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The Strategies

When you answer the sentence correction questions, use this step-to-step procedure to answer the questions correctly and quickly.


Step 1

Understand the basic sense of the sentence and subject-predicate group by mentally ‘removing’ the additional infomation.

G-matic sentences are difficult to understand primarily because of the additional infomation they are stuffed with. If you ignore this additional infomation, you will understand the basic sense of the sentence. The additional infomation is generally given in prepositional phrases, relative clauses, modifier phrases and appositives. (Ref:Chapter 5; G-matic Trap of Additional Infomation)


Look at the following examples and understand how this is done.

  • Dolmen, a prehistoric chamber built by Megalithic man, consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs, set edge-wise in the ground and supported a flat top stone that serves as a roof.

In the above example, the phrase between two commas after Dolmen is an appositive and thus is additional infomation . The phrase between the next comma and a period is also additional infomation in the form of modifier phrase. Thus, the basic subject-predicate group is as following.

  • Dolmen consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs.

Now you have a basic understanding of what this sentence is about.


Step 2

Compare and contrast the options and using the error clues, identify which error is being tested.

Once you have a basic understanding of the sentence, compare and contrast the options. Identify where the options differ. Use the error clues and decide on correct and incorrect usages.


GMAT makers underline only the part of the sentence that is used to test grammatical or stylistic errors. As any word/phrase is not underlined unnecessarily, focusing either on the initial phrase or on later phrase will be of great help.


Note: A comprehensive list of error clues that helps you identify the errors is given in the next section.

  • Dolmen, a prehistoric chamber built by Megalithic man, consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs, set edge-wise in the ground and supported a flat top stone that serves as a roof.
    • supported a flat top stone that serves
    • supporting a flat top stone serving
    • supporting a flat top stone which served
    • supported a flat top stone and serving
    • which supports a flat top-stone serving

If you compare the elements here, you can understand that you need to choose from among supported, supporting and which supports. If you concentrate on the tail end of the underlined part, you need to choose from among that serves, serving, