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Please visit to find out more and also take a free Sentence Correction Study Guide (ISBN: ). MANHATTAN PREP 2 Sentence Correction GMAT Strategy Guide This essential guide takes the guesswork out of grammar by presenting all of the major. Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide, 4th Edition (Manhattan GMAT Preparation Guides) (8 Guide Instructional Series). Read more.

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Do not be caught relying only on your ear; master the rules for correcting every GMAT sentence. No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means—graphic, electronic, or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or web distribution—without the prior written permission of the publisher, MG Prep, Inc. Layout Design: I hope this book gives you just the guidance you need to get the most out of your GMAT studies.

As you begin studying, try one problem at a time and review it thoroughly before moving on. In the middle of your studies, attempt some mixed sets of problems from a small pool of topics the two quizzes we've devised for you are good examples of how to do this. Later in your studies, mix topics from multiple guides and include some questions that you've chosen randomly out of the Official Guide. This way, you'll learn to be prepared for anything! DO time yourself when answering questions.

DO cut yourself off and make a guess if a question is taking too long. You can try it again later without a time limit, but first practice the behavior you want to exhibit on the real test: The real test will toss topics at you in random order, and half of the battle is figuring out what each new question is testing.

Set yourself up to learn this when doing practice sets. Sentence Correction tests your mastery of both grammar and meaning as it applies to conventional written English. SC questions typically comprise a bit more than one-third of the questions in the Verbal section, so a strong performance on SC is an important part of a great score. Question Format Take a look at this SC problem: Although William Pereira first gained national recognition for his movie set designs, including those for Reap the Wild Wind and Jane Eyre, future generations remember him as the architect of the Transamerica Tower, the Malibu campus of Pepperdine University, and the city of Irvine.

The underlined segment may be short, or it may include most or even all of the original sentence. The five answer choices are possible replacements for the underlined segment. The other four choices will always offer different options. Your task is to choose the answer that, when placed in the given sentence, is the best option of those given, in terms of grammar and meaning.

In fact, you'll need to average just 1 minute and 20 seconds per SC question. As a result, you'll need a standard process to help you work through any SC question efficiently and effectively. Here's the basic process: Try the process out with the William Pereira example: Take a first glance.

Take a first glance to spot clues that may help you answer the question. You may not notice much at first; you'll get better with practice! Don't read—just glance briefly at the entire problem. How long is the underline? What's happening where the underline starts? In the Pereira problem, the underline is relatively short. It begins right after a comma and the first word is including. The first word of the five answers will always contain at least one difference, so glance down the first word of each choice.

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The word including is used to introduce examples. The word like is used to indicate a similarity between two or more things. Keep these in mind as you move to your next step. Step 2: Read the sentence for meaning. While you read the sentence, keep an eye out for both grammar and meaning issues. The object of this step emphasizes meaning because many people forget to think about what the sentence is trying to say. A sentence can be grammatically correct and yet illogical or ambiguous: Wait a minute…whose car did they take?

Someone else's? The sentence is unclear. What does the William Pereira sentence say? The sentence begins with a contrast word although , so make sure the rest of the sentence does convey a contrast.

Although he gained recognition for one thing, he was remembered for other, quite different things. That basic meaning does make sense.

Step 3: Find a starting point. Most SC problems test multiple issues and those issues can appear anywhere in the sentence. Where do you start?

Initially, you're likely to have one of two starting points: You spot an error or suspected error in the original sentence. You notice splits, or differences, in the answers.

If you think you've found an issue in the original sentence, immediately look through the answers to make sure you're offered at least one split for that issue. If all five are identical, then you haven't actually found an error. If you are offered splits, go ahead and tackle that issue. You might get to the end of the original sentence without spotting an error. In this case, start comparing the answers to find splits.

If you don't know how to decide about a particular split, ignore it and find another. The first two steps—first glance and read for meaning—will usually help you to find your first starting point. For instance, in the Pereira problem, the first glance showed a split between including and like, so as you read, ask yourself: They represent examples of Pereira's movie set designs, and examples should be introduced using the word including, not the word like.

Step 4: Eliminate all incorrect choices. Scan down the options. Answers B and C both use like; eliminate them. There are still three choices left, so find another starting point and repeat steps 3 and 4.

