GMAT Grammar Rules - 5 Essential Topics

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 video. See the answer and explanation at 1:05

2) Pronoun Agreement

Another common question in GMAT SC is the pronoun agreement. Don’t expect this question type to be in a simple format. You are most likely to see pronoun agreement errors embedded with other question types. Let us look at a simple example:

When the critics (noun/subject) saw the movie ‘The Master’, he (pronoun) was in awe of the cinematic treatment of cults.

Does the two match? No!

Correct Usage: When the critics (noun/subject) saw the movie ‘The Master’, they (pronoun) were in awe of the cinematic treatment of cults.

Let us look into a tricky question shared by Grockit

I spoke to someone at the help desk, and asked what kinds of product returns the company allows; they told me that they only take unopened items.

What is wrong with the above sentence?

Read - How to correctly use Pronouns in GMAT Sentence Corrections to find the answer

3) Parallel Construction/Parallelism

Parallelism involves maintaining a similar structure when you use phrases, clauses or words. Initially, you will get straight forward parallelism question,but once the Computer Adaptive tests adapts to your skill, expect to see parallelism errors in other SC question types. It is not enough to pick the best answer choice. You have to read it aloud and check whether the answer choice makes sense. Look at the following example from Veritas Prep:

In order to break the world record next summer, Tyson Gay’s time will need to be faster than Usain Bolt at the 2009 world championship.

Can you spot the parallelism error?

You did? Good!

Error: Incorrect comparison of Tyson Gay’s time with Usain Bolt.

Using logic can help you find parallel construction errors. Read - how to use logic as a GMAT Sentence correction strategy
4) Diction

After following the rules of GMAT grammar, you might be stuck with two answer choices that would have very little difference in usage. In such cases, look for diction. Are the words used properly to convey the idea? Read the sentences aloud to check again and pay close attention to the use of

1) Comparison Words like between, among, less, least, more and most

2) Quantity Words like  “many,” “less,” “fewer,” “much

3) Adverbs

4) Adjectives

Want an example?

Here is a good one from Grockit

Scientists dream of one day creating armies of nanobots, tiny robots smaller than a cell, that can enter the human body and use their practical unlimited access to find and repair defects in bodily structures.

A. practical unlimited access to find and repair defects
B. practical unlimited access to finding and repairing defects
C. practically unlimited access to find and repair defects
D. practically unlimited access for finding and repairing defects
E. practically unlimited access for finding defects and repairing them

Find the answer here

5) Misplaced Modifiers/Dangling Modifiers

Another common error tested in GMAT is misplaced modifiers. Again, using logic can help spot such errors.  See this example from Veritas Prep:

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

Confusing huh!

Learn how to focus on testable section in GMAT SC and solve confusing misplaced modifiers questions (Answer included)

Action Tip: Focus on Grammar section that would be useful for the GMAT. If you are planning to join a GMAT Prep course, don’t forget to checkout Veritas Prep. For Reading Comprehension Tips and Critical Reasoning, F1GMAT has published two books - Essential GMAT Reading Comprehension Guide and Mastering GMAT Critical Reasoning.

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How to Paraphrase GMAT Critical Reasoning Question  

How to Answer Assumption Question Type  

How to Answer Conclusion Question Type  

How to Answer Inference Question Type  

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How to Answer bold-faced and Summary Question Types  

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