6 Grammar Rules for GMAT Verbal

The GMAT’s Verbal Section is one that often trips test-takers up, due to the requirement of an extensive vocabulary as well as awareness of basic grammatical rules for scoring well in this particular component. The “sentence correction” questions, specifically, assess your knowledge of a particular set of grammatical concepts. This article lists the most common concepts that you may come across when attempting the GMAT:

Subject Verb Agreement

The main noun in a sentence is the ‘subject’ of the sentence. The rule for subject-verb agreement is that the verb and the subject must agree in terms of tense and form. A sentence in which the subject is singular, must have the associated verb in singular form as well. Similarly, a sentence in which the subject is plural, must have the verb in plural form as well. 

For example:

The cat eats fish.

The cats eat fish.

Keep in mind that collective nouns (such as board, bunch, and school) are always singular.

For example:

The board of members decides on these issues.

A school of rare fish was caught today.

Another important point to remember is that the words ‘neither’ and ‘either’ are generally followed by singular verbs.


For example: 

Neither the board nor the team decides the schedule.

Modifiers

Modifiers are words, phrases, or clauses that provide descriptive detail about other words, phrases, or clauses. They must be placed close to what they modify in order to avoid confusion.

For example:

The house that belonged to Sirius was inherited by Harry. 

The interesting theory that was put forth by Luna was scoffed at by Hermione.

Parallelism

According to the basic grammatical rules, phrases that constitute a sentence must be parallel in form with regard to the tense and quantity.

For example:

I like dancing and swimming.

I like to swim and to dance.

The team went on to win the match and win the series too.

Use of Correct Pronouns

Use the right pronoun for the nouns it corresponds to in the sentence. The pronoun and the noun should correspond to the same gender (he/she/it) and quantity (singular/plural).

For example:

Hermione is a gifted witch, but she is not an expert with potions.

Ron is scared of spiders: he shivers when he sees them.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione went in search of Hagrid, but they couldn’t find him. 

Hagrid bought a dragon’s egg, and it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Subject/Object

An understanding of how to distinguish between the ‘subject’ and the ‘object’ in a sentence is an essential grammatical concept. In a sentence, the ‘subject’ is the main noun around which the entire structure of the sentence is built. Meanwhile, the ‘object’ is the secondary noun associated with the subject.

For example:

Who killed whom? (Who: Subject, Whom: Object) 

Molly killed Bellatrix. (Molly: Subject, Bellatrix: Object)

Bellatrix had earlier killed Sirius. (Bellatrix: Subject, Sirius: Object)

Comparison

The error in comparing apples and oranges is based on a very simple grammatical rule: comparison can happen only between similar entities. You can frame a comparison between a person and another person, a thing and another thing, a place and another place, and so on.

For example:

Like Ron, Harry also failed to get good grades in Potions.

Unlike Ron and Harry, Hermione got great grades in Potions.While the USA is a better country for higher education, I like life in India more.