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Sentence Correction type of questions are
essentially a test of grammar and hence of communication skills, which is
a necessary strength of an MBA. The test-taker is required to know not
only a wrong sentence construction from a correct one, but also the change
needed to correct any error. Moreover, brevity in sentence construction is
to be practiced. Error can range from Noun-verb mismatches, to wrong
idiomatic constructions, from excessive wordiness to simple illogicality.
Points to remember/Definitions
A conjunction is a part of
speech that connects words or groups of words. Conjunctions are of three
types: coordinating, subordinating and correlative.
A preposition is a word or
group of words used to show a connection between a noun or pronoun and
another word in the sentence.
An interjection is a word or
phrase that expresses emotion and has no grammatical relationship with the
rest of the sentence. E.g., Alas! The war is lost.
A verb form that functions (1)
as part of a verb phrase or (2) as an adjective. The three forms are
present participle, past participle, and perfect
The student sketching the model is Anuradha.
have finished my essay.
Having finished my essay, I turned it
A verbal noun ending in -ing, that
is, a noun formed from a verb. A gerund has the same form as the present
or perfect participle.
Your speaking is appreciated.
having spoken to us is greatly appreciated.
A verb form that is the first of
the three principal parts of a verb. The infinitive has the function of a
verb (as part of the predicate), but it is also commonly used as a verbal
or in a verbal phrase. When used as a verbal, it functions like a noun,
adjective, or adverb and is usually preceded by the sign of the
infinitive, the word to. to run, to jump, to dream, to think, to
In this tense the action is
mentioned simply in the past, present or future tense.
The perfect tense indicates
that an action has been or will be completed in the past, present or
future. The perfect tense contains the part of the verb ‘to have’ i.e.,
have, had, has and the past participle of the verb. The past participle of
the verb ends with words like -ed, -en. (There may be exceptions like
The continuous tense
indicates the continuation of a tense in the past, present or future. In
this tense you have the form of the verb 'to be' - is, are, am, was, were,
shall be, had been, have been and the present participle of the verb i.e.
verbs ending with 'ing'.
Perfect Continuous Tense
continuous tense indicates that the action continued and then was
completed in the past, present or the future. This tense uses a form of
the verb 'to have' with the past participle of the verb 'to be' and the
present participle of the main verb.
On the GMAT, tense problems are often just a matter of parallel
construction. The general rule is that if a sentence starts out in a
particular tense it should continue in the same.
When I come to
Chrysler, I bring along my notebooks from
Ford, where I track the careers of several
hundred Ford executives. After I fire I prepare a detailed list of everything I want removed from my
office. During this same period, we to have
to close a number of plants. A lot of people throw out of work. It's a very emotional thing for
people who work in the same plant for twenty
or thirty years. In some cases their parents work there too.
have been working
Mention the function of the word light in each line.
You’ve no need to light a night-light
On a light night like
For a night-light’s light’s a slight light,
And tonight’s a
night that’s light.
When a night’s light, like tonight’s light,
is really not quite right
To light night-lights with their slight
On a light night like tonight
1st - You’ve no need to
light (v) a night-light (n)
2nd - On a light night like tonight
3rd - For a night-light’s (adj) light’s (n) a slight light
4th - And tonight’s a night that’s light (adj)
5th - When a
night’s light * (n/adj), like tonight’s light (n)
7th - To light (v)
night-lights (n) with their slight lights (n)
8th - On a light (adj)
night like tonight
* Night’s light in the 5th sentence can be an adjective or a noun. When
a night is light - here light is an adjective. Nights light i.e. a light
of the night is a noun.
Errors of Nouns and Pronouns
A pronoun is used in
place of a noun and must reflect its number and gender when possible.
This the dog. This dog bit me
This the dog that bit me
I liked the people whom I spoke
The men who attacked the shop
You will notice that in each sentence the underlined word is a pronoun
because it replaces and relates back to a noun.
