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18 KEY GMAT GRAMMAR CONCEPTS

Everyt hing you want ed t o know about Sent ence Correct ion grammar.
But , did not know who t o ask.

PARTS OF
SPEECH

PARTS OF
SENTENCES

KEY CONCEPTS
ON GMAT
VERBAL

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
# 1 Nouns ...........................................................................................? ? ? ? ..? 8
# 2 Pronouns ? ....................................................................? ? ? .......................13
# 3 Adject ives .? ? .? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ...............................................? ? ? ...16
# 4 Verbs .........? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ......................? ? ? ? ? ? .................18
# 5 Adverbs .........? ..................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................21
# 6 Preposit ions ....................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................23
# 7 Conjunct ions ........? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ..........? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................25
# 8 Int erject ions .........? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ...........? ? ? ? ? ? .................27
# 9 Part s of Sent ences ..? ? ? .....? ? ? ................................................................28
# 10 Phrases and Cl auses ...............? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................31
# 11 Verbal s ..........................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................33
# 12 Punct uat ions ................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................36
# 13 Subject Verb Agreement .............? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................37
# 14 Pronouns ........? ? ? ? ? .............? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................39
# 15 Modif iers .......................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................40
# 16 Comparisons .........? ? .......? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................43
# 17 Tenses ........? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ..................................47
# 18 Idioms ..........................? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? .................49

INTRODUCTION
This 5-Day Handbook will help you brush-up your basic grammar, especially that required to
ace the Sentence Correction section on the GMAT.

In this guide, we will discuss concepts as elementary as parts of speech, parts of sentences,
tenses, idioms etc, but they will all be dealt with from a GMAT perspective.
- You need not memorize numerous grammatical terms and rules to score 700+ on the
GMAT. These are mentioned here only to help you understand concepts. You simply need
to understand how to apply grammatical concepts to crack SC problems!
- You need not go through the entire deck in one sitting. This material has been organized
day-wise rather than section-wise on purpose. Every day, spend time reading and digesting
only the pertinent section and nothing more.

Here?s the good news ? GMAT Sent ence Correct ion t est s you on onl y 7 grammar concept s,
namely:
1. Subject Verb Agreement
2. Pronouns
3. Modif iers
4. Paral l el ism
5. Tenses
6. Comparison
7. Idioms

PARTS OF SPEECH
The English language consists of just 8 basic Parts of Speech. Some words portray the name of
a person or place. Some describe actions. Some join two or more words and others describe
the quality of an object.
Let us look at this sentence:
Wow! Sophia and her l it t l e sist er sang beaut if ul l y at t he part y.
This sentence is composed of all the 8 parts of speech:

Nouns: Sophia, sister, party

Adverb: beautifully

Pronoun: her

Preposit ion: at

Adject ive: little

Conjunct ion: and

Verb: sang

Int erject ion: Wow!

# 1 NOUNS
A noun is a ?naming word?. It is used to name an object, place, person,
animal, trait or action.
Examples:
-

Names of
Names of
Names of
Names of

objects and things ? book, door, curtain, glass, bag


places, people or animals ? Eva, boy, Indian, house, Sweden,sister, tiger, sparrow
actions ? sleeping, eating, sailing, watching
traits/ qualities ? loyalty, splendor, happiness, courage, coldness

By adding suffixes to words, we can make them nouns. For example, prosper-prosperity,
aspire-aspiration,exclaim-exclamation etc.
Common noun suf f ixes are - ness, -ity, -ure, and ?ition

Proper Nouns & Common Nouns


A proper noun refers to the name of a
particular person, place or thing. An important
characteristic of a proper noun is that it always
begins with a capital letter.
Examples: Australia, Carl, Taj Mahal,
California, Cisco
Adele - Proper Noun

A common noun refers to a class of person,


place or thing.
Examples: mirror, table, woman, village, town,
taxi, pencil

Woman - Common Noun

Count abl e and Uncount abl e Nouns


A count abl e noun refers to nouns that can be
counted. Therefore, it has both a singular and a
plural form.
Examples:
Paul kept the book under the t abl e.
The comput ers are installed in the last room.

An uncount abl e noun refers to nouns that


cannot be counted. Therefore, it has only the
singular form.
Examples:
Susan prefers eating rice at home.
She attended art and music classes daily.
As we can see, rice, art, music etc are not
countable. More examples: furniture, air, oil,
yogurt, news, water, liberty, money, power,
cleverness, butter, electricity and so on.

Amusingly, at times the same noun can be countable and uncountable, leading to a different
meaning.
Examples:
Noise (as countable noun): Did you hear the noise coming from back side?
Noise (as non-countable noun): Increasing vehicles on the road are creating noise pollution.
Work: One of her most famous works included her latest Arabic song.
Work: Without any work, William felt bored.

Are you cl ear about count abl e and uncount abl e nouns? Test yoursel f
wit h t his mini exercise dril l !

Col l ect ive Nouns


A col l ect ive noun refers to a noun naming a group of things, animals, or persons. You would be
able to count the individual elements of the group, but generally you consider the group as one
single entity. To maintain the principles of subject-verb agreement, you need to identify
collective nouns. As mentioned earlier, collective nouns are like non-countable nouns but not
the same.
Examples:
- The army played a significant role during the war.
- The company is ready to take up new projects.
- The f amil y is going on a long vacation to Paris.

If you notice in these examples, singular verbs are used with collective nouns as a whole unit
and plural verbs in case of a collection of individual elements.
More examples:
Association, audience, class, club, college, committee, community, company, crowd,department,
electorate, enemy, family, firm, generation, government, group, jury,orchestra, population,
press, public, school, staff, team, university, and the names ofspecific organizations such as the
Royal Bank of Scotland, the AIR, Oracle, Maruti.