After a repetition or two, you'll either get down to one answer or get stuck. Either way, pick an answer and move on to the next problem. If you spot a difference but don't know how to deal with it, ignore that difference and look for some other difference instead.

Now, where are you going to find these new starting points? You have two main options: Tackle errors that you spotted in the original sentence. Compare the remaining answer choices vertically, looking for differences, or splits. If you know how to tackle a particular split, do so! In the Pereira example, you might note that the answers split on that vs.

What is at the heart of that difference? The two words are pronouns, but one is singular and one is plural. The pronoun is intended to refer back to the plural word designs, so the singular that is incorrect. Eliminate answer D. Now, compare the last two answers, A and E. The only difference is at the end: Pereira first gained recognition for one thing, but the author postulates that future generations are going to remember him for something else. The future tense, will remember, fits that meaning.

Sometimes you may feel—and rightly so—that all the answers, including the correct one, aren't very good. Correct GMAT Sentence Correction answers never break strict grammatical rules, but these answers can sound formal or even awkward. Expect that, at times, a correct answer won't sound or feel very good to you.

How can you possibly move that quickly and still get the right answer? Here's how: In general, try to spend at least 40 seconds on any SC question; if you work more quickly than that, you are more likely to make careless mistakes.

Speed is never an advantage if it causes you to miss problems that you know how to answer. If you're approaching the two-minute mark, wrap the problem up.

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If you need that long to answer, chances are good that you're missing something or have already made a mistake. Using This Book Complete the chapters in the order in which they are presented, because later material sometimes builds on material presented earlier in the book. Every chapter or two, return to the How to Get Better section and do some drills to hone your skills on the various steps of the process. When answering practice questions, if you are completely confident that an answer is wrong even though you can't articulate exactly why, go ahead and cross that answer off.

When you are reviewing your work afterwards, check to make sure that you were correct. If not, however, then you will need to dive into the grammar or meaning issues, possibly including learning some technical grammar terminology and rules, so that you can retrain your ear for future problems. The first two chapters of this guide cover strategy and overall lessons for SC, while the subsequent chapters teach specific grammar and meaning concepts that you need to know for the GMAT. Beginning with Chapter 2, you will have problem sets on which to test your skills.

Try about half of the problems included in the end-of-chapter set; save the rest for future study. After you complete each problem, check the answer. Whenever necessary, return to the lessons in the chapter to solidify your understanding before trying the next problem. You also have online access to problem set lists that refer to questions found in the three Official Guide books published by the test makers.

If you have access to these other books, then you can use our problem set lists in your practice. For SC, pay attention to three issues during your first glance: Clue Possible Implication Very long underlines often signal issues with sentence structure, meaning, modifiers, and parallelism.

Is the underline very long? Very Very short underlines less than five words may lead short? The nature of the first underlined word or the word 2. What is the first just before can give you a clue about one of the issues underlined word? For example, if the word has is What is the word the first underlined word, the sentence is likely testing right before? There will always be at least one difference at the beginning of the answers as well as one at the end. What are the It's easy to glance down the first word or two of each differences among answer, so do so.

If the first word switches between the first word or has and have, for example, then you know the sentence two of each is testing singular vs. Now, you can actively answer? After you've studied SC for a few weeks and tried some problems from any of the three Official Guide books published by the test makers, you can add a first glance drill to your study regimen. Find some lower-numbered easier problems that you've already tried in the past.

Give yourself a few seconds no more than five! Afterwards, look at the full problem and remind yourself what it tests. Did your first glance unearth any of those issues? Examine the first underlined word, the one just before, and the first words of each choice more carefully, and ask yourself whether there are any clues, or markers, you missed.

If so, write them down on a flash card. Here's an example: Read the Sentence for Meaning Your default strategy is to read the entire original sentence, all the way to the period, noting possible grammar or meaning issues along the way. The non- underlined portion contains very valuable information that can help you decide how to proceed.

Once you're done, decide which issue to tackle first. If you think you've spotted an error in the original, verify, then cross off answer A as well as any other answers that repeat that same error. You might, though, choose to break this strategy for one very good reason: In that case, go ahead and eliminate choice A immediately and glance through the remaining answers to eliminate any with that same error.

At that point, though, return to the original sentence and finish reading it, keeping an eye out for any additional errors that you could use to eliminate other answers. Either way, read the entire original sentence so that you can spot overall issues with meaning or sentence structure. If you don't, you'll be much more likely to fall into a trap.

