GMAT Sentence Correction Handbook (4/5)


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This is part 4 of a 5-Day Handbook on the Basics of Sentence Correction that will help you brush-up your basic grammar, especially that required to ace the SC section on the GMAT.

This is a required pre-read for our Sentence Correction course at CrackVerbal.

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GMAT Sentence Correction Handbook (4/5)

  1. 1. Sentence Correction Basics For The GMAT: A 5-Day Handbook Day 4(Please read this Prep Material before attending your Sentence Correction Classes)
  2. 2. Contents of SC Pre-ReadDay 4:  Subject Verb Agreement --- Slide 3  Pronouns --------------------- Slide 9  Modifiers --------------------- Slide 10
  3. 3. Subject Verb AgreementThe golden rule of Subject Verb Agreement is this:A singular subject always takes a singular verb and a plural subjectalways takes a plural verb.Examples: The stranger has stolen the lady‟s purse. The children are having a lot of fun!In the first sentence, the singular subject „stranger‟ isaccompanied by a singular verb „has stolen‟.In the second sentence, the plural subject „children‟is accompanied by a plural verb „are having‟.Any mismatch of singular and plural concept will render the sentences incorrect.
  4. 4. Subject Verb Agreement (Contd.)Additive PhrasesExample: Nick, along with his brother, are going to attend the seminar. The above sentence is incorrect, because „Nick‟ is a singular subject and thus,requires a singular verb „is‟. The correct sentence is: Nick, along with his brother, is going to attend the seminar.Except „and‟, all other additive phrases keep the subject singular.For e.g. The king, together with his courtiers, was an honored guest at the artisan‟s home.
  5. 5. Subject Verb Agreement (Contd.)Either…or / Neither…norThumb rules: If both subjects are singular, the verb takes the singular form. If both subjects are plural, the verb takes the plural form. If one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb takes the form of the subject closer to it.Example: Either Mona or her cousins is organizing the party.  This sentence is incorrect, since the subject closest to the verb („organizing‟) is plural („her cousins‟). So, the correct sentence will be: Either Mona or her cousins are organizing the party.
  6. 6. Subject Verb Agreement (Contd.)Each and Every – always singular!Consider the following sentences: Each of the students are participating in the annual sports day.  Every person in the country are working for a better life. The above two sentences are incorrect as words „each‟ and „every‟ cannot befollowed by plural verbs. In English grammar, a singular verb is always used witheach and every. The correct form is: Each of the students is participating in the annual sports day. Every person in the country is working for a better life.
  7. 7. Subject Verb Agreement (Contd.)Collective Nouns The team is going to play the match tomorrow. This sentence is correct because „the team of 11 players‟ is not seen as a collection of individuals but as a single subject, requiring a singular verb „is‟. The herd of cattle is moving up the mountain slope. This sentence is also correct because we are looking at the herd as a single entity.
  8. 8. Subject Verb Agreement (Contd.)Plural NounsSome nouns are inherently plural and take a plural verb. For e.g. belongings,congratulations, earnings, goods, outskirts, particulars (= information), premises(= building), riches, savings, stairs, surroundings, thanks etc.Example:His savings were not enough to tide him over hard times.“Savings” is a plural noun and therefore, requiresthe plural verb form “were”.
  9. 9. PronounsOn the GMAT, there are only two pronoun concepts you need to remember:1. Pronouns must agree in number with the nouns they replace. Example: The plight of the animals after it was chased out of the forest was piteous.  Plural „animals‟ requires plural pronoun „they‟ and plural verb „were‟. The plight of the animals after they were chased out of the forest, was piteous. 2. Pronouns must have unambiguous antecedents. i.e. it must be clear what noun each pronoun refers to. Example: The tourists are afraid of the leeches as they suck their blood.  „they‟ and „their‟ have ambiguous antecedents – who is sucking whose blood?
  10. 10. ModifiersA modifier is a non-compulsory constituent in a phrase or a clause. It changes themeaning of another element in the sentence, on which it is dependent. A modifiercan be long or short. On the GMAT, modifiers can be pretty long.Basic Rules for Modifiers:1. The modifier should be placed as close as possible to what it modifies;otherwise the entire meaning of the sentence gets altered drastically.Examples: Possessing fifteen legs, Shyam had never seen such a creature in his life.Who has fifteen legs? Shyam or the creature?The creature, of course!Thus, the modifier “Possessing fifteen legs” should be placed close to “creature”and not “Shyam”. Possessing fifteen legs, the creature was unlike anything Shyam had ever seen in his life.
