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Idioms

On the GMAT sentence corrections, an “idiom” is a recognized grammatical construction that is a rule simply because of tradition. The idiom constitutes the ultimate tautology: we say something a certain way because, well, that’s how we say it.

On the test, most of the idioms you will face involve preposition usage. Why do I listen “to” the radio instead of listen “at” the radio? We say “listen to” because that is how English speakers have said it for hundreds of years. We like it that way, and we are not willing to change.

For some test-takers, idiom errors can be the easiest to spot on the exam. To these test-takers, an idiom error sticks out like a sore thumb. When they read something like “listen at the radio,” they hear dissonance. The only way to restore grammatical harmony is to replace the grating “at” with the soothing “to.” Balance is restored.

English as second language

Not everybody thinks this way. For many who learned English as a second language, and even for those who have a purely logical--as opposed to intuitive--understanding of language, idiom errors are extremely difficult to detect. After all, there is no logical explanation for why we say “listen to” instead of “listen at.”

Idiomatic Expressions

Even if you think you know English idioms like the back of your hand, take a glance at the following list idiomatic expressions, many of which test preposition usage. You may find that you’ve been saying something incorrectly all this time (gasp!).

according to

appear to

as great as

as good as

as good as

or better than

attributed to

based on

because of

choose from

conclude that

contribute to

a debate over

defined as

determined by

a dispute over

different from

in danger of

not only..but also

prohibit from

rather than

regard as

result of

see…as

subject to

think of…as

While most of the word pairs in the list above will be obvious to you, try to find those with which you are not so familiar. Even better, if you find a preposition that sounds weird to you or even wrong, practice writing sentences with its correct usage and use the phrase in everyday speech. The more familiar these constructions become, the easier it will be to identify when they are being used incorrectly.

Here are a few examples to exercise your new idiom savvy:

   1. I am preoccupied about my studies.
   2. She had a fondness toward dolls when she was little.
   3. The GMAT consists in three main sections.

Fixes:

   1. I am preoccupied with my studies.
   2. She had a fondness for dolls when she was little.
   3. The GMAT consists of three sections.

Remember, the key to spotting idioms is asking yourself if a certain expression--often a prepositional phrase--can be said another way. Once you discover a better expression, you’ll realize that there may be an idiomatic error.

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Top 31 MBA Programs + Analysis of 24 Industries (United States)


We analyze the MBA Curriculum, Class Profile, Total Cost and Post-MBA Salary of Top 31 MBA programs in the US.

+ Industry Trends

+ Future of Aerospace, Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automobile, Clean Tech, Education, Energy, Fashion, Financial Services, Insurance, FinTech, Government, Healthcare, Life Sciences, Military, Manufacturing, Maritime, Media/Advertising, Technology, Tourism, Trade, Transportation and Logistics, Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR).


Pages: 327

Reviews

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"What I liked: The breadth of the information. Some of my favorite nonfiction books have taken the same approach as the ultimate guide have - cover background information in-depth. In the book, the author uses parallel threads to demonstrate the history of the state and the rise of industries. Will make you think how schools thrive based on the policy set by the state. California's obsession with Technology has revolutionized how we do Business and changed post-MBA trends. Many MBA applicants will be consulting or doing marketing for a Technology company. That is one key finding from the book. The latest development in AI, FinTech, and Automation is an additional context that I found valuable in the book.

Very informative. I would recommend that you read the book at least once in chronological order before using Table of Contents." - Verified Purchase (2nd July 2017)

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