To drill yourself on meaning, pull out your Official Guide again and look at some problems you've done in the past. Read only the original sentence not the answers , then look away and try to articulate aloud, in your own words, what the sentence is trying to say. You don't need to limit your rephrase to a single sentence.

Do actually talk out loud. You'll be able to hear the conviction in your own voice when you know what the sentence is trying to say and you'll also know if you don't really know what the sentence means. Either you just didn't understand it or there was actually a meaning issue in that sentence. Which is it? Check the solution: If so, then great—no wonder you had trouble rephrasing it.

If not, then the explanation itself may help you to understand what the sentence is trying to say. Find a Starting Point Most of the time, you'll have to find multiple starting points on SC problems— one of the annoying things about this problem type. There are two primary ways to find a starting point: To drill the latter skill, open up your Official Guide again and look at some problems you have done before. This time, do NOT read the original sentence. Instead, cover it up.

Compare the answers and, based on the splits that you spot, try to articulate all of the things that the problem is testing. You usually won't be able to pick an answer, but you can often tell what is being tested even when you can't tell how to answer. For example, you might see a verb switching back and forth between singular and plural.

If the subject isn't underlined, then you can't know which verb form is required because you haven't read the sentence! When you're done, read the underlined portion of the sentence or check the solution.

How good were you at figuring out what the problem was testing? What clues did you miss? Consider making flash cards for those clues. Eliminate All Incorrect Choices One of the most annoying moments in SC occurs when you've narrowed the answers down to two…and then you don't know how to decide. When this happens to you, don't waste time going back and forth repeatedly, agonizing over the answers.

Pick one of the two and move on. Afterward, review the problem and learn how to make that choice. Add the following analysis to your overall review of SC problems: Why is the right answer right? How would someone mistakenly justify eliminating the right answer? What is the trap that would lead someone to cross out the correct answer? How would someone mistakenly justify picking any of the wrong answers?

What is the trap that would lead someone to pick a wrong answer? When you learn how you or someone would fall into the trap of thinking that some wrong answer looks or sounds or feels better than the right one, you'll be a lot less likely to fall into that same trap yourself in future.

Throughout this guide, you will encounter both wrong and right examples to teach you the precise differences: Don't just glance over those examples. Cement the wrongness of the wrong options in your brain by crossing or X-ing them out as you read and even adding a note as to why they're wrong: Rose or increase, not both.

A Closer Look Meaning: Does the sentence adhere to the rules of standard written English? Does the sentence clearly indicate the author's intended meaning? These principles are equally important and actually overlap quite a bit. Certain grammar rules exist in order to convey a logical and unambiguous meaning. You'll learn some of these principles in this chapter and others as you work your way through this guide. Much of the language that you hear in everyday speech actually violates one rule or another.

The GMAT tests your ability to distinguish between good and bad grammar, even when the bad grammar seems natural. Consider this example: Does everyone have their book? You likely hear similar sentences all the time, but the question actually violates the rules of standard written English.

It should read: Does everyone have his or her book? Confusing writing is bad writing. If you have to read a sentence more than once to figure out what the author is saying—or if the sentence lends itself to multiple interpretations—it is not a good sentence.

It is true that the GMAT does not like to waste words. If an idea expressed in 10 words can be expressed clearly and grammatically in 6, the GMAT prefers 6. However, this is a preference, not a rule. Test-takers focus far too quickly and broadly on concision. As a result, the GMAT often makes the right answer less concise than an attractive wrong answer. Furthermore, Official Guide OG explanations often label a sentence wordy or awkward without additional explanation; typically, these sentences have a meaning problem or an idiom error.

Each chapter will present a major grammatical topic in depth: You will learn both the overarching principles of each grammatical topic and the nitty-gritty details that will help you differentiate correct grammar from poor grammar. You will also complete practice exercises designed to hone your skills in that topic. For your reference, a glossary of common grammatical terms appears in Appendix B of this book. Do not be overly concerned with the names of the grammatical terms, as the GMAT will never require you to know what the rules are called.

The terms are simply necessary to explain various grammatical rules. Focus on understanding and applying these rules, not on memorizing terms. The Five Grammar Terms You Need to Know We try to keep fancy terms to a minimum in this book, but there's no way to discuss grammar without using at least a few actual grammar terms.

