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To simplify answer choices and eliminate the clutter in sentence correction you should:
1) Eliminate Unnecessary Phrases & Clauses (Prepositional phrases & modifiers)
2) Isolate & Focus on the decision point
3) Find the subject by locating the verb & working backwards.
What are the 6 places to look for a decision point?
- 1) Any suspected error in the Original Sentence
- 2) Beginning of Answer Choice
- 3) End of Answer Choice
- 4) Verb
- 5) Pronoun
- 6) The word “that”
What are the 5 most common decision points on the GMAT?
- 1.Number Agreement
- (including subject-verb, pronoun antecedent, etc.)
- 2.Misplaced Modifiers
- 3.Verb tense
- 4.Parallel elements/ Comparisons
- 5.Relative Clauses
What is something you must do before selecting your answer choice?
Reread the sentence with that answer choice
Remember: Sentence Correction is a process of elimination. Once you have eliminated a choice for grammatical reasons do not look at it again. Trust Yourself!
If you are down to 2 or 3 answer choices and neither one seems to contain an error, what 5 steps should you take in order?
- 1) Compare the choices for differences. Run them through the VAMPIRES checklist.
- 2) Read each choice in the context of the sentence, if one is better, choose it.
- 3) Choose active sentence over passive. (subject does the action, vs. subject receives the action)
- 4) Choose the shorter answer.
- 5) Don't waste time, pick one and move on.
What is the timing goal for sentence correction?
Less than 1 min
To find prepositional phrases & modifiers what should you look for?
Commas & Semi-Colons
When you see a comma what are the 3 things you should think about?
- 1) Can I skip something? perhaps a modifier inside the commas.
- 2) Can I really skip something, perhaps whole phrase before or after which isn't needed.
- 3) Is it a list? Need to look for parallelism
Nouns and pronouns refer to people or things and answer the questions...
"who" or "what"
Besides a person, place, or thing, a noun can also be...
a quality or action
What is a pronoun?
A word that takes the place of a noun. (she, he, it)
Ex: The librarian found the book and forwarded it.
What is a gerund? And examples?
A verbal, not actually a verb.
Ex: Seeing, believing (ends in -ing)
What is a direct object?
Person/thing tho which a verb transmits action. (the person/thing the action is happening to)
What is a Predicate?
Tells something about the subject (always includes the verb)
What is a Participle? And examples?
A verbal, not actually a verb.
Ex: Blazing, tired (adjectives)
What is an adverb? Examples/questions it asks?
It modifies a verb, adjective, another adverb, or clause. It answers the questions "how?", "when?", "where?", "why?", or "how much?"
- Often ends in a suffix -ly.
- Ex: quickly, greatly
What is a preposition?
- A word (such as "in" or "to), or a group of words (such as "in regard to") that is placed before a noun or pronoun and that serves as glue to another noun. Also gives you addiitonal info, not core info.
- Ex: for, of, in, to, as... (also words that describe where a mouse can run "around", "from", up" etc.)
What is "split the pair" and how do you use it?
It's in regards to splitting a pair of nouns (usually names) which may be followed by a modifier. The purpose is to clearly separate and identify the noun the modifier is referring to. If this is an option, choose it.
- Ex: “Susan and Stacey, whose hair is blonde, own 17 acres of farmland.”
- Correct Version: “Stacey, whose hair is blonde, and Susan, own 17 acres of farmland. “
How do you identify the subject?
It's the person/place/thing that is doing or being something.
What does VAMPIRES stand for and help identify?
- Common Sentence Errors
- Verb Form
- Agreement (b/w subject & verb)
- Rudimentary Sentence
- Equivalent Elements
What is a Verb Form Error? Examples?
When a verb with the wrong tense, voice, or mood is used. Tense errors are in relation to the timeline of events.
Ex: He already sent the email when it occurred to him that he wasn't able to retreive it later.
Correct: He had already sent the email when it occurred to him that he wouldn't be able to retrieve it later.
What are Verb Form error clues?
- 1) Several verbs in one sentence
- 2) Answers choices w/ different versions of a particular verb.
