Robert Simmons, a graduate of Zicklin School of Business, is a GMAT professor and MBA Advisor at Pericles ABLE Project (www.pericles.ru). For more information about Pericles’ programs please call 292-6463/5188; or write to firstname.lastname@example.org Here are come quick strategies for tackling GMAT Sentence Correction questions (Verbal Section) Don’t bother to read answer choice (A). It simply repeats the underlined part of the sentence. Don’t worry about punctuation; it’s not tested in GMAT Sentence Correction. Test-takers have a natural tendency to hyper-correct—to find fault with the original version (the first answer choice). Keep in mind that, on average, in 1 out of 5 Sentence Correction questions the original version (the first answer choice) is the best among the five choices. Trust your ear. If an answer choice sounds awkward in the context of a sentence, don’t bother to analyze it—eliminate it and move on. Eliminate any answer choice that distorts the intended meaning of the sentence. Some answer choices might contain internal grammatical errors (they’re grammatically improper, even apart from the sentence). Eliminate them right away to narrow down the viable choices. You’ll always encounter a second-best answer choice as well. Resolve close judgment calls in favor of the version that most effectively and concisely expresses the intended meaning of the sentence. Just because an answer choice is a bit wordy or awkward (read: there’s room for improvement), don’t assume it’s a wrong choice. If it contains no grammatical errors, while each of the other choices do, then it’s nevertheless the best of the five choices. Just because an answer choice is grammatically correct, don’t assume it’s the best choice. It might be a bit wordy or awkward; or it might contain a redundancy; or it might employ the passive voice. Another choice might be better overall. Just because an answer choice corrects every problem in the original sentence, don’t assume that it is the best answer choice. It might contain a new grammatical error, diction error or word usage problem, or it might be wordy or awkward. Before confirming your response, be sure to read the entire sentence—from beginning to end—with your answer choice. If it sounds proper to your mind’s ear, go with it and move on to the next question. Sample Sentence Correction Exercise Ekaterina, whom according to the classical musician community is a virtuoso, plays in a unique style which is all her own but which also embodies a warmth prevalent during the golden age of violin playing. A. whom according to the classical musician community is a virtuoso, plays in a unique style which is all her own but which also embodies
B. considered a virtuoso by the community of classical musicians, plays in a style all her own which at the same time embodies
C. regarded by classical musicians as being a virtuoso, plays in a unique style all her own yet embodies
D. regarded by classical musicians as a virtuoso, who plays in a style all her own which at the same time embodies
E. whom the community of classical musicians would consider to be a virtuoso, plays in a unique style while at the same time embodying
Strategy Look. for superfluous words that can be omitted without affecting the sentence’s meaning, as well as wordy and awkward phrases. An answer choice that suffers from any of these problems is probably not the best choice, regardless of whether it contains any grammatical errors. Analysis The original sentence (and the first answer choice) suffers from the following three problems: 1. The pronoun "whom" is improper here because its grammatical function here is to serve as a subject (as opposed to an object). The best answer choice must either replace "whom" with "who" or reconstruct the entire clause (for example, "…whom the…community considers a virtuoso…" would be grammatically correct).
2. The phrase "classical musician community" is confusing. It is unclear whether the adjective "classical" refers to the noun "musician" or to the noun "community." The best answer choice must remedy this problem.
3. The phrase "unique style which is all her own" is redundant; that is, "unique" and "all her own" mean essentially the same thing. The sentence should omit one or the other. Also, omitting the superfluous phrase "which is" would make for a more concise and effective sentence. Although these problems are not grammatical errors, a better sentence would remedy them.
The second answer choice (we’ll call it "B") is the best response. It remedies all three problems with the original sentence. Notice that (B) is not necessarily an ideal or "perfect" sentence. The first clause employs the passive voice ("considered…by classical musicians") rather than the preferred active voice ("classical musicians consider"). Nevertheless, (B) is the best response among the five choices. The third answer choice (we’ll call it "C") corrects the first two problems with the original sentence, but it does not correct the redundant "unique" and "all her own." Moreover, (C) creates two new problems. First, the phrase "as being" is an improper idiomatic expression; the word "being" should be omitted. Second, notice the word "yet," which connects two clauses—one beginning with "plays" and the other beginning with "embodies." Given the grammatical structure of (C), both clauses describe Patrice. But in order for the sentence to make sense the verb "embodies" should refer to Patrice’s playing style, not to Patrice herself. One solution would be to substitute "which also" (as in the original version) for "yet." The fourth answer choice (we’ll call it "D") corrects all three problems with the original sentence. But (D) creates a sentence fragment—that is, an incomplete sentence. The subject "Patrice" is followed by two modifying clauses (the first begins with "regarded," and the second begins with "who"). Thus, you can easily eliminate (D). The fifth answer choice (we’ll call it "E") corrects all three problems with the original sentence. But (E) creates two new problems. The verb "would consider" is a subjunctive (hypothetical) form of the infinitive "to consider." The original sentence, however, expresses the community’s view of Patrice as factual. In this respect (E) distorts the intended meaning of the original sentence, and therefore it cannot be the best answer choice. Second, the word "embodying" improperly refers to Patrice instead of her playing style—the same faulty parallelism that we saw in answer choice (C) Автор: Robert Simmons, a graduate of Zicklin School of Business, is a GMAT professor and MBA Advisor at Pericles ABLE Project