Here are the five terms you absolutely need to know: Clause A clause is a set of words that contains a subject and a working verb. This is a clause: She applied for the job. She applied Who applied for the job? She did. What did she do?

She applied. She is the subject because she is the one performing the action. Applied is the working verb because it describes what the subject did. Independent clauses have, at the very least, a subject and a verb. Every correct sentence must have at least one independent clause. A dependent clause also contains a verb but cannot stand alone as a sentence. A complete sentence requires one independent clause, but more complex sentences will also include something else: Without an independent clause, you have a sentence fragment.

This is a fragment: Although she didn't have much work experience. Modifier A modifier provides additional information in a sentence, beyond the core subject and verb. The simplest example is an adjective. For example, in the phrase the happy child, the word happy, an adjective, is a modifier. Modifiers can also be more complex: The large dog, which has black fur, is a Labrador.

The modifier which has black fur is called a nonessential modifier. If you remove it from the sentence, the core of the sentence still makes sense: The large dog is a Labrador. Compare that to this sentence: The job that she started last week is much harder than her previous job.

In this sentence, that she started last week is called an essential modifier. Why is this one essential? Look what happens when you remove it from the sentence: The job?

What job? If you haven't already specified a particular job, then the meaning of the sentence is murky. This is the hallmark of an essential modifier: Sentence Core The core of a sentence consists of any independent clauses along with some essential modifiers. This is the bare minimum needed in order to have a coherent sentence.

Any nonessential modifiers are stripped out of the sentence core. See more on sentence core in Chapter 4 of this guide. Conjunction Conjunctions are words that help to stick parts of sentences together. He worked hard, and a raise was his reward. Coordinating conjunctions, such as and, can glue two independent clauses together.

Both he worked hard and a raise was his reward are independent clauses. Modifiers can be connected to independent clauses by subordinating conjunctions. You saw an example of this before: Although she didn't have much work experience, she was offered the job. The word although is a subordinating conjunction.

Other examples include because, while, though, unless, before, after, and if. You'll learn more about conjunctions in Chapters 3 and 4 of this guide. Marker This one is not an official grammar term, but it's important.

On occasion, this book will talk about certain kinds of markers. For example, the word unlike is a comparison marker; when you see unlike, you should think about comparisons. Keep a list, make flash cards, record it however you prefer— but do record and study the fact that this particular marker should have made you think about a certain grammar issue. That's all to start. Yes, technically, we did sneak more than five terms into that list.

The terms are all related, though. If you run across other unfamiliar terms, you can look them up in the glossary at the end of this guide. A Closer Look A clear sentence is transparent—the author's intended meaning shines through. On the GMAT, however, either the original sentence or its variations may muddy the waters. One of your tasks is to choose the answer choice that conveys a logical and clear meaning. Consider this sentence: Tomorrow, she bought some milk.

No grammar rule is violated in that sentence, but the sentence doesn't make any sense! Either she bought the milk in the past or she will buy the milk in the future. You know the sentence is wrong because the meaning is illogical. If the meaning of the original sentence is clear, start looking for grammar issues. If, however, the original sentence is confusing, you will need to discern the author's intent.

Fortunately, this intent will not be buried too deeply. After all, the correct sentence has to be one of the five choices. Most instances of meaning errors fall into one of three major categories: Choose your words 2. Place your words 3. If a word has more than one meaning, is the author using that word correctly, to indicate the right meaning? The GMAT rarely tests you on pure vocabulary, but very occasionally, it tries to pull a trick on you by switching a particular word and its cousin.

For example: The second sentence, which is shorter and punchier, may look preferable. Unfortunately, it is wrong! But the appropriate phrase is economic considerations—that is, monetary considerations. Certain helping verbs, such as may, will, must, and should, provide another way for the GMAT to test meaning. These helping verbs express various levels of certainty, obligation, and reality.

Simply by swapping these verbs, the GMAT can completely change the meaning of the sentence. Notice that the second sentence cannot be correct. On the other hand, the use of must in the first sentence indicates a legally binding obligation imposed upon the plaintiff. Thus, you should go with must, whether the original sentence used must or not. Example 2 Actual: The first sentence could be said by someone who is unsure whether Chris and Jad have actually met: Place Your Words Beware of words that move from one position to another.

