1) If there is modifier but no noun insert a noun in the sentence.
Using the latest technology, the engineer identified the problem quickly.
2) Misplaced Modifiers
Incorrect: Upon leaving the register, the cashier gave the customer a receipt.
Correct: Upon leaving the register, the customer got a receipt from the cashier.
1) Relative pronoun: Links one Phrase or a clause to another phrase or a clause.
5 types – Which, who, whom, whose, that.
1) Verbs describe action or the state of the subject of the sentence:
2) Helping verbs : The verbs who neither convey an action nor any state of the subject but are imp for the sentence; needs another main verb in the sentence
Eg. I can
I can teach
Earth will rotate
3) Transitive verb : The verbs who need an object to complete their meaning.
Intransitive verb : Which is complete in itself.
1) Adverbs modifies both verbs and adjectives, adverbs, phrases and clauses.
1) A preposition links nouns pronouns and phrases to the other words in the sentence.
Eg. About , above, beneath, between, despite, during, but, beyond.
2) Prepositional phrase: A prepositional phrase is made up of the preposition, its object and other part of the sentence. It can function as a noun , an adjective, or an adverb.
Eg. At home, In time, By running, under the table.
3) The preposition is always followed by the noun, never the verb.
Colon and semicolon:
1) Colons are used to join two clauses in which the 2nd one is generally a list or an explanation or example.
The final consensus is taken now: we are selling the company.
I have to pick up few things from my place: my laptop and watch.
He scrued up the exam: he was weak in 2 out of three sections.
2) Semicolons are used to join two independent clause
Talent may open the first gate; attitude opens the last one.
12 birds had originally arrived; only three remains.
3) To put comma in place of semicolon we have to introduce a conjunction in between the clauses
Talent may open the 1st gate, but attitude opens the last one.
1) Subject verb agreement
Singular subject – Singular verb; Plural subject – plural verb.
2) Basic ways of separating subject from verb in GMAT(biggest catch in GMAT)
a) Separating the subject from the verb as much as possible.
b) Confusing with additives
Major additives are:
In addition to, As well as, along with, together with, including.
Ignore the additives temporarily
c) Either or/Neither nor
Make agreement of the verb with the closest subject
d) Collective Nouns; Always singular
e) Each and Every
Other so called singular subjects confused as plural
Either/Neither (without or /nor otherwise the closest subject funda)
f) The number(Singular)/A Number(Plural)
g) Words that are sometimes singular sometimes plural
Majority – Singular ; A majority of something – Plural
Majority of the students is right
A majority of the students are right
h) One of the X who/that Y. .
This is one of the Cars that belong to the birlas’
Use of who/that is necessary; Conjunction will not do.
1) Represents the time of Action As in Past, Present and the future.
2) Types of tenses:
i) Simple present tense:
Used to discuss permanent situation and frequency of events
Eg. I like to read books.
The Earth is round.
The bus leaves at 10 am daily.
j) Simple past tense:
Discuss actions that happened at a specific time in the Past
Eg. I saw a play yesterday
She washed her car
k) Simple future tense:
Has to diff forms “will” and “be going to” . . .
“Will” expresses a voluntary action or a promise
Eg. I will do that.
I will give you call.
“be going to” expresses a plan
I am going to spend most of my salary this month.
Who are you going to invite for the dinner.
l) Present Continuous tense:
m) Past Continuous tense:
n) future Continuous tense:
o) Present perfect tense:
Discuss actions that happened at an unspecified time in the Past
Has/have + Past participle
Eg. You have seen that play so many times.
You have changed so much since the last time I saw u.
p) Past perfect tense:
Refers to those cases in which two actions are taking place in the past in the same sentence one before the other.
Had + Past participle
Eg. She called when he watched the tape.
She understood the movie because she had read the book.
q) Future perfect tense:
r) Present perfect continuous tense:
Represents an action starting in the past and continuing in the present.
Has/have + been + present participle
Eg. Jhon has been waiting here for two hours.
They have been solving problems for the last two hours
s) Past perfect continuous tense:
Something started in the past and continued until sometime in the past
Had + been + present participle
Eg. They had been walking for 1 hr until she arrived.
I had been working for the company for two years.
t) Future perfect continuous tense:
3) The use of “has had” and “had had”
Generally the above is used when the verb itself is in the form of has or had
“Has had” is used when the sentence is in the form of present perfect tense(i.e it talks about a action that took place in an unspecified time in the past)
E.g John has had many cars till now.