You can check out a huge l ist of Col l ect ive Nouns here!
Possessive Nouns
Possessive nouns refer to those nouns that are used to illustrate that something belongs to
somebody or something. We generally add ('s) to a singular noun and an apostrophe (') to a
plural noun.

Examples:
The girl?s dress (one girl)
The girls?dresses (two or more girls)

If you observe these examples, in the first case, as there is only one girl, ('s) is added to the
singular noun. And in the second case, there are more than a single girl, an apostrophe (') is
added to the plural noun.

Wat ch t his short int eract ive present at ion t o l earn more about
Possessive Nouns!

Abst ract Nouns


Abstract nouns refer to those nouns that are theoretical in nature. These nouns cannot be
identified by your five senses. They cannot be heard, seen, felt, tasted or smelled. Abstract
nouns display philosophies, concepts, ideas which are intangible in nature.
Examples:
- Love conquers the world!
- He was awarded for his bravery.
- Her dedicat ion towards her work made her receive the best employee award.

Other examples of abstract nouns are concepts like independence, power, trust, happiness,
intelligence, sympathy, anger, hatred, compassion, beauty, skill, integrity, misery, beliefs, pain,
knowledge, and so on.
Singul ar and Pl ural Nouns
In GMAT, one of the most vital noun-related questions includes the differences between the
singular and plural nouns.
- A Singular noun refers to one entity only, such as pen, dog, moon, girl, etc.
- Plural nouns refer to more than one entity such as flowers, dresses, tables, hands, lamps, etc.
- Usually, plural nouns end in ?s?or ?es?but this is not a thumb rule. Not all nouns ending with
?s?or ?es?are plural nouns such as Thomas Gates.

Read more about Singul ar and Pl ural Nouns here!

Compound Nouns
Compound nouns refer to those nouns that are constructed by two or more words. Some
compound nouns are adjoined by a hyphen. You must have come across these types of nouns
quite often.
Examples:
Output, newspaper, toothpaste, father-in-law,
dry-cleaner, underpass, whiteboard, paper-clip,
check-in, carpet, eyeball, moonlight, rainbow,
bodyguard, houseboat, inside, joystick,
well-being, and so on

Try out t his mini-dril l t o see how wel l you have underst ood Compound
Nouns!
Concret e Nouns
Concrete nouns refer to those nouns that you can experience with your five senses. These
nouns can be touched, seen, heard, felt or smelled. Concrete nouns can be recognized by at
least one of your five senses.
Examples:
- This perf ume has a captivating fragrance.
- Learn how to eat with f ork and knif e.
- The t eacher shouted at the st udent s.

As you can see above, nouns like perfume, fork,


knife, teacher and students are all concrete
nouns that can be identified by at least one of
our senses. Other examples of concrete nouns
are sugar, wall, window, plate, rainbow, fire,
curtains, computers, employees, cat, butterfly,
noise and so on.

# 2 PRONOUNS
A Pronoun refers to a word that works as a substitute for a noun. It is used to replace a noun or
another pronoun such as I, my, us, he, she, we, you, thou, these, those, this, that, they, it,
everyone, each, all, both, such, who, your, his, her, our, their, somebody, everybody, etc.
Pronouns remove the unnecessary elements of repetitiveness from your sentences.
For Example:
While writing an essay on your best friend Sam, instead of writing
Sam is my best friend. Sam is eight years old. Sam?s father is a doctor? .
With pronouns, we can rephrase the essay like:
Sam is my best friend. He is eight years old. His father is a doctor? ..

Types of Pronouns
1. Subject Pronouns
Subject pronouns refer to those pronouns are that are used as a subject or predicate noun
such as I, he, she, you, we, they, it, who, etc.
Examples:
- They will reach the party hall in half an hour.
- She is a teacher.

2. Object Pronouns
Object pronouns refer to those pronouns that are used as an indirect object, direct object, or
object of a preposition such as you, me, her, him, them, whom, it, us.
Examples:
- Can you please tell me the way to the City hospital?
- Please return the book to me in two days.

Test your knowl edge of Subject and Object Pronouns here and here!

3. Singul ar Pronouns
Singular pronouns are those pronouns that appear to be plural at their surfaces. Infact, only
singular verbs are used after these pronouns. Can you recall some of these? Such as each, any,
anybody, everybody, everyone, anything, nobody, etc
Examples:
Each of these students was involved in the prank.
Nobody has submitted the assignment to me.

4. Rel at ive Pronouns


Relative pronouns refer to those pronouns that connect one phrase or clause to another
phrase or clause. It is so called because it ?relates?to the word that it modifies and is not
precise. Such as who, whom, whose, that, which, whoever, whomever, whichever, etc
Examples:
The girl, who assisted me to buy the vegetables, is my neighbor.
The house, which is located near the Church, belongs to my friend.

Test yoursel f on Rel at ive Pronouns!

Indef init e Pronouns


Indefinite Pronouns refer to those pronouns that do not pertain to any particular person
or place or thing. They replace nouns without specifying which noun they are replacing.
Examples:
Each player was given a second chance.
Many people will attend this seminar.

Some of the Singular indefinite pronouns are: each, every, everyone, anyone, someone,
nobody, etc.
Some of the Plural Indefinite pronouns are: few, many, others, several, etc.
Some of the singular/ plural indefinite pronouns are: most, any, none, etc.

5. Int errogat ive Pronouns


Interrogative pronouns are those pronouns that are used to commence or establish
interrogative sentences such as who, whom, whose, what, and which, etc. Though they are
similar to relative pronouns but are used differently.
Examples:
What is the capital of Sweden?
Who was the first President of the United States?

