The general perception is that the GMAT Quantitative section is tougher than Verbal Reasoning. This may not always be true especially for non-native English speakers. The verbal reasoning section can be equally challenging. Therefore, it becomes important to focus on brushing up some basic English grammar rules. GMAT verbal reasoning section has 36 multiple choice questions based on Reading comprehension, Critical Reasoning, and Sentence Correction.
GMAT Sentence correction questions not only test grammar fundamentals but also test the correct usage of words and phrases. Therefore, while preparing for GMAT sentence correction questions focus on two aspects-
Sentence correction questions measure language proficiency, based on an effective expression that is grammatically sound. Each question will have a sentence or a part underlined, to be restructured, by choosing the right answer from the multiple choices given. While picking the right answer one has to base the choice on context, grammar, word choice, and sentence construction.
While attempting GMAT sentence correction questions identifying grammatical errors alone will not be enough. A grammatically correct sentence should also retain the correct meaning of the original sentence based on its context
Here are some basic sentence correction grammar rules that you need to know to answer questions related to them appropriately:
The agreement is a match between words and phrases, which is essential for clarity of expression. Various parts of speech should agree with each other in number, person, gender, and case to convey a thought properly.
Subject-verb agreement refers to an agreement between the subject and verb, in case and number in a sentence. The rule to remember here is:
E.g. He acts (singular), they act (plural)
If answer choices in the test differ based on singular and plural verbs, the question is testing subject-verb agreement. To pick the right answer, identify whether the subject in question is singular or plural. Based on that information, fit in the right verb following the rule mentioned above.
Singular- A bird flies in the sky
Plural- The birds fly in the sky
In English, it refers to the use of matching sentence structure, phrases, or longer parts to balance ideas of equal importance. It is also sometimes called a parallel structure or parallel construction.
A modifier is a word, a group of words or clauses that function as adjectives or adverbs which are used to describe other words in a sentence. They affect nouns, other verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in a sentence.
The Green Coat. “Green” as an adjective is a modifier describing the noun “Coat”
The match was exciting. “Exciting” is used as a modifier here to describe the “match”
Modifiers are optional words in a sentence. Adding or removing them does not change the meaning of a sentence. However, when used properly they make writing more descriptive and interesting. GMAT sentence correction questions contain dangling or misplaced modifier related questions.
Most commonly made mistakes with modifiers:
Example: Incorrect-Thirsty, the drink was gulped.
Here “thirsty” is a dangling modifier, as the subject is missing.
Correct: Thirsty, we gulped the drink
Example: Incorrect-Anita only paints on weekends.
The sentence means, Anita does not do anything but paint on weekends.
Correct: Anita paints only on weekends.
The sentence rightly conveys that Anita paints only on weekends.
Faulty comparison occurs when similar comparison pertaining to people, things or a set of group is missing in a sentence.
Example: Incorrect-I like sandwiches, but Café Coffee Day’s sandwiches are better than Barista.
Here the comparison is incomplete as café coffee day’s sandwiches are being compared with Barista (the café). This makes the sentence illogical.
Correct: I like sandwiches, but Café Coffee Day’s sandwiches are better than Barista’s.
Here the comparison is between the sandwiches available at both the cafes, which is a balanced comparison.
Nouns and verbs ending in -ing are called gerunds. Sometimes verbs and adjectives ending in -ing are also called participles. The general opinion is that gerunds weaken the writing as they make a sentence wordy.
Example: “James is running daily”. This is a wordy sentence.
“James runs daily”. This is less wordy and clear.
Cambridge University dictionary describes idioms as a group of words whose meaning considered as a unit is different from the meanings of each word considered separately.
The most common mistake students make in the GMAT sentence correction section is using prepositional idioms interchangeably. The correct usage is given below:
Like is used for comparison
As is used for examples
Due to is used to modify nouns
Because of is used modify verbs
Whether is used for introducing alternatives
If is used for conditional
Less is used for uncountable nouns
Fewer is used for countable nouns
Be aware of these rules while reading, writing and speaking in general. This will help you become conscious of the context, which in turn will speed up your learning and will help you perform better in the GMAT sentence correction questions section.
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