In regards to the verb "study" what is the Simple past, future, and present tenses?
- Past: I studied
- Present: I study
- Future: I will study
In regards to the verb "study" what is the Perfect past, future, and present tenses?
- Past: I had studied
- Present: I have studied
- Future: I will have studied
In regards to the verb "study" what is the Continuous past, future, and present tenses?
- Past: I was studying
- Present: I am studying
- Future: I will be studying
In regards to the verb "study" what is the combined Perfect/Continuous past, future, and present tenses?
- Past: I had been studying
- Present: I have been studying
- Future: I will have been studying
When is perfect tense used?
Should be used to indicate an event that happened before
an event in the simple tense.
- Ex: Jo discovered that Leslie had lied to her.
- discovered = simple past
- had lied = perfect past (happened b4 she discovered)
When you are talking about a single event that happened in the past, should you use past perfect or past simple tense?
Past Simple (ex: I studied, not I had studied)
When you are talking about two events that happened at the same time in the past, which tense should you use?
- Past Simple
- Ex: As Mary shook hands with Mr. Morgan, she recognized him.
- Shook & recognized are in past simple form. They occurred at the same time.
What tense form is this example: "I will have studied many hours before I take the GMAT."
- Future Perfect Continuous
- Now - > Future Study -> Take GMAT (distant future)
When is future perfect tense used?
When you're describing a future event that will come before another event.
When is continuous tenses used?
When describing actions that are, were, or will be ongoing.
What is an Agreement of Subject/Verb error? Examples?
When plural subjects don't match plural verbs or same when comparing singular subjects/verbs.
Ex: The number of applicants to the top business schools are is increasing
- number = subject
- of applicants ... = prepositional phrase
- are & increasing = verb (should be "is", since the subject "number" is singular)
What are clues for Agreement errors?
- 1) Considerable verbiage b/w subject & verb
- 2) Subject followed by a prepositional phrase
- 3) Subejct followed by a long modifying phrase
- 4) Compound subjects (ex, He and I studied together)
- 5) A verb before the subject (inverted sentence)
- 6) Use of either/or; neither/nor
- 7) Use of a nount that appears plural but may be singular (ex, crowd)
The following are examples of what: of, for, in, to, as, from, up, down, through, beside, along etc...
How should you combat the GMAT strategy to distract you from identifying Agreement errors by having lots of words in a sentence?
Learn to ignore: discriptive terms (adjectives, adverbs, and modifying phrases if used correctly). And any clause which appears to be irrelevant.
What is a Modifier Error? Examples?
When the modifier word or phrase does not modify (describe) what it is supposed to modify.
Ex: The rug usually covered the floor, which would be back from the dry cleaners today.
Correct: The rug, which would be back from the dry cleaners today, usually covered the floor.
What is the clue for finding modifier errors?
When a modifying phrase starts or completes a sentence.
What is a Pronoun Error? Examples?
Pronoun errors can fall into two different categories: Reference and Agreement. The error occurs when the pronoun doesn't clearly refer to a specific noun.
- Reference Error:
- Ex: Green and Holmes played, and he scored a touchdown.
- Correct: Green and Holmes played, and Holmes scored a touchdown.
- Agreement Error:
- Ex: The avg. mother expects unconditional love from her child, and they are rarely dissapointed.
- Correct: The avg. mother expects unconditional love from her child, and she is rarely dissapointed.
What are the two quesetions to ask yourself when you see a pronoun underlined?
- 1) Does the pronoun clearly refer to a specific noun?
- 2) Does the pronoun agree in number with that noun?
What is the clue that a pronoun error may exist?
If there simply is use of a pronoun - check that it's being used correctly.
In the sentences: "I went to the game" & "She went to the game", the pronoun 'I' or "she" is used why?
It's the subject b/c "I" or "She" was the person performing the action.
In the sentences: "Please give me the ball" & "Please give him the ball", the pronoun "me" or "him" was used why?
It's the object (person/thing to which a verb transmits action)
In the sentence: "Whom/Who should I contact?" Which word should be used whom/who? And why?