6. Int ensive Pronouns


Intensive pronouns or emphatic pronouns refer to those pronouns that end with ?self?or
?selves?and highlight a noun or another pronoun such as myself, yourself, himself, herself,
itself, oneself, ourselves.
Examples:
She finished solving the question paper hersel f .
The driver himsel f carried the luggage at the counter.

7. Possessive Pronouns
Possessive pronouns refer to those pronouns that replace possessive nouns.
For e.g. my, mine, your, yours, her, hers, his, our, ours, its, their, theirs, whose.
Examples:
- Your dress is very pretty.
- Our team will win this match.

Take a mini-t est on Possessive Pronouns!

# 3 ADJECTIVES
An adjective refers to a word that describes, identifies or quantifies words, making them more
meaningful. Adjectives are necessary to make the meanings of sentences more precise and
relevant. Common suffixes for adjectives are -able, -ous, and ?er. They are placed directly
preceding a noun or noun phrase.
Such as beautiful, soft, healthy, taller, ten, wooden, green, etc
Examples:
He looks handsome in formals.
Sandra is short er than her sister.

Types of Adject ives


1. Comparat ive and Superl at ive Adject ives
Comparat ive adject ives refer to those adjectives that help us to compare two things. (Not
three or more) such as smaller, larger, fairer, cheaper, etc.
Examples:
Peanuts are cheaper than cashews.
Pebbles are smal l er than rocks.
Superl at ive adject ives refer to those adjectives that illustrate the extreme or highest degree
of a quality of one thing in a group of three or more things. Such as farthest, nearest, richest,
quickest, coolest, etc
Examples:
Peter is the richest guy in his locality.
Antarctica is one of the col dest places on earth.

2. Demonst rat ive Adject ives


Demonstrative adjectives refer to those adjectives that are used to demonstrate or indicate
specific things such as this, that, these and those, etc.
Examples:
Please pass me t hat paper, I need to note down something important.
If you will feed t his dog, he will continue to stay nearby you.

Test yoursel f on Demonst rat ive Adject ives!

Indef init e Adject ives


Indefinite adjectives are those adjectives that do not point out specific things. They are
formed from indefinite pronouns such as no, any, many, few and several, etc.
Examples:
Many offices will be closed on next Friday.
Very f ew people will agree to this.

Predicat e Adject ive


Predicate adjectives or subject complement are those adjectives that modify the subject like
other descriptive adjectives, but essentially follow a linking verb in a sentence. Such as fun,
calm, great, cold, etc
Examples:
The day will turn warm by afternoon.
Ruth seems sad nowadays.

Noun as an Adject ive


Now you are well aware of what a noun and an adjective are. A noun is a person, place or thing,
and an adjective is a word that describes a noun. At times we use a noun to describe another
noun. In such a situation, the first noun acts as an adjective. Such as tennis ball, race horse,
dress exhibition, school shoes, chocolate box, etc.
Examples:
This l ove st ory has a happy ending.
Please repair it at the bicycl e shop.
In some exceptional cases, you can even come across many successive nouns acting as
adjectives.
Example:
American airways traffic investigation centre
Fascinatingly, here so many nouns are describing the noun ?centre?that investigates into the
traffic of the airways of America.

# 4 VERBS
Verbs refer to words that depict action, existence, or happening. The verb is possibly the most
significant parts of speech. It is not possible to make a meaningful sentence without a verb in
it. Even the shortest sentence comprises a verb. Such as ?Shoot!? Words like are, was, play, run,
teach, write, are all verbs.
Examples:
The children wil l pl ay in the evening.
She visit s the hospital twice a week.

Verbs are usually referred to as ?action?words. This is true to a great extent. Such as do, work,
dig, add, cook, and so on. However, some verbs instead of expressing an action, describe the
idea of existence such as be, exist, belong, seem, and so on.
Examples:
Henry seems very happy.
Let it be here.

Types of Verbs
1.

Hel ping verbs and Main verbs

Helping verbs refer to those verbs that have no meaning on their own, however they are vital
for the correct grammatical structure of the sentence. These verbs do not convey much when
used alone. Helping verbs are generally used with the Main verbs.
Examples:
-

He must
The shop wil l
Andrew can
Main verbs

Main verbs refer to those verbs that have a proper meaning of their own. They express
something concrete.
Examples:
- Michael sings.
- Dogs bark.

Try out t his f un exercise on Hel ping Verbs!

Transit ive and Int ransit ive verbs


A transitive verb refers to a verb which must consist of an object to make it meaningful, and to
receive the action displayed.
Examples:
- She want s to buy the pink dress.
- He wrot e the essay in one hour.
An Int ransit ive verb refers to a verb which is complete in itself, or which is completed by
other words without requiring an object.
Examples:
- James arrived at the airport half an hour early.
- Clara went for her daily aerobic classes.

Test your underst anding of Transit ive & Int ransit ive Verbs here!
Act ive and Passive Verbs
We generally speak in Act ive voice in which the subject of the verb is the agent. It expresses ?
?Who does what?.
Examples:
The teacher explained the lesson to the students.
The customer ordered the dinner.
Conversely, the Passive voice is used quite less in comparison to active voice. In passive voice
the subject receives the action of the verb being performed by the object. It expresses ?
?What was done by whom?
Examples:
The lesson was explained to the students by the teacher.
The dinner was ordered by the customer.

