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GMAT Verbal: Sentence Correction

by Krista

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Sentence Correction, how does this sentence end again…?

As we cover the last type of question on the verbal section of the GMAT, keep in mind that each of these sections/components should be equally studied. Because you never know which type of question you'll be getting! So be prepared by reading these lessons, doing the practice tests!

Don't worry Julie Andrews, we'll cover it all!

Tell me more about these sentence corrections!

Well, sentence corrections make up about one-third of the verbal questions on the GMAT, so you'll probably see around 16 questions throughout the section in random order.
It will be in the form of a long sentence partially or completely underlined. Your job is to figure out whether or not the underlined part of sentence needs to be revised or changed in order to make it grammatically correct.
Instructions, Instructions

Read these now so you won't waste valuable time when you're in the exam…

Directions: Each sentence correction question refers to a sentence, a portion or all of which has been underlined. If you think the sentence is correct as written, pick the first answer choice, which simply repeats the underlined portion exactly. If you think there is something wrong with the sentence as written, choose the answer choice that best replaces the underlined portion of the sentence.

Sentence correction questions are designed to measure your correct use of grammar, you ability to form clear and effective sentences and your capability to choose the most appropriate words. Pick the answer that best states what was meant in the original sentence while adhering to the requirements of standard written English. Avoid constructions that are awkward, unclear, or redundant.

Whew..ok so now that you've read the very official instructions, let's go over ways in which you can look at the questions to analysis and answer them sufficiently.

You read above that the test markers are looking for the "best" answer which translates to the "most correct". One of the things that some people get hung up on is that the correct answer is not always the one that sounds like it would be the most correct answer. This is because we may not use the very most correct versions of sentences in our language from day to day.
The Little Things

And then I don't feel so bad… The important thing about spotting errors in your sentence correction questions is to realize that it's all about a process of elimination. If you can spot the error and eliminate the other questions you'll be golden!

Choice A is something to look out for. It becomes the choice that makes the sentence as you read it the most correct answer. This can get confusing if answers following seem not very different at all. Look out for little things in the grammar. Here are some common sentence mistakes to look out for…

  • Is the pronoun ambigious?
  • Do the words used contradict other parts of the sentence?
  • Are commas used correctly?
  • Is the right tense used?
  • Are plural forms used when they're not needed?
A tip: Don't get hung up on what the sentence SOUNDS like. This may not be the most correct answer. Don't pick an answer based on if it sounds better, pick it because it looks grammatically correct. In these tests you have to be specific and read the sentences critically skimming for mistakes.
Tricky, Tricky

Something to look out for is a question that you know right off the bat has a mistake, and so you just pick a quick way to correct it. But, what could happen is in the process, add another part in which makes the sentence wrong again by adding an additional error. Don't just pick the answer that fixes the initial problem, pick the answer that fixes the initial, and doesn't add anything else to make it wrong yet again.
Take the Approach, any Approach

You Know the Flaw

As I've mentioned before, a great strategy is to take into consideration the process of elimination. You can do this by…
  1. Finding the Flaw (grammatical error in the sentence)
  2. Read Your Choices (which of the choices corrects the flaw?)
  3. Cancel Out the Bad Ones (so you're left with the ones that correct the initial error)
  4. Read What's Left (are there any additional errors added to confuse you?)
  5. Pick Your Answer (pick the one that corrects the first problem and does not include anything else fishy)
Well, I Don't Know the Flaw, Now What??!

You might be asking, well, what if I..don't see the grammatical flaw? It may be a bit harder, but there is a way. Skip step one!
  1. Read Your Choices (do you see anything that's different? Any errors in the choices?)
  2. Cancel Out the Bad Ones (if you see errors in the choices, get rid of 'em!)
  3. Read What's Left (do they still work with the sentence given?)
  4. Pick Your Answer (pick the one that works the best in the sentence and the one without errors to start)

Now go frollick! Use your new skills and put them to the test with over 50 sentence correction trivia!

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16 Comments
    Piyush_T
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    Piyush TiwariWed, 11 Feb 2009 20:30:37 -0000

    Thanks for this very helpful lesson. I really appreciate all the people who contribute.

    The CD and the download from MBA.com are the same for those who might still be wondering.

    Also, in working with SC questions, make sure to memorize the GMAT idiom list.

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    Sureshbala
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    SureshThu, 27 Nov 2008 12:25:41 -0000

    Dear mansi24, I think you have downloaded the Windows version. Please check it once and download the MAC version of the software

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    mansi24
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    mansi24Fri, 07 Nov 2008 11:21:18 -0000

    dude..ive registerd for the test..got the date..got the cd as well. but the cd in not openin on my MAC..any way out?

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    Sureshbala
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    SureshSat, 11 Oct 2008 19:30:17 -0000

    Hi mansi , the answer must be
    "payments are not expected to be paid when they will be"

    "There is no overlap between questions found in the Official Guide for GMAT® Review, 11th Edition, the Official Guide for GMAT® Quantitative Review, the Official Guide for GMAT® Verbal Review, and GMATPrep®." this is what the official website claims. For more info Click Here

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    mansi24
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    mansi24Sat, 11 Oct 2008 19:03:21 -0000

    Thank you Mr Sureshbala..does the OG have the same questions as the official CD sent by GMAT team on registering for the GMAT test??
    another question:
    The bank holds $4 billion in loans that are delinquent or in such trouble that they do not expect payments when due.

    it does not expect payments to be made when they are

    • they do not expect payments when

    • payments are not expected to be paid when they will be

    • it does not expect payments when its

    • payment are not to be expected to be paid when

    any answers?

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    chandra_avinash
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    Avinash ChandraThu, 16 Oct 2008 12:33:21 -0000

    Hi Mansi,

    To add to Suresh's post - I believe the CD contains the same test prep software, which is normally available for free download.