Whom, because it is the object (to which the verb "contacts" transmits action). Not the subject which is performing the action. The subject is "I".
What is an Idiomatic Error?
Idioms are an accepted style of speech, but not due to formal rules of grammar. Basically, when it's simply not the right way to say something.
What's the strategy for Idiomatic Errors?
- 1) Don't use it unless you have to, try to select the correct answer based on other errors.
- 2) If you're unsure which idiom is correct, try to use it in your own sentence.
- 3) Consider the meaning of the words and see if the structure makes sense.
- 4) Try other forms of the words. ex; "diff. from" or "diff. than". "x differs from y", not "x differs than y".
What is a Rudimentary Sentence Error?
- When a sentence lacks the basic structure of a subject-predicate, or when the basic structures aren't connected properly.
- Ex: Run-on sentences, fragments, or improperly connected clauses.
What are the clues to Rudimentary Sentence Errors?
- 1) Sentence fragment or run-on sentence.
- 2) Multiple clauses that are not properly integrated with each other (i.e. semi-colons or conjunctions; and, yet, but, although).
On the GMAT the pairing of "not only" goes often with...
When is it ok to use a semi-colon?
When it connects two independent clauses (not fragments)
What is an Equivalent Elements Error?
When equivalent errors aren't parallel. They should be constructed in the same grammatical form.
What are Equivalent Error Clues?
- 1) A series of actions or related items
- 2) The use of correlated pairs; from...to, (n)either...(n)or, not only...but also
- 3) Sentences that make comparisons
When it comes to the infinitive "to" what is something you can never do?
use the infinitive to link two nouns.
What is a Comparison Equivalence error?
When the sentence compares dissimilar things.
The idiomatic comparison "As many" should be matched with...
The idiomatic comparison "So many" should be matches with...
Which idiom is correct "as many as" or "as many than"?
as many as
Whenever you see a comparison, what acronym can you use to spot any errors? And what does the acronym stand for?
- Logical: Comparison is logical (not apples to oranges)
- Idiomatic: ensure the wording is idiomatically correct
- Parallel: ensure the two sides of the comparison are grammatically parallel (comparing caluse with clause, or noun with noun, not clause with noun)
What is Second-Tier Errors?
Errors of style, which may be awkward, imprecise or wordy.
Use only after all choices have been eliminated using (VAMPIRE).
What is the acronym for Second-Tier errors (errors of style)?
- Fluency: is it awkward?
- Accuracy: clear & avoids abiquity
- Brevity: not overly wordy
What is the overall Sentence Correction strategy?
- 1) Check if the orig. sentence seems error free, regardless read through the answer choices for differences & clues of potential errors.
- 2) If you still think the orig. sentence is fine - go with it.
- 3) If there is an error, eliminate those answer choices which make the same error.
- 4) If you don't know the error work through the VAMPIRES checklist - in order.
Use it or Lose it, refers to what? And how is it used?
Refers to Modifiers/Prepositions. "Use it" to eliminate answer choices, "lose it" (ignore it) if used correctly.
1) If the modifier is not underlined nor touching the underlined portion, ignore it! If it's right - skip it!
2) A prepositional phrase is 99% of the time just clutter, even if it is underlined. You can ignore it (and stream line the sentence).
How do you identify the subject using the verb?
Identify the verb (usually easy), then work backwards eliminating the prepositions, you should then be left with the subject.
- Ex: The number of applicants to the top business schools are increasing every year.
- Simplified/Correct: The number (s) of applicants to the top business schools is increasing (v) every year.
If the entire sentence is underlined (good thing), think two things:
1) Misplaced modifiers (adjective must correctly touch the noun it modifies)
If the modifier is used correctly...
then the sentence is good without it - thus you can skip it in the sentence.
Is "it" or "its" singular or plural?
A prepositional phrase always ends with a...
When it comes to the word "that", when should it be used? And what is the test?
When you're paraphrasing ok to use "that". i.e. when you're talking about what someone said/heard/believed etc. "Bob said that..."
The test is if you can sub with "which". If not, then you need the word "that".