800Score GMAT Guide
Sentence Correction
Section I:  Introduction
Section II:  Grammar Basics
Section III:  Sentence Correction Tips
Section IV:  Three-Step Method
Section V:  Seven Error Types
Section V-1:  Subject-Verb Agreement
Section V-2:  Modifiers
Section V-3:  Parallelism
Section V-4:  Pronoun Agreement
Section V-5:  Verb Time Sequences
Section V-6:  Comparisons
Section V-7:  Idioms
Section VI:  Sample Questions



Section I: Introduction

Typically one third of the 41 Verbal questions are Sentence Correction. Of all the GMAT sections you must study, two in particular will have enduring benefits after test day: the AWA Essay section and the Sentence Correction section. Effective writing is not only a prerequisite for mastering the GMAT, it is also a vital part of business communication. What you learn here will help you to express your ideas more clearly and effectively, whether you are drafting a GMAT essay or a business proposal.


II. Grammar Basics
     Definitions of common grammar terms that you will find on the GMAT.

III. Sentence Correction Tips
     A few basic tips to keep in mind.

IV. Three-Step Method for Sentence Correction Questions
     This section provides you with a clear, step-by-step method for tackling all Sentence Correction questions.

V. Seven Types of Errors in Sentence Correction Questions
     This section provides you with an overview of the seven most common grammar mistakes found in Sentence Correction questions.
     You will learn specific skills for handling individual questions.

VI. Sample Questions
     Timed online questions to simulate actual GMAT questions.



Section II: Grammar Basics

Function Words

active

voice in which the person or thing performing the action is the subject of the verb

John throws the pencil.

adjective

word or phrase that modifies a noun or adverb

It was a happy coincidence.

adverb

a word or phrase that modifies a verb, adjective, or other adverb. An adverb often ends in -ly.

The detective paced slowly around the room.

article

word (a, an, the) that specifies or confines the meaning of a noun

Definite Article: The soldier died bravely.

Indefinite Article: A soldier never truly returns home.

clause

in a sentence, a group of words that contains both a subject and a predicate

I(subject) can't believe Barbara said those things.(predicate)
 

conjunction

word that joins two or more words, phrases, clauses, or sentences

Sue and Sally have never been late; they are always on time.

collective noun

indicates a group of persons, things, or animals treated as a single entity

The fleet of ships arrives too late.

A chorus of angels quivers in her soul.

correlative conjunction

pair of words which, separated from each other in a sentence, act as a conjunction (joining two or more words, phrases, or sentences) 

Either you are coming with me, or we will never see each other again.

gerund

noun formed from a verb, usually by adding -ing to the end

Running to catch a train can be very dangerous.

idiom

word, or expression comprising several words, the meaning of which extends beyond the usual meanings of the individual words

Chocolate tastes as good as ice cream.

The candidate claims to support tax cuts, in contrast to his prior statements.

Neither Tom nor Sam has the necessary skills to finish the job.

impersonal pronoun

pronoun that does not stand in for any particular noun, but instead refers to "people in general" or fulfills the sentence's syntactical need for a pronoun

One must pay close attention to a test's instructions.

It must be said.

infinitive

dictionary form of a verb; in English, most often appears as "to ___ " ("to eat", "to run")

To sleep, perchance to dream, aye there's the rub.

modifier

word, phrase, or clause that provides extra information about another word, phrase, or clause

The soft pillow did not make up for the hard bed.

mood

verb form that indicates the speaker's position on the factuality of the sentence; indicates if action/condition is true or unlikely or if the speaker is giving a command

Indicative: Harry spends all of his money on comic books.

Imperative: Spend all of your money on comic books!

Subjunctive: I wish Paul were not spending his money so recklessly.

noun

word that indicates a person, place, or thing

John ate pizza at the cafe with his friends.

object

in a sentence, the noun or noun phrase that receives or is otherwise affected by the action specified by the verb

Geronimo ran to the cliff.

passive voice

voice in which the person or thing performing the action is the object of the verb

The batter was hit by the pitch.

phrase in a sentence, a group of words that contains either a subject or a predicate, but not both

Noun Phrase: the mouse in the trap

Prepositional Phrase: under the full moon

Verb Phrase: runs around and around

Adjectival Phrase: good as gold

Adverbial Phrase: happily oblivious

plural

noun, pronoun, or adjective indicating multiple persons or things

Cows don't like sheep.

also the form of the verb (especially in the present tense) that agrees with multiple persons, places, or things

Six cats are asleep on the rug.

possessive

pronoun or adjective indicating possession

Lucy’s book is over there.
(The proper noun Lucy is now used as a possessive adjective Lucy’s.)

That book over there is hers.
(Hers is a possessive pronoun)

predicate

part of a sentence or clause that, as a whole, modifies the subject; includes the verb, the object/s, or phrases presided over by the verb

Ricky reads.

Ricky reads the newspaper.

Ricky reads the newspaper to his grandfather.

preposition

word that shows the relationship between words, phrases, or clauses

The man from Brazil had never seen snow.

The tax collector tapped on the door.

pronoun

word that stands in for a noun or noun phrase

John just meant to scare the boys. He made a terrible mistake, though.

proper noun

noun indicating a specific person, place, or thing

Cassandra decided the Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia is one of her favorite works of architecture.

relative pronoun

pronoun that connects a subordinate clause to the rest of the sentence

Harry is the boy who won the race.

Harry is the boy whom Julie had a crush on.

sentence

group of words that contains a subject and a predicate and is able to stand on its own

This is a sentence.

singular

noun or pronoun indicating one person, place, or thing

The cow does not like the sheep.

also the form of the verb (especially in the present tense) that agrees with one person, place, or thing

This gun only shoots blanks.

subject

in a sentence, the noun or noun phrase that performs the action indicated by the verb or that is explained or described by the verb

The ship sailed through the night storm.

verb

word that represents an action or state of being

We all know this already.

voice set of verb forms indicating the relationship between the subject and the action or condition expressed by the verb

Active: The big fish swallowed Jonah.

Passive: Jonah was swallowed by the big fish.




Section III: Sentence Correction Tips

1. GMAT grammar adheres to the rules of "Standard Written English."

"Standard Written English" refers to formal writing that follows the rules that you find in grammar books. Since proper written English often differs from spoken English, the correct answer will not always be the one that sounds the best to you. You cannot rely on your ear alone; you must become familiar with the grammar rules of written English.

2. The GMAT tests a limited number of grammar rules.

English grammar contains hundreds of very specific rules. The GMAT tests only a few of these, so devote your energy to mastering the most common rules which we've laid out in this chapter.

3. Grammar is key - but style is important, too.

The best answer must be clear and grammatically correct, but without redundancy, and with proper punctuation. Idioms must be used correctly. Look for grammatical errors first; then check for errors in style.

4. Sentences may contain more than one error.

Sentence Correction questions contain discrete, identifiable errors. Be on the lookout for sentences containing two or three errors.  Just because an answer choice corrects one error in the sentence doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right choice. The best answer will correct all errors in the original sentence.

5. Incorrect answer choices are incorrect.

Sentence Correction answer choices are variations of the correct answer. Incorrect answers will almost always be identifiable as such. Even if an answer choice sounds strange, don't rush to eliminate it unless you can find a definite error.




Section IV: Three-Step Method

The directions for Sentence Correction questions look like this:

Each of the sentence correction questions presents a sentence, part or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. Follow the requirements of standard written English to choose an answer, paying attention to grammar, word choice, and sentence construction. Select the answer that produces the most effective sentence; your answer should make the sentence clear, exact, and free of grammatical error. It should also minimize awkwardness, ambiguity, and redundancy.

Sample Question:

1. When Charlene goes to the park, she likes to run, swim, and to play basketball.

A. she likes to run, swim, and to play basketball
B. she likes to run, swim, and play basketball
C. she likes running, to swim, and to play basketball
D. she likes running, swimming, and to play basketball
E. she likes all of the following, to run, swim, and to play basketball

Your task is to find the answer choice that is most grammatically correct, but sometimes more than one answer choice will appear to be free of grammatical errors. This is by design — style conventions must also be taken into consideration in determining the correct answer. You must find the one answer that is grammatically correct, clearly expressed and concise.

800score Three-Step Method to Sentence Correction questions:

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

  1. GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
    Read the entire sentence. Do not simply read the underlined part of the sentence, because context may be important in determining the correct answer. Choice (A) will always be a copy of the original underlined part of the sentence. If you cannot find any errors, grammatical or otherwise, in the original sentence, choose (A) and move on.

    Don't worry about spelling, capitalization, or punctuation; they are not covered in Sentence Correction questions. If you do find an error in the underlined portion, or if you're not 100% sure, proceed to step two.

  2. GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
    Look for clues indicating which grammar rule the question is testing. These grammar rules and clues will be covered in more detail in the next section.

    Keep an eye out for the following issues:
    Agreement: Look for pronouns, verbs, and nouns — do they agree?
    Modifiers: Look for introductory phrases set off by a comma — is the modifier used correctly?
    Parallels: Look for commas separating words in a list as well as expressions such as "not only...but also"; "both...and"; "either...or"; "neither...nor" — is everything parallel?

  3. GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
    Look for the answer choice that preserves the meaning of the original sentence and fixes its errors without creating any new ones. Eliminate answer choices with grammatical errors.

Now that you've acquired a method for approaching the questions, it's time to move on to specifics: how to recognize and correct the seven common grammar errors found on the GMAT. 




Section V: Seven Error Types

The GMAT tests only a limited number of grammar error types. Therefore, you only need to learn a handful of rules – you don't need to master every grammatical and stylistic rule of Standard Written English to do well on the GMAT.

Seven Types of Errors
in Sentence Correction

1. Subject-Verb Agreement
2. Modifiers
3. Parallelism
4. Pronoun Agreement
5. Verb Time Sequences
6. Comparisons
7. Idioms


Section V-1: Subject-Verb Agreement

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




Subjects and verbs must agree. Singular subjects must be paired with singular verbs, and plural subjects with plural verbs. Agreement allows us to show who's doing what in a sentence by indicating which parts of the sentence go together.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Singular verbs generally have an "s" at the end. Plural verbs do not. Nouns are the opposite:

John (singular noun) walks (singular verb)
Cars (plural noun) drive (plural verb)

Pronouns must match as well.
He walks
They drive

Subject-Verb Agreement: Subject / Verb Separation

    

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

 

In the sentence below, the accompanying phrase his grandmother and his parents only provides extra information and does not alter the grammatical relationship between the subject child and the verb is.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.


Take a look at the following sentence and decide which one is correct.

Frank, accompanied by his students, (were / was) at the studio.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

To simplify the task of comparing the newly-identified subject and its governing verb, we'll next erase the crossed-out clause. We're left with the following:
GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

The subject of the sentence is now right next to its governing verb. But does this subject-verb combination Frank...were make sense? No. Frank is only one person signifying singularity, not plurality and so our governing verb should also be singular.
GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

In the example above, the plural verb were has been changed to the singular verb was.


Prepositional Phrases

Many modifying phrases will begin with a preposition: like, as, in, of, to, between, etc.

The goal of the architects are to create the most stunning and functional building in the city.

 

If the plural noun architects is the subject, then the plural verb are is correct. But if the singular noun goal is the subject, then the plural noun are is incorrect: we would need the singular verb is instead.
 

 

Once the filler phrase is crossed out, we can see that the plural verb are is not correct, because goal, a singular noun, is the subject of the sentence. The correct verb is the singular verb is:


 


Adjectival Clauses

Just like prepositional phrases, adjectival clauses add extra information to a sentence, which means that their contents cannot affect noun-verb agreement in the main part of the sentence.

The book that I bought for my students (tell / tells) the story of a Russian immigrant's experience in the United States.

The portion of the sentence we're concerned with contains two verbs in addition to there being three possible subjects: two nouns and one pronoun.


 

How do you know which noun is the subject and which verb is the main verb? First, cross out for my students since it is a prepositional phrase:

The book that I bought for my students (tells / tell) the story of a Russian immigrant's experience in the United States.

Next, cross out any groups of words beginning with the pronoun that:

The book that I bought (tells / tell) the story of a Russian immigrant's experience in the United States.

Here, we are left with just one noun and one verb after crossing out the prepositional phrase and the adjectival clause:


 

Now that we've isolated the main clause subject and verb, we can solve the agreement problem. Since the subject, book, is singular, we need the singular verb tells.


Subject-Verb Agreement: Collective Nouns
    

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




Collective nouns, such as family, majority, audience, and committee, are singular when they act in a collective fashion or represent one group.

 

List of Common Collective Nouns

army clergy government
audience council jury
band (musical) crowd majority
board (political) department minority
cabinet (political) enemy public
choir group school
class herd senate
committee faculty society
company family  
corporation team  

In the sentence below we are presented with the noun majority.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

The majority of shareholders likely contains several shareholders; however, they are only spoken of as a group, not as individuals. There is no indication that the sentence is referring to the individuals within the majority – even
though it comprises several people, the majority acts as one – as a singular entity. Therefore majority requires a singular verb, wants.


Next, for the sake of contrast, let's take a look at a collective noun that requires a plural verb:

Collective nouns are plural when the members of the collective body act as individuals.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page. 

The sentence above describes the fighting that occurs between the individual members of the team. Because team refers to several individual members in this case, it is a plural noun, and therefore requires the plural verb are as a result.


Subject-Verb Agreement: Plural / Singular
    

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

Basic rules for compound subjects:

  1. Phrases or words separated by "and" are plural;
  2. Phrases separated by "or" or "nor" are singular.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page. 

In this example, we see a list of three names. Because these names – Ted, John, I are separated by the word and, the plural form of the verb is used. The subject is plural because it refers to more than one person (place, thing, or event), and plural subjects require plural verbs. When a list of things is separated by the word nor, the singular form of the verb is used.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
 


A. Pronouns

 
A. The following pronouns are always singular:

anyone everything something
anybody whatever no one
anything whoever/whomever nobody
everyone someone nothing
everybody somebody  

Many of the words in this category can be broken down in a way that illustrates their singular nature:


 
B. The following pronouns are always plural:

both many several
few others  
 

 
C. The following indefinite pronouns could be either singular or plural depending on context:

some none most
any all  




For the pronouns in list C, you can't depend on memorization to tell you whether you need a singular or plural verb. Instead, you need to figure it out from the context. Look at these examples:

Some of the bananas are brown.

Some of the banana is brown.

Both sentences are correct. Why does the first require a plural verb and the second a singular? Because, in the first sentence, some refers to several distinct objects:

If we have ten bananas, then some of the bananas means many individual bananas. In the second sentence, some refers to part of one object:

One part of one banana is brown. In this sentence, some means one part (of a banana), which is singular.

