Sentence correction in GMAT Verbal- tricks to ace the SC questions!

Are you worried about the GMAT verbal section because grammar is not your strong suit? Does the thought of 75 minutes of grueling grammar scare you? Well, you will be surprised to know that the sentence correction questions can be the easiest part of GMAT Verbal Reasoning! What does mastering the sentence correction part of verbal reasoning entail? Read below for tips on acing the sentence correction section!

Analysis of GMAT Sentence Correction

The sentence correction part, as you are well aware of, aims to test your knowledge of English grammar.  To note, the GMAT tests you on American English, so those of you who have studied the British language need to be a little careful on the exam.  For example, the Americans spell “flavour” with only an “o”, i.e. “flavor”.  Similarly the word “colour”, which they spell as “color”.  So you need to make sure you are conversant with American spellings.  But these will not make a very big difference when it comes to sentence correction.  The SC checks your grammar, and not particularly your spelling, although new spellings in the questions might trip you!

As with other chapters on the exam, sentence correction questions’ difficulty can vary from 200-level to 700-level.  A 600+ level question in sentence correction typically requires changing the whole sentence. The whole sentence would be underlined for you to make the necessary corrections.

A Sentence Correction question has 5 options from which the correct answer is to be chosen.  The first option, is a reproduction of the question itself! If you feel the given sentence has nothing wrong with it, choose the first option.

sentence correction types

Types of sentence correction questions.

As mentioned earlier, questions of all score levels are present in the sentence correction section.  You may get only 2 to 3 words underlined to be corrected, or say a part separated by punctuation, and only the underlined part (and not the entire sentence) is to be corrected.

For example, “although the dog tried his best to catch up with the train; he could not do it.”  Here you can see that only a portion of the sentence is underlined, so only that needs to be corrected.  Now you can keep the first part fixed in your mind, and try to make the entire sentence grammatically correct by changing the underlined portion.  You can see here that the the change will come from the punctuation.  The correct answer would be “train, yet he could not do it.”

Another example of a tougher question would be “TA Edison was awarded the noble prize as he was the man who invented the light bulb and his works as a scientist make him what he was.

Now this is a tougher question, and requires the complete sentence to be corrected.  You can see that the tenses are not right, and there are too many conjunctions in the sentence used at the wrong places.  The correct answer would be “TA Edison was awarded the nobel prize for inventing the light bulb (or, as he was the man who invented the light bulb); his works made him what he was.”

Another trick to crack GMAT Sentence Correction

To make the right choice, read the entire sentence first at a quick go without paying attention to the underlined part.  Try to figure out what it is that strikes you as being grammatically incorrect.  Once you’ve figured out the correction areas, go back to the sentence and read it again, this time looking at the underlined portion.

Now catch the wrong part, be it punctuation or conjunction or tenses, and check the choices given.  Select the one that you feel is correct.

sentence correction tricks

Remember that roughly 10 to 14 questions in the GMAT Verbal section will be for sentence correction.  The other questions are distributed over the critical reasoning and the reading comprehension sections.


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