gmat preparation courses
left image spacer Table of Contents spacer Find Classes & Tutoring spacer 24 Hour Tutor spacer GMAT Forums spacer GMAT Home spacer right image

    Sentence Correction
  I: Introduction
  II: Grammar Basics
  III: Sentence Correction Tips
  IV: Three-Step Method
V: Seven Error Types  
 1. Subject-Verb Agreement
      A. Introduction
      B. Subject/Verb Separation
      C. Collective Nouns
      D. Plural/Singular
      E. Neither/Either
      F. Or/Nor
      G. Subject/Verb/Object
      H. Quantity Words
      I.   Sample Questions
 2. Modifiers
 3. Parallelism
 4. Pronoun Agreement
 5. Verb Time Sequences
 6. Comparisons
 7. Idioms
  VI: Sample Questions
spacer
   GMAT Prep Course
spacer
spacer
spacer nav GMAT Guide Contents spacer
spacer
spacer nav Application Essay Guide spacer
spacer
spacer nav GMAT Essay Guide spacer
spacer
spacer nav 5 GMAT CAT Tests spacer
spacer
spacer
   GMAT Resources
spacer
spacer
spacer nav GMAT Classes & Tutoring spacer
spacer
spacer nav Use the Test Pacer spacer
spacer
spacer nav Essay Grading Service spacer
spacer
spacer nav 24 Hour Tutor Support spacer
spacer
spacer nav GMAT Home spacer
spacer
 





   
I. Subject-Verb Agreement: Sample Questions
 
  Print out chapter  

Subject-Verb Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject / Verb Separation
C. Collective Nouns
D. Plural / Singular
E. Neither / Either
F. Or / Nor
G. Subject / Verb / Object
H. Quantity Words
I. Sample Questions


 

Now test your comprehension with the following practice question. 

The three friends, Max included, was supposed to meet for dinner later that night.
 
A) was supposed to meet
B) was supposed to have met
C) were suppose to be meeting
D) were supposed to meet
E) they were supposed to be meeting
 

Read
The three friends, Max included, was supposed to meet for dinner later that night.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement

The subject of this sentence is friends which is plural.  The phrase Max included is set off by commas and, like any “sandwich” phrase, can be crossed out to help isolate the subject and the main verb:

The three friends, Max included, was…

The plural subject friends does not agree with the singular verb was. We need the plural verb were.

Compare
A) was supposed to meet
Subject / verb agreement? NO – three friends (plural) : was (singular)

B) was supposed to have met
Subject / verb agreement? NO – three friends (plural) : was (singular)

C) were suppose to be meeting
Subject / verb agreement? YES – three friends (plural) : were (plural)
Additional errors? Diction:suppose to be” should read “supposed to be”

D) were supposed to meet
Subject / verb agreement? YES – three friends (plural) : were (plural)
Additional errors? No

E) they were supposed to be meeting
Subject / verb agreement? YES – three friends (plural) : were (plural)
Additional errors? Pronouns: “they” is superfluous

(D) is correct.

 


The number of students chosen for the prestigious medical internship have more than doubled in the past fifteen years.

A) have more than doubled
B) have been more than doubling
C) has more than doubled
D) has been more than doubling
E) has doubled even more
 

Read
The number of students chosen for the prestigious medical internship have more than doubled in the past fifteen years.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement

The phrase The number of is a singular subject that does not agree with the plural verb have…doubled. We need the singular verb has…doubled

Compare
A) have more than doubled
Subject / verb agreement? NO – The number of students (singular) : have…doubled (plural)

B) have been more than doubling
Subject / verb agreement? NO – The number of students (singular) : have…doubling (plural)

C) has more than doubled
Subject / verb agreement? YES – The number of students (singular) : has…doubled (singular)
Additional errors? NO

D) has been more than doubling
Subject / verb agreement? YES – The number of students (singular) : has been…doubling (singular)
Additional errors? Verb tense: The verb form “has been…doubling” is inappropriate for an action that has already been completed.

E) has doubled even more
Subject / verb agreement? YES – The number of students (singular) : has doubled (singular)
Additional errors? Idioms: “has doubled even more” is the wrong idiom to express the notion of something “more than doubling.” 

