Using Possessive Pronouns in GMAT Sentence Correction
Possessive pronouns aren’t one of the biggest issues tested on the GMAT, but they do appear sometimes, and understanding them can not only potentially boost your Verbal score but can also make you a better writer, which will help in your AWA and your business school application process.
Just like other pronouns, possessive pronouns must have a clear antecedent, and must agree with that antecedent in gender and in number. There are a few tricky rules that come into play with possessive pronouns that you don’t see elsewhere, however.
1.No apostrophes needed
Turning a singular noun into a possessive noun usually involves the use of an apostrophe. For example, you might say “my neighbor’s car.” “Neighbor” is the noun, and to make it clear that the car belongs to your neighbor, you add an apostrophe and an “s”. If we replace “neighbor’s” with “his,” though, we don’t need an apostrophe to indicate possession. People often become particularly confused by the possessive form of one specific pronoun: it. The rule is that “it” is followed by an apostrophe and an “s” only to indicate the contraction of “it is.” The possessive form of the pronoun is “its.”
2. Possessive pronouns are generally used as adjectives
A possessive pronoun is used to describe a noun, as in the examples seen above. The location of the adjective in the sentence can determine its form in some cases: one would speak of “his car,” but a...
How to solve GMAT Critical Reasoning Inference question
You’re having lunch with your friend Jane, and you suggest getting hot fudge sundaes for dessert; Jane tells you that she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes. In real life, you could draw several valid inferences from this: she’s lactose intolerant, she has sensitive teeth and so can’t eat frozen desserts, she’s on a diet and trying to avoid sweets, or maybe she just doesn’t like ice cream or hot fudge.
In real life, those would all be acceptable inferences, because the real-world definition of infer is to do any of the following:
1. to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence: e.g., They inferred his anger from his heated denial.
2. (of facts, circumstances, statements, etc.) to indicate or involve as a conclusion; lead to.
3. to guess; speculate; surmise.
4. to hint; imply; suggest.
“Infer” is, as you can see, a word with fairly flexible meaning. We most often use it in day-to-day life to mean “make an educated guess.” If your friend Jane says she doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes, you apply your existing knowledge about the possible reasons someone could have for not enjoying the hot fudge and ice cream deliciousness, and you make an educated guess as to what her reasons could be. On the GMAT, however, “inference” has a different meaning. Think of inferring as the process of deriving the strict logical consequences of assumed premises.
On the GMAT, therefore, if you are told that Jane doesn’t eat hot fudge sundaes, you can derive two logical consequences from that premise...
GMAT Parallelism - How to Make Your Lists and Comparisons Parallel
It’s important to make sure that whenever you compare two things, those things are similar enough to make a comparison appropriate. For example, if you and a friend are both preparing for the GMAT, but your friend has the luxury of studying full-time while you have a job and a family competing for your attention, it’s not appropriate to compare your score improvements with those of your friend. Doing so would be an example of what is idiomatically called “comparing apples to oranges.”
The same thing is true on GMAT Sentence Correction questions. When items are being compared, they must be “apples to apples,” or parallel. For instance, take a look at the following example of a comparison:
Unlike most business students at her school, who attended classes full time, Carla’s schedule was so full that she could only attend part-time.
The sentence as written compares “most business students” to “Carla’s schedule.” Schedules are things, and business students are people; this is an apples-to-oranges comparison. In order to correct it, we should put the items being compared into parallel form, like this:
Unlike most business students at her school, who attended classes full time, Carla was so busy that she could only attend part-time.
It’s not just items being compared that need to be parallel, though; items in a list must also be in parallel forms, and you’re actually more likely to see this kind of parallelism tested on the GMAT. Here’s an example:
An urban neighborhood is...
Using Venn Diagrams to solve GMAT Set Questions
On your GMAT, you will encounter 1-3 questions that contain overlapping groups with specific characteristics. You will almost never see more than two characteristics (since you can’t draw 3D on your scratch paper). For illustration, let’s take a look at the following Data Sufficiency example:
Q) Of the 70 children who visited a certain doctor last week, how many had neither a cold nor a cough?
(1) 40 of the 70 children had a cold but not a cough.
(2) 20 of the 70 children had both a cold and a cough.
There are two characteristics (cough and cold) and two categories for each (yes and no), so there are four total categories, as indicated by this matrix:
I’ve filled in the given information from both statements, and the parenthetical information is inferred. This clearly lays out the 4 combinations of options. If we sum vertically, we can infer that there are 60 total children with colds. Because there are 70 total children, this also means that 10 do NOT have colds. The bottom-right quadrant cannot be found because we do not know how those 10 children get divided between the two empty boxes. Choice E – together the statements are insufficient.
We may also visualize the question as Venn diagram, in which there are still two characteristics, represented by overlapping circles. You will notice that there are still two undefined regions, so the given information is insufficient.
For any Data Sufficiency or Problem...
GMAT Sentence Correction Flow Chart
The above is no substitute for reading each sentence carefully, predicting what the correct answer might look like, and finding it in the answer choices of course. A little more on each of the decision points:
• Whole sentence underlined: There isn't much to say about this. With no part of the sentence left static, there's more to keep in mind; the other decisions still help.
• Answer start or end with a verb: Beware nouns close to the verb that may distract you from the real subject
• Answer start or end with a pronoun: Read carefully for the pronoun's antecedent (the word it's replacing in the sentence)
• Modifying phrase, set apart by comma(s): These phrases are easier to spot and work with when they start the sentence, since you need only look at the first thing after the first comma, but these modifying phrases can appear anywhere.
• Separation of subject and verb: The further apart they are, the more words there will be to confuse you. Try paraphrasing the core of the sentence to simplify it.
• List in the passage: The GMAT loves parallelism so much, they should get married, and lists are a great way to test parallelism.