The placement of a single word can alter the meaning of a sentence. ALL the children are covered in mud. The children are ALL covered in mud. In these sentences, changing the placement of all shifts the intent from how many children all of them to how the children are covered in mud all over. Consider another example: In the first sentence, only indicates that the council alone votes on Thursdays as opposed to the board, perhaps, which can vote any other day, but not Thursdays.

Sentence Correction GMAT Preparation Guide

In the second sentence, only indicates that the council does not vote on any day but Thursday. If a word changes its position in the answer choices, consider whether the change has an impact on the meaning of the sentence. Look out especially for short words such as only and all that quantify nouns or otherwise restrict meaning.

At a broader level, pay attention to overall word order.

All the words in a sentence could be well-chosen, but the sentence could still be awkward or ambiguous. What does the phrase to city officials mean? Did the city officials receive the right to make legal petitions? Or did someone else receive the right to make petitions to the officials? Either way, the correct sentence should resolve the ambiguity: Match Your Words Sentences generally contain pairs of words or phrases that must match.

As you saw in an example earlier in this chapter, a verb must match the time frame of the overall sentence. These matches also have grammatical implications. What's wrong with the following comparison? Unlike Alaska, where the winter is quite cold, the temperature in Florida rarely goes below freezing. It's illogical to compare a state to the temperature in another state.

A similar matching principle holds for other grammatical connections e. Future chapters will explore each type of connection in turn; for now, remember to test the meaning of any potential connection. Connected words must always make sense together. Avoid Redundancy Another aspect of meaning is redundancy.

Each word in the correct choice must be necessary to the meaning of the sentence. If a word can be removed without subtracting from the meaning of the sentence, it should be eliminated. Redundancy goes beyond mere concision—redundancy confuses the meaning, causing the reader to ask: A common redundancy trap on the GMAT is the use of words with the same meaning: Since rose and increase both imply growth, only one is needed.

Since sum and total convey the same meaning, only one is needed. Pay attention to expressions of time. It is easy to sneak two redundant time expressions into an answer choice especially if one expression is in the non- underlined part, or if the two expressions do not look like each other: This does not mean that you can never repeat time expressions in a sentence; just be sure that you are doing so for a meaningful reason.

Also pay attention to transition words, such as contrast words. What is wrong with the sentence below? Although she studied night and day for three months, yet she did not do well on her exam.

The word although already conveys the coming contrast; it is unnecessary to use the second contrast word, yet. Each sentence is followed by a boldface sample answer choice that may change the meaning. Select A if the original version is correct, B if the boldface version is correct, C if neither is correct, and D if both are correct. If you select A , explain what is wrong with the boldface version.

If you select B , explain how the boldface version corrects the original version. If you select C , explain why both versions are incorrect. Some questions refer to rules and distinctions that will be discussed in upcoming chapters. No matter how much work it may require, getting an MBA turns out to be a wise investment for most people. Even though it requires much work 2. The driver took the people for a ride who had been waiting. Rising costs to raw materials may impel us to rise prices farther.

She is the most dedicated gardener on the block, watering the more than 50 plants in her yard every day. Hector remembers San Francisco as it was when he left 10 years ago. Students at Carver High School are encouraged to pursue only those extracurricular activities from which stems success in college applications.

Look for issues outlined in this chapter. It is possible that the earthquake may have caused the building's collapse. The original sentence does not say that getting an MBA requires a lot of work. The expression no matter how much work it may require simply says that the amount of work whether large or small does not matter.

The revised version eliminates the word may, so that the new sentence does say that an MBA requires a lot of work. In the original sentence, the modifier who had been waiting does not clearly modify the people.

It appears, illogically, to modify the closer noun the ride.

The boldface version moves who had been waiting next to the people, thus making clear that it is the people who had been waiting. The boldface version makes several changes to the meaning of the original sentence. Costs to X are what X has to pay, whereas costs of X are how much somebody must pay to buy X. The latter meaning makes much more sense here, because raw materials are being paid for, not doing the paying.

Raise is a verb that always takes a direct object: The Fed subject raised the interest rate object in March. Rise is used only in contexts where there is no direct object: Interest rates subject rose in March.

In this sentence, prices are a direct object, so the verb must be raise. Farther refers only to distance I can throw a javelin farther than you can whereas further refers to degree of something other than distance We need further time and money for this project. The original version contains the phrase the more than 50 plants. Here the words more than modify the number The sentence therefore means that she waters her plants, of which there are more than In the boldface version, the phrase changes to watering more than the 50 plants.