Errors of Subject-Verb Agreement
For this, you need
to recognize the subject and its corresponding verb in the
I am a dog-trainer who always consult with my clients
before meeting his dogs. (Wrong)
Here, the subject “trainer” and its verb must agree in number i.e.,:
“consults”. Again, “dogs”’ belong to “clients”, therefore “his” should
take the plural form “their” (their dogs). Finally a dog trainer consults
“his” clients not “my” clients.
Therefore: I am a dog
trainer who always consults with his clients before meeting their
But: I am one of those trainers who consult with
their clients before meeting their dogs (correct)
A dangling modifier is a word or
phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence.
Related to dangling modifiers,
Misplaced Modifiers occur when the word modified is not clear or could be
more than one word. These problems can usually be solved by rearranging
the elements already present in the sentence.
In general, the more simply
an idea is stated, the better it is. An adverb or adjective can often
eliminate extraneous words.
Correct the sentences, if necessary and
mention the type of error. (Dangling modifier or misplaced modifier)
1. Jane nearly ate the whole cake
2. Taking his time, the
test was easy.
3. The article is on the table, which I wrote.
1. Jane ate nearly the
whole cake. (Misplaced modifier)
2. He took his time, as the test
was easy. (Dangling modifier)
3. The article, which I wrote, is on
the table. (Misplaced modifier)
Words and Phrases, Clauses
Parallel structure means
using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the
same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause
level. The usual way to join parallel structures is to use coordinating
conjunctions such as "and" or "or".
Words and Phrases
With the -ing form of
Parallel: Timothy likes reading, swimming, and
With infinitive phrases:
Parallel: Timothy likes to read,
to swim, and to ride a bicycle.
A parallel structure that begins with
clauses must keep on with clauses. Changing to another pattern or changing
the voice of the verb (from active to passive or vice versa) will break
Not Parallel: The captain told the
players that they should get a lot of sleep, that they should not eat too
much, and to do some warm-up exercises before the game.
The English language is full of idioms (over
15,000). We use idioms all the time, often without realizing that we are
An idiom is a phrase or a sentence whose meaning is not
clear from the meaning of its individual words and which must be learnt as
a whole unit.
1. The hill dropped off near the river.
While doing his homework, he dropped off.
3. Would you drop this off at
the post office?
Here, the idiom ‘drop off’ has been used in three different ways.
sentence 1, it means decline gradually.
In sentence 2, it means fall
In sentence 3 it means to stop and give something to
DIRECTIONS: In each of the
following sentences a part or whole of the sentence is underlined. Beneath
each sentence, five different ways of phrasing the underlined part are
indicated; choose the best alternative from among the five.
1. My father was delighted to learn about me getting a degree at
(A) me getting a degree
(B) my getting a degree
my degree getting
(D) my getting degree
(E) myself getting a
2. This one of the most entertaining movies that has appeared this year.
(A) movies that
(B) movies thats have
(C) movies that have
(E) movie that have
3. I have seen Mario’s paintings, who was a student of Narayanan.
(A) Mario’s paintings, who was a
paintings of Mario, who was a
(C) paintings by Mario,
of Mario, a
(E) paintings, Mario who was a
4. When the poor woman asked for help, we two could only look at one another helplessly.
(A) only look at one another
(B) only look at
(C) look only at one another
(D) only look at each
(E) look at each other only
5. Anyone of these two books
will be used as a script for our next drama.
(A) Anyone of these
(B) Anyone two of these
(C) Either of these two
two of these
(E) Two of any of these
1. Correct usage is (B). A pronoun preceding a gerund (an 'ing' verb
used as a noun) must be in the possessive case.
2. The correct usage is (C). We need to change has to 'have'. A verb
must agree with its subject in person and number, since 'movies' is plural
the verb has to be plural as well.
3. The correct usage is (C). The relative pronoun 'who' should be
placed as close to its antecedent 'Mario' as possible. (B) sounds correct
but it means paintings of Mario, literally.
4. The correct usage is (D). 'Each other' should be used in speaking of
two persons or things. 'One another' in speaking of more than two. E.g.,
when we two parted, we wished luck to each other. But - all of us should
love one another.
5. Correct usage is (C). 'Either' should be used in reference to two.
When the reference is to more than two, we should use any one. E.g., He is
smarter than any one of my students.
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