GMAT Verbal Sentence Correction Basics
The GMAT sentence corrections are just one of the three types on the Verbal section of the GMAT test. (The other two types are critical reasoning and reading comprehension.) These types of questions are considered to be the easiest on the Verbal section, but they can sure throw a curveball that will knock your socks off, too! Here's what you need to know:
Sentence Correction Format
For each of these 14 – 15 questions, you'll see a sentence with a portion of it underlined. Your job is to determine if the underlined portion is fine the way it is, or needs to be changed in some way. You'll have five answer choices below the sentence. The first choice is identical to the underlined portion, so that indicates that no change needs to be made, and the remaining choices offer various rewrites.
Sentence Correction Skills Tested
So, what skills do you need to brush up on to score well on this section? Take a look:
- Grammar: misplaced modifiers, agreement, case, idiomatic usage, etc.
- Sentence construction: parallel structure, transitional elements, passive and active voice
- Style: clarity, cohesion, concision, avoiding redundancy, ambiguity
- NOT punctuation
Sentence Correction Directions
Before your first sentence correction question, you'll receive the following instructions. If you need to see them again at any time while testing, just click the "Help" button at the top of the page.
This question presents a sentence, part of which or all of which is underlined. Beneath the sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. The first of these repeats the original; the other four are different. If you think the original is best, choose the first answer; otherwise choose one of the others.
This question tests correctness and effectiveness of expression. In choosing your answer, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, and sentence construction. Choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence; this answer should be clear and exact, without awkwardness, ambiguity, redundancy, or grammatical error.
Sentence Correction Examples
The only difference between these examples and the real GMAT Verbal sentence correction questions is the underlining; here, the areas in question are italicized, but on the GMAT, they will be underlined.
1. Since the world-changing discovery - just over fifty years ago - of the structure of the DNA molecule, scientists have made astounding progress to understand and manipulate this most important of biological molecules.
- scientists have made astounding progress to understand and to manipulate
- scientists have made astounding progress in understanding and manipulating
- astounding progress has been made by scientists to understand and to manipulate
- scientists made astounding progress in understanding and manipulating
- astounding progress was made by scientists in understanding and manipulating
2. A course of cognitive behavior therapy can be as effective, if not more so, than drug therapy and without the side effects, in helping the elderly to overcome insomnia.
- as effective, if not more so, than drug therapy and without the side effects, in helping the elderly to overcome insomnia
- more effective than drug therapy and without the side effects, in helping the elderly to overcome insomnia
- at least as effective in helping the elderly overcome insomnia as drug therapy, and is without the side effects of drug treatment
- at least as effective as drug therapy in helping the elderly to overcome insomnia without side effects
- equally effective as drug therapy in helping the elderly to overcome insomnia without side effects