Here the words more than are separated from the number 50, and therefore do not modify that number. The new version says that she waters something more than i. Both versions potentially make sense though one implies she is a very dedicated gardener , so either version could be correct. The boldface version changes to the original version, but the new version could make sense. Another important change in meaning comes because the revised version takes out the words it i.

Both versions are correct! There is no change in meaning. Eliminate redundancy. You do not need both dropped and decrease, since both words convey the same idea. For the same reason, you do not need both after and subsequently. The earthquake may have caused the building's collapse. It is possible that and may both express the same level of uncertainty, so you can remove one of them without changing the intended meaning.

No Though at the beginning of the sentence. Using both Though and yet is redundant. It is preferable to keep yet in order to delineate the contrast clearly; otherwise, you might mistakenly consider the phrase with the rise of fuel costs as part of the first clause. The verb grew already conveys the idea of an increase, so there is no need to use the noun rise. The subject is the noun that performs the action expressed by the verb: The subject, the dog, is performing the action of running.

Moreover, the subject and the verb must agree in number: How does the GMAT make things more complicated? Subject and Verb Must Both Exist If a sentence is missing the subject or the verb, the sentence is a fragment; in other words, it is not a complete sentence! On the GMAT, the correct answer must be a complete sentence, or independent clause.

The GMAT might disguise the error by dropping the verb: The cat sitting by the stairs. Wait a minute, what about sitting? Sitting certainly looks like a verb.

It is not, however, a working verb, a verb that can run a sentence by itself. Here's an example of a working verb: In this sentence, the word watched is a working verb. Here's another example of a working verb: In this sentence, the words was sitting make up the full verb form. For now, just remember that an -ing word by itself is never a working verb: The cat sitting by the stairs is not a sentence.

These are also not complete sentences: WHICH will be approved tomorrow. Because and which are connecting words.

They add extra information to a sentence, but they are not sentences by themselves. They're examples of modifiers, which you will learn about in the next chapter.

The correct answer must contain at least one independent clause; if an answer choice does not, eliminate it! The dog runs out of the house. A plural subject requires a plural verb form: The dogs run out of the house.

You already know this; you would never write the dog run out or the dogs runs out. The GMAT, therefore, has to try to obscure these errors so that some people will fall into a trap. The GMAT might hide the subject, so that you are unsure whether the subject is singular or plural. If you do not know the number of the subject, then you will not be able to select the verb form that agrees with it.

What is the subject, discovery or new medicines? It makes as much sense to say the discovery was vital as it does to say the new medicines were vital. In this case, The discovery…was is the correct subject—verb pair because the noun medicines is part of the prepositional phrase of new medicines. A noun in a prepositional phrase cannot be the subject of the sentence. Are these sentences both correct?

Lin and Guy drive to work. Lin, as well as Guy, drive to work every day. The first sentence is a correct example of a compound subject: Lin and Guy together function as the subject of the sentence.

Compound subjects are always plural because at least two nouns function as the subject. A compound subject must be connected by the word and, but the second sentence uses the modifier as well as Guy. Only Lin qualifies as the subject, so the sentence is incorrect. LIN, as well as Guy, drives to work every day. Subject Modifier Verb A sentence can also contain a compound verb two or more verbs that all point to the same subject. That last sentence contains both a compound subject and a compound verb.

If the writer inserts enough distance between the two portions of a compound subject or verb, it could be easy to make a mistake. Read on to learn how the GMAT does this.

If you learn to ignore these words when looking for a subject, you'll be much less likely to pick the wrong noun as the subject. Further, the GMAT often puts a significant number of words in front of the subject you want. In these cases, you have to ignore the warmup that comes before the subject of the sentence. There are a few common types of middlemen and warmups. Prepositional Phrases A prepositional phrase is a group of words headed by a preposition.

A list of common prepositions is included in Appendix B. Prepositions are followed by nouns or pronouns, which complete the phrase. Prepositional phrases modify or describe other parts of the sentence. A noun in a prepositional phrase will never be the main subject of the sentence.

In the example above, the subject is houses plural and the correct verb is are also plural. Dependent Clauses Dependent clauses, which begin with connecting words such as who or because, cannot stand alone as sentences. Nor are they part of the main subject or main verb; rather, they are always attached to independent clauses.

