GMAT Sentence Correction Rules

GMAT Sentence Correction Rules

Sentence correction. Possibly the most unpredictable question type in GMAT Verbal: you could get it right in a matter of seconds, or agonize over it for several minutes before giving up! Everything depends on your frame of mind when you encounter this question and how well you’re able to apply the right techniques to crack it.

Essentially, GMAT Sentence Correction Rules requires you to be familiar with the basic rules of English grammar and stylistic conventions. But unlike the name suggests, you don’t have to actually correct a sentence; you just need to identify the correct answer choice. In GMAT SC, you will be given a sentence that may or may not be flawed. The flawed part of the question sentence will be underlined. Sometimes, only a word or two is underlined; at others, the entire sentence could be underlined.

Answer choice A will reproduce the question sentence as is. So, if you think the sentence is error-free, you should choose option A. Answer choices B to E will have four different versions of the same sentence. If you think the original sentence is incorrect, you need to pick the answer choice from B to E that is the correct version of this.

A typical Sentence Correction question looks like this:

While digging in the Egyptian desert, huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appears to have been the second most massive dinosaur that ever lived.

  1. A) huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appears to have been
  2. B) huge fossil bones have been found by paleontologists, which appear to be from
  3. C) it appears that paleontologists have found huge fossil bones that are from
  4. D) paleontologists have found huge fossil bones from what appears to be (correct)
  5. E) paleontologists have found huge fossil bones, which are from what appear to be

Grammatical Concepts tested in GMAT SC

The following aspects of grammar are tested in GMAT Sentence correction:

  • Parts of Speech
  • Parts of Sentences
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronouns
  • Parallelism
  • Comparison
  • Tenses
  • Idioms & Diction
  • Grammatical Construction

GMAT Sentence Correction Rules

You will have 75 minutes to answer 41 questions in GMAT Verbal. i.e. a little under two minutes per question. You will certainly need more time to tackle GMAT Reading Comprehension questions. Therefore, you will have to solve SC questions in a minute or less. This is possibly the biggest challenge here. That, and how well you know your grammar!

Here is a systematic approach to approaching SC questions:

  1. Skim the given sentence and try to identify the error(s). If you identify multiple errors, focus on one at a time.
  2. Go through the answer choices and eliminate any choices that replicate the original errors
  3. Eliminate answer choices that correct the original error but have other error(s). You should be left with the correct answer
  4. To validate your choice, substitute this answer option back in the original sentence and read it again. If it sounds right, go with it!

#ProTip: Never try to be 100% sure about any answer choice, because the time you lose in the process of checking and rechecking your answer is not worth it. If you’re reasonably certain about your choice, go with it!

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