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GMAT Sentence Correction Basics

GMAT Sentence Correction Basics

GMAT Sentence Correction Basics

By / Feb 13, 2019

Sentence correction is one of the three question types that you will encounter in your GMAT Verbal Section. It is the most important question type for a test-taker just because, there are some basic principles, which can be mastered and during the test, it is easy to crack them in the least amount of time.
Sentence correction tests the mastery of rules of formal written English. Only by mastering these rules, you can make significant gains in this question type.

The Format
The format of Sentence Correction is consistent; that is to say that the format of the question is the same and it never changes. So, do not expect any surprises.
Read through the sample official question below.
Unlike the conviction held by many of her colleagues that genes were relatively simple and static, Barbara McClintock adhered to her own more complicated ideas about how genes might operate, and in 1983, at the age of 81, was awarded a Nobel Prize for her discovery that the genes in corn are capable of moving from one chromosomal site to another.
(A) Unlike the conviction held by many of her colleagues that genes were
(B) Although many of her colleagues were of the conviction of genes being
(C) Contrary to many of her colleagues being convinced that genes were
(D) Even though many of her colleagues were convinced that genes were
(E) Even with many of her colleagues convinced of genes being

The question consists of a given sentence, part or whole of it is underlined. The five answer choices are possible replacements of the underlined portion. In all sentence correction questions, choice (A) is exactly same as the underlined portion of the original sentence. The other choices, however offer different options.

The Directions
The question you are answering in the sentence correction is always the same.
“Which of the answer choices, when placed in the given sentence, is the best option of those given, in terms of grammar, meaning and concision?”
Quick Tip: Answer choice (A) is not always wrong. The probability of answer choice (A) being right is the same as that of any other option.

The Perfectionist’s Dilemma
There are instances - and rightly so – that all the answer choices, including the correct one “sound bad”.
Correct GMAT Sentence Correction answers can sound very formal and weird.
So, don’t chase for a perfect answer choice. Your task is just to evaluate the given answer choices and to identify the best among them. You do not have to come up with the best possible construction in the universe.
To make matters worse, GMAT exploits the fact that our common spoken English language is teeming with grammatical inconsistencies. So, many a times, you will feel that an incorrect answer choice sounds right.
So step out of the perfectionist’s shoes and don the pragmatist’s hat and go for the best choice and stop contemplation on the ideal one.

In order to complete the entire verbal section, including the many time-consuming reading comprehension and critical reasoning questions, you should take no more than 90 seconds on an average for a sentence correction question. In fact, consider setting yourself a goal to 1 minute per sentence correction question.
In the next post we will discuss the strategies to approach a sentence correction question.
Till then why don’t you try your hand on one of our Sentence Correction Tests?
Take Test Now!!!

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Last updated on : Nov 28, 2023