
- A. Same as the underlined portion. - Possible parallelism mistake but I am not sure.
- B. Based on records from ancient Athens, each year young women had collaborated to weave a new robe with which to dress
In this answer choice, why is past perfect used? There is no other past action before which this collaboration might have occurred. I will eliminate this.
- C. According to records from ancient Athens, each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a woolen robe that they used to dress
If we simplify this answer option as described above, this becomes same as the original sentence. (And parallelism is not maintained). This makes me more confident that both A and C must be incorrect as they are essentially the same thing, except for the modifier which I don't think is any different from one another.
- D. Records from ancient Athens indicate that each year young Athenian women collaborated to weave a new woolen robe with which they dressed
OK, let's simplify this answer option. The simplified sentence would look like -
Records indicate that women collaborated to weave a robe and that this robe depicted something.
Oh yes, two clauses (both having different subjects and verb) both have a that which makes this parallel. This looks like the answer.
- E. Records from ancient Athens indicate each year young Athenian women had collaborated to weave a new woolen robe for dressing
An unexplained shift in tense. This answer option is definitely out.
So, we are left with D.
I'm aware that it is not always possible to do this much work and have such clear thinking during the exam but that is what is required for this question. I would be happy to learn if there is any mistake in my thinking or there is a more efficient way.