  11. 11. Modifiers (Contd.)2. An adjective can modify only a noun or a pronoun; adverbs can modifyalmost anything except a noun or a pronoun.Examples: Adjective modifying nouns and pronouns:This is a fascinating book.(the adjective „fascinating‟ modifies the noun „book‟) Adverbs modifying verbs:Her sister danced gracefully.(the adverb „gracefully‟ modifies the verb „danced‟) Adverbs modifying adjectives:Jim is extremely rich.(the adverb „extremely‟ modifies the adjective „rich‟)
  12. 12. Modifiers (Contd.) Adverbs modifying other adverbs:She decorated the house most beautifully. (the adverb „most‟ modifies anotheradverb „beautifully‟) Adverbs modifying clauses:Certainly, his presence was disturbing to the gathered audience. (the adverb„certainly‟ modifies the clause „his presence was disturbing‟) Adverbs modifying whole sentences:Tomorrow, we will announce the winner. (the adverb „tomorrow‟ modifies theentire sentence)
  13. 13. Modifiers (Contd.)A modifying phrase can appear not only at the start of a sentence, but also in inthe middle or at the end.Examples: Mrs. D‟ Souza, the tall lady, teaches us English. He fell to the floor, his limbs flailing helplessly. Modifiers are tested very often in GMAT Sentence Correction. So remember this golden rule: whenever a sentence begins with a modifier, make sure that the noun or pronoun following the comma is what the phrase is referring to.
  14. 14. Misplaced ModifiersExample: To come first in the race, regular work-outs were done by the athlete.In this sentence, „to come first in the race‟ is modifying a subject which is notmentioned within the phrase. The subject of the sentence is the person who isaiming to come first. i.e. the athlete.As the modifier should be as close as possible to what it modifies, the abovesentence is incorrect. Thus, the correct sentence is: To come first in the race, the athlete worked out regularly..
  15. 15. Dangling ModifiersExample: Using the graphical charts, the concept was explained to the students.Though this sentence seems to be correct at first glance,according to the rule of modifiers, the person using the graphicalcharts must be mentioned after the comma.Thus, this sentence fails to indicate who is using the graphical charts, this is anexample of dangling modifier. We need to add some more words to make thissentence correct. Using the graphical charts, the teacher explained the concept to the students.
  16. 16. "That" versus "Which“On the GMAT, you will come across quite a few modifiers that are linked to therest of the sentence using “that” or “which”. Many test-takers get confusedbetween “that” and “which” and make mistakes.Use of comma:Generally “which” is preceded by a comma whereas “that” is not.Examples: The book that lay on the table had a red cover. The book, which lay on the table, had a red cover.“That” is used for an essential modifier – its removal will change the meaning ofthe sentence. “Which” is used for a non-essential modifier – its removal will notaffect the meaning of the sentence.
  17. 17. Copyright Notice And Legal DisclaimerCopyright NoticeAs of 2012, CrackVerbal Edutech Pvt. Ltd. is the copyright holder of this study material. It is under our discretion to demandconsideration in exchange for waiver of any of the conditions listed.Where the study material or any of its content is already in the public domain under law currently applicable in India or any locationwhere the study material is used, that status is in no way affected by the license.Legal DisclaimerThe information contained in these slides is for general information purposes only. We endeavor to keep the information up to dateand correct, however, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness,accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the slides or the information, products, services, or related graphicscontained on the slides for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.In no event will CrackVerbal be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage,or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of these slides.Through these slides you may be able to link to other websites which are not under the control of the owner of the slides.The owner has no control over the nature, content and availability of those sites. The inclusion of any links does not necessarilyimply a recommendation or endorsement of the views/information expressed within them.GMAT™ and GMAC™ are registered trademarks of the Graduate Management Admission Council™. GMAC does not write, sponsor,or endorse this product, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner of these slides.