    Does this clarify the issue? Do drop a line if you need some more info.

    All the best!

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    Sureshbala
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    SureshSat, 11 Oct 2008 18:58:09 -0000

    Hi mansi, on behalf our entire team let me thank you for these encouraging words…
    As such plenty of lessons on both Verbal Ability and Quantitative Aptitude are scheduled for our GMAT community. In addition to these resources available on LEARNHUB you can go through "Official Guide for GMAT Review-11 Edition" for more GMAT practice questions.

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    mansi24
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    mansi24Sat, 11 Oct 2008 18:45:01 -0000

    guys is the material on the website enough or is there more u could suggest for practice?
    i must say kudos to the entire team of learnhub, they're doing a great service!

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    mansi24
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    mansi24Sat, 11 Oct 2008 18:38:16 -0000

    guys thnk u for all ur replies..but i still havent got one answer..
    while part A) places "ivan borosky" correctly, it sounds awkward

    so grammatically, none seems the right choice :)
    open for more ideas though
    bring it on :)

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    tgurtarun
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    tgurtarunSun, 05 Oct 2008 15:50:25 -0000

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    mansi24
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    mansi24Wed, 24 Sep 2008 19:55:21 -0000

    Cud any1 please help me out with this SC question?

    Having immigrated to Canada at age 14, his first film reflects Ivan Borovsky's childhood in Russia.

    Ivan Borovsky reflects his childhood in Russia in his first film.

    • his first film reflects Ivan Borovsky's childhood in Russia.

    • Ivan Borovsky's childhood in Russia is reflected by his first film.

    • Ivan Borovsky, who spent his childhood in Russia, reflects this in his first film.

    • the subject of his first film is Ivan Borovsky's childhood in Russia.

    what is the correct option here n why???

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    chandra_avinash
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    Avinash ChandraSat, 04 Oct 2008 11:06:38 -0000

    Hi Mansi,

    I feel that the second option is correct.

    If you look at the question - the sentence is pretty awkward. "Having immigrated to Canada at the age 14, his first film…." - in this sentence the first 2 clauses are next to each other. As a result it seems that Ivan's film migrated to Canada at the age of 14 years.

    Since that sounds pretty dumb, we are inclined to read another meaning into the sentence and therefore we have trouble trying to choose the correct option.

    A great way to correct such sentences is to try to word them in the simplest way possible - so that there is no room for confusion.

    The 3rd option is way too awkwardly constructed - too many clauses and there is a lot of subject/object confusion.

    The 4th option implies that the film migrated to Canada - which we know is preposterous.

    The 2nd option is better - there is less confusion about the subject and it's comparatively simpler. The sentence can be simpler though - however, you will need to choose the best option from the options that you have.

    I hope this clarifies things. Please feel free to raise any other query!

    Sureshbala
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    SureshThu, 09 Oct 2008 15:27:00 -0000

    Without any hesitation I will choose the first choice.

    Let's look at the question…

    Having immigrated to Canada at age 14, his first film reflects Ivan Borovsky’s childhood in Russia.

    In the above sentence, there is no clarity about to whom does 'his' refer to.

    Now if you consider the first choice this is the sentence that we have.

    Having immigrated to Canada at age 14, Ivan Borovsky reflects his childhood in Russia in his first film.

    I think this sentence is well structured(as Chandra_avinash pointed out)

    If you plug in any other option, the same problem pops up which we discussed earlier with the original sentence

    gsbedi21
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    Gagandeep Singh BediSat, 11 Oct 2008 17:47:41 -0000

    As the modifier is close to what it is modifying, second option is correct.

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    santoshp
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    santoshpMon, 01 Sep 2008 15:57:53 -0000

    good one but need more one

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    varunparanjape
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    varunparanjapeWed, 13 Aug 2008 02:50:40 -0000

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    acrosstheuniverse
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    KristaThu, 31 Jul 2008 18:38:29 -0000

    Hello m_musroor, debadutta and chauamit,

    There are some great practice questions for you to work on in the GMAT Question Bank. You should be able to find hundreds of questions from each section so that you can practice up on them all.

    Here's a quick example so you can see what to expect:

    We have been experiencing some extreme weather lately, ranging from very hot to very cold, which will spell out bad news for the polar bears and other animals whose habitats can be found on the ice floes which continue to melt and break.

    The climate continues to warm, which will mean that the polar bears will suffer due to melting ice floes.

    A. which will mean that the polar bears will suffer due to melting ice floes.
    B. which will mean that the melting ice floes will make the polar bears suffer.
    C. and this will mean that the ice floes will cause the polar bears to suffer.
    D. and the resulting melt of the ice floes will cause much suffering for the polar bears.
    E. and as a result, the polar bears will suffer, the melting of the ice floes.

    ANSWER: D

    Here's how I came about it using the things we've learned in the lesson above:

    Finding the Flaw: Which works very awkwardly in this sentence because it doesn't have a noun to explain it.
    Therefore cancel the bad ones: A-C can then be canceled.
    Read what's left: We have D and E, and E has an incomplete structural error at the end of the sentence that doesn't correct the problem.
    Pick your answer So D is the correct answer.

    Also, check out the sentence corrections test for more practice.

    Or the GMAT Verbal Test for again, some more practice.

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    chauamit
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    chauamitThu, 31 Jul 2008 17:26:23 -0000

    some examples will surely help…

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    debadutta
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    debaduttaSun, 20 Jul 2008 12:16:28 -0000

    pl provide with some examples to understand better

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    m_musroor
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    m_musroorFri, 04 Jul 2008 05:58:02 -0000

    give some examples and practice questions

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