(C) is correct.


Following intense debate, the faculty has approved the measure to increase class size by 15% over the next four years.

A) the faculty has approved the measure to increase
B) the faculty has approved the measure and increased
C) the faculty have approved the measure to increase
D) the faculty have given their approval to the measure to increase
E) the faculty, having approved the measure to increase
 

Read
Following intense debate, the faculty has approved the measure to increase class size by 15% over the next four years.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement


The collective noun faculty refers to the members of the faculty as a collective body; the members of the faculty acted as one in making the decision to approve the measure. We therefore need the singular verb has approved.

Compare
A) the faculty has approved the measure to increase
Subject/verb agreement: YES – faculty (singular) : has approved (singular)
Additional errors? NO

B) the faculty has approved the measure and increased
Subject/verb agreement: YES – faculty (singular) : has approved (singular)
Additional errors? Verb tense: the faculty has made the decision “to increase“class size

C) the faculty have approved the measure to increase
Subject/verb agreement: NO – faculty (singular) : have approved (plural)

D) the faculty have given their approval to the measure to increase
Subject/verb agreement: NO – faculty (singular) : have approved (plural)

E) the faculty, having approved the measure to increase
Subject/verb agreement: NO – faculty (singular) : have approved (plural)

(A) is correct.



Without proper funding and a better campaign strategy, there is no chances that our candidate will be elected to office.

A) there is no chances that
B) there can be no chance for
C) there is no chance that
D) there are no chances for
E) there will be no chances for
 

Read
Without proper funding and a better campaign strategy, there is no chances that our candidate will be elected to office.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement, Idioms


The introductory phrase Without proper funding…strategy does not affect subject-verb agreement in the main clause. The singular verb is does not agree with the plural subject chances. The correct idiom is there is no chance that, so we need the singular verb is and the singular noun chance.

Compare
A) there is no chances that
Subject / verb agreement? NO – is (singular) : chances (plural)

B) there can be no chance for
Subject / verb agreement? YES – can be (singular or plural) : chance (singular)
Additional errors? Diction: The preposition “for” is incorrect unless it is accompanied by the infinitive “to win” after "our candidate," which it is not.

C) there is no chance that
Subject / verb agreement? YES – is (singular) : chance (singular)
Additional errors? NO

D) there are no chances for
Subject / verb agreement? YES – are (plural) : chances (plural)
Additional errors? Diction: The preposition “for” is incorrect unless it is accompanied by the infinitive “to win” after "our candidate," which it is not.

E) there will be no chances for
Subject / verb agreement? YES – will be (singular or plural) : chances (plural)
Additional errors? Diction: the preposition “for” is incorrect unless it is accompanied by the infinitive “to win” after "our candidate," which it is not.

(C) is correct.



Some members of the tribe has been protesting the recent passage of hunting laws applying to indigenous populations.

A) members of the tribe has been protesting
B) members of the tribe have been protesting
C) tribe members has been protesting
D) tribe members will have been protesting
E) members of the tribe, having protested
 

Read
Some members of the tribe has been protesting the recent passage of hunting laws applying to indigenous populations.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement

The plural subject Some members does not agree with the singular verb has been protesting. To help isolate the subject and verb, cross out any prepositional phrases, which do not impact agreement in the main clause:

Some members of the tribe has been protesting the recent passage of hunting laws applying to indigenous populations.

Note that here, the subject is Some members, which is the same as saying Some of the members. This construction requires the plural verb have been protesting.

 

Compare
A) members of the tribe has been protesting
Subject / verb agreement? NO – Some members (plural) : has been protesting (singular)

B) members of the tribe have been protesting
Subject / verb agreement? YES – Some members (plural) : have been protesting (plural)
Additional errors? NO

C) tribe members has been protesting
Subject / verb agreement? NO – Some tribe members (plural)/ has been protesting (singular)

D) tribe members will have been protesting
Subject / verb agreement? YES – Some tribe members (plural) : will have been protesting (plural)
Additional errors? Verb tense: “will have been protesting” implies that the action takes place in the future, but the protest is happening now.