The general rule applies:


 

This trick works for the following pronouns: some, all, any, and most. These pronouns will almost always be followed by a noun or by the prepositional phrase “of + noun”: some of the dogs, most of the cake, any of the individuals, etc. In either case, you can use the flowchart above to determine which verb to use. 

The same principle applies even if the verb comes before the pronoun in the sentence.  This often happens with the pronoun any.


 


 

As in the other examples, the number of the noun determines the number of the verb. If a singular noun follows the pronoun, use a singular verb.  If a plural noun follows the pronoun, use a plural verb.

Hint: If you are having trouble determining whether the noun is singular or plural, try replacing the noun in question with a pronoun. If the pronoun is singular (“it”), use a singular verb.  If the pronoun is plural (“them”), use a plural verb.


The pronoun none follows slightly different rules. Consider these sentences, all of which are grammatically correct:

None of the ice cream was left over.

None of my friends are going to a play tonight.

None of the inmates was given a fair trial.

See something strange? The first and second sentences look fine, using a singular noun followed by a singular verb and a plural noun followed by a plural verb. But the third sentence contains a plural noun and a singular verb. How could this be?

Unlike agreement for the pronouns some, all, any, and most, agreement for none is not determined by the noun following it, but rather by context – whether the thing being spoken of is singular or plural.However, there are exceptions, so you should learn to use context to determine whether the quantity in question is singular or plural.

The first sentence takes a singular verb because the ice cream is being referred to as a whole:

This sentence is talking about a certain quantity of ice cream. Single entities require singular verbs

 

In this instance, the author is talking about the collective action of several different friends, so a plural verb is required.

Now let’s take another look at the third sentence, which takes a singular verb in spite of the plural noun:

None of the inmates was given a fair trial.

Here, the singular verb is used because the inmates are not being referred to collectively, but individually.  The inmates are not tried as a group; they are tried as individuals. So, use a singular verb.


Subject-Verb Agreement: Neither / Either
    

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

Neither and either always take singular verbs when acting as the subject of a sentence.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Here, neither is the subject and behaves like a singular noun. It requires the singular verb is.
 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

In this example, Either (or Either one) is the subject and behaves like a singular noun. It requires the singular verb is.

This rule does not apply to the correlative pairs Either…or and Neither…nor, which are discussed in the next section. 


Subject-Verb Agreement: Or / Nor
    

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


 

If two subjects are joined by the correlative pairs "Either...or" or "Neither...nor," the verb should agree with the subject that is closer to it.

If the conjunction "nor" appears in a sentence with "neither," or the conjunction "or" with "either," then the "Neither/Either" rule (section E of this chapter) no longer applies.

In these constructions, neither and either are no longer the subject. Instead, they function as conjunctions, working in pairs with nor and or to join two other subjects in the sentence. When this occurs, the verb agrees with whichever subject is closer to it.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

This "neither…nor" sentence contains two subjects: supervisor and staff members. The third noun, client, is the object. Since the latter subject, staff members, is plural, we need the plural verb were.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

This example is grammatically identical to the one above except that the correlative conjunction joining the subjects is either...or. The verb must therefore agree with the subject closest which is the singular noun child. The proper verb form is the singular is.

Remember to apply this rule only when both items of the pairs "neither/nor" and "either/or" are present in the sentence.


Subject-Verb Agreement: Subject / Verb / Object
    

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



Basic sentences follow the pattern SubjectVerb — Object.

Here is an example:

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

To identify the subject, look for the noun that is doing the action indicated by the verb. The object is the noun receiving the action. The first noun in the sentence, dog, is performing the action indicated by the active verb, ate. The noun dog is therefore the subject of the sentence. The only remaining noun, homework, is the object. This noun describes what the dog ate.


Some sentences stray from this pattern. In sentences that begin with the adverbs Here or There, the subject follows the verb. When all nouns in the sentence follow the verb, it can be very difficult to figure out which of those nouns is the subject. What should you do in those situations?

Let's look at an example:

Incorrect: There is many reasons why I can't help you.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

This sentence contains two verb constructions is and can't help plus three nouns/pronouns reasons, I, and you. The subject is the noun that comes directly after the first verb: There + is/are + subject. The rest of the sentence is a subordinate clause.  Since the subject, many reasons, is plural, it takes the plural verb are.

Correct: There are many reasons why I can't help you.

The subordinate clause why I can't help you has no effect on subject-verb agreement in the main clause. This part of the sentence functions as a direct object.
 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Note that there is only one noun reasons and one verb are in the main clause.  Ignore nouns and verbs in dependent clauses and “filler” phrases when hunting for the subject and main verb.


Subject-Verb Agreement: Quantity Words
    

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

 

The phrase the number of requires a singular verb. The phrase a number of requires a plural verb.

Consider the following sentences, both of which are grammatically correct:

The number of frogs in the pond is twice the number of fish.

A number of protestors are gathering outside the capitol building today.

The number refers to a specific but unspecified number, and takes a singular verb. A number of is an idiom that simply means “several” and takes a plural verb.

When you see either phrase – "the number of" or "a number of" – disregard the number of the noun following it because that noun will always be plural. To ensure that you don’t mistake the noun inside the prepositional phrase for the subject, always cross out prepositional phrases:
 
 



  

The noun following the number of does not impact the verb because the subject of the sentence is number, which is singular. The noun following a number of will always be plural, because a number of means “several.”

 

A quick summary of how to recognize subject-verb agreement errors. Look for ...

A subject and verb separated by a superfluous phrase set off by commas ("the sandwich"), a prepositional phrase, or an adjectival phrase ("filler phrases").
Collective nouns like majority, audience, family
Other confusing nouns like data/datum (data, often misused as a singular noun, is the plural of datum).
Separation by conjunctions such as "and," "nor," or "neither
."



Subject-Verb Agreement: Sample Questions
    

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.




Section V-2 Modifiers

Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that restrict or provide extra information about other words, phrases, or clauses. Adjectives (the red car, the happy child) and adverbs (he runs quickly) are modifiers.

Adjectives modify nouns or pronouns.
Adverbs modify verbs or adjectives.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.


Entire phrases can also be used as modifiers.
Modifying phrases function in the same way as single-word modifiers, but because they're often buried in an already complicated sentence, they can be harder to spot than adjectives and adverbs. Lengthy modifiers appear quite often on the GMAT. This chapter will give you more detailed tips and methods to recognize these modifiers.

For general reference, keep this rule in mind: any part of a sentence that adds extra information can be considered a modifier. "Extra information" is anything that can be removed from the sentence without affecting the meaning or structure of the main clause.

Our list of common modifier errors begins with adjectives and adverbs, and then considers phrases and clauses.


 
 


Modifiers: Adjectives and Adverbs
    

Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Errors in the Use of Adjectives and Adverbs

The first step in identifying modifiers is to read the sentence and look for descriptive words. You should then look at each descriptive word and try to determine whether it is an adjective or an adverb.

  1. An adjective describes a noun or pronoun and answers the questions: how many, which one, what kind?

    She is a good tennis player. (What kind of tennis player is she?)
    This is an easy exercise. (What kind of exercise is it?)

  2. An adverb describes a verb, an adjective or another adverb and answers the questions: when, where, how, why, and to what extent?

    She plays tennis well. (How does she play?)
    This exercise is relatively easy. (To what extent is it easy?)

An easy way to identify adverbs and to distinguish them from adjectives is to look at the ending. Most adverbs are formed by adding -ly to the adjective: He worked quickly.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.


However, there are a few exceptions to this rule that you should memorize if you're not already familiar with them. Here's a list of common exceptions
:

  Exceptions
The following irregular adverbs do not end in —ly.
Their corresponding adjectives appear to the left.
 
Adjective
Adverb
 
  early early (ends in -ly, but so does the adjective)  
  fast; faster; fastest fast; faster; fastest  
  good well, ill (meaning "badly," as in "to think ill of")  
  better; best better; best  
  hard hard ("hardly" means "almost not")  
  late late ("lately" means "recently")  
  worse; worst worse; worst  
  little little (meaning "not much," or "not at all")  
  more; most more; most  
  less; least less; least  
  much much  
  very very  
  far; farther; farthest far; farther; farthest  
  further; furthest further; furthest  
  near; nearer; nearest near; nearer; nearest ("nearly" means "almost")  
  high; higher; highest high; higher; highest ("highly" means "very," or "very well," as in "to think highly of")  
  low; lower; lowest low; lower; lowest ("lowly" means "humble," adj., or "in a low position," adv.)  
  wide; wider; widest wide; wider; widest ("widely" means "generally")  
  long; longer; longest long; longer; longest  
  short; shorter; shortest short; shorter; shortest (several meanings; "shortly" means "soon")  
  deep; deeper; deepest deep; deeper; deepest ("deeply" means "very")  
  ago ago  


  More Exceptions

The following irregular adverbs do not end in —ly.
 

 


either (meaning "also")
pretty (meaning "moderately")
quite
rather
almost
tall (meaning "to a given standard," as in "to stand tall")

After you've identified the word as an adjective or adverb, the next step is to determine whether it is used correctly.

She is a (real / really) good swimmer.

This sentence contains a descriptive word good modifying a noun swimmer and another descriptive word real modifying the adjective good. Are these modifying words used correctly? Break the sentence into parts:

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As you can see, the word good modifies swimmer. Good is an adjective, and swimmer is a noun. Adjectives modify nouns, so no error there. But notice the word real, used to modify the adjective good. Real is an adjective — and only adverbs modify adjectives.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

In this version, the adjective real, which modifies the adjective good, is replaced with the adverb really. Note the difference: really is real with an —ly tacked on.

Incorrect: She is a real good swimmer.

Correct: She is a really good swimmer.

Incorrect: The new student speaks poor.

Correct: The new student speaks poorly.

This sentence contains one descriptive word modifying a noun and one descriptive word modifying a verb. In both versions, the adjective new is used to modify the noun student, which is correct.

In the first version, however, the word poor is used to modify the verb speaks. But poor is an adjective - and adjectives cannot modify verbs. Therefore, the second version correctly replaces the adjective poor with the adverb poorly. Once again, the difference between the two is a mere, but necessary, -ly.
 


Modifiers: Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
    

Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Errors in the use of Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs

The following verbs require adjective modifiers:

sound look smell taste feel seem

These verbs are all "sense verbs," or verbs that describe someone's sensation or feeling or perception. Unlike other verbs, they require adjective, not adverb, modifiers.

Incorrect: The strawberry shortcake tastes deliciously.

Correct: The strawberry shortcake tastes delicious.

Sense verbs convey personal opinions, thoughts, and perceptions in an inherently subjective manner – that is, they describe someone's personal experience. The sentence "The strawberry shortcake tastes delicious," has essentially the same meaning as "The strawberry shortcake tastes delicious to me," or "I think the strawberry shortcake tastes delicious." Because each sentence describes the attributes of the shortcake as seen through the eyes (and mouth) of an observer, each sentence should use the same version of the modifier: the delicious shortcake.

Another way to approach this sentence is to think about it as a "sandwich." When a sense verb is sandwiched between a noun and a modifier, the modifier should always agree with the noun.

Some sense verb modifiers are commonly misused in speech. Be especially careful with these; just because they sound right doesn't mean they are right. Sometimes these errors arise from the misinterpretation of a popular grammar rule. Here's a common example:

After she returned from the three-week vacation, she looked very well.

How many times have you heard someone say, "He looks well?" It probably sounds fine, but this sentence is actually a comment on the visual abilities of the man in question; it means something like, "He's skilled at looking." Pretty funny, right? But why is it wrong?

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Looking at the version above: if you place an adverb (well) directly after the verb looked, then the adverb modifies the verb. But we don't want to describe a verb — we want to describe a noun (or pronoun), in this case a woman who just came back from vacation.

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She
is a pronoun, and pronouns (which stand in for nouns) are modified with adjectives. Thus, the correct sentence fixes our modification problem by replacing the adverb "well" with the adjective good.

Incorrect: After she returned from the three-week vacation, she looked very well.

Correct: After she returned from the three-week vacation, she looked very good.


Modifiers: Misplaced Modifiers
    

Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Location of Modification – Misplaced Modifiers

What's wrong with the following sentence?

Finally thinking clearly, the book was able to be understood by Rebecca.

The meaning of the sentence seems clear enough: Rebecca finally understood the book after she started thinking clearly.

But what does the sentence actually say? If you look closely, you'll see that the introductory phrase actually refers to "the book," not "Rebecca":

Finally thinking clearly, the book was able ...

This construction makes it seem as if the book were thinking clearly. What went wrong?

Modifiers can be groups of words – known as adjectival or adverbial phrases or clauses – that describe another part of the sentence. Like adjectives and adverbs, these multiple-word modifiers must be placed as close as possible to the word or group of words they're modifying.

Modifiers that fail to observe this rule are called "misplaced modifiers."

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Even though the modifier is followed immediately by "the book," we might very easily assume that because a book can't think, we can overlook its placement in the sentence as the phrase "Finally thinking clearly" must refer to "Rebecca." According to the rules of English grammar, a modifier must always be placed as close as possible to the word it's modifying.

Incorrect: Finally thinking clearly, the book was able to be understood by Rebecca.

Correct: Finally thinking clearly, Rebecca was able to understand the book.

 

Try another example:

Upon arriving at the train station, his friends greeted Jay and took him immediately to his speaking engagement in Springfield.

Take a closer look: let's break it down and check to make sure that the modifiers are placed where they belong.


GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

First find the modifying phrase: look for a descriptive group of words set off by a comma or commas. Here, we have one phrase that looks like that: Upon arriving at the train station. After identifying the modifier, the next step is to figure out which word/s it should be modifying, and which word/s it actually is modifying. Because the modifier is right next to the phrase his friends, it sounds like Jay's friends are arriving, rather than Jay himself. We want Jay to be arriving at the station.

To correct the error, move the noun so that it sits right next to the phrase that modifies it.  Sometimes this requires making other small modifications to the sentence, such as changing the form of the verb:


Upon arriving at the train station, Jay was greeted by his friends, who immediately took him ...


Note the other small modifications that were needed to keep the sentence clear and grammatical: changing the verb form from active to passive and inserting the pronoun "who," etc.

Incorrect: Upon arriving at the train station, his friends greeted Jay and took him immediately to his speaking engagement in Springfield.

Correct: Upon arriving at the train station, Jay was greeted by his friends, who immediately took him to his speaking engagement in Springfield.