“Had had” is used when the sentence is in the form of past perfect tense(i.e it talks about two actions that took place in the past one happening before the other one)
E.g John had had many cars before he thought of moving out of the league and buying Ferrari.
1) Replaces a noun. It should clearly specify which noun the pronoun modifies.
2) It should agree in number to the noun it replaces.
3) Avoid pronouns in the state of confusion regarding which noun it is modifying.
Eg. The residents association informed the municipality that it is getting the park cleaned.
Here “it” may refer to both residents association and municipality, so avoid the pronoun “it”.
4) How are pronouns generally tested.
a) The pronoun refers to more than one noun as discussed in the point no 3.
b) There may be no antecedent of the pronoun
Eg Despite the board of governors supporting the measure, they keep voting against it.
They is not having any noun as antecedent, hence avoid pronoun usage. The correct form should be. .
Despite the board of governors supporting the measure, the shareholders keep voting against it.
c) The indefinite antecedent.
Incorrect : These days they have started charging you for cabin baggage in the airlines.
They is ambiguously used in the above sentence, though it seems to be correct.
Correct: Cabin baggage is charged for by many of the airlines these days.
d) Use of that and which
“Which” is used only to modify the subject.
Eg. The fifth car, which is black in colour, belongs to Jack.
Here the sentence is talking exclusively of a car that is fifth in number and also is black in colour.
Two rules for use of which,
1) It should come immediately after the comma.
2) It must refer to a noun that comes just before the comma.
“That” is used to clarify the subject, hence is very important.
Eg. The fifth car that is black in colour belongs to Jack.
Here the sentence is talking about a car that is fifth black one. But in series it may be anywhere in position (10th/13th/19th . . .).
On the GMAT ‘which’ is only explanatory and is not needed to identify the subject of the sentence; in fact you can easily remove the phrase starting with ‘which’ and yet the meaning of the sentence would remain unchanged whereas ‘that’ is necessary to identify the subject of the sentence and cannot be done away with.
e) Use of “Who” and “Whom”.
The difference between who and whom is exactly the same as the difference between I and me, he and him, she and her, etc.
Who is an object(the object performs the action of a sentence)
Whom is a subject to/about/on the action is performed.
1) The modifier should be placed as close as possible to what it modifies.
2) Misplaced modifiers
a) Participle phrase
A phrase that starts with a present or a past participle (may or may not be preceded by a preposition). Whenever a sentence starts with a participial phrase there will almost always be a misplaced modifier lurking around the corner.
Incorrect: Educated at Eton and then at Oxford, it was surprising that George could not get into a decent business school.
Correct: Educated at Eton and then at Oxford, George surprisingly could not get into a decent business school.
Incorrect: Coming out of the house, John’s laptop was stolen.
Correct: Coming out of the house, John was robbed of his laptop.
b) Use of adjectives and adjectival phrases
Incorrect: Tall and handsome, a striking figure was cut by John.
Correct: Tall and handsome, John cut a striking figure.
3) Dangling modifiers
The modifiers which seem to modify the right part of sentence but grammatically it doesn’t
Eg. Using a stethoscope, heartbeats can be detected.
The modifier “Using the stethoscope” is called a dangling modifier. It is not heartbeats that used the stethoscope but the person who is using it. So something has to be introduced in the above sentence.
Using a stethoscope, a doctor can detect heartbeats
1) Compared item must be logically similar:
The students in my class are smarter than the other classes
Comparison is done between students and classes, hence incorrect.
The students in my class are smarter than those in other classes.
2) Compared items must be grammatically similar:
Compare nouns with nouns, verbs with verbs, phrase with phrase, clause with clause and so on . . . . . .
3) The way comparison is tested in GMAT:
a) Unclear comparison
Incorrect: John loves Tina more than Katy.
This sentence can be interpreted in two ways – either John loves Tina more than he loves Katy or John loves Tina more than Katy loves Tina. The problem can be corrected by adding some more words to the sentence.
Correct: John loves Tina more than he does Katy.
Correct: John loves Tina more than Katy does.
Point to remember that the above two sentences convey different meanings although both of them are grammatically correct.
b) Illogical comparison:
Same as point no.2 mentioned above.
c) Comparative and Superlative forms:
When comparing more than two things use the superlative form
Incorrect: Among all my students, John is more intelligent.