E) members of the tribe, having protested
Subject / verb agreement? NO – Agreement does not apply here because the main clause has no verb.

(B) is correct.


After she attended the career fair, many more resources were at Philippa’s disposal, including job boards, new contacts, and numerous books and pamphlets to help her improve her resume and cover letter.

A) many more resources were at Philippa’s disposal
B) at Philippa’s disposal were many more resources
C) there were many more resources at Philippa’s disposal
D) Philippa, at her disposal, had many more resources
E) Philippa had many more resources at her disposal

Read
After she attended the career fair, many more resources were at Philippa’s disposal, including job boards, new contacts, and numerous books and pamphlets to help her improve her resume and cover letter.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Modifiers (misplaced modifiers)


The introductory phrase includes the pronoun “she,” so we know that this modifier must refer to Philippa. However, the phrase “many more resources” is next to the modifying phrase. The word “Philippa” must immediately follow the comma.

Compare
A) many more resources were at Philippa’s disposal
Modifier used correctly? NOAfter she attended the career fair is followed by many more resources

B) at Philippa’s disposal were many more resources
Modifier used correctly? NOAfter she attended the career fair is followed by at Philippa’s disposal

C) there were many more resources at Philippa’s disposal
Modifier used correctly? NOAfter she attended the career fair is followed by there were

D) Philippa, at her disposal, had many more resources
Modifier used correctly? YES After she attended the career fair is followed by Philippa
Additional errors? Awkward construction: The correct expression is “had x at her disposal.”

E) Philippa had many more resources at her disposal
Modifier used correctly? YESAfter she attended the career fair is followed by Philippa.
Additional errors? NO

(E) is correct.



The results of the study clearly indicates a reduction in the number of useable pounds that can be salvaged from an average ton of recyclable goods.

A) indicates a reduction
B) indicates that a reduction
C) indicating a reducing
D) indicate a reducing
E) indicate a reduction
 

Read
The results of the study clearly indicates a reduction in the number of useable pounds that can be salvaged from an average ton of recycled goods.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: subject/verb agreement

The subject of this sentence is the plural noun results.  The prepositional phrase of the study can be crossed out to help isolate the subject and verb:

The results of the study clearly indicates a reduction…

The singular verb indicates does not agree with the plural subject, results. We need the plural verb indicate.

Compare
A) indicates a reduction
Subject / verb agreement? NO – results (plural) : indicates (singular)

B) indicates that a reduction
Subject / verb agreement? NO – results (plural) : indicates (singular)
Additional errors? None

C) indicating a reducing
Subject / verb agreement? NO – results (plural) : indicating (wrong verb form)

D) indicate a reducing
Subject / verb agreement? YES – results (plural) : indicating (plural)
Additional errors? Diction: The correct expression is “a reduction in,” not “a reducing in.”

E) indicate a reduction
Subject / verb agreement? YES – results (plural) : indicate (singular)
Additional errors? No

(E) is correct. 


1. The president of Costa Rica, along with two vice presidents, are elected for a four-year term by the people.

A) are elected for a four-year term by the people
B) are elected, by the people, for a four-year term
C) is elected for a four-year term by the people
D) are elected for four-year terms by the people
E) is elected for four-year terms by the people

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
The president of Costa Rica, along with two vice-presidents, are elected for a four-year term by the people.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (subject/verb separation)

The sandwich phrase along with two vice-presidents separates the subject, the president of Costa Rica (singular), from the verb are (plural). To help isolate the subject and verb, cross out the "sandwich" phrase as well as any prepositional phrases:

The president of Costa Rica, along with two vice presidents, are elected....

The noun president is singular and does not agree with the plural verb are. We need the singular verb is.


A) are elected for a four-year term by the people
Subject / verb agreement? NO - (president : are)

B) are elected, by the people, for a four-year term
Subject / verb agreement? NO - (president : are)

C) is elected for a four-year term by the people
Subject / verb agreement? YES - (president : is)
Additional errors? NO

D) are elected for four-year terms by the people
Subject / verb agreement? NO - (president : are)

E) is elected for four-year terms by the people
Subject / verb agreement? YES - (president : is)
Additional errors? Change in meaning: four-year terms

(C) is correct.