Misplaced modifiers won't always occur at the beginning of sentences; any descriptive phrase or clause is a potential misplaced modifier.


Descriptive phrases are not always set off by commas. These pronouns often indicate modifying phrases:

which (refers to things)
that
who (refers to people)
whose
whom

In addition to helping you identify modifying phrases, these pronouns can be helpful when you're trying to fix an awkwardly worded sentence

Sounds Funny: Joan's father, preferring meat to vegetables, made a breakfast of eggs and bacon every morning.

Better: Joan's father, who preferred meat to vegetables, made a breakfast of eggs and bacon every morning.

Sounds Funny: Your tea kettle, having a leak in the bottom, was thrown away last week.

Better: Your tea kettle, which had a leak in the bottom, was thrown away last week.

All four versions are grammatically correct, but the pronoun helps to clarify the sentence. This is especially important when two or more nouns precede the modifying phrase.

Note also the different uses of "who" and "which" in the examples above: "who" is used in the first example because it introduces a phrase that describes a person ("Joan's father"). "Which" is used to introduce a phrase that describes a thing (the "tea kettle"). "That" also is used to describe things, as opposed to people.

The words “only” and “almost” are often misplaced in GMAT sentences.

I only want to see you.

I want to see only you.

The first sentence means “I want to see you; I don’t want to do anything else with you.”  The second sentence means “I want to see no one but you.”  This is a significant change in meaning resulting from such a small change in word placement. 

 

Don't forget!

Its is the possessive of it, and it's is the contraction of it and is.

The dog licked its paw.

It's about to rain.



Modifiers: Sample Questions
    

Modifiers

A. Introduction
B. Adjectives and Adverbs
C. Adjectives and Adverbs with Sense Verbs
D. Misplaced Modifiers
E. Sample Questions


Test your comprehension with the following practice question.

The professor's consistent late arrival is offset somewhat by the remarkable quality of his lectures.

A) The professor's consistent late arrival
B) The consistent late arrival of the professor
C) The professor's consistently late arrival
D) Lately, the professor's arriving consistently
E) The professor's consistent late arriving

Read
The professor's consistent late arrival is offset somewhat by the remarkable quality of his lecture.

 

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Modifiers (adjectives / adverbs)


There are several modifiers in this sentence: consistent, late, somewhat, and remarkable. In the underlined part of the sentence, we have the group consistent late arrival, where the adjective late correctly modifies the noun arrival, but the adjective consistent incorrectly modifies the adjective late. Adjectives cannot modify adjectives; only adverbs can modify adjectives. We need the adverb consistently.

 

Compare
A) The professor’s consistent late arrival
Modifiers used correctly? NO - consistent (adjective) modifies late (adjective)

B) The consistent late arrival of the professor
Modifiers used correctly? NO - consistent (adjective) modifies late (adjective)

C) The professor’s consistently late arrival
Modifiers used correctly? YES - consistently (adverb) modifies late (adjective)
Additional errors? NO


D) Lately, the professor’s arriving consistently
Modifiers used correctly? YES - consistently (adverb) modifies arriving
(verb)
Additional errors? Illogical meaning: This sentence requires a contrast between something negative (the professor’s late arrival) and something positive (the quality of his lectures). Here, the adjective late is moved to the front of the sentence, where it means something like “these days." Hence, there is no contrast and the sentence is illogical.

E) The professor's consistent late arriving
Modifiers used correctly? NO - consistent (adjective) modifies late (adjective)

(C) is correct.

 

 

 

The concerto sounds more sophisticatedly in the 200-year-old concert hall than it did in the practice room, which has decidedly inferior acoustics.

A) sounds more sophisticatedly
B) sound more sophisticatedly
C) sounds with greater sophistication
D) sounds more sophisticated
E) sound more sophisticated

Read
The concerto sounds more sophisticatedly in the 200-year-old concert hall than it did in the practice room, which has decidedly inferior acoustics.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Modifiers (adjectives / adverbs with sense verbs)


The sense verb sounds requires an adjective, not adverb, modifier. We need the adjective “sophisticated” rather than the adverb sophisticatedly.

Compare
A) sounds more sophisticatedly
Modifiers used correctly? NO Sophisticatedly (adverb) modifies sounds (sense verb).

B) sound more sophisticatedly
Modifiers used correctly? NO Sophisticatedly (adverb) modifies sound (sense verb).
Additional errors? Agreement: The singular noun “concerto” requires the singular verb “sounds.”

C) sounds with greater sophistication
Modifiers used correctly? NO Sophistication (noun) modifies sounds (sense verb).
Additional errors? Diction: The construction “sounds with” is ungrammatical.

D) sounds more sophisticated
Modifiers used correctly? YES Sophisticated (adjective) modifies sounds (sense verb).
Additional errors? NO

E) sound more sophisticated
Modifiers used correctly? YES Sophisticated (adjective) modifies sounds (sense verb).
Additional errors? Agreement: The singular noun “concerto” requires the singular verb “sounds.”

D) is correct.


EASY

1. Previously thought to have been extinct, a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko in 1994.

a) a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko in 1994.
b) a team of biologists, in 1994, rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko.
c) in 1994 the New Caledonia crested gecko was rediscovered by a team of biologists.
d) in 1994 a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko.
e) the New Caledonia crested gecko was rediscovered by a team of biologists in 1994.

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Previously thought to have been extinct, a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko in 1994.

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Grammar issue presented: Modifiers (misplaced modifiers)

The modifier “Previously thought to have been extinct” refers to “the New Caledonia crested gecko.” These two elements must be as close as possible to each other in the sentence.

 


A) a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko in 1994.
Modifier used correctly? NO – “Previously thought to have been extinct” is followed by “a team of biologists

B) a team of biologists, in 1994, rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko.
Modifier used correctly? NO – “Previously thought to have been extinct” is followed by “a team of biologists

C) in 1994 the New Caledonia crested gecko was rediscovered by a team of biologists.
Modifier used correctly? YES – “Previously thought to have been extinct” is followed by “the New Caledonia crested gecko.”
Additional errors? Awkward construction: The phrase “in 1994” gets in the way of the modifier and the noun being modified.

D) in 1994 a team of biologists rediscovered the New Caledonia crested gecko.
Modifier used correctly? NO – “Previously thought to have been extinct” is followed by “a team of biologists
Additional errors? Awkward construction: The phrase “in 1994” gets in the way of the modifier and the noun being modified.

E) the New Caledonia crested gecko was rediscovered by a team of biologists in 1994.
Modifier used correctly? YES – “Previously thought to have been extinct” is followed by “the New Caledonia crested gecko.”
Additional errors? NO

(E) is correct.

 

HARD

2. Erasmus's tomb lies inside the Basel Munster, located in Switzerland, an architectural monument which having survived medieval earthquakes, and remains one of Switzerland's most well-known buildings to this day.

A) Erasmus's tomb lies inside the Basel Munster, located in Switzerland, an architectural monument which having survived medieval earthquakes, and
B) Erasmus's tomb lies inside Switzerland's Basel Munster, an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes and
C) Switzerland's Basel Munster, an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes, houses Erasmus's tomb,
D) The Basel Munster, in Switzerland, an architectural monument which, having survived medieval earthquakes, is now home to the tomb of Erasmus and
E) The tomb of Erasmus, being housed inside Switzerland's Basel Munster, is an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes and

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Erasmus's tomb lies inside the Basel Munster, located in Switzerland, an architectural monument which having survived medieval earthquakes, and remains one of Switzerland's most well-known buildings to this day.

 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Grammar issue presented: Modifiers (misplaced modifiers)

The modifier “an architectural monument” refers to “the Basel Munster.” These two elements must be next to each other in the sentence.


A) Erasmus's tomb lies inside the Basel Munster, located in Switzerland, an architectural monument which having survived medieval earthquakes, and
Modifier used correctly? NO – “an architectural monument” follows “Switzerland

B) Erasmus's tomb lies inside Switzerland's Basel Munster, an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes and
Modifier used correctly? YES – “an architectural monument” follows “Basel Munster
Additional errors? NO

C) Switzerland's Basel Munster, an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes, houses Erasmus's tomb,
Modifier used correctly? YES – “an architectural monument” follows “Basel Munster
Additional errors? Missing conjunction: this choice lacks the linking word “and” after “tomb.”

D) The Basel Munster, in Switzerland, an architectural monument which, having survived medieval earthquakes, is now home to the tomb of Erasmus and
Modifier used correctly? NO – “an architectural monument” follows “Switzerland

E) The tomb of Erasmus, being housed inside Switzerland's Basel Munster, is an architectural monument that survived medieval earthquakes and
Modifier used correctly? YES – “an architectural monument” follows “Basel Munster
Additional errors? Verb form: this choice uses the passive voice (“being housed”). It should be reworded so that “Basel Munster” is the subject of the sentence and can perform the action (“houses”).

(B) is correct.




Section V-3: Parallelism

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions



As a concept, parallelism means something very similar to what it means in mathematics. Think of parallel lines:







They're straight, they're equally spaced, and they're very clearly "parallel."

Think of the parts of a sentence as lined up, one on top of the next, along their own parallel lines. Consider the sentence "Joe was trying to decide between eating, running, and to walk to the store." There are three items in the list of activities Joe is considering, so separate these and imagine them on their own parallel lines:

eating
running
to walk

To be parallel, all verbs must look identical. In this case, one sticks out like a sore thumb: "to walk." Here's the correct version:

eating
running
walking

Parallel Structure
http://www.youtube.com/embed/tXl02zJzNJs
Video Courtesy of Kaplan GMAT

 

How to recognize parallelism
Parallelism is a rule of English grammar that demands consistency in a sentence's structure. Any lists of ideas, places, activities, or descriptions that have the same level of importance – whether they are words, phrases, or clauses - must be written in the same grammatical form. Some examples:

activities: running, biking, and hiking
places: the store, the museum, and the restaurant
ideas: how to read, how to write, and how to learn
descriptors: quickly, quietly, and happily

Note the grammatical consistency in each list. The activities all end in "-ing;" the places are all preceded by the article "the;" the ideas all begin with "how to;" the descriptors are all adverbs. In each list, whatever grammatical form is applied to one item is applied to all items. This rule (what applies to one must apply to all) is pretty much all you need to remember.


Parallelism: Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
    

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions


You'll often see a list of three verbs, in which two agree, but one does not. In order for the sentence to be correct, all three verbs must agree:

Patty ate macaroons, drank soda and was dancing the tango.

This is a list of activities – more specifically, activities undertaken by Patty. Parallelism dictates that all the things Patty did must be in the same form. Since "all the things Patty did" are verbs, they must agree in tense and number. Do they?
 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

This graphic identifies each verb form in the sentence: there are two singular, simple past tense verbs (ate and drank) and one singular, past progressive verb (was dancing). Because the verbs are placed together in a list, this cannot be correct. The verbs should all match:

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
 

This version correctly changes the mismatched past progressive verb, was dancing, to the simple past tense, danced, so that it matches the tense of the other verbs in the list, ate and drank. This sentence now exhibits proper parallelism.

Incorrect: Patty ate macaroons, drank soda and was dancing the tango.

Correct: Patty ate macaroons, drank soda and danced the tango.

Here's another example using a list of gerunds:

Incorrect: All business students should learn word processing, accounting, and how to program computers.

Correct: All business students should learn word processing, accounting, and computer programming.

The verb "to program" must be changed to "programming," because the rest of the verbs are already in the -ing form.

You'll often see lists of infinitives on the GMAT. These are the "to ___" verbs (to walk, to talk, to eat, to chat, to drink…). With infinitives, a very simple rule applies: the word "to" must either go either only before the first verb in the list, or before every verb in the list.

For example:

Correct: He likes to swim, to sail, and to dance.

Correct: He likes to swim, sail, and dance.

Incorrect: He likes to swim, sail, and to dance.

The first two sentences are equally acceptable variations. The third sentence is incorrect because it lacks consistency; the verb changes from to swim to sail, and then back to to dance. This violates the rules we've laid out.
 

 

List of infinitives: Options

To __________, __________, and __________.
To __________, to __________, and to __________.

The principle governing lists of infinitives applies to any words that might come before each item in a series: prepositions (in, on, by, with), articles (the, a, an), helping verbs (had, has, would) and possessives (his, her, our). Either repeat the word before every element in a series or include it only before the first item. Anything else violates the rules of parallelism.



Parallelism: Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions

 
Just like verbs, adverbs and adjectives in a list must agree.
Descriptive words are easy to replace with wordy phrases, and test writers will try to trip you up by including a verb or phrase among a list of adjectives or adverbs:

On the morning of his fourth birthday, Johnny was giggly, energetic, and couldn't wait for the party to begin.

If you read through the sentence quickly, it might sound acceptable. However, the list includes one item that doesn't belong:
 


GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

This looks to be a list of adjectives until you reach the third item in the list: it's not an adjective, it's a verb. The "list of adjectives" won't be complete until the last item falls into step with the others:
 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
 

This example replaces the verb phrase couldn't wait with the descriptive phrase very eager — which indeed includes an adjective. Note that this list is parallel even though one of the items in the list is modified.

Watch for consistency in item type as well as consistency of form.

Incorrect: On the morning of his fourth birthday, Johnny was giggly, energetic and couldn't wait for the party to begin.

Correct: On the morning of his fourth birthday, Johnny was giggly, energetic and very eager for the party to begin.
 


Parallelism: Comparisons

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions

Comparisons require both elements to be parallel. When you see comparison words or phrases such as "more than," "less than," "although," "rather than," etc, check to make sure the things being compared are grammatically parallel.

Incorrect: The professor published more papers last year than were published by all his colleagues combined.

Correct: The professor published more papers last year than all his colleagues combined.

For comparisons, the grammatical forms need to be balanced rather than identical. This means that while you need to include the same parts of speech in both elements of comparison, they do not necessarily need to be in the same order. The correct sentence above has one “noun + active verb” construction and one “active verb + noun” construction (the verb “did” is implied: than (did) all his colleagues combined).

Just as you can’t compare apples to oranges, you can’t compare two things with different grammatical structures.

Sometimes, you'll come across comparisons between multiple pronouns or a noun and a pronoun. In many cases, in order for the pronouns to be parallel, the pronouns must be identical.

Incorrect: Those who exercise in addition to maintaining a healthy diet are likely to be in better health than the people who maintain a healthy diet but don't exercise.

Correct: Those who exercise in addition to maintaining a healthy diet are likely to be in better health than those who maintain a healthy diet but don't exercise.