Auxil iary Verbs and Lexical Verbs


English language consists of four Auxil iary verbs such as Be, Have, Will and Do. These auxiliary
verbs are followed by another verb, referred to as the full verbs.
Examples:
- Please be with me during the bad days.
- Do you have any brother?
Lexical verbs or full/ main verbs refer to those verbs which are not auxiliary verbs. They
express a concrete idea and are independent of another verb.
For Example:
- She pl ayed very well.
- The child crawl ed out of his room.

Take a short quiz on Auxil iary & Lexical verbs here!

# 5 ADVERBS
Adverbs refer to those words that modify a verb, an adjective, another adverb, a phrase or a
clause. An adverb depicts time, place, manner, cause, or degree and answers questions such as
?where?, ?when?, "how," "how much", etc. Some adverbs are characterized by the suffixes like
?ly? and ?ily? such as easily, softly, eagerly, slowly, more, fast, willingly and so on.
Examples:
- Robin finished his homework quickl y in order to watch the cricket match.
- She was eagerl y waiting for her results to be out.
The main difference between adjectives and adverbs is that adjectives describe ?nouns?and
adverbs describe ?verbs?. An adverb can be placed just before or just after a verb, such as
"She answered all the questions conf ident l y?.

Types of Adverbs
There are different types of adverbs as mentioned below:
1. Adverbs of Manner answer the question ?How?? This adverb is generally placed after the
direct object or if there is no direct object, after the verb itself.
Examples: anxiously, carefully, kindly, loosely, suddenly, etc
2. Adverbs of Time answer the question ?When?? This adverb is generally placed either at the
very beginning of the sentence or at the end.
Examples ? tomorrow, tonight, frequently, seldom, later, etc
3. Adverbs of Pl ace answer the question ?Where?? This adverb is generally placed after the
object, otherwise after the verb.
Examples above, here, indoors, towards, elsewhere, etc
4. Adverbs of Degree answer the question ?To What Extent?? This adverb is generally placed
before the word it modifies.
Examples nearly, almost, just, quite, too, etc
5. Adverbs of Frequency answer the question ?How many times?? This adverb is placed after
the verb ?to be?.
Examples weekly, rarely, daily, often, sometimes, etc

# 6 PREPOSITIONS
Prepositions refer to those words that connect nouns, pronouns to other words in a sentence.
Prepositions are placed before a noun or a pronoun and provide a grammatical relation to a
verb, adjective, or another noun or pronoun. Thus, a preposition depicts a chronological,
logical or spatial relationship such as on, at, by, over, above, against, in, from and so on.
In the following examples we will see how prepositions can alter the position of the same
object.
Examples:
-

The pen is kept at the table.


Please keep this pen besides the book.
I couldn?t find my pen inside the box.
Please write your answers wit h this pen.
She hid my pen bel ow the desk.

As you can see above, in each of these sentences, a preposition positions the noun ?pen?.

Preposit ion Phrase


There is also something known as ?A prepositional phrase.? It is composed of the preposition,
its object and any associated adjectives or adverbs. A prepositional phrase can act as a noun,
an adjective, or an adverb such as at office, with Peter, by working, under the chair, from
William and so on.

Universal Rul e f or Preposit ions


Prepositions have a rule that is universal in its application:
?A preposit ion is al ways f ol l owed by a "noun". It is never f ol l owed by a verb.?
Infact, a preposition cannot be followed by a verb. Even if we require to follow a preposition
by a verb, it is mandatory to use the "-ing" form which is a gerund or verb in noun form.?
Though prepositions aren?t tested on the GMAT specifically, but still it is vital to have an
understanding of prepositions. Students should concentrate on the exact meaning of
prepositions instead of attempting to memorize every possible combination in which
prepositions can be placed in a sentence. Many questions in GMAT, which are assumed to be
relating to idioms, could be answered effortlessly by students if they have a clear
understanding of prepositions.

# 7 CONJUCTIONS
Conjunctions refer to the words or phrases that help to link words, clauses, phrases, or
sentences.
Such as but, and, because, as, yet, or and so on. Interestingly, some conjunctions like ?but? and
?for? can also be used as prepositions.
Examples
-

My favorite holiday places are London and France.


Give me a call when you reach your office.
He couldn?t attend the party because she was out of town.
David wants to attend the seminar but he is not well.

Types of Conjunct ions


1. Co-ordinat ing Conjunct ions
Co-ordinating conjunctions are those conjunctions that join individual words, phrases, and
independent clauses that are grammatically equal. Such as but, because, or, nor, yet, so, for.
Examples:
- She came home late because it was raining heavily.
- George and Harris went to play tennis. In the first sentence, the co-ordinating conjunction
?because? is used to connect two independent clauses. And in the second sentence, the
co-ordinating conjunction ?and? connects two nouns.

Read more about Coordinat ing Conjunct ions here!

2. Subordinat ing Conjunct ions


A subordinating conjunction refers to a conjunction that establishes a dependent clause and
specifies the nature of the relationship among the dependent clause(s) and independent
clause(s). In other words, a subordinating conjunction connects a subordinate (dependent)
clause to a main (independent) clause such as although, before, how, after, since, when, where,
while, whether, though, till, until, than and so on.
Examples:

If you eat nutritious diet, you will get well soon.

Af t er he graduated from college, he received lucrative job offers.

In the first sentence, the subordinating conjunction ?if? is establishing a dependent clause ?if
you eat nutritious diet? and in the second sentence, the subordinating conjunction is
establishing a dependent clause ?after he graduated from college?.

Test yoursel f on Subordinat ing Conjunct ions!

