Misplaced Modifiers

GMAT SC ModifiersModifiers are words or phrases that modify the subject. Common GMAT Sentence correction modifiers are phrases. You rarely see a word modifying the subject, unless it is the use of “only”, “almost”, and other adverbs.

1) Misplaced Modifiers

Misplaced modifiers are easy to spot, and test takers should master this concept before learning the nuances of GMAT Sentence correction.

Shortcut: Distance between Modifier and Subject & Distance of Subject after Comma

The easiest misplaced modifiers to spot are the ones where the distance between the subject and the modifier is suspiciously wide. The biggest giveaways for such sentences are the elements that come after the coma.

For Example: Climbing up the hills surrounding Avalanche Lake, flowers greeted us with their serene beauty.

The sentence sounds poetic, but there is a glaring error in the sentence.

Modifier: “Climbing up the hills”


Distance: 5 words

Distance of Subject after Comma: 2 Words

Elements coming after coma (,): Flowers (Object)

The modifier is not modifying the...

Rules for  GMAT GrammarTo get a good score in GMAT Sentence Correction, you don’t have to be a Grammar Expert. By focussing on few essential topics and rules of GMAT Grammar, you can improve your accuracy to 95%.

Topics that GMAT Sentence Correction section regularly ask are:

1) Subject – Verb Agreement

As the name suggests, the sentence should be constructed in such a way that subject and verb agree with noun count and usage.

It means that when you are using a singular/plural noun as the subject the verb should be used accordingly. Here is an example:

Let us (subject) takes (verb) the GMAT

Correct Usage: Let us (subject) take (verb) the GMAT

For English speakers, this example might seem too easy. But you can expect a complex sentence structure in the real test. Knewton has shared a good example:

The associate who brings cookies to work every day for his coworkers have been promised first choice of projects by the managing director

Watch the...

Categories : Misplaced Modifiers

Salesmen and merchants, paths to India and China were opened by the Vikings without benefit of the compass or guns.

A. paths to India and China were opened by the Vikings without benefit of compasses or guns.
B. without the benefits of guns or compasses, paths to India and China were opened by the Vikings.
C. the Vikings opened paths to India and China without the benefit of guns or compasses.
D. there were opened, without the benefit of compasses and guns, paths to India and China.
E. were the Vikings who, without the benefit of compasses or guns, opened paths to India and China.


This sentence contains a misplaced modifier; explorers and merchants illogically modifies roads, when it should modify a type of person, in this case Vikings.

Choice C logically places the Vikings immediately after the modifying clause explorers and merchants.

Answer - Choice C

Sentence Correction questions can include up to 54 words, making for incredibly long sentences and time consuming reading.  But similar to GMAT SC - Spot Decision Points, knowing what is likely to be a testable section of a sentence and what is not, you can break apart the sentence into the parts that matter to you as a test-taker.  Proper nouns, correctly-applied modifiers, adjectives and adverbs can all be streamlined to make for shorter sentences

For example, in the sentence:

Originally called BackRub, Google was founded by two Stanford PhD students, Larry Page, whose father, Dr. Carl Victor Page, was a computer science professor at Michigan State University, and Sergey Brin.

The proper nouns and excessive adjectives can be eliminated or condensed, bringing you down to:

Originally called BackRub, Google was founded by two students, Larry, whose father, Carl, was a...

GMAT SC LogicThe single-most crucial type of Sentence Correction error, Modifiers, Comparisons, and Verb Tenses all share one thing in common: you do not  need to be an expert editor to recognize that this sentence is illogical!  The introductory phrase in this sentence, “the single-most type…” is clearly meant to describe one item, but the rest of the sentence lists three.  This does not make logical sense!  Technically you’d call this a modifier error, in that the modifying phrase to begin the sentence – recognizable because it begins the sentence, is separated by a comma, and does not include its own subject and verb (note: these aren’t essential characteristics of any modifier, but they are one surefire way to identify a commonly-occurring type of modifier in which SC errors often crop up) – does not logically modify the noun that follows.

If you want to get really technical, it is an appositive modifier (a noun phrase used to describe another noun), but the GMAT will never require you to describe the...

Word OfOne of the smallest and least noteworthy words in the English language, the word “of” is crucial to your success on the GMAT, on both the quantitative and verbal sides of the exam. It is of great importance that you recognize these two common appearances of, and traps set by, the word “of“:

1) Sentence Correction

In Sentence Correction questions, the word “of” is usually employed as a modifier, which the GMAT often throws in to lengthen sentences and distract you from subject-verb agreement errors. Consider the following items:

The number of applicants to business schools are increasing given the current economic climate.

The House of Representatives are meeting this week to continue working on an environmental bill.

In each instance, the subject is actually the singular noun before the word “of” – “of applicants to business schools” just tells us “which number?”, and “of Representatives” simply indicates “which House?”. The authors of the GMAT know that examinees are often unsure of which noun to choose as the subject; by using the word “of” to set up modifiers with multiple nouns, the writers can exacerbate this problem. If you...

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