Here, people who exercise are being compared to people who don't exercise. In the first sentence, the pronoun "those who" in the first part of the sentence is matched with the noun "the people who" in the second part of the sentence. Notice how much cleaner and easier to understand the second sentence is, where the pronoun "those" stands in for "people" in both parts of the comparison.

Use the same pronoun for both elements of the comparison. Consider the sentence below:

Those who have strong work credentials and a college degree are more likely to be hired than one who has only the degree.

This sentence compares two types of people, but uses two different pronouns: "those" and "one."  This confuses the basis of comparison. The pronouns must match:

Those who have strong work credentials and a college degree are more likely to be hired than those who have only the degree.

OR

One who has strong work credentials and a college degree is more likely to be hired than one who has only the degree.

Both sentences are grammatically correct. It does not matter which pronoun you choose to use; all that matters is that they match, and that the verbs in the sentence agree with the chosen pronoun ("those" requires plural verbs, whereas "one" requires singular verbs).

Incorrect Incorrect: Those who have strong work credentials and a college degree are more likely to be hired than one who has only the degree.

Correct Correct: Those who have strong work credentials and a college degree are more likely to be hired than those who have only the degree.

Correct Correct: One who has strong work credentials and a college degree is more likely to be hired than one who has only the degree.

Be consistent: whichever pronoun you choose, use it all the way through.


Parallelism: Correlative Pairs

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions

Correlative pairs such as either…or, neither…nor, not only…but also, and whether…or also require parallelism. When you see one of these pairs in a sentence, check to make sure that the words or groups of words immediately following each conjunction are in the same form.

Consider the following sentence:

Either I will attend the show, or they will be attending.

This sentence uses the correlative pair "either…or" to present a set of two options. Are both in the same form? Compare the structures immediately following each conjunction:

(Either) I will attend: pronoun + future-tense verb

(or) they will be attending: pronoun + future-progressive-tense verb

Both constructions use a pronoun followed by a verb, but the verbs do not match.  Parallelism dictates that both verbs must be in the same form:

Either I will attend the show, or they will.

OR

Either I will be attending the show, or they will (be attending).

The first version has two future tense verbs, while the second version has two future progressive tense verbs.  Both tenses are appropriate for describing an event of some duration that will take place sometime in the future.

http://www.800score.com/content/sentence_files/bullet-red.gif Incorrect: Either I will attend the show, or they will be attending.

http://www.800score.com/content/sentence_files/bullet.gif Correct: Either I will attend the show, or they will.

http://www.800score.com/content/sentence_files/bullet.gif Correct: Either I will be attending the show, or they will (be attending).

Both latter versions are correct.

Watch out for matching clauses or phrases with single words.

Consider the following sentence:

Not only has the captain assigned all his men to the case, but also a private detective.

This sentence reads well at first glance, but it contains a hidden grammar error.

Compare the structure of the groups of words following each conjunction in the "Not only…but also" pair:

(Not only) has the captain put all his men on the case: clause

(but also) a private detective: noun

These two structures definitely do not match. A better way to write this sentence is:

The captain has assigned to the case not only all his men, but also a private detective.

Here, "not only" and "but also" are both followed by nouns: "men" and "private detective." 

Alternatively, both can be followed by phrases:

The captain has not only assigned all his men to the case, but also hired a private detective.

Here, "not only" and "but also" are both followed by verb phrases: "assigned all his men" and "hired a private detective." Note that both verbs must be in the same form.

 

Final tips on recognizing parallelism
Look for:

Lists
Correlative pairs
Comparisons using multiple pronouns


Parallelism: Sample Questions

Parallelism

A. Introduction
B. Lists of Verbs and Parallel Constructions
C. Lists of Adjectives or Adverbs
D. Comparisons
E. Correlative Pairs
F. Sample Questions



His coworkers praised both his determination and the way he paid attention to detail.

A) and the way he paid attention to detail
B) and also praised his attention to detail
C) and his attention to detail
D) they praised the way he paid attention to detail
E) also they praised his attention to detail

Read
His coworkers praised both his determination and the way he paid attention to detail.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Parallelism (correlative pairs)

This sentence uses the correlative pair "Both…and" to present two characteristics. Both characteristics should be in the same form, but one is a possessive pronoun + noun (his determination), while the other is a phrase (the way he paid attention to detail). We need another possessive pronoun + noun: "his attention to detail."

Compare
A)
 and the way he paid attention to detail
It is parallel? NO – his determination (pronoun + noun) / the way he paid attention to detail (phrase)

B) and also praised his attention to detail
Is it parallel? NO – his determination (pronoun + noun) / praised his attention to detail (verb phrase)

C) and his attention to detail
Is it parallel? YES – his determination (pronoun + noun) / his attention to detail (pronoun + noun)
Additional errors? NO

D) they praised the way he paid attention to detail
Is it parallel? NO – This choice lacks the second conjunction (and) in the correlative pair Both…and

E) also they praised his attention to detail
It is parallel? NO – This choice lacks the second conjunction (and) in the correlative pair Both…and

(C) is correct.



The art studio is spacious, pleasantly cluttered, and has good lighting.

A) and has good lighting
B) and being well-lit
C) and is lit well
D) and well-lit
E) and the lighting is good

Read
The art studio is spacious, pleasantly cluttered, and has good lighting.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Parallelism (lists of adjectives)

This sentence presents a list of qualities. The first two are adjectives (“spacious” and “pleasantly cluttered”), while the third is a verb phrase (“has good lighting”).  The third quality must also be an adjective.

Compare
A) and has good lighting
Is it parallel? NO spacious, pleasantly cluttered (adjectives) : has good lighting (verb phrase)

B) and being well-lit
Is it parallel? NO spacious, pleasantly cluttered (adjectives) : being well-lit (verb phrase)

C) and is lit well
Is it parallel? NOspacious, pleasantly cluttered (adjectives) : is lit well (verb phrase)

D) and well-lit
Is it parallel? YESspacious, pleasantly cluttered (adjectives) : well-lit (adjective)
Additional errors? NO

E) and the lighting is good
Is it parallel? NOspacious, pleasantly cluttered (adjectives) : the lighting is good (clause)

(D) is correct.



The school board requested that a waiver be obtained and that the residency requirements are reviewed.

A) that the residency requirements are reviewed
B) the residency requirements will be reviewed
C) the residency requirements reviewed
D) to review the residency requirements
E) a review of the residency requirements

Read
The school board requested that a waiver be obtained and that the residency requirements are reviewed.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Parallelism (lists of verbs)

This sentence presents a list of two actions. The first verb, "be obtained," is in the passive voice and is governed by the idiom “request that x be y.” The second verb must also be in the form (be) reviewed.

Compare
A) that the residency requirements are reviewed
Is it parallel? NObe obtained : are reviewed

B) the residency requirements will be reviewed
Is it parallel? NO be obtained : will be reviewed

C) the residency requirements reviewed
Is it parallel? YES be obtained : (be) reviewed
Additional errors? NO

D) to review the residency requirements
Is it parallel? NObe obtained : to review

E) a review of the residency requirements
Is it parallel? NO be obtained : a review

(C) is correct.



Some of the many renovations set for Memorial Field in the coming years include building additional seating, improving safety, and the construction of a new varsity athletics center.

(A) and the construction of a new varsity athletics center
(B) and constructing a new varsity athletics center
(C) and also the construction of a new varsity athletics center
(D) and a new varsity athletics center
(E) and a new varsity athletics center under construction

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Some of the many renovations set for Memorial Field in the coming years include building additional seating, improving safety, and the construction of a new varsity athletics center.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Grammar issue presented: Parallelism (lists of verbs)

All items in a list must be parallel, meaning they must be in the same grammatical form. Every verb in the list must therefore take on an -ing ending.


A) and the construction of a new varsity athletics center
Is it parallel? NO – building : improving : the construction

B) and constructing a new varsity athletics center
Is it parallel? YES – building : improving : constructing
Additional errors? NO

C) and also the construction of a new varsity athletics center
Is it parallel? NO – building : improving : the construction

D) and a new varsity athletics center
Is it parallel? NO – building : improving : a new varsity athletics center

E) and a new varsity athletics center under construction
Is it parallel? NO – building : improving : a new varsity athletics center

(B) is correct.



Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also great at playing hockey.

A) Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also great at playing hockey.
B) Richard not only is a terrific pianist, but is also great at playing hockey.
C) Not only great at playing hockey, Richard also is a terrific pianist.
D) Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also a great hockey player.
E) Also great at playing hockey, Richard is a terrific pianist.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also great at playing hockey.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Grammar issue presented: Parallelism (correlative pairs)

Not only…but also” is a correlative pair, so the elements immediately following each conjunction must be parallel.


A) Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also great at playing hockey.
Is it parallel? NO – a terrific pianist (noun) : great at playing hockey (adjective)

B) Richard not only is a terrific pianist, but is also great at playing hockey.
Is it parallel? NO – is a terrific pianist (verb) : great at playing hockey (adjective)

C) Not only great at playing hockey, Richard also is a terrific pianist.
Is it parallel? NO – great at playing hockey (adjective) / is a terrific pianist (verb)

D) Richard is not only a terrific pianist, but also a great hockey player.
Is it parallel? YES – a terrific pianist (noun) : a great hockey player (noun)
Additional errors? NO

E) Also great at playing hockey, Richard not only is a terrific pianist.
Is it parallel? NO – great at playing hockey (adjective) / is a terrific pianist (verb)

(D) is correct.



The philosophical doctrine of Incompatibility posits an inherent irreconcilability among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and the existence of free will.

A) among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and the existence of free will
B) between the doctrine of Determinism, holding each state of affairs as necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and free will existing
C) in the doctrine of Determinism, which holds the idea that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs preceding, and the existence of free will
D) between the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs preceding it, and the existence of free will
E) among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs may be necessitated by the states of affairs preceding it, and free will existing

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
The philosophical doctrine of Incompatibility posits an inherent irreconcilability among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and the existence of free will.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Grammar issue presented: Word Choice and Parallelism (comparisons)

When comparing only two things, the proper word to use is between, not among, which is used in reference to more than two things. Furthermore, the construction “between x and y” requires that x and y be parallel.


A) among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and the existence of free will
Correct word choice? NO – this comparison should use the word “between” (not “among”)
Is it parallel? YES – the doctrine of Determinism (noun phrase) : the existence of free will (noun phrase)

B) between the doctrine of Determinism, holding each state of affairs as necessitated by the states of affairs that preceded it, and free will existing
Correct word choice? YES – this comparison uses the word “between”
Is it parallel? NO – the doctrine of Determinism (noun phrase) : free will existing (verb phrase)

C) in the doctrine of Determinism, which holds the idea that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs preceding, and the existence of free will
Correct word choice? NO – this choice lacks the word “between”
Is it parallel? YES – the doctrine of Determinism (noun phrase) : the existence of free will (noun phrase)

D) between the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs is necessitated by the states of affairs preceding it, and the existence of free will
Correct word choice? YES – this comparison uses the word “between”
Is it parallel? YES – the doctrine of Determinism (noun phrase) : the existence of free will (noun phrase)

E) among the doctrine of Determinism, which holds that each state of affairs may be necessitated by the states of affairs preceding it, and free will existing
Correct word choice? NO – this comparison should use the word “between” (not “among”)
Is it parallel? NO – the doctrine of Determinism (noun phrase) : free will existing (verb phrase)

(D) is correct.



Section V-4: Pronoun Agreement

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions



Pronouns stand in for nouns in a sentence. When replacing any noun (Matt, the cheerleader, the chair) with a pronoun (he, she, it), the pronoun must match the noun it is replacing, or the antecedent.

The first step in tackling a pronoun question is to locate and identify the pronouns in the sentence. Study the chart below, which includes some common English pronouns.

 
Subject/Object Pronouns Possessives
Subject Object Adjective Pronoun
I me my mine
you you your yours
he him his his
she her her hers
it it its its
we us our ours
they them their theirs
everyone everyone everyone's everyone's


This chapter will help you to become more familiar with the different pronoun types and will show you how to use them.  Review the following examples.

1. She bought the rights to the film last week, hoping to make lots of money off it.

              First pronoun: She (antecedent: unspecified female)
              Second pronoun: it (antecedent: “the film”)

2. On the way to her meeting, the executive bought a cup of coffee and proceeded to spill it all over her coat.

               First pronoun: her (antecedent: “the executive”)
               Second pronoun: it (antecedent: “a cup of coffee”)

3. Everyone gathered at the meeting spot, anxiously awaiting their assignments.

              Note: their (antecedent: the same unspecified group of people) functions as an adjective.

4. Running towards the building, he hoped to catch a glimpse of them somewhere inside it.

                First pronoun: he (antecedent: unspecified male)
                Second pronoun: them (antecedent: unspecified group of people)
                Third pronoun: it (antecedent: “the building”)




Pronoun Agreement: Subject vs. Object

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions



Once you’ve found a pronoun, check to see whether it’s acting as the SUBJECT or the OBJECT of the sentence or clause.

This aspect of pronoun formation is called case (objective/subjective/possessive).

Subject Pronouns
Just like the nouns they replace, pronouns can be the subject or object of the main verb. Pronouns that are the subject take the subjective case:

He walked to the store.
She decided to take a taxi.
They liked the food.

In each case, the subject is the person/pronoun doing the action. Since it is the subject, the pronoun takes the subjective case: he, she, they, etc.

Object Pronouns
Pronouns that are the object take the objective case:

Mary ate it.
Christian agreed that we should elect him. Mr. Weinberg asked about them.

Above, the pronouns in bold are all acting as objects of the main verb. Objects of the main verb take the objective case: it, him, them, etc.

Personal Pronouns: Subject and Object Forms

Subjective

Objective

I

me

you

you

he/she/it

him/her/it

we

us

you

you

they

them

 

The first step in working with pronouns is to identify any pronoun(s) in the sentence

See if you can locate the pronouns in the following sentence:

How could she blame you and he for the accident?

Answer: There are three pronouns in this sentence: she,you, and he.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

The next two steps can be done in any order. You need to identify the antecedent of each pronoun and determine whether it is acting as subject or object of the main verb. In the sentence above, three different pronouns are used to refer to three different people: she (the person doing the blaming, a female), and you and he (the two people she blames; one is male, and the other’s gender is unspecified).

You can use this information to determine the role of each pronoun in the sentence. The person doing the action (she, or the blamer) is the subject of the sentence, whereas the people receiving the action (you and he, or the people being blamed) are the objects:

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page. 