# 8 INTERJECTIONS
Though sound to be complicated and huge, interjections refer to tiny exclamations that do not
have any relevant grammatical significance, though they are used quite often, especially in
verbal conversation. Interjections are basically used to express an emotion or sentiment such
as Hey! Oh! Ouch! Um! Shh! Interjections may or may not be followed by an exclamation mark
(!) in written communication. In most cases, interjections are positioned in the starting of the
sentences.
Examples:
-

Hi! Nice to see you here.


Hmm! I think you are right.
Wel l , what do you think about this project?
Ouch! The injection is so painful.
Al as! Today is our last day in college.

Interjections fill in the gaps when people do not know exactly what to say such as um and er.
Examples:
- To reach the famous bakery shop, you take? er? a left turn.
- I will reach home by? um? six in the evening.

Int erject ions are never t est ed on t he GMAT!

Test yoursel f on t he various Part s of Speech!

# 9 PARTS OF SENTENCES
Parts of sentences are nothing but a collection of phrases and clauses that portray how
sentences are constructed by linking these together. Though parts of speech and parts of
sentences are not directly linked, a thorough knowledge of these two will build up your
confidence to face GMAT. In a part of sentence, a subject could be anything, a noun, a pronoun
or even a phrase or a clause. To form a grammatically correct English sentence, you need to be
clear about various concepts like subject, object, predicate, phrase, clause and modifiers. Once
you go through these, you will get a clearer picture how to approach GMAT questions.
Consider the following sentences:
- After it stopped raining
- While he was sleeping
- Until you reach home safely
Do you find anything ambiguous about these sentences? Are they complete by themselves?
Certainly not! These sentences come under the category of ?sentence fragments?as these
sentences express unfinished ideas. Anyone who will read these sentences will be requiring
more information to get a complete idea of the writer or speaker.
Now, consider these sentences:
- Jenny drove his car.
- He wept.
- Joseph ran.

Do you find above sentences complete? Certainly yes! Thus, these are not examples of
sentence fragments. A sentence fragment doesn?t mean it has to be short, it only means that it
is incomplete.
So, now you must got an outline what goes into constructing a meaningful sentence
composed of phrases and clauses. Let?s delve a little more into what are the different parts of
sentences, what functions they perform and how these should be connected to form
grammatically correct sentences and avoid errors relating to run-on sentences, lack of
subject-verb agreement and lack of parallel structure.

Read more about Sent ence Fragment s here!

Subject , Object & Predicat e


Parts of sentences consist of a subject, object and a predicate. These are the central part of
any sentence and are crucial to create a meaningful sentence. Let?s delve a little into these
grammatical terms and find out how significant these are in constructing a sentence.

Subject
Subject refers to the person or a thing who or which performs the action of the verb. In
simpler words, subject is the ?noun?to which the sentence's verb refers to. A subject is like a
?leader?of the sentence. Examples:
- Jul ie is eating the lobster.
- Annie has written this poem.
In the first sentence, the verb or the action is ?eating?. This action is performed by Julie, who is
the subject of the sentence. In the second sentence, Annie is the subject who is performing
the action of ?writing?.

Object
Object refers to the person or a thing upon whom or upon which the action of the verb is
performed. It showcases the subject?s action or relates to the subject. In the first example, the
action of ?eating?is performed upon the ?lobster?. So, lobster is the object of the sentence. And
in the second example, the action of ?writing?is performed upon the poem, so poem is the
object in this sentence. A sentence may have indirect objects along with the direct ones.
Examples:
- Please send me that email .
In this example, ?email?is the direct object and ?me?is the indirect object.

Predicat e
Predicate refers to what a person or a thing does or did or what happened to a person or to a
thing? A predicate consists of a verb and other parts of speech.
Certain rules for predicate include
- The predicate must agree in number with the subject
- It must have the correct tense, and it must be in the proper voice (active or passive)

To clarify, in the first sentence, the phrase ?is eat ing? is the predicate and in the second
sentence ?has writ t en?is the predicate of the sentence. Thus, it is necessary for the predicate
to have a verb, infact at times, a verb all by itself can also be a predicate. Nevertheless, it will
be wrong to conclude that a predicate and a verb are synonymous, as some verbs are not
predicates and some predicates will have something more than just verbs.

# 10 PHRASES AND CLAUSES


Phrases
A Phrase refers to a collection of words which makes some sense, but not the entire sense. It is
an assortment of related words without a subject doing a verb.
Examples:
1. The book which Fredrick gave me is quite interesting.

2. Af t er t he l unch, start working on this project.

Cl auses
A Cl ause refers to a collection of words that consists of both a Subject and a Predicate, but
may not be able to convey full meaning independently. Some sentences may contain a single
clause and some multiple clauses knitted within other clauses.
Examples:
- The student, who came f irst , is very hard-working.
- Mary failed in her exams, which I didn?t expect .

Types of Cl auses
1. Independent Cl ause
Independent clause is a clause which can stand by themselves and form a complete sense on
its own. It does not require any other clause as it comprises sufficient information to construct
a complete sentence.
Examples:
- Betty didn?t like the food but she enjoyed the dessert.
In the above sentence, we have two independent clauses ? "Betty didn?t like the food" and
"she enjoyed the dessert ", joined by a coordinating conjunction ("but").

2. Dependent Cl ause
Dependent clause is a clause that does not form a complete sense by itself. It is dependent on
some other clauses to form a meaningful sentence.
Examples:
- If you l end me t hat book, I will be grateful to you.
- When I was in New York, I worked for a law firm. o-list

Test your underst anding of cl auses here!

NOTE:
Phrases t oget her f orm a Cl ause and Cl auses f orm a Sent ence.
As several punct uat ion marks--such as commas, semicol ons, and col ons are based on
phrases and cl auses, it is crucial t o underst and t he dif f erences bet ween phrases,
cl auses, independent and dependent cl auses.