Correct: Among all my students, John is most intelligent.
d) The use of like and as:
Since ‘Like’ is a preposition and ‘As’ is a conjunction, use ‘like’ only to compare nouns and ‘as’ for all other comparisons (eg. while comparing clauses)
Idioms and phrases:
1) The list of idioms and their meanings that the GMAT generally tests:
a) an instance of – an example of
b) act as – to serve in some special capacity, possibly temporarily
c) act like – behave in a certain way (will almost always refer to animate things)
d) agree with – to hold the same opinion or judgment. You normally agree with a person or an idea,
Correct: Your analysis agrees with mine
OR, it could also mean to look good or go well in combination with something else,
Correct: This dress does not agree with these shoe.
e) agree to – to consent to something or to approve something. You normally agree to inanimate things such as a plan or a proposal.
Correct: I agree to your proposal of a buyout.
Correct: Russia and turkey have agreed to speed up the launch of energy deals.
f) agree on/upon – to agree to the choice of someone or something (usually used with date or time)
Correct: Let’s try to agree upon a date for the vacation
Correct: John & Tina agree upon the need to hire a trainer
g) allow for – to give consideration to circumstances or contingencies
h) appeal to – to please or to attract someone
i) approve/disapprove of – to take a favorable/unfavorable view of someone/something.
j) as good as – almost or nearly
k) as many/much as – used to put emphasis on something
l) associate with – to be friendly with someone
Jacob likes to associate with honest people.
m) associate X with Y – to link someone/something to some other thing or person
John always associates coke with pizza.
n) attribute X to Y – to believe that someone or something is the source of something.
We attribute our success to good fortune.
o) between X and Y – used to choose between two things only.
Correct: He had to choose between yoga and dance.
Incorrect: He had to choose between yoga or dance.
p) care for/about – to hold someone or something dear
q) centres on – to focus on someone or something in particular
r) choose as – select
s) choose X for Y – select for something specified
t) claim that – used while proclaiming something.
Walter claims that he can run backwards.
u) Claim to – used to take control of assets or will
The eldest son laid claim to the father’s property
v) Claim to be – used while claiming to be some other person
The man claimed to be John’s long lost son.
w) compare to – mostly used to praise someone by pointing similarities with someone else
In Argentina, Maradona is often compared to God.
x) compare with – used for actual comparison
John is comparing a BMW with a Mercedes.
y) conceive of X as – to think of someone or something as being someone or something else.
z) concerned with – involved with or connected to
This topic is concerned with the use of DNA sequencing
aa) concerned about – worried about
I am concerned about my brother’s health
bb) conform to – to agree with or behave within guidelines or regulations
Does my dress conform to your regulations?
cc) consider X Y – think of as
I consider myself a close friend of the rockstar.
dd) contend that – claim or state
John contends that his friend is innocent.
ee) contend with – compete with someone for something
Jack is contending with Jerry for the award
ff) contrast X with Y – compare two dissimilar things which complement each other
Correct: Jenna is contrasting her casual jeans with a formal top.
gg) credited with – credit person with accomplishment (use this when person comes first)
Newton is credited with the discovery of gravity
hh) credited to – credit accomplishment to person
ii) dated at – to denote a time period
The document has been dated at 100 years old.
jj) date from – to have an existence that extends from a particular time
These CDs date from the early 70s.
kk) debate about/on/over – Discuss in detail
The MPs debate about the bill tomorrow
ll) decide on – select
Tina decided on the chocolate flavored ice cream
mm) depicted as – to show someone as something
The director depicted the actor as a mutant.
nn) disclose to – reveal
Correct: Please disclose the details to me at once.
oo) dispute whether/over
Correct: There is a dispute over the new name of the city
pp) drawn to – attracted to
Jerry was drawn to the sports car
qq) drawn upon – used up
Correct: By the end of the contest the boxer had drawn upon all cap the energy he had.
rr) dwindle away – become less or smaller
Correct: Her will power is starting to dwindle away.
ss) emerge as
Correct: The weakest candidate emerged as the winner
tt) encourage X to Y
Correct: We encouraged Mary to develop her singing talents
uu) encourage in
Correct: We encouraged Mary in her singing career
vv) escape notice – to go unnoticed
Correct: I think my earlier request escaped your notice.
ww) essential to
Correct: Oxygen is essential to life.
Incorrect: Oxygen is essential for life.
xx) estimated at – used to denote the place where the estimation was done
Correct: The worth of the sculpture was estimated at Madrid.