Now that we have identified the pronouns and their roles in the sentence, the final step is to determine whether the pronouns are in the correct form.  The first two pronouns in this sentence are correct: she is the subjective form of the her/she pronoun, and you takes the same form for the objective and subjective cases, so it is also correct. However, he is not in the correct form: it is acting as the object of the sentence, but it is in the subjective form. We need the objective form of the pronoun, him.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Both pronouns acting as objects must be in the objective case: you and him.

Hint: If you are having trouble remembering whether he or him is the objective form, turn the sentence into a question: “Whom did she blame?” The answer will give you the correct pronoun: “She blamed him.”

Incorrect: How could she blame you and he for the accident?

Correct: How could she blame you and him for the accident?


Let's look at another example:

Incorrect: Her was better suited for the job.

Correct: She was better suited for the job.

Here, the pronoun is the subject of the sentence. Because the pronoun stands in for some woman, it must be feminine and in the subjective case: She.

Remember: Personal pronouns in the subject and object form must agree with their antecedents in number and gender.

Pronouns and Compound Subjects: Me or I?

One special case that often causes confusion is a compound noun involving a noun and the personal pronoun (me / I).  Consider the following sentence:

John and me drank a bottle of wine.

Which is the correct pronoun in this case: me or I? This pair is often confused in both spoken and written English due to the seeming complication of adding another subject into the mix. But it's actually quite simple to remember when to use "me," and when to use "I": cross out everything in the "someone else and me/I" phrase except the pronoun. The correct pronoun is the one that leaves you with a grammatical sentence.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

"Me drank a bottle of wine" sounds wrong so the proper pronoun is clearly "I."

Incorrect: John and me drank a bottle of wine.

Correct: John and I drank a bottle of wine.

Let's try it again on the following sentence:

The dinner was eaten by John and I.

This sentence has a passive verb, so it’s harder to tell whether the compound noun is subject or object. Perform the test to find out:

The dinner was eaten by John and I.

or

The dinner was eaten by John and me.

The second sentence is grammatically correct: “The dinner was eaten by…me.” This test works for many instances of misused pronouns, but you should become familiar with the subject/object pronoun chart.

Incorrect: The dinner was eaten by John and I .

Correct: The dinner was eaten by John and me.

 

Summary: Subject/Object Pronouns in Three Steps

1. Identify any pronouns in the sentence relating to the main verb.

2. Identify the antecedent of each pronoun and its role in the sentence: is it the subject or object of the main verb? For compound subjects, cross out the other subject plus the word and.

3. Check to see that the pronoun is in the correct case: subjective for subject pronouns and objective for object pronouns. In addition, subject and object pronouns must agree with their antecedents in number (singular or plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter).

 

 


Pronoun Agreement: Who vs. Whom

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions

 

This section discusses the interrogative pronouns who and whom. When these pronouns are used to mean “which or what individual(s),” you must always check to see whether they are acting as the subject or the object of the verb. If the pronoun is acting as a subject, use who. If it is acting as an object, use whom.

You will often see these pronouns in questions and answers.  Consider the following sentence:

I don't know whom Kate married.

In this sentence, the pronoun whom acts as a placeholder for an unknown person – whoever it is whom Kate married. To determine whether this pronoun is acting as the subject or object of the verb, try rearranging the sentence into a question, and then answer it. The form of the answer will tell you which version of the pronoun to use, subjective or objective. Let's try it:

Question: Who/m did Kate marry?

Answer: Kate married him.

You wouldn't say "Kate married he." Since the pronoun used in the answer is the objective "him," the pronoun in the original sentence should also be in the objective case: whom.

Incorrect: I don’t know who Kate married.

Correct: I don’t know whom Kate married.

Here's another one to try:

Who took out the trash?

Because the sentence is already a question, all you need to do is answer the question.

Question: Who/m took out the trash?

Answer: He took out the trash.

The person taking out the trash is the subject of the sentence. You wouldn't say "Him took out the trash," because "him" is objective. The indefinite pronoun must be in the subjective case: Who.

Incorrect: Whom took out the trash?

Correct: Who took out the trash?

 

The interrogative pronouns who and whom take different forms in the subject and object positions.

Follow these steps:

1. Run the “question test” to determine whether who/whom is acting as a subject or object.

2.  Correct the form if necessary. If it is the subject, use who. If it is the object, use whom.

Pronoun Agreement: Singular and Plural Pronouns

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions



Pronouns also act like nouns in the realm of verb agreement. When you check for subject-verb agreement, you must see if the noun and verb match in terms of number: they both must be either singular or plural. Similarly, when a pronoun is the subject of the sentence, it must agree with the main verb in number.

Like nouns, singular pronouns take singular verbs and plural pronouns take plural verbs. All personal pronouns except for you change form according to whether they are singular or plural:

 

Singular

Plural

First Person

I

we

Second Person

you

you

Third Person

he/she/it

they



Other pronouns are either always singular or always plural:

 

These pronouns are always singular:

anyone
either
neither
what

anything
everyone
no one
whatever

each
everything
nothing
whoever


These pronouns are always plural:

both
many

several
others

few


When a pronoun is the subject of the sentence, you must check to see that it agrees with the main verb in number. This means that you must be able to recognize the singular and plural forms of each pronoun on sight.

Everyone on the project (has / have) to come to the meeting.

There is only one pronoun in this sentence: "Everyone." It is acting as the subject of the sentence, so we must check for agreement with the main verb, "have to come."

Referring to the chart above, you see that the pronoun "everyone" is singular. But the verb "have" is plural!  We need the singular form of the verb: "has to come." 

Let’s try another one:

Many have tried, but few people (has / have) been able to solve the puzzle.

This sentence contains two pronouns, "Many" (subject of the first clause) and "few" (subject of the second clause). Each of these pronouns is considered a plural pronoun, so each must have a plural verb have.
 

Subject-Verb Agreement: Compound Subjects

Sometimes, you will see a compound subject where one subject is a noun and the other is a pronoun. In these cases, the verb must agree in number with whichever subject is closer to it. Consider the following sentence:

Neither he nor his bodyguards (we / were) there.

Here, there are two subjects, "he" and "his bodyguards," joined by the correlative conjunction "Neither…nor." As covered in an earlier section of this chapter, the constructions "either... or" and "neither… nor" require the verb to agree with the subject that is closer to it. The verb must agree with the plural noun bodyguards, so the plural verb were is correct. 

But what if the situation were reversed as in the following sentence?

Neither his bodyguards nor he (were / was) there. 

Here, the singular pronoun "he" is closer to the verb, so the verb needs to be singular, too: "has."

In both cases, the sentence is correct when the verb agrees with the subject – whether noun or pronoun – that is closest to it.

 

Summary: Singular/Plural Subject Pronouns in Three Steps

1. Identify any subject pronouns in the sentence. Look out for compound subjects and pronouns that are always singular or always plural.

2. Identify the main verb. Is it singular or plural?

3. Check to see that the pronoun matches the main verb in number: singular with singular, plural with plural. For compound subjects, the verb should match the subject that is closer to it. If necessary, correct the error.



Pronoun Agreement: Possessive Pronouns

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions


  
When you come across possessive pronouns such as yours, theirs, his, hers and its, check to see whether they agree with their antecedents in number and gender. The antecedent for possessive pronouns is the noun or pronoun that is doing the possessing. 

Margaret put her coat on, and Paul put his on, too.

In the sentence above, there is one possessive pronoun, his, which refers to Paul. Paul is a masculine, singular noun, so we use the corresponding pronoun his – also masculine and singular. The word her, which refers to Margaret, is a possessive adjective because it modifies the noun coat. Contrast this with the pronoun his, which stands in for the noun phrase Paul’s coat.

Most possessive pronouns are used sloppily in spoken language, so take special note when you see one mixed in among other pronouns. Sometimes, the antecedent will be another pronoun.


Possessive Pronouns with Personal Pronoun Antecedents

Possessive pronouns sometimes have personal pronoun antecedents. When this happens, the possessive pronoun needs to match its antecedent in person and number, but not case. Personal pronouns have three different cases: subjective, objective, and possessive. If the antecedent of a pronoun indicating possession is another pronoun (in either subjective or objective form), use the possessive form of that pronoun. 

Consider the following sentence:

I brought my beer, and I’m glad to see that some of you brought theirs.

This sentence contains three different pronouns: I, you, and theirs. However, there are only two antecedents: the speaker (I) and her group of friends (you/theirs). The speaker (I) correctly refers to her beer as my beer, but she is mistaken in calling her friends’ beer theirs. Because she is addressing them as you, she must refer to her friends’ beer using the possessive pronoun yours.
 

 

If this personal pronoun is the antecedent…

Use this possessive pronoun

First Person Singular

I or me

mine

Second Person Singular

you

yours

Third Person Singular

he or him

his

 

she or her

hers

 

it

its

First Person Plural

we or us

ours

Second Person Plural

you

yours

Third Person Plural

they or them

theirs


The personal pronoun I is paired with the possessive pronoun mine because both have the same antecedent, the speaker, who refers to herself in the first-person singular. Likewise, the speaker must refer to her group of friends using the second-person plural personal and possessive pronouns you and yours, respectively.  

Incorrect: I brought my beer, and I'm glad to see that some of you brought theirs.

Correct: I brought my beer, and I'm glad to see that some of you brought yours.

As with subject and object pronouns, you must be able to both recognize a possessive pronoun and remember the possessive form. See if you can spot the pronoun error in the following sentence:

If anyone comes over to take your name, make sure that you take theirs.

Remember, anyone is a singular pronoun. However, the possessive pronoun theirs is plural. You need the singular form of the pronoun his or hers.

Note: This error has become common because of the demand for political correctness; instead of writing “his” or “hers,” people will often just write “theirs.” Either “his” or “hers” alone is fine if you don’t want or need to specify gender, but writing “his or hers” is also acceptable:

Incorrect: If anyone comes over to take your name, make sure that you take theirs.

Correct: If anyone comes over to take your name, make sure that you take his or hers.

Correct: If anyone comes over to take your name, make sure that you take his.

Correct: If anyone comes over to take your name, make sure that you take hers.
 

Working with Impersonal Pronoun Antecedents

On the GMAT, the pronouns one, you, and they – the “impersonal pronouns” are sometimes improperly matched with their possessive and reflexive forms. Impersonal pronouns are a kind of indefinite pronoun, and they are used to refer to an unspecified, generic person:

One must never disobey one’s parents.

Here, one and one’s are used in a generic sense: they are not referring to a specific individual, but rather any individual. The word one’s modifies the noun parents: one’s parents. It is the possessive adjective form of the impersonal pronoun “one.” 

Here is another example:

You should have yours ready when you get there.

Once again, the pronoun is used in a generic sense: you refers to any individual who might be reading the sentence. The word yours stands in for a noun phrase: yours  = your [noun].” It is the possessive pronoun form of the impersonal pronoun you.

Impersonal pronouns also take a reflexive form. Reflexive pronouns are a class of pronouns that refer to (and sometimes emphasize) the antecedent. They are the object of the verb and refer back to the subject.

One should love oneself.

Here, the pronoun one is matched with the reflexive pronoun oneself, which is the reflexive form of the impersonal pronoun one.


Forms of Impersonal Pronouns

If this impersonal pronoun is the antecedent…

Use this possessive pronoun

Use this reflexive pronoun

Use this possessive adjective

one

one’s

oneself

one’s

you

yours

yourself

your

they

theirs

themselves

their

 

Working with Impersonal Pronouns: You or One?

You may have heard that using you is less proper than using one, but on the GMAT, all that matters is consistency: pronouns with the same antecedent must match in terms of number, gender, and person. There is no word-choice preference between you and one — they have the same meaning when acting as impersonal pronouns.

Incorrect: One should have their teeth checked every six months.

Correct: One should have one's teeth checked every six months.

Correct: You should have your teeth checked every six months.

Incorrect: One should take your responsibilities seriously.

Correct: One should take one's responsibilities seriously.

Correct: You should take your responsibilities seriously.

 

The rule for all indefinite pronouns is consistency: do not mix and match indefinite pronouns that have the same antecedent.

 

Summary: Possessive Pronouns in Three Steps

1. Identify any pronouns in the sentence indicating possession.

2. Identify the antecedent of each pronoun (noun or pronoun). 

3. Check to see that the pronoun is in the possessive case and agrees with its antecedent in number, gender, and person.

Watch out for:

  • Possessive adjectives vs. possessive pronouns
  • Reflexive pronouns
  • Personal pronoun antecedents
  • Impersonal pronoun antecedents

Pronoun Agreement: Objects of "to be" verbs

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions


  
Objects of "to be" verbs must be in the subject form. Watch for pronouns following "to be" verbs (these include verbs such as "it should have been," "it is," "it could have been," "it was," etc.), and make sure they are in subject form. Note that this is an exception to the rule: normally, you would use the object form when the pronoun is the object of the verb.

This is another error common in speech, but it is simple enough to identify and correct as long as you are able to:

1) Identify a “to be” verb.
The verb “to be” takes many forms, some of which can be difficult to recognize as “to be” verbs. Look for the words am, are, is, was, and were, as well as constructions involving the words be, being, and been.

2) Remember the subject form of the pronoun.
Refer to the chart below for the different forms of personal pronouns.


Chart of Personal Pronouns: Subjective, Objective, and Possessive Forms

 

Subjective

Objective

Possessive

First Person Singular

I

me

mine

Second Person Singular

you

you

yours

Third Person Singular

he/she/it

him/her/it

his/hers/its

First Person Plural

we

us

ours

Second Person Plural

you

you

yours

Third Person Plural

they

them

theirs


Consider the following sentence:

It must have been (her / she) who called.

This sentence contains two pronouns, It and she. The pronoun It is the subject of the “to be” verb must have been, and the pronoun she is the object. Many casual speakers and writers of English do not know the rule about the “to be” verb and mistakenly use the object form of the verb, her: It must have been her who called. However, the “to be” rule requires the subject form: It must have been she who called. The pronoun she is correct. 

 

When you see a “to be” verb followed by a pronoun, make sure that the pronoun is in the SUBJECT form!

The following key words will help you identify “to be” verbs:

  • am, is, are, was, were
  • be, been, being


Pronoun Agreement: Relative Pronouns

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions



Which, that and who are relative pronouns. A relative pronoun must refer to the noun or pronoun immediately preceding it (the antecedent).

Which introduces non-essential clauses; that introduces essential clauses.
Who refers to individuals; that and which refer to a group of persons, class, type, species, or one or more things.
Whose is used to refer to both people and things.

Relative pronouns introduce modifying phrases, so you must be on the lookout for misplaced modifiers. If the meaning of the sentence is unclear, the pronoun may be next to the wrong noun/pronoun antecedent. Consider the following sentence:

Incorrect: John was met at the door by a strange man, which he, being afraid, opened slowly.