# 11 VERBALS
(GERUNDS, PARTICIPLES & INFINITIVES)
A verbal refers to a word formed from a verb but works as a different part of speech such as
nouns or adjectives. These words signify action in a general way, without limiting the action to
any time, or asserting it of any subject.
There are 3 kinds of Verbals ? Gerunds, Participles & Infinitives

Gerunds
A gerund refers to a verbal that terminates in -ing and works as a noun and is positioned
similarly in a sentence that a noun would generally such as subject, direct object, subject
complement, and object of preposition.
Examples:
- In college, he was famous for his dancing.
- My favorite pastime activity is f ishing.
In the above examples, words like ?dancing?and ?fishing?are used as a noun and not as a verb,
making them gerunds.

Read more about Gerunds here!

Part icipl es
A participle refers to a verbal that usually ends in ?ing or ?ed and is used as an adjective.
Though it is more of an adjective, it has some characteristics of verbs and some of adjectives.
Since participles function as an adjective, they can only modify nouns or pronouns.
Examples:
- The night sky was dotted with shoot ing stars.
- Her cheeks were stained with drying tears.

Read more about Part icipl es here!

Types of part icipl es


1. Present part icipl es and Past part icipl es
Present part icipl es refer to those participles that express ?what a thing does?and are
usually ended in ??ing?. It can be used with the Auxiliary verb 'to be' to form the
continuous tense such as singing, playing, cooking, eating, swimming, washing, etc.
Examples:
- Have you heard the story of the sl eeping beauty?
- The dancing dolphins took away the hearts of many spectators.
In these sentences, words like ?sleeping?and ?dancing?are expressing something more
about beauty and dolphins respectively, forming present participles.
A past part icipl e denotes past or completed action or time. They generally express
?what was done to a thing?and are usually ended in ?ed, -en, -d, -t, or ?n such as cracked,
lost, repaired, required, arisen, beaten, anchored, and so on.
Examples:
- Are you still searching for your l ost watch?
- Please throw away the cracked packet in the bin.
In these sentences, words like ?lost?and ?cracked?are being used as an adjective to
modify the noun ?watch?and ?packet?respectively, thus forming past participles.

2. Inf init ives


An infinitive refers to a verbal that comprises the word ?to?and a verb (in its simplest
form) and functions as a noun, adjective, or adverb. Infinitive is the base form of the
verb such as (to) eat, (to) be, (to) say, (to) play, (to) deliver, (to) eat and so on. It may also
function as a subject, direct object, subject complement, adjective, or adverb in a
sentence.
Examples:
-

Please assist him t o carry the luggage.


You must have eat en your lunch by now.
He should be hel ping his students with the chapters.
Do not pretend t o be what you aren?t.

Types of Inf init ives:


1.

The perfect infinitive (to have + past participle)

2.

The continuous infinitive (to be + present participle)

3.

The perfect continuous infinitive (to have been + present participle)

4.

The passive infinitive (to be + past participle)

Dist inct ion bet ween Inf init ives and Preposit ional phrases
There is a clear distinction between infinitives and prepositional phrases. An infinitive
consists of ?to + verb?, whereas a prepositional phrase consists of ?preposition + a noun or
pronoun and any modifiers.?
Examples:
Inf init ive: Ask him t o sit in the class.
Here ?to?is the preposition and ?sit?is the verb.
Preposit ional Phrase: The traveler rested under t he shaded t ree.
Here ?under?is the preposition, ?the shaded?is the modifier and ?tree?is the noun.

Read more about Inf init ives here!

# 12 PUNCTUATIONS
Punctuation marks enable us to structure our sentences more accurately. For e.g.
period/ full-stop(.), comma (,), question mark (?), exclamation mark (!), colon (:), semi-colon (;),
apostrophe (&), brackets (()), quote (?), hyphen (-) etc.
The colon (:) and semi-colon (;) are tested on the GMAT.

1. Col on(:)
The colon is used in 2 situations:
Whil e int roducing a l ist :
- Beth is planning to buy a few vegetables: capsicum, ladyfinger, carrot, cabbage,
cauliflower and snake gourd.
Whil e int roducing an expl anat ion or an exampl e:
- There was only one possible explanation: the flight had never arrived.
2. Semicol on(;)
Semicolons are used to split sentences that are grammatically independent but still have
closely linked meaning.
Example:
- Annie is fond of ice creams; Joseph prefers chocolates.
Sometimes, conjunctions can be used in place of semicolons.
Example:
- Annie is fond of ice creams but Joseph prefers chocolates.
We cannot use a comma in place of a semicolon ? this would result in what is
known as a ?run-on sentence?.
Example:
- Annie is fond of ice creams, Joseph prefers chocolates.

# 13 SUBJECT VERB AGREEMENT


The golden rule of Subject Verb Agreement is this:
A singular subject always takes a singular verb and a plural subject always takes a plural verb.
Examples:
The stranger has stolen the lady?s purse.
The children are having a lot of fun!
In the first sentence, the singular subject ?stranger? is accompanied by a singular verb ?has
stolen?. In the second sentence, the plural subject ?children? is accompanied by a plural verb
?are having?. Any mismatch of singular and plural concept will render the sentences incorrect
1. Addit ive Phrases
Example:
Nick, along with his brother, are going to attend the seminar.
The above sentence is incorrect, because ?Nick?is a singular subject and thus, requires a
singular verb ?is?. The correct sentence is:
Nick, along with his brother, is going to attend the seminar.
Except ?and?, all other additive phrases keep the subject singular. For e.g.
The king, together with his courtiers, was an honored guest at the artisan?s home.