2) Some more:
a) expect X of Y – to anticipate that someone will do something
Correct: I expected better of John.
b) expect from – to be waiting for something from someone
Correct: I am expecting a parcel from my brother.
c) expend on – spend on
Correct: Don’t expend too much effort on this document.
d) explain away – to explain something so that it is no longer a problem
Correct: You can’t just explain away all your mistakes
e) fail on – to give someone an unsatisfactory grade on an assignment or test (somebody will fail you on something)
Correct: The teacher failed half the class on the test
f) fail in – to have not earned passing or satisfactory grades in some school subject (you will fail in something)
Correct: I hope I do not fail in the test.
g) flee from – run away
Correct: The dogs fled from their cruel master.
h) flee to
Correct: The dogs fled to their kennel
i) forbid X to do Y
Correct: John forbid his driver to enter the house
j) grow into
Correct: The child grew into a tall, handsome teenager
k) grow out of
Correct: A big problem has grown out of a tiny misunderstanding
l) Identical with – same
My problem is identical to yours
m) in contrast to/with X, Y is…. – On the GMAT both ‘contrast to’ and ‘contrast with’ are considered correct
In ‘Contrast to’, ‘contrast’ is used as a noun; this is mainly used to show the dissimilarity between two things.
Correct: John’s working style is a contrast to Jacob’s.
In ‘Contrast with’, ‘contrast’ is used as a verb and hence denotes the actual tact of contrasting two things
Correct:John is contrasting his working style with that of Jacob.
n) invest in
Correct: John has invested 6 weeks in preparing for the test.
o) invest with
Correct: The agreement invests the vice-chairman with the authority to act on the chairman’s behalf in certain conditions.
p) know to do X
Correct: Even as a young boy he was known to explore different ways of doing things.
q) lead away
Correct: The police led the criminal away from the other accused.
r) mandate that
Correct: The rules of war mandate that no prisoner be tortured for information.
s) means to an end – something done to achieve something else
Correct: Exercise might be boring but it is simply the means to an end.
t) mistake X for Y
Correct: John mistook a Ferrari for a Lamborghini
u) mistake X for Y
Correct: John mistook a Ferrari for a Lamborghini
v) much as – However much
Correct: Much as Lola needed the car, she had to refuse.
w) native of – use for humans
x) native to – use for plants or animal species
y) not so much X as Y
Correct: I am not so much sad as perplexed
z) not X but rather Y
Correct: I would have not tea but rather coffee
aa) originate in
Correct: All his troubles originate in his mind.
bb) originate from
Correct: Some of our customs originate from past beliefs.
cc) permit X to Y
Correct: John permitted his son to drive to college.
dd) permit (someone) through
Correct: Can you permit me through the door please?
ee) permit up
Correct: She would not permit me up the ladder
ff) prefer X to Y
Correct: Jack prefers tea to coffee
gg) prized above – to value someone or something more than anyone or anything else.
Correct: He prized his only child above everything else in the world
hh) prized as
Correct: Designer corals have been prized as jewelry for nearly 5000 years
ii) prized for
Correct: Gold Jewellery Has Been Prized for Thousands of Years
jj) promise to
Correct: Is this shirt promised to anyone?
kk) range over
Correct: These trees range over a very large territory
ll) regard as
Correct: I have always regarded you as my brother.
mm) resemble in
Correct: This resembles chocolate ice cream in flavor, but not in consistency.
nn) seek out
Correct: Jenny sought out a helper for her mother.
oo) seek from
Correct: The prisoner seeks pardon from the victim
pp) seek after
Correct: The police continue to seek after the thief who stole John’s car.
qq) seem like – to appear to be like some kind of person or something.
Correct: The boss seemed like a nice person when I met him
rr) so X as to Y – used to denote cause and effect. Cannot be used to replace ‘in order to’
Correct: John’s grades are so poor as to lead to his expulsion from the school.
ss) so much as – can mean ‘but rather’
Correct: I’m not looking at him so much as I am studying his jacket
Or, can also mean ‘even’
Correct: There was not so much as a speck of dust in the house.
tt) speak up
Correct: Sheena wants to speak up for the rights of the homeless.
uu) speak from
Correct: The chairman claimed that he was speaking from experience.
vv) speak with
Correct: I will speak with John about this problem
ww) speak for
Correct: The company’s astounding profits speak for themselves
xx) train to
Correct: He was trained to become an athlete ever since he was a child
yy) used X as Y
Correct: For centuries, people have been using herbs as remedies sasasaaafor the different diseases.
zz) whether to – Correct: John is unable to decide whether to go to Harvard or Stanford.
3) Few more:
a) with the aim of ‘(verb)ing’
Correct: Jerry is training for six hours everyday with the aim of winning the marathon
b) X is attributed to Y
Correct: The CEO has attributed the loss to the economic recession earlier in the year
The Miscellaneous errors:
1) The subjunctive mood
There are three basic mood in English grammar : Indicative mood, imperative mood and Subjunctive mood.