Look at the first sentence in this paragraph: If a dependent clause is stripped out of a sentence, what remains is still a complete sentence. Try another example: Because she studied hard, she earned a good score on the test. What is the dependent clause? What is the independent clause complete sentence? She earned a good score on the test. Other Modifiers Other words can also function as modifiers, which add extra information to the sentence.

Modifiers will be covered in depth in Chapter 4. Use Structure to Decide Consider the following sentence: However, new lands is in a prepositional phrase modifying the noun conquest. Since a noun in a prepositional phrase cannot be the subject of the sentence with limited idiomatic exceptions that you'll learn about later , the subject must be conquest: Do not fall for tempting nouns, such as new lands, inserted to distract you!

Now consider this example: You have to match up two subject—verb pairs on this one. First, find the main subject and match it with the appropriate verb: Next, match up the subject and the verb in the dependent clause: Mid-Chapter Quiz: Test Your Skills Fix the following sentences.

The recent string of burglaries, in addition to poor building maintenance, have inspired the outspoken resident to call a tenants meeting. A new textbook focused on recent advances in artificial intelligence assigned by our instructor.

The proliferation of computer games designed to involve many players at once were first developed before the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections. Answer Key: Test Your Skills Changes made to the original sentence are underlined. The recent string of burglaries, in addition to poor building maintenance, has inspired the outspoken resident to call a tenants meeting. Omit the middlemen of burglaries and in addition to poor building maintenance.

A simple fix is to add a form of the verb to be, such as was. Computer games designed to involve many players at once were first developed before the widespread availability of high-speed internet connections. The subject and verb have to make sense together, but the original sentence says that the proliferation… were first developed; this is illogical.

Rather, the computer games were developed. The corrected sentence is just one possible rewrite.

Consider picking up this lesson again later today or tomorrow. Building Complex Sentences How else can the test writers add complexity to sentences? Take a look at this example: Despite some initial concerns, the teacher is confident that her students mastered the lesson. The core structure of the sentence is this: In the real world, people will often drop the word that from the sentence structure: Wrong on the The teacher is confident her students mastered the lesson.

This is acceptable in the real world, but it doesn't follow the strictest grammar conventions. Technically, the missing that can make the sentence ambiguous; consider this example: I know Meryl Streep is an actor. Do you actually know Meryl Streep herself? Or do you know something about Meryl Streep? I know that Meryl Streep is an actor.

When a sentence is trying to convey something more complex, the word that signals to the reader that more information is coming. The teacher isn't just confident in her students in general. She is confident that they mastered the lesson.

Two Independent Clauses Two complete sentences can be connected into one long sentence. Lin drove to work is a complete sentence. So is Guy rode his bike. Two complete sentences can be connected using a comma plus a conjunction such as but to create a compound sentence. For And Nor But Or Yet So The English language contains many conjunctions; these seven are special because they are very common in the English language and because they can also be used to connect two independent clauses into one complex sentence.

It is not acceptable, however, to connect two sentences using only a comma: Any GMAT answer choice that connects two independent clauses via only a comma is incorrect.

Pop quiz! Can you spot the error in the sentence below? The latest statistics released by the Labor Department indicate that producer prices rose rapidly last month, despite a generally weakening economy, some analysts contend that the economic Wrong: The sentence above is a run-on.

The example below strips the sentence to its core subject and verb components and adds the necessary conjunction: Here's another type of error the GMAT might throw at you: What's the problem with that sentence? It may look fine because it correctly contains a comma along with the conjunction and.

Unfortunately, the first half is not a complete sentence. Try to make it stand alone: You could fix the sentence by turning the first part into an independent clause: Cross off any answers that connect two independent clauses using only a comma.

Semicolon You can also connect two independent clauses using a semicolon. The semicolon ; connects two closely related statements. Personal MBA Coach. Prep MBA. Sia Admissions. Stacy Blackman Consulting. Vantage Point MBA. Stratus Admissions Counseling Reviews. See All School Reviews. Featured Deals. Admissions Consulting. Free Stuff. Practice Tests. Mobile Apps. Student Loans. Which Course is right for you? How to Choose an Admissions Consultant?

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Manhattan GMAT. Sentence Correction GMAT Strategy Guide (Guide 8)

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