2. The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to one of the most impressive collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

A) which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
B) which contain 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
C) containing 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
D) which is containing 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
E) which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, is home to

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to one of the most impressive collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (subject/verb separation)

The phrase which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period separates The Egyptian Museum in Cairo (singular) from the verb are (plural). To help isolate the subject and verb, cross out the "sandwich" phrase as well as any prepositional phrases:

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to…

The singular noun Museum does not agree with the plural verb are.  We need the singular verb is.


A) which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
Subject / verb agreement? NO - museum : are

B) which contain 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
Subject / verb agreement? NO - museum : are
Additional errors? Agreement: Contain (plural) does not agree with Museum (singular)

C) containing 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
Subject / verb agreement? NO - museum : are

D) which is containing 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, are home to
Subject / verb agreement? NO - museum : are

E) which contains 120,000 objects from prehistoric times through the Greco-Roman period, is home to
Subject / verb agreement: YES - museum : is
Additional error? NO

(E) is correct.

3. A number of colorful glass vases were displayed in the store window.

A) were displayed in the store window
B) was displaying in the store window
C) was displayed in the store window
D) displayed in the store window
E) was being displayed in the store window


Read

A number of colorful glass vases were displayed in the store window.


Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (Quantity Words)


"A number of" always takes a plural verb
"The number of" always takes a singular verb

The subject is the idiom A number of. To help isolate the subject and verb, remember to cross out prepositional phrases:

A number of colorful glass vases were displayed…

The plural subject A number (of colorful glass vases) correctly agrees with the plural verb were.


A) were displayed in the store window
Subject/verb agreement? YES - a number of : were displayed
Additional errors? NO

B) was displaying in the store window
Subject/verb agreement? NO - a number of : was displaying
Additional errors? Verb form: displaying is the wrong form; displayed is correct.

C) was displayed in the store window
Subject/verb agreement? NO - a number of : was displayed

D) displayed in the store window
Subject/verb agreement? NO - part of the verb (was : were) is missing

E) was being displayed in the store window
Subject/verb agreement? NO - a number of : was displayed

(A) is correct.


4. Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee were able to win the competition.

A) Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee were
B) Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee was
C) Neither of the students from our school nominated for the national spelling bee were
D) Neither of the students nominated for the national spelling bee from our school were
E) Neither one of our school’s students who was nominated for the national spelling bee was
 


Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee were able to win the competition.


Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (neither/either)

"Neither" is always a singular subject and thus takes a singular verb. The original sentence uses the verb were, which is plural. To help isolate the subject and verb, cross off prepositional phrases:

Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee were able…

The singular subject Neither does not agree with the plural verb were.  We need the singular verb was.


A) Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee were
Subject/verb agreement: NO - neither : were

B) Neither of our school’s students nominated for the national spelling bee was
Subject/verb agreement: YES - neither : was
Additional errors? NO

C) Neither of the students from our school nominated for the national spelling bee were
Subject/verb agreement: NO - neither : were

D) Neither of the students nominated for the national spelling bee from our school were
Subject/verb agreement: NO - neither : were

E) Neither one of our school’s students who was nominated for the national spelling bee was
Subject/verb agreement: YES - neither : were
Additional errors? Wordy: neither one, who was.

(B) is correct.

5. Everybody at the party love the chocolate cake Shelley made.

A) Everybody at the party love the chocolate cake Shelley made.
B) Everybody at the party loving the chocolate cake Shelley made.
C) Everybody at the party loves the chocolate cake Shelley made.
D) Everybody love the chocolate cake Shelley made at the party.
E) Everybody loves the chocolate cake Shelley made at the party.
 


Everybody at the party love the chocolate cake Shelley made.


Grammar issue presented:Subject/Verb Agreement (plural/singular)

Everybody is a singular subject and thus takes a singular verb. Love is the plural form of the verb. To help isolate the subject and verb, remember to cross out prepositional phrases:

Everybody at the party love…

The singular subject Everybody does not agree with the plural verb love.  We need the singular verb loves.


A) Everybody at the party love the chocolate cake Shelley made.
Subject/verb agreement? NO - everybody : love

B) Everybody at the party loving the chocolate cake Shelley made.
Subject/verb agreement? NO - the verb is in the wrong form; it should read is/are loving.

