Free GMAT Course > Sentence Correction > The 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:

    1. Read
      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. dissect
      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. compare
      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.

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The Three-Step Method

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