Eit her? or / Neit her? nor


Thumb rul es:
- If both subjects are singular, the verb takes the singular form.
- If both subjects are plural, the verb takes the plural form.
- If one subject is singular and one is plural, the verb takes the form of the subject closer to
it.
Example:
- Either Mona or her cousins is organizing the party.
This sentence is incorrect, since the subject closest to the verb (?organizing?) is plural (?her
cousins?). So, the correct sentence will be:
- Either Mona or her cousins are organizing the party.

Each and Every ? al ways singul ar!


Consider the following sentences:
- Each of the students are participating in the annual sports day.
- Every person in the country are working for a better life.
The above two sentences are incorrect as words ?each?and ?every?cannot be followed by
plural verbs. In English grammar, a singular verb is always used with each and every. The correct
form is:
- Each of the students is participating in the annual sports day.
- Every person in the country is working for a better life.

# 14 PRONOUNS
Col l ect ive Nouns
The team is going to play the match tomorrow.
This sentence is correct because ?the team of 11 players?is not seen as a collection of
individuals but as a single subject, requiring a singular verb ?is?.

The herd of cattle is moving up the mountain slope.


This sentence is also correct because we are looking at the herd as a single entity.
Pl ural Nouns
Some nouns are inherently plural and take a plural verb. For e.g. belongings, congratulations,
earnings, goods, outskirts, particulars (= information), premises (= building), riches, savings,
stairs, surroundings, thanks etc.
Example:
- His savings were not enough to tide him over hard times.
?Savings? is a plural noun and therefore, requires the plural verb form ?were?.

On the GMAT, there are only two pronoun concepts you need to remember:
1. Pronouns must agree in number with the nouns they replace.
Example:
- The plight of the animals after it was chased out of the forest was piteous.
Plural ?animals?requires plural pronoun ?they?and plural verb ?were?.
- The plight of the animals after they were chased out of the forest, was piteous.
2. Pronouns must have unambiguous antecedents. i.e. it must be clear what noun each
pronoun refers to.
Example:
- The tourists are afraid of the leeches as they suck their blood.
- ?they?and ?their?have ambiguous antecedents ? who is sucking whose blood?

# 15 MODIFIERS
A modifier is a non-compulsory constituent in a phrase or a clause. It changes the meaning of
another element in the sentence, on which it is dependent. A modifier can be long or short. On
the GMAT, modifiers can be pretty long.
Basic Rul es f or Modif iers:
1. The modif ier shoul d be pl aced as cl ose as possibl e t o what it modif ies;
ot herwise t he ent ire meaning of t he sent ence get s al t ered drast ical l y.
Examples:
Possessing fifteen legs, Shyam had never seen such a creature in his life.
Who has fifteen legs? Shyam or the creature? The creature, of course!
Thus, the modifier ?Possessing fifteen legs? should be placed close to ?creature? and not
?Shyam?. Possessing fifteen legs, the creature was unlike anything Shyam had ever seen in his
life.

2. An adject ive can modif y onl y a noun or a pronoun; adverbs can modif y al most anyt hing
except a noun or a pronoun.
Examples:
- Adjective modifying nouns and pronouns:
This is a f ascinat ing book. (the adjective ?fascinating?modifies the noun ?book?)

- Adverbs modifying verbs:


Her sister danced gracef ul l y. (the adverb ?gracefully?modifies the verb ?danced?)

- Adverbs modifying adjectives:


Jim is ext remel y rich. (the adverb ?extremely?modifies the adjective ?rich?)

- Adverbs modif ying ot her adverbs:


She decorated the house most beautifully. (the adverb ?most?modifies another adverb
?beautifully?)
- Adverbs modif ying cl auses:
Cert ainl y, his presence was disturbing to the gathered audience. (the adverb ?certainly?
modifies the clause ?his presence was disturbing?)
- Adverbs modif ying whol e sent ences:
Tomorrow, we will announce the winner. (the adverb ?tomorrow?modifies the entire sentence)

A modifying phrase can appear not only at the start of a sentence, but also in in the middle or at
the end.
Examples:
- Mrs. D?Souza, t he t al l l ady, teaches us English.
- He fell to the floor, his l imbs f l ail ing hel pl essl y.

Mispl aced Modif iers


Example:
- To come first in the race, regular work-outs were done by the athlete.
In this sentence, ?to come first in the race?is modifying a subject which is not mentioned within
the phrase. The subject of the sentence is the person who is aiming to come first. i.e. the
athlete.
As the modifier should be as close as possible to what it modifies, the above sentence is
incorrect. Thus, the correct sentence is:
- To come first in the race, the athlete worked out regularly..

Dangl ing Modif iers


Example:
- Using the graphical charts, the concept was explained to the students.
Though this sentence seems to be correct at first glance, according to the rule of modifiers, the
person using the graphical charts must be mentioned after the comma.
Thus, this sentence fails to indicate who is using the graphical charts, this is an example of
dangl ing modif ier. We need to add some more words to make this sentence correct.
- Using the graphical charts, t he t eacher explained the concept to the students.

"That " VS "Which"


On the GMAT, you will come across quite a few modifiers that are linked to the rest of the
sentence using ?that? or ?which?. Many test-takers get confused between ?that? and ?which?
and make mistakes.
Use of comma:
Generally ?which? is preceded by a comma whereas ?that? is not.
Examples:
- The book t hat lay on the table had a red cover.
- The book, which lay on the table, had a red cover.

?That? is used for an essential modifier ? its removal will change the meaning of the sentence.
?Which? is used for a non-essential modifier ? its removal will not affect the meaning of the
sentence.