This sentence is definitely confusing, but its meaning can be clarified by adjusting the placement of the nouns in the sentence.  The relative pronoun must be right next to its antecedent:

Correct: John was met by a strange man at the door, which he opened slowly out of fear.

It's now clear what John is opening – the door, not the man. Note that the non-essential clause beginning with which is set off from the rest of the sentence with a comma.
 

When working with relative pronouns, check to see that:

  • The relative pronoun is right next to the word it is intended to modify 
  • Non-essential clauses are set off from the sentence with a comma (or pair of commas)
  • Who refers to a person, not a thing; that is used for essential clauses, and which is used for non-essential clauses

A Summary of How to Recognize Pronoun Errors

Look for:


Subject, object, or possessive pronouns
Who or whom (interrogative pronouns)
Relative pronouns
Impersonal pronouns
Pronouns that are always singular or always plural
Pronouns following to be verbs

Check for:

Subject–verb agreement
Pronoun agreement
Agreement with antecedent
Pronoun placement


Pronoun Agreement: Sample Questions

Pronoun Agreement

A. Introduction
B. Subject vs. Object
C. Who vs. Whom
D. Singular and Plural Pronouns
E. Possessive Pronouns
F. Objects of to be verbs
G. Relative Pronouns
H. Sample Questions



I don’t remember whom has the most stock in the company.

A) whom has the most stock
B) who have the most stock
C) whom have the more stock
D) who has the most stock
E) whose the most stock

Read
I don’t remember whom has the most stock in the company.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Pronouns (who/whom)

This question gives you the choice between who, whom, and whose. To determine which pronoun to use, rearrange the sentence into a question: Who has the most stock in the company? 

You use the subject pronoun who to ask the question, so the answer also requires a subject pronoun: "who."

Compare
A) whom has the most stock
Correct pronoun use? NO Whom is an object pronoun; the sentence requires the subject pronoun who.

B) who have the most stock
Correct pronoun use? YES – The subject pronoun who is correct.
Additional errors? Verb form: The plural verb have does not agree with the singular pronoun who.

C) whom have the more stock
Correct pronoun use? NO Whom is an object pronoun; the sentence requires the subject pronoun who.
Additional errors? Comparisons: The sentence requires the superlative most, not the comparative more.

D) who has the most stock
Correct pronoun use? YES – The subject pronoun who is correct.
Additional errors? NO – the singular verb has agrees with the singular pronoun who.

E) whose the most stock
Correct pronoun use? NO Whose is the possessive form of the pronoun who/whom.

(D) is correct.


 

Anyone who chooses to be part of our coalition to defend homeless people are required to sign several documents.

A) people are required to sign
B) people is required to sign
C) person is required to sign
D) people are required, signing
E) people is required, signing
 

Read
Anyone who chooses to be part of our coalition to defend homeless people are required to sign several documents.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Pronouns (singular/plural pronouns)

The subject of this sentence is the singular pronoun Anyone.  However, the main verb is plural: are required.  The subject and verb must agree, so we need the singular verb is required.

Compare
A) people are required to sign
Correct pronoun use? NO "Anyone" is a singular pronoun; are is plural

B) people is required to sign
Correct pronoun use? YES – "Anyone" is a singular pronoun; "is" is singular
Additional errors? NO

C) person is required to sign
Correct pronoun use? YES"Anyone" is a singular pronoun; "is" is singular
Additional errors? Nouns: The phrase "coalition for homeless people" implies multiple people; the singular noun "person" is not correct in this context.

D) people are required, signing
Correct pronoun use? NO "Anyone" is a singular pronoun; "are" is plural

E) people is required, signing
Correct pronoun use? YES "Anyone" is a singular pronoun; "is" is singular
Additional errors? Verb form: The infinitive form to sign is required; signing is not correct here.

(B) is correct.


 

It is likely that you and I will not irritate she and John as they are very tolerant people.

A) you and I will not irritate she and John
B) you and me will not irritate she and John
C) you and I will not irritate John and her
D) you and me will not irritate John and her
E) you and myself will not irritate John and she
 

Read
It is likely that you and I will not irritate she and John as they are very tolerant people.

Dissect
Grammar issues presented: Pronouns (subject/object pronouns)

In this sentence we are given a choice between "you and I" or "you and me," or "you and myself" as a compound subject.  Pronouns in the subject position must be in the subjective case: you and I, not you and me or you and myself.

There is another compound noun in the sentence, "she and John." Since this noun is the object of the verb, the pronoun must be in the objective case: her

Compare
A) you and I will not irritate she and John
Correct pronoun use? NO – The compound noun she and John is in the object position, but she is a subject pronoun.

B) you and me will not irritate she and John
Correct pronoun use? NO – The compound noun you and me is in the subject position, but me is an object pronoun.

C) you and I will not irritate John and her
Correct pronoun use? YES I is the correct pronoun in the subject position; her is the correct pronoun in the object position.
Additional errors? NO

D) you and me will not irritate John and her
Correct pronoun use? NO – The compound noun you and me is in the subject position, but me is an object pronoun.

E) you and myself will not irritate John and she
Correct pronoun use? NO – The compound noun you and myself is in the subject position, but myself is a reflexive pronoun and has no antecedent in this sentence.

(C) is correct.


 

The choir sang passionately, as they moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies.

A) as they moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
B) as they were moving through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
C) moving themselves through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
D) as it moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
E) as it moved through challenging four-part harmonies elaborately

Read
The choir sang passionately, as they moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Pronoun Agreement (singular/plural)

The collective noun choir requires a singular, not plural, pronoun: it.

Compare
A) as they moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
Subject/Verb Agreement? NO - choir (singular) : they (plural)

B) as they were moving through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
Subject/Verb Agreement? NO - choir (singular) : they (plural)

C) moving themselves through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
Subject/Verb Agreement? NO - choir (singular) : themselves (plural)

D) as it moved through elaborate and challenging four-part harmonies
Subject/Verb Agreement? YES - choir (singular) : it (plural)
Additional Errors? NO

E) as it moved through challenging four-part harmonies elaborately
Subject/Verb Agreement? YES - choir (singular) : it (plural)
Additional Errors? Sentence Construction: The adverb “elaborately” should be as close as possible to the word it modifies: “moved.”

(D) is correct.


 

Marston was an early seventeenth-century dramatist, and it is likely that him and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other.

A) it is likely that him and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other
B) they likely borrowed ideas from each other
C) him and Shakespeare likely borrowed ideas from each other
D) it is likely that himself and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other
E) it is likely that he and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other

Read
Marston was an early seventeenth-century dramatist, and it is likely that him and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Pronoun Agreement (subject vs. object)

This sentence includes a compound subject: [Marston] and Shakespeare. Since Marston is the subject, the corresponding pronoun must be in the subjective case: he and Shakespeare. As it is written, the pronoun him is incorrect because it is in the objective case.

Compare
A) it is likely that him and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other
Correct pronoun use? NO - The compound noun [Marston] and Shakespeare is in the subject position, but him is an object pronoun.

B) they likely borrowed ideas from each other
Correct pronoun use? NO - The plural pronoun they is ambiguous because one of the subjects, Shakespeare, has been eliminated in this option.

C) him and Shakespeare likely borrowed ideas from each other
Correct pronoun use? NO - The compound noun [Marston] and Shakespeare is in the subject position, but him is an object pronoun.

D) it is likely that himself and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other
Correct pronoun use? NO - The compound noun [Marston] and Shakespeare is in the subject position, but himself is a reflexive pronoun.

E) it is likely that he and Shakespeare borrowed ideas from each other
Correct pronoun use? YES - The compound noun [Marston] and Shakespeare is in the subject position, and he is a subject pronoun.
Additional errors? NO

(E) is correct.




Section V-5: Verb Time Sequences

Verb Time Sequences

A. Introduction
B. Verb Tense
C. Mood
D. Voice
E. Sample Questions




Verbs are a vital part of proper English, both written and spoken.  In order to do well on the GMAT and in your business career, you must become familiar with the many English verbs and their possible forms. This includes learning how to spot verbs that violate grammar rules.

What is a verb?

Verbs convey actions, events, or states of being. Every complete sentence contains at least one verb:

Mary walked to the park.

The baseball game started at 10 pm

The three of us are all brunettes.

Go to the bank!

If there is no verb in the main clause, or if the verb is in the wrong form, the sentence is referred to as a sentence fragment or incomplete sentence. This type of sentence violates the rules of proper construction and is never the right answer in a Sentence Correction question.
 

 

Be on the lookout for sentence fragments.  Check every sentence and make sure that it contains a main verb in the correct form.

 

 

Why do verbs change form?

Verbs are capable of conveying not only when an event occurred, but also how it relates to the noun(s) involved (is the man throwing the ball, or is it thrown to him? Is she driving the car, or is the car being driven?, etc). These two properties, tense and voice, dictate the proper formation of English verbs, along with one other property, mood.

Tense: indicates at what time an action is occurring (past, present, or future).

Mood: indicates the manner in which a thought is expressed or clarifies the purpose of a statement. For example, is the sentence an order, a question, or a statement?

Voice: indicates whether the subject is performing or receiving the action of the verb.

 

When you encounter a verb in a GMAT sentence, in addition to looking for subject-verb agreement, you must also check to make sure that it is in the correct tense, mood, and voiceThis chapter will help you recognize when a verb is correctly formed with regard to these three properties.

How are verbs formed?

Every verb has a root form, called the infinitive. You use the infinitive to create most other forms of the verb:

to run running, ran, will run, etc.
to eat eating, ate, will eat, was eaten, etc.
to happen happening, happened, will happen, etc.

The infinitive consists of the preposition "to" added to the base form of the verb: to run, to eat, to be, to happen, etc. An infinitive without “to” is called a “naked infinitive”: run, eat, be, happen, etc.

There are thousands of verbs in the English language. Although you will likely not be able to memorize all of the possible variations by test day, you can learn the basic rules governing their formation.


Verb Time Sequences: Verb Tense

Verb Time Sequences

A. Introduction
B. Verb Tense
C. Mood
D. Voice
E. Sample Questions



Verb Tenses
http://www.youtube.com/embed/-Wqc8-FuuRw
Video Courtesy of Kaplan GMAT

Verb tenses allow us to specify at what point in time some event occurred. The three main tenses in English are past, present, and future. These are called the simple tenses. To determine which simple tense to use, ask yourself at what point in time the event happened relative to your present position in time. Use the graphic below as a method for determining which tense to use.

When did it happen?

The simple tenses describe actions or events that take place for an indeterminate length of time. They are also used in describing general truths, preferences, habitual actions, and events in works of fiction (books, movies, etc.):

                Albert likes ice cream. (preference)

                There is no place like home. (general truth)

                Every morning, Vanessa bikes to work. (habitual action)

                The main character is transparent and one-dimensional. (description of fictional work)

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Formation

Present tense verbs are formed by removing "to" from the infinitive and either using the base form or adding an -s to the end. For example, to walk becomes walk or walks, to paint becomes paint or paints, and to reason becomes reason or reasons.

Past tense verbs are usually formed by adding –ed to the base form. For example, talk becomes talked, paint becomes painted and reason becomes reasoned. (Irregular verbs, such as to eat and to have, are not formed in the same way; if you are unfamiliar with these verbs, consult an English grammar guide.)

Future tense verbs are usually formed by adding will or shall to the base form. For example, talk becomes will talk or shall talk, paint becomes will paint or shall paint, and reason becomes will reason or shall reason.

Verbs can also indicate whether an action is completed or ongoing. Aspect describes the event's completion, duration, or repetition.

All together, there are 4 aspects (simple, perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive) and 3 time indicators (past, present, and future). This makes 3 × 4 = 12 tenses.

To determine which form a given verb should be in, first ask when the event happened, and then ask whether the action is completed or ongoingThe answer to these two questions will tell you what tense to use:

 

PAST

PRESENT

FUTURE

Indefinite
(Simple)

Simple past tense
base + -ed
“walked”

Simple present tense
base/base + ­-s
“walk”/”walks”

Simple future tense
will+ base
“will walk”

Completed
(Perfect)

Past perfect tense
had+ base + ­-ed
“had walked”

Present perfect tense
have/has+ base + -ed
“have walked”/”has walked”

Future perfect tense
will have + based + -ed
“will have walked”

Ongoing
(Progressive)

Past progressive tense
was/were + base + -ing
“was walking”/”were walking”

Present progressive tense
am/is/are + base + -ing
“am walking”/”is walking”/”are walking”

Future progressive tense
will be + base + -ing
“will be walking”

Ongoing; will be completed
(Perfect progressive)

Past perfect progressive tense
had been + base + -ing
“had been walking”

Present perfect progressive tense
have/has been + base +  -ing
“have been walking”/”has been walking”

Future perfect progressive tense
will have been + base +  -ing
“will have been walking”

The perfect form indicates an action that was, is, or will be completed.

The progressive form indicates an action that is ongoing.

The perfect progressive indicates an action that is ongoing but will be completed.

Test your comprehension: identify the tense of each verb below.

1. By the time Michael arrived, the party had ended.

Two verbs: arrived (simple past tense); had ended (past perfect tense)


2. Michael is always late. By the time he arrives tonight, the party will have ended.


Three verbs: is (simple present tense); arrives (present simple tense, used in a prepositional phrase to refer to an event in the future); will have ended (future perfect tense)

 

3. I have played the game.

 

One verb: have played (present perfect tense)

 

4. We were playing basketball when the car smashed through the gate.

 

Two verbs: were playing (past progressive tense); smashed (simple past tense)

 

5. We are eating dinner right now.

 

One verb: are eating (present progressive tense)

 

6. For the next several months, Michelle will be traveling through Europe.

One verb: will be traveling (future progressive tense)

 

7. I have been studying.

 

One verb: have been studying (present perfect progressive tense)

 

Two or More Verbs in One Sentence

As you may have noticed during the exercise above, tenses are also useful for ordering sequences of events.

Incorrect: After he finished his performance, he had gone to the party.

Correct: After he finished his performance, he went to the party.

To approach questions like this, first locate all the verbs in the sentence and identify their tenses as you did in the exercise at the end of the last section. This sentence has two verbs: finished (past tense) and had gone (past perfect).

Next, clarify the order and duration of events and check whether the verb tenses accurately reflect this order. In this sentence, the key word “after” tells us that this is a “first, second” ordering of two events that both happened in the past. Because both events are completed, you need the simple past tense for each verb: “finished his performance and went to the party”.