2) The subjunctive mood is used in the following two situations
Situation 1: To indicate a hypothetical situation, a wish, or a circumstance contrary-to-fact.
When contemplating hypothetical or contrary-to-fact situations, always use ‘were’ and ‘would’. Please note that even if the subject is singular you will still use ‘were’ and not ‘was’. If I were rich I would buy a BMW.
If petrol were cheaper I would use my car everyday.
Situation 2: To make a suggestion, demand, desire, etc.
Verbs like order, suggest, demand, etc. must be followed by ‘that’ and the infinitive form of the verb being ordered or suggested, without the ‘to’.
The teacher recommended that Jerry be expelled from the class.
The manager demanded that John show up for work on time.
3) How to figure out that when the question is testing us on subjunctive mood?
1. Check for words such as ‘if’, ‘wish’, etc. Though these can also be used in the other moods, they are most commonly tested on the subjunctive mood.
2. Ask yourself if the sentence is talking about an uncertainty, a wish, a suggestion, a demand, etc. If it is then you are dealing with the subjunctive mood.
4) When and where:
On the GMAT ‘where’ will always refer to a specific location and ‘when’ will always refer to a specific time period; else their use is wrong.
Correct: The town where I was born is known for its fishermen.
Correct: It was a historic event when, in 1947, India achieved independence.
Incorrect: When the price goes up the demand falls down.
Incorrect: The Company where I work has gone bankrupt.
4) Each other and one another:
‘Each other’ is used for two things; ‘one another’ for more than two.
The two men are pointing out each other’s mistakes.
The students are pointing out one another’s mistakes.
5) Whether or if
‘If’ is used to introduce a conditional idea or an idea that has just one possibility whereas ‘Whether’ is used to introduce alternative possibilities, usually with ‘or not’ implied or explicitly stated in the sentence.
If you study hard you will surely do well on the GMAT.(Conditional case)
I can’t decide whether to study or to go out with my friends.(Alternative case)
Both if and whether can be used in a single sentence as well
You need to decide whether you will be able to control your temper if he asks you to get out of his office.
6) Everyday vs Every day:
‘Everyday’ is an adjective meaning ‘ordinary’ or ‘commonplace’. An adjective, in case you’ve forgotten, is a word that modifies a noun. Eg. ‘everyday occurrence’, ‘everyday people’, etc.
‘Every day’ is an adverbial phrase that tells us how often something takes place. An adverb is a word or phrase that modifies a verb (most of the time).
7) Like and Such as:
On the GMAT ‘like’ means ‘similar to’ and ‘such as’ means ‘for example’
Important: Even if ‘such’ and ‘as’ are separated in a sentence, the sentence is still correct.
I want to eat some such sweet as a chocolate or a pastry.
8) Compare to v/s Compare with:
‘Compare to’ is used to point out the similarity between two unrelated things. More than a comparison, it’s actually just a statement stating that one thing is similar to another to emphasize that particular thing.
John compared his wife’s face to the moon.
‘Compare with’ is used to actually compare two things by pointing out the similarities as well as differences between them.
Jerry is comparing a Toyota with a Honda.
9) Due to v/s Because of:
Due to is used to replace “caused by”
10) Agree to v/s Agree with
You agree ‘with’ a noun and you agree ‘to’ a verb.
John agreed to run an extra mile. (‘run’ is a verb so agree ‘to’)
John agrees with his brother. (‘brother’ is a noun so agree ‘with’)
11) Shall v/s will
Use ‘shall’ when speaking in the first person and ‘will’ when speaking in the second or third person.
I shall win the championship BUT You/We will win the championship.
12) Will v/s would
Use will to refer to some event that will happen in the future in relation to the present and use would to refer to the future in the past.
13) Farther v/s Further
‘Farther’ refers to actual measurable distance whereas ‘Further’ refers to degree, quantity, time, or some such other quality that cannot or is not being precisely measured.
14) Differ with v/s Differ from
Use ‘differ from’ to imply ‘unlike’ (as in one thing differing from the other) and ‘differ with’ to imply ‘disagreement’ (as in differing with a point of view).
15) Rather than v/s Instead of
‘Rather than’ is used to express preference of one thing over another whereas ‘instead of’ is used to replace one thing with another.
‘rather than’ is a conjunction so it can be followed by anything – noun, phrase, clause – whereas ‘instead of’ is a preposition so it can be followed only by nouns.