GMAT sentence correction questions are designed
to test your ability to identify written English that
is grammatically-correct. Each question will begin with sentences,
parts of which have been underlined. You will
then be presented with 5 different answer choices presenting
alternative ways of stating the underlined portion of
the text. One answer choice will repeat the text without
any changes (meaning that the sentence is clear in
meaning and grammatically correct as written). The other
choices will re-write the text, sometimes in subtle ways.
The correct answer will have all of the following 4 characteristics:
- No grammatical mistakes
- Correct sentence structure
- No diction errors
- No changes to the sentence's intended meaning
Note that we did not state that the correct answer
is always the most concise one. While this often is
the case, it does not always hold true. You may find that you
need to resist the temptation to always select the shortest
Correction Tips and Strategies
Do not waste time on a close reading
of answer choice A. Choice A always simply repeats the
wording of the underscored section. If you've read the
underscored text, you already know what it says. Keep in
mind, however, that we are not saying to ignore choice A
entirely. It will be correct approximately one fifth of
the time. That said, we do advise clients not to succumb to
the temptation to overanalyze these questions or to assume that there
is always a re-written answer choice that is better than the underlined segment
presented in the question.
Look out for multiple errors. A sentence might
contain more than one error. A
common fallacy that test-takers fall into is to
find one error and then quickly choose the answer that
corrects that mistake, without considering whether there are other errors in
the sentence that an alternative answer choice might
also address. The correct answer must correct all of
the errors in the underlined text.
Employ process of elimination wherever possible.
The easiest way to use process of elimination in
sentence correction questions is simply to eliminate any
answer choices that are themselves grammatically
incorrect. You can also eliminate any choices
that alter the intended meaning of the sentence. If you are still unsure
about how to answer a question even after narrowing your
choices down to two, you will fare better by selecting
the more concise of the remaining answer choices
– provided that
not use the passive voice.
Do not worry about spelling or capitalization errors. The
test writers do not test for these 2 errors.
When in doubt, look for subtle
differences among the
different answer choices. Examining how
answer choices differ from one another can also be
a good way to determine what errors might be present
in the underlined text. This technique can also help you fight
the tendency to read so carefully for meaning that
you overlook grammatical mistakes.
Read the entire sentence a second
time, inserting your selected
answer choice. We have found this to be
a very powerful tip for dealing with sentence
correction questions. It can keep you from making careless mistakes
that would harm your
Trust your ears. If you
become stuck, 'say' the
choices in your head and then select the passage that sounds best to your ears.
Most test takers, particularly native English speakers,
have internalized many more grammar rules than they
can explicitly identify.
and Rules You Should Know
We do not have the time or space to review
the material tested by the GMAT sentence correction
section here. However, we
have compiled the following "short
list" of grammatical rules that the writers
like to test. You are strongly encouraged to memorize
this list of grammar concepts and rules,
and to refresh your knowledge of them, before you sit for
- 'Among' versus 'between'
- Elliptical verb phrases
- Misplaced modifiers
- Parallel sentences
- Pronoun-subject agreement
- Proper use of adverbs (they modify verbs)
- Proper use of the semicolon
- 'Fewer' versus 'less'
- Run-on sentences
- Sentence fragments
- Subject-verb agreement
- Verb tenses
- 'Who' versus 'whom'
Click here to see our sentence correction practice
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