 

Summary

1. Locate verbs & identify tenses.
2. Clarify order and duration of events.
3. Check whether the tenses reflect the order/duration of events.
4. If necessary, make corrections.

 




Help with Step 2: Ordering Events

To determine the order of events, pick one event as a "base" action, and place it on a timeline relative to your present position in time “the present”.

Next, figure out when other events occurred in relation to that event. Try to discern whether the event(s) occurred prior to the base action, after the base action, or at the same time as the base action. You must also determine the duration of each event relative to the base action:

Let’s try one example:

If the cyclist wins the race, it will be representing an extraordinary comeback from his earlier cancer.

An "if clause" at the beginning of the sentence indicates a hypothetical, which is expressed using the subjunctive mood (see the next section C. Mood ” in this chapter for more help with subjunctives). Since this is a hypothetical situation, the race has not happened yet. So, the verb “wins” represents a future-tense action. The second verb, "will be representing" indicates an action that will happen in conjunction with the cyclist’s win. 

Both actions are taking place in the future relative to our present position in time, and they happen at the same time. So, both verbs must be in the same tense: wins (simple present form used in a prepositional phrase to talk about the future) and will represent. 

Looking back at the original sentence, we see that the second verb is in the future progressive (also called “future continuous”) form:


GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

Replace the future progressive verb “will be representing” with the simple future verb “will represent”.

Incorrect: If the cyclist wins the race, it will be representing an extraordinary comeback from his earlier cancer.

Correct: If the cyclist wins the race, it will represent an extraordinary comeback from his earlier cancer.

 

Tips for recognizing verb tense errors

1. Watch for –ing forms.
Sometimes -ing forms are used as junk answers; you will often be given a better alternative.

2. Watch for time sequences.
Be alert for several verbs that indicate the occurrence of several events that happen (or happened) at different points in time. Pick one verb as the "base" in time sequence, and determine the order of events relative to the base event.

 

Verb Time Sequences: Mood

Verb Time Sequences

A. Introduction
B. Verb Tense
C. Mood
D. Voice
E. Sample Questions




In English, mood describes the manner in which a statement is expressed with respect to its factuality, possibility, or command. Highly inflected languages, such as German and Japanese, typically feature numerous moods. English has only three moods: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.

1. The indicative mood states a fact or asks a question. The indicative is the most commonly used mood.

Harry spends all of his money on comic books.

Any statement related to a claim of fact is in the indicative mood. Mood is not affected if it is unlikely that Harry actually spends all of his money on comic books; all that matters is that the verb intends to assert a fact.

How does Harry spend all of his money?

If we begin to answer with "Harry spends all of his money on…," we can see that the question is inquiring into factuality in the same indicative sense as the previous sentence asserted factuality.


2. The imperative mood expresses a command, request, or prohibition.

Spend all of your money on comic books!
Paul, please try to spend your money on something worthwhile.
Stop spending all your money.

Each sentence here illustrates a different shading of the imperative, but all of them issue a direct address in the second person. The bluntness of orders and requests relegates the imperative predominately to familiar speech and dialogue, but it can also be powerfully utilized in rhetoric ("Ask not what your country can do for you...").

3. The subjunctive mood is used chiefly to express the speaker’s attitude about the likelihood or factuality of a given situation. It has a present and past form:

The present subjunctive is most familiar to us in stock phrases such as God help him, be that as it may, come what may, and suffice it to say. It also occurs in "that clauses" used to state commands or to express intentions or necessity:

We demand that Paul stop spending all of his money on comic books.
It is necessary that Paul stop this behavior.

The past subjunctive is sometimes called the "were subjunctive", because were is the only subjunctive form that is distinct from the indicative past tense. It appears chiefly in "if clauses" and in a few other constructions expressing hypothetical conditions:


If Paul were not spending all of his money, he would not be happy.
I wish Paul were not spending his money so recklessly.


These constructions might ring a bit funny and archaic to the ear; however, when used properly, they express subtleties of situation and condition that can be lost with the infinitive.


Verb Time Sequences: Voice

Verb Time Sequences

A. Introduction
B. Verb Tense
C. Mood
D. Voice
E. Sample Questions




Voice refers to the relationship between the subject and the main verb. There are two voices in the English language: active and passive. Test writers tend to have a stylistic preference for the active voice over the passive

Active Voice

Verbs in the active voice place the performer of the action in the subject role and the person or thing that receives the action in the object position.

Most sentences contain verbs in the active voice:

Andy throws the baton.

The octogenarian plays the harp.

In both cases, the subject is doing the action indicated by the verb.  The object is “receiving” the action indicated by the verb.

 

Passive Voice

The situation is reversed in the passive voice. In a passive construction, the former object becomes the subject, and the performer either occurs in a prepositional phrase beginning with "by" or is omitted from the sentence altogether:

The baton was thrown (by Andy).

The harp was played (by the octogenarian).

As a general rule, the passive voice is both less forceful and less clear than the active voice.

In general, passive voice (alone) isn't sufficient to make a GMAT question wrong.

Verb Time Sequences: Sample Question

Verb Time Sequences

A. Introduction
B. Verb Tense
C. Mood
D. Voice
E. Sample Questions



Larry was entertained and enlightened by the scintillating presentation.

A) was entertained and enlightened
B) entertained and was enlightened
C) entertained and enlightened
D) was entertaining and enlightened
E) will entertain and enlighten

Read
Larry was entertained and enlightened by the scintillating presentation.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Voice (active vs. passive)

This sentence describes two things that happened to Larry, who is receiving the action. The fixed key word “by” indicates that this is a passive construction, so you need two passive verbs in parallel form: “was entertained and enlightened.”

Compare
A) was entertained and enlightened
Correct construction? YES - “was entertained and enlightened” is a passive construction.
Additional errors? NO
 
B) entertained and was enlightened
Correct construction? NO - “entertained” is not a passive construction.

C) entertained and enlightened
Correct construction? NO - “entertained and enlightened” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

D) was entertaining and enlightened
Correct construction? NO - “was entertaining” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

E) will entertain and enlighten
Correct construction? NO - “will entertain and enlighten” is not a passive construction; it is an active construction.

(A) is the best answer.



Valerie recalls her college years with such nostalgia that she often lost herself in reminiscence.

A) she often lost herself in reminiscence
B) she often had lost herself in reminiscence
C) she often loses herself in reminiscence
D) she often will be losing herself in reminiscence
E) she often will have lost herself in reminiscence

 Read
Valerie recalls her college years with such nostalgia that she often lost herself in reminiscence.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The simple present tense verb "recalls" sets up a situation in the present. Though Valerie's college years took place in the past, she remembers them now, and she therefore loses herself in reminiscence (present tense).

Compare
A) she often lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO - (simple past tense)

B) she often had lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO - (past-perfect tense)

C) she often loses herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? YES - (simple present tense)
Additional errors? NO

D) she often will be losing herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO - (future progressive tense)

E) she often will have lost herself in reminiscence
Proper tense? NO - (future perfect)

(C) is the best answer.



Before it will be made available to the public, the painting was sold to a private collector and is currently on hold at the auction house awaiting pick-up.

A) Before it will be made available to the public
B) Before it can be made available to the public
C) Before it could be made available to the public
D) Before it has been made available to the public
E) Before it was made available to the public

Read
Before it will be made available to the public, the painting was sold to a private collector and is currently on hold at the auction house awaiting pick-up.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The fixed part of the sentence says that the painting was sold, which puts this event in the past. Because the underlined event would also have happened in the past, the future tense cannot be correct. Instead, you need the passive, subjunctive construction: could be made available.

Compare
A) Before it will be made available to the public
Proper tense? NO - (future tense)

B) Before it can be made available to the public
Proper tense? NO - (present subjunctive)

C) Before it could be made available to the public
Proper tense? YES - (past subjunctive)
Additional errors? NO

D) Before it has been made available to the public
Proper tense? NO - (past progressive tense)

E) Before it was made available to the public
Proper tense? NO - (simple past)

(C) is the best answer.



In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted, the Villa of the Papyri was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved as the sole library of Antiquity.

A) was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
B) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
C) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and had been preserved
D) had been covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and is preserved
E) is covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved

Read
In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted, the Villa of the Papyri was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved as the sole library of Antiquity.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The beginning of the sentence sets up a situation in the past: In 79 BC, when Vesuvius erupted. This means that the rest of the sentence is going to tell us what happened during the time of the eruption. All three events happened in 79 BC, so we need the simple past tense in the passive voice: was covered and was preserved.

Compare
A) was being covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
Proper tense? NO - was being covered (past progressive tense)

B) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved
Proper tense? YES - (simple past tense (passive voice)) Additional errors? NO

C) was covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and had been preserved
Proper tense? NO - had been preserved (past perfect tense)

D) had been covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and is preserved
Proper tense? NO - had been covered (past-perfect progressive tense); is preserved (present tense).
Additional errors? YES - is preserved (present)

E) is covered in 90 feet of volcanic ash and was preserved Proper tense? NO - is covered (present tense)

(B) is correct.



In the history of life on Earth, there have been five mass extinctions; the most recent was the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs, among many other species.

A) the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
B) the K-T extinction, which had occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
C) the K-T extinction, which, occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period, had wiped out
D) the K-T extinction, which began occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
E) the K-T extinction, which occurs at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out

Read
In the history of life on Earth, there have been five mass extinctions; the most recent was the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs, among many other species.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Verb Time Sequences (verb tense)

The beginning of the sentence tells us that there have been five mass extinctions. Because the sentence uses "have been," the present perfect progressive tense, describing an action that began in the past and continues in the present, we know that mass extinctions are ongoing phenomena. However, the underlined part of the sentence describes a specific extinction event that happened “at the end of the Cretaceous period”. This event occurred in the past and is not ongoing, so we need the simple past tense verbs occurred and wiped out.

Compare
A) the K-T extinction, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? YES - occurred (simple past tense) : wiped out (simple past tense).

B) the K-T extinction, which had occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO - had occurred (past-perfect tense) : wiped out (simple past tense)

C) the K-T extinction, which, occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period, had wiped out
Proper tense? NO - occurring (-ing verb) : had wiped out (past-perfect tense)

D) the K-T extinction, which began occurring at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO - began occurring (-ing verb) : wiped out (simple past tense)

E) the K-T extinction, which occurs at the end of the Cretaceous period and wiped out
Proper tense? NO - occurs (present tense) : wiped out (simple past tense)

(A) is the best choice.




Section V-6: Comparisons

Comparisons

A. Introduction
B. Comparisons as Parallelism
C. Comparative and Superlative Forms
D. Sample Questions



Faulty comparisons account for a significant number of errors in GMAT Sentence Correction questions.

Comparison questions feature words or phrases indicating similarity or difference. These include words in the comparative or superlative form (greater, less, smaller, more, scarier, friendlier, warmer, colder, better, best); comparison words and phrases (like, unlike, as, as in, just as, that of, those of); and comparison structures (Neither…nor, Either…or). 

A comparison can be faulty in two ways:

(1) it is not logical, or

(2) it is not grammatical.

The overarching rule here is as follows: Comparisons must be both logical and grammatical.

It is important to note that correcting either type of error always requires fixing the grammar. In other words, you may see a grammar error without a logical error; but you will never see a logical error without an accompanying grammar error.

Often, a comparison will sound okay, but will be missing a few necessary words:

Incorrect: The view from this apartment is not nearly as spectacular as from that mountain lodge.

If you read it quickly, this sentence makes perfect sense: the view from the apartment is being compared to the view from the mountain lodge. But if you look more closely, you'll see that the sentence actually compares the view from the apartment to the lodge itself.

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.

The basis of comparison needs to be clarified.

Basis of Comparison

If you know the idiomatic expression you can’t compare apples to oranges, then you understand that only similar things can be compared. When checking for logical similarity, make sure that places are compared only to places; qualities only to qualities; parts only to parts; wholes only to wholes; etc.


Grammatical Similarity

Grammatical similarity deals with the forms of the words, rather than their meanings.

This part of the process requires an understanding of parallelism. The first element of comparison is structured as a noun + a prepositional phrase (from + another noun). So, the second element of comparison should be structured in the same way: noun (“the view”) + a prepositional phrase (“from that mountain lodge”).

In other words, the two constructions must match:

Parallel structures are not necessarily identical word-for-word. Sometimes, a necessary part of the structure can be replaced by a pronoun, or the order of words can be reversed, or certain words may be implied.  The overarching rule is that the comparison must be both grammatically balanced and have logical similarity. 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
 

Just like misplaced modifier questions, comparison questions can't be judged by the ear alone. You have to make sure the sentence actually says what it means to say. Here are the corrected versions of the sentence:

Incorrect: The view from this apartment is not nearly as spectacular as that mountain lodge.
Correct: The view from this apartment is not nearly as spectacular as the one from that mountain lodge.
Correct: The view from this apartment is not nearly as spectacular as the view from that mountain lodge.

Let's look at another example.

Shakespeare's plays are different from any other playwrights of his era because they exhibit an exceptional mastery of verse.

Once again, the sentence sounds ok, but it actually compares Shakespeare's plays to other playwrights. The comparison should be between his plays and the plays of other writers.
 

GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
 

This is comparison error:

Incorrect: Shakespeare’s plays vs. any other playwright

Here, you have a modifier plus a noun on one side, and a noun phrase on the other side. Another way to think about it is that you have a person and his creations on one side, and just people on the other side. You need to add the creations to the right-hand side. There are two ways to do this:

Correct: Shakespeare’s plays vs. any other playwright’s plays

Correct: Shakespeare’s plays vs. those of any other playwright

Note that the order is reversed in the latter correction, yet is still correct: person + creation vs. creation + people.  What matters is that both sides contain the same basic elements.  They “match” or are “balanced”:
 

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Pronouns can play a big part in correcting comparison errors. Like the phrase "the one from" in the previous example, the phrase "those of" in this example makes it very clear that Shakespeare's plays are being compared to other playwrights' plays – not other playwrights.

Incorrect: Shakespeare's plays are different from any other playwrights of his era because they exhibit an exceptional mastery of verse.

Correct: Shakespeare's plays are different from those of any other playwrights of his era because they exhibit an exceptional mastery of verse.

Look out for key comparison words and phrases, such as:

like
less than
that of

as
more than
those of

compared to
other


Comparisons: Parallelism

Comparisons

A. Introduction
B. Comparisons as Parallelism
C. Comparative and Superlative Forms
D. Sample Questions

Comparisons are a special case of parallelism. A number of comparison-specific constructions call for you to always express ideas in parallel form. These constructions include:

Either X or Y...
Neither X nor Y...
Not only X but also Y...