# 16 COMPARISONS
Compared it ems must be l ogical l y simil ar.
Example:
- The doctors of City hospital are more dedicated than other hospitals.
This sentence is incorrect because it is comparing doctors with hospitals, which is illogical.
The correct sentence is:
- The doct ors of City hospital are more dedicated than t hose of other hospitals.
Compared it ems must be grammat ical l y simil ar.
It means that nouns should be compared with nouns, verbs with verbs, etc. It is grammatically
wrong to compare a noun with an adverb or an adjective with a pronoun.
Example:
Paul likes eating yogurt more than to drink buttermilk.
This sentence is incorrect because it is comparing ?eating?(gerund) with ?to drink?(infinitive).
This is grammatically incorrect.
The correct sentence is:
Paul likes eat ing yogurt more than drinking buttermilk.

Compared it ems must be l ogical l y simil ar.


Example:
- The doctors of City hospital are more dedicated than other hospitals.
This sentence is incorrect because it is comparing doctors with hospitals, which is illogical.
The correct sentence is:
- The doct ors of City hospital are more dedicated than t hose of other hospitals.
Compared it ems must be grammat ical l y simil ar.
It means that nouns should be compared with nouns, verbs with verbs, etc. It is grammatically
wrong to compare a noun with an adverb or an adjective with a pronoun.
Example:
Paul likes eating yogurt more than to drink buttermilk.
This sentence is incorrect because it is comparing ?eating?(gerund) with ?to drink?(infinitive).
This is grammatically incorrect.
The correct sentence is:
Paul likes eat ing yogurt more than drinking buttermilk.

Uncl ear Comparisons


- Patrick dislikes Sandra more than Julie.
This is an example of unclear comparisons because this sentence can be understood in
two ways.
Patrick dislikes Sandra more than he dislikes Julie OR Patrick dislikes Sandra more than Julie
dislikes Sandra.
This confusion can be rectified by adding certain words:
- Patrick dislikes Sandra more than he does Julie.
- Patrick dislikes Sandra more than Julie does.

Il l ogical Comparisons
- The flowers in this vase are much more beautiful than other vases.
This sentence indicates an illogical comparison, as it is ridiculous to compare flowers with
vases.
A logical comparison would be:
- The f l owers in this vase are much more beautiful than the f l owers in other vases.
- The f l owers in this vase are much more beautiful than t hose in other vases.

Comparative forms are used when we compare two things, and superlative forms are used
when we compare more than two things.
Examples:
- Between Charles and Stephen, Charles is smartest.
- Among all the students, Rene is more intelligent.
Both the above sentences are incorrect! In the first sentence, as the comparison is between
two people, comparative form should be used. In the second sentence, as the comparison is
between more than two people, superlative form should be used.
- Bet ween Emily and Kate, Kate is t al l er.
- Among all the students, Rene is the most int el l igent .

Read more about Comparat ive and Superl at ive f orms here!

Word Omissions
In comparisons, certain word omissions are grammatically correct.
For example:
-

Alan?s ideas are better than Ian?s (ideas).


He works harder than his brother (does).
My dress is prettier than Jessie?s (dress).
Martin received more marks in Physics than (he received) in Chemistry.

# 17 TENSES
Types Of Tenses
Tenses are verb forms used to indicate time in English language.
Basically there are three types of tenses:
1. Past tense
2. Present tense
3. Future tense
There are four variations of each of these three tenses:
- Simple
- Perfect
- Continuous
Past Tense ? Used to talk about events/ actions that happened in the past
Example: Harry sang in the class yesterday.
Present Tense ? Used to talk about general truths or events/ actions/ facts that are true at
present.
Example: Harry sings in the class everyday.
Fut ure Tense ? Used to talk about events/ actions that will happen sometime in the future
Example: Harry will sing in the class tomorrow.

The Past Tense


Simpl e Past : The event/ action took place in the past and is complete.
Example: Maria sang in the class.
Past Perf ect : Used to show the sequence of events when we discuss 2 events that happened in
the past. It takes the (had+verb) form.
Example: The program had ended by the time we reached the hall.
Past Cont inuous: Used to depict an action/ event that was ongoing till a certain time in the past.
Example: Jerry was pl aying video games till 11 PM last night.

The Fut ureTense


Simpl e Fut ure: The event/ action will happen in future. Nothing is mentioned about its state of
completion.
Example:
The sun wil l set .
Fut ure Perf ect : The event/ action will happen in future, before another event/ action happens.
Used to show sequence.
Example:
Mr. Jones wil l have arrived by 8 PM.
Fut ure Cont inuous: Used to depict an action/ event that will happen at some time in the
future, and will not be complete at that particular time.
Example:
- The family wil l be eat ing dinner at 9 PM.

# 18 IDIOMS
An idiom is a phrase or a group of words that has a figurative meaning different from its literal
meaning. The idioms tested on the GMAT, however, have more to do with the way certain
phrases are framed. Idioms are not governed by logic or rules ? they are just the way they are!
Examples:
- The Great Himalayan Blue Monkey is nat ive t o Himachal Pradesh.
- The Board concurred wit h his suggestions.
- You are old enough to dist inguish good f rom bad.
For GMAT test-takers whose first language is not English, idioms are a tough nut to crack, simply
because there is no logic or rule to learn them.
The best way to learn idioms is to create your own study list. Make sure that you learn only the
?right versions?of the idioms ? if you try to learn what is right and what is wrong, you may end
up getting confused on test day!
On the bright side, the GMAT will never give you a Sentence Correction question based solely
on idioms. Every question will test you on multiple concepts.

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