C) Everybody at the party loves the chocolate cake Shelley made.
Subject/verb agreement? YES - everybody : loves
Additional errors? NO

D) Everybody love the chocolate cake Shelley made at the party.
Subject/verb agreement? NO - everybody : love

E) Everybody loves the chocolate cake Shelley made at the party.
Subject/verb agreement? YES - everybody : loves
Additional errors? Change in meaning: The phrase the cake Shelley made at the party indicates that Shelley made the cake while she was at the party.

(C) is correct.

6. The public are receiving the new mayor well though she was mostly unheard of prior to the election.

A) The public are receiving the new mayor well though she was
B) The public receive the new mayor well though she was
C) The public is receiving the new mayor well though she was
D) The public is receiving the new mayor well though she is
E) The public are receiving the new mayor well though she is


The public are receiving the new mayor well though she was mostly unheard of prior to the election.


Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (collective nouns)

Public, although made up of individual members, functions as a singular group and thus takes a singular verb. Are is plural.


A) The public are receiving the new mayor well though she was
Subject/verb agreement? NO - public : are

B) The public receive the new mayor well though she was
Subject/verb agreement? NO - public : receive

C) The public is receiving the new mayor well though she was
Subject/verb agreement? YES - (public : is)
Additional errors? NO

D) The public is receiving the new mayor well though she is
Subject/verb agreement? YES - public : is
Additional errors? Verb form: "she is unheard of" – the mayor used to be unheard of, but now is known to the public. We need the past-tense verb was.

E) The public are receiving the new mayor well though she is
Subject/verb agreement? NO - public : are
Additional errors? Verb form: "she is unheard of" – the mayor used to be unheard of, but now is known to the public. We need the past-tense verb "was."

(C) is correct.

7. We don’t yet know whom it will be, but eventually either my brother or I are going to take over the family business.

A) either my brother or I are going to take over the family business
B) either my brother nor I are going to take over the family business
C) either my brother or I will be going to take over the family business
D) either my brother or I taking over the family business
E) either my brother or I am going to take over the family business
 


We don’t yet know whom it will be, but eventually either my brother or I are going to take over the family business.


Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (or / nor)

If two subjects are joined by or or nor, the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it. In this case, the verb are going is plural, and the subject I is singular. We need the singular verb is going.


A) either my brother or I are going to take over the family business
Subject/verb agreement: NO - I : are

B) either my brother nor I are going to take over the family business
Subject/verb agreement: NO - This sentence uses the nonexistent expression either…nor. It is always eitheror OR neithernor.
Agreement does not apply in this case.

C) either my brother or I will be going to take over the family business
Subject/verb agreement: YES - I : will take
Additional errors? Awkward construction: The phrase "will be going" is awkward and unnecessarily wordy.

D) either my brother or I taking over the family business
Subject/verb agreement: NO - missing verb - I : (are going to be) taking

E) either my brother or I am going to take over the family business
Subject/verb agreement: YES - I : am
Additional errors? NO

(E) is correct.

8. Next to me on the bench sits two older women.

A) on the bench sits two older women
B) on the bench sit two older women
C) two older women sitting on the bench
D) sit on the bench two older women
E) two older women sits on the bench
 


Next to me on the bench sits two older women.


Grammar issue presented: Subject/Verb Agreement (subject/verb/object)

In this sentence, the verb sits precedes the plural subject, two older women.



A) on the bench sits two older women
Subject / verb agreement? NO - sits : two older women

B) on the bench sit two older women
Subject / verb agreement? YES - sit : two older women
Additional errors? NO

C) two older women sitting on the bench
Subject / verb agreement? NO - missing verb - two older women : (are) sitting

D) sit on the bench two older women
Subject / verb agreement? YES - sit : two older women
Additional errors? Awkward construction: Next to me sit on the bench two older women.

E) two older women sits on the bench
Subject / verb agreement? NO - two older women : sits

(B) is correct.

H. Quantity Words 2. Modifiers

800Score.com    244 Fifth Avenue    Suite 2638    New York, NY 10001-7604    1.800.789.0402    Feedback