X or Y can stand for as little as one word or as much as an entire clause, but in every case, the grammatical structures of X and Y must be identical. For example, this sentence violates the rule by mismatching verb forms: “Either drinking or to eat will do.” 
 

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This is a comparison governed by the structure Either X or Y, which requires parallelism between X (“drinking”) and Y (“to eat”). Both verbs must be in the same form; because they aren't currently in the same form, one must be adjusted.

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Both X and Y are now in the –ing form. While in many cases, you could use two infinitives – to drink and to eat – this particular context calls for two gerunds (verbs acting as nouns).

 

Here's another example:

Neither an interest in history nor to be adept in a foreign language is going to help you learn to sing.

This sentence lists two talents one could possess in a neither/nor format. They are not, however, in the same form.
 

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In this sentence, a noun is compared to a verb. Though it's a different kind of mistake than the missing-information and verb-form errors we've looked at, it should be dealt with in the same way: by changing one of the forms to match the other.
 

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Both X and Y are now in the same form: an interest and adeptness. These two nouns make the comparison balanced and grammatical.

Incorrect: Neither an interest in history nor to be adept in a foreign language is going to help you learn to sing.

Correct: Neither an interest in history nor adeptness in a foreign language is going to help you learn to sing.

 

Summary

When you see comparison structures like Either X or Y, Neither X nor Y, or Not only X but also Y, check to make sure that X and Y are parallel.

Match nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, etc. Make sure that the basis of comparison is the same for X and Y.

Comparisons: Comparative/Superlative

Comparisons

A. Introduction
B. Comparisons as Parallelism
C. Comparative and Superlative Forms
D. Sample Questions

Some comparison words are just special forms of adjectives: instead of describing one thing, they describe the relationship between two or more things.

For most adjectives, use the following guidelines when forming or using comparatives or superlatives:

Comparative:
used when comparing two things (including groups)
usually formed by adding "–er" to the end of the word: happier, softer, faster, taller


Superlative:
used when comparing more than two things
usually formed by adding "–est" to the end of the word: happiest, softest, fastest, tallest


Special rules apply for irregular forms. Below is a list of adjectives that have irregular comparative forms; beneath each is listed its comparative and superlative form.

good
better / best
many
more / most
bad
worse / worst
little
little, lesser, less / least
much
more / most
far
farther, further / farthest, furthest

Comparisons: Sample Questions

Comparisons

A. Introduction
B. Comparisons as Parallelism
C. Comparative and Superlative Forms
D. Sample Questions

Even though he does not like crowds, John still likes New York City more than Sybil.

A) John still likes New York City more than Sybil
B) New York City is still liked more than Sybil by John
C) John is still liking New York City more than is Sybil
D) John still likes New York City more than Sybil does
E) New York City is still more liked by John than Sybil

Read
Even though he does not like crowds, John still likes New York City more than Sybil.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Comparisons

The original sentence contains an ambiguous comparison; it is unclear whether John likes New York City more than he likes Sybil, or whether John likes New York City more than Sybil likes it. A comparison must have a clear basis of comparison – there can be no question as to what is being compared.

Compare
A) John still likes New York City more than Sybil
Clear comparison? NO - ambiguous comparison

B) New York City is still liked more than Sybil by John
Clear comparison? NO - ambiguous comparison

C) John is still liking New York City more than is Sybil
Clear comparison? NO - ambiguous comparison

D) John still likes New York City more than Sybil does
Clear comparison? YES - “more than Sybil does” corrects the issue because the verb “does” stands in for the phrase “likes it.”
Additional errors? NO

E) New York City is still more liked by John than Sybil
Clear comparison? NO - ambiguous comparison

(D) is correct.



In his work, George Santayana is more reminiscent of Plato's poetic narratives and Henry David Thoreau's obsessive detailing than Bertrand Russell’s scientific precisions.

A) In his work, George Santayana is more reminiscent of
B) George Santayana writes more like
C) George Santayana reminds one more of
D) George Santayana's work is more reminiscent of
E) George Santayana’s work more resembles that of

Read
In his work, George Santayana is more reminiscent of Plato's poetic narratives and Henry David Thoreau's obsessive detailing than Bertrand Russell’s scientific precisions.

Dissect
Grammar issue presented: Comparisons

The original sentence compares a person to other people’s work, which is an invalid basis of comparison. To fix this logical error, isolate the grammatical structures in the fixed part of the sentence: they are all names in the possessive form plus noun phrases (“Plato’s poetic narratives,” “Henry David Thoreau’s obsessive detailing,” “Bertrand Russell’s scientific precisions”). This means you should search the answer choices for the same grammatical structure, a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.

Compare
A) In his work, George Santayana is more reminiscent of
Clear comparison? NO - “George Santayana” is a name only; we are looking for a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.

B) George Santayana writes more like
Clear comparison? NO - “George Santayana” is a name only; we are looking for a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.

C) George Santayana reminds one more of
Clear comparison? NO - “George Santayana” is a name only; we are looking for a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.

D) George Santayana's work is more reminiscent of
Clear comparison? YES - “George Santayana’s work” is a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.
Additional errors? NO

E) George Santayana’s work more resembles that of
Clear comparison? YES - “George Santayana’s work” is a name in the possessive form plus a noun phrase.
Additional errors? Redundancy: that of Plato’s poetic narratives” is redundant. The correct phrase should be “that of Plato” or “Plato’s poetic narratives.”

(D) is correct.




Section V-7: Idioms

Idioms are not hard and fast rules of grammar. Instead, they're verbal habits and preferences that have become ingrained in the English language after many years of repeated use. But just because they're not rules doesn't mean we can use them any way we choose to; in fact, idioms can be one of the most difficult subjects for students to handle.


The GMAT includes many different idioms, each of which adheres to its own specific rules. To prepare for idiom questions, take a look at the list of common idioms below, split them into two lists – those you know and those you don't know – and memorize the ones you don't know. It also can help to start reading every day, as idioms appear in almost every kind of reading material available.

Look for these common tricks on GMAT questions:

  • Consider, regard... as, think of...as: there is no "as" after "consider," while both "regard" and "think of" need the "as."
  • To be/being: In general, avoid the construction to be/being because they are usually passive. To be/being are commonly used in junk answer choices.

Idioms

Idioms in bold tend to be more common on the GMAT.

Idiom List

A B C D E
F G H I M
N P R S T
U        

 

A  
access to The company has access to large capital reserves.
act as Training wheels act as a support system for beginning bikers.
allows for The design of the robot arm allows for great flexibility.
as...as Chocolate tastes as good as ice cream.
associate with He associates beer with potato chips.
attribute to The poor first quarter results are attributed to the restructuring.
a responsibility to The CEO has a fiduciary responsibility to all shareholders.
a result of The recent NASDAQ decline is a result of higher interest rates.
a sequence of The misunderstanding arose from a sequence of unfortunate incidents.
agree with The Democrats do not agree with the Republicans on many issues.
among Used when discussing more than two items. He was the finest policeman among the hundreds of rookies.
as good as/or better than The new software is as good as or better than anything on the market.
as great as The house did not look as great as I had hoped after the flood.
attend to (someone or something) The emergency room doctor attended to the injured victim.
attribute X to Y We attribute the poor results to a total lack of effort.
attributed to Y The extinction of the dinosaurs has been attributed to an asteroid collision.

B  
based on The results are based on a comprehensive ten-year study.
begin to He will begin to study twelve hours before the test.
believe X to be Y After seeing the flying saucer, I believe UFOs to be a real phenomenon
between Used when discussing two things (if there are more than two, use among). He could not decide between Corn Flakes and raisin bran.

C  
care about How much do business schools care about your GMAT score?
centers on + noun The GMAT centers on the knowledge of basic math and writing/reading skills.
choose to The number of students who choose to go to business school has increased in the last ten years.
consistent with Your good grades are consistent with your excellent GMAT scores.
contend that He contends that the GMAT has a cultural bias.
consider + noun How important do you consider the test?
continue + to If you continue to study, you will succeed.
contrast A with B If you contrast peanut butter with jelly, you can see the difference.
convert to If you convert to a Mac from a PC, you will have to learn how to use Windows.
compare A to B Compare to stresses similarities. The music critic favorably compared him to Bob Dylan.
compare A with B Compare with stresses differences. Broccoli is good for you compared with ice cream.
count on + noun He counts on management support to help him finish his work.
concerned with They are concerned with investor relations more than actual profitability.
conform to When you work at a new company, you should try to conform to its corporate culture.

D  
decide to We decided to continue working on the project.

decide on We decided on the new format for the lecture series.
depend on The global economy depends on improving productivity.
different from The CAT is very different from the paper-and-pencil GMAT.
difficult to Many students find the CAT difficult to take.
distinguish between X and Y Distinguish between domestic and international production.
distinguish X from Y Juries must attempt to distinguish truth from falsehood.
depends on whether Our place in the playoffs depends on whether we win tonight.

E  
to be + essential to + noun Speed is essential to success in the Internet marketplace
except for He did well on all sections of the GMAT except for the sentence construction questions.

F  
flee from The convict fled from the country.

G  
grow from Dell Computer grew from a start-up to a Fortune 500 company in less than fifteen years.
grow out of Needless to say, they quickly grew out of their first office.

H  
help + noun + to Their direct business model helped them to grow rapidly.

I  
indicate that Dell's recent stock trouble may indicate that their growth will not continue to be as rapid.
invest in He is too risk-averse to invest in the stock market.
identical with His DNA is identical with his twin's.
in contrast to In contrast to his prior statements, the candidate claims to support tax cuts.
independent from The Federal Reserve Board is supposed to be independent from political considerations.
indifferent towards Some countries are indifferent towards animal rights.

L  
leads to Rapid and unsustainable growth often leads to problems.
like Usually used only for direct comparison: The school mascot walks like a chicken.
localized in Most Internet venture capital is localized in a few areas of the world.

M  
mistook + noun + for I mistook you for an old friend.
modeled after The judicial building is modeled after the Parthenon.
more than ever Companies demand MBA graduates now more than ever.

N  
native to There is a unique business culture native to the U.S.
a native of You speak poor French for a native of France.
need to Living in New York City is an experience everyone needs to try.
to be + necessary + to It is necessary to get a high GMAT score to get into Stanford.
neither...nor Neither Tom nor Sam has the necessary skills to finish the job.
not only...but also Stanford not only has the highest average GMAT score but also the highest GPA.

P  
prohibit from + gerund You are prohibited from using a calculator on test day.
potential to A graduate of a top business school has the potential to make more than $100,000 annually.

R  
range from X to Y The GMAT scores at top business schools will range from 650 to 750.
refer to If you have any more questions, you should refer to a grammar book.
regard as Wharton's finance program is regarded as the finest in the world.
require + noun + to You require a GMAT score to go to most U.S. business schools.
rivalry between X and Y The rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees is one of the most celebrated in professional sports.
responsible for The manager is responsible for seven entry-level employees.
retroactive to The tax policy change is retroactive to last year.

S  
save for Save for William, no one else passed the exam.
save from Many people use business school to save them from dull jobs.
so that So should not be used as an adjective: GMAT preparation is so ... complicated. Use it with "that." This guide is designed so that you may raise your score.
subscribe to Business school students should subscribe to the Wall Street Journal.

T  
tie to The contract should be tied to concessions.
transmit to The communications system will transmit to anyone within range.

U  
used + infinitive Japan used to be the model industrial economy.
to be + used to + gerund After five practice tests, he was used to the GMAT CAT format.

Once again, the most effective way to learn idioms is to familiarize yourself with them. Whenever you get an idiom question wrong, write down the idiom. Make a list, and memorize it. There is a finite number of idioms that could be tested on the GMAT, and with enough practice, you should be able to cover most of them.

Examples

1. When choosing a car you often have to choose (between/among) practicality and performance.

"Between" is correct. Use "between" to distinguish two things, such as "practicality" and "performance." Use "among" for more than two things: "The five bank robbers divided the stolen money among themselves."

2. A small order of French fries has (fewer/less) fries than the super-sized order.

"Fewer" is correct. "Fewer" answers the question "How many?", while "less" answers the question "how much?" That is, "fewer" refers to things that can be counted (birds, airplanes, French fries, blades of grass), and "less" refers to things that can't be counted individually and are usually referred to en masse such as pudding, water, or flour.

3. I prefer Mozart (to/over) Beethoven.

"Prefer…to" is the proper expression.

4. Timothy talks (like/as) his friends do.

This is one of the few instances "like" should be used in English. "Like" is used here as a direct comparison.

5. He was studying (in/at) a rate of two practice GMATs per day.

The proper expression is "at a rate of," not "in a rate of."

6. The joint-venture contract covers such questions (like/as) the division of profits and costs.

"Covers…as" is better here. "Like" should be used very rarely, only for direct comparisons (Joe looks like his brother).

7. Dan Marino is regarded (as/to be) one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play football.

The proper idiom is "regarded as."



Section VI: Sample Questions

To conclude the Sentence Correction chapter, we have 30 timed practice questions (ten of each skill level). You have two minutes to do each question. There is a pause button if you have to take a break. Reload the page to restart the clock.

Try using the 800score method to answer these questions:

800score Three-Step Method to Sentence Correction questions is as follows:

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GMAT Sentence Correction: If graphic doesn't load, press shift-refresh in your webbrowser to reload the page.
Read the complete sentence. Do not simply read the underlined part of the sentence, because context may be important in determining the correct answer. As mentioned above, choice A will always be a copy of the original underlined part of the sentence. If you cannot find any errors, grammatical or otherwise, in the original sentence, choose A, and move on. Don't worry about spelling, capitalization, or punctuation; they are not covered in Sentence Correction questions. If you do find an error in the underlined portion, or if you're not sure, proceed to step two.

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The GMAT tests only a limited number of grammar error types. After you've read the sentence, look for clues indicating what grammar rule the question is testing. These grammar rules and the clues to look for will be covered in more detail in the next section. Keep an eye out for these common issues:
Agreement Issues: Look for pronouns, verbs, and nouns: do they agree?
Modifiers: Look for introductory phrases set off by a comma: is the modifier used correctly?
Parallels: Look for commas separating words in a list, as well as expressions such as not only...but also, both..and, either...or, neither...nor: is everything parallel?

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After you've dissected the question, compare answer choices and note how they differ. Look for the answer choice that preserves the meaning of the original sentence without creating new errors. Eliminate answer choices with grammar errors.


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Sample Questions

Easy
 
Medium
Hard