GMAT Sentence Correction Rules

GMAT candidates get 65 minutes to answer 36 questions of the verbal section. Out of these 36 questions, there are 11-16 questions that are related to sentence correction. In most sentence correction questions the underlined part contains 0-2 errors that must be identified by the candidate. The two broad aspects of language proficiency that are tested in sentence correction are:

  • Flawless expression
  • Correct diction

GMAT Sentence Correction Rules
Most of the time we come across GMAT aspirants who find the Sentence Correction section a ‘Nightmare’. In the GMAT exam, this section also tests one’s understanding of grammatical rules. It is because these simple Grammar rules are twisted and made to appear complicated in order to trap the students. Often, GMAT students search every realm of online books, blogs to learn the easy ways to filter out the errors in the sentence correction. Before proceeding further, understand the following conditions:

Conditions: 1. What is needed to crack the SC questions asked in the GMAT?

  1. Know the errors commonly tested on the GMAT
  2. Have a strategy to approach and solve them.
  3. Recognize and mark the various exceptions that the GMAC use to complicate the sentence.

Conditions: 2. What strategy should one follow?

Look for a grammatical error in the underlined part of the sentence. Grammar can be exciting and fun if approached with the right spirit.

You could use an Acronym to help you to identify the errors which are frequently tested on the GMAT

Acronym for Commonly Tested Errors on the GMAT:

Verb tense



Misplaced modifiers

Parallelism/ Comparison

Subject Verb Agreement Errors

The basic tip to solve SC is by applying “Process of Elimination” using a notepad (scratch paper) and pencil.

Do not work on answers in conventional ways. To implement VIPMPS, look for the error in the underlined part of the sentence. Try to find the error and eliminate answer choices, one by one that repeats the error. The next thing to do is, compare the remaining answers to spot errors. Finally, arrive at the correct answer using the Process of Elimination. While working on the answer choices, choose the answer that is more concise as compared to the other choices.

Common Wrong Answer Types:

  1. Does not correct the error
  2. Creates a new error
  3. Changes the Meaning of the Sentence
  4. Is awkward and clumsy.

Take a look at the question and answer choices given below:

The rise in the Commerce Department’s index of leading economic indicators suggest that the economy should continue its expansion into the coming months, but that the mixed performance of the index’s individual components indicates that economic growth will proceed at a more moderate pace than in the first quarter of this year.

  1. suggest that the economy should continue its expansion into the coming months, but that – (SV agreement error).
  2. suggests that the economy is to continue its expansion in the coming months, but – (Verb Tense Error).
  3. suggest that the economy will continue its expanding in the coming months, but that – (SV agreement error).
  4. suggest that the economy is continuing to expand into the coming months, but that – (SV agreement error).
  5. suggests that the economy will continue to expand in the coming months, but

Look for a VIPMPS error in the underlined part of the sentence. Start with looking for a Subject Verb Agreement error.

Verb: suggest – Plural

Who or what is the verb talking about?

The Rise – Singular

Answer option A is incorrect- Subject Verb agreement error.

Answer options C and D can also be knocked off as they obviously repeat the error – Suggest.

We are now left with options B and E.

Both the answer choices seem to be almost the same, except for the Verb Tense.

B. Verb form = is to continue

E. Verb form = will continue.

The non-underlined part of the sentence uses the future Tense- will continue.

The usage of the verb “suggest” also indicates the usage of the Future Tense.

Hence, B will be knocked off and answer option E- will be the correct answer

It is important to remember the time slot that you have to answer each question in around 90 seconds.

In the above question, there are many other minute errors in options A, C and D. However, we will not pay any attention to them as we have already arrived at the correct answer. The goal is to arrive at the correct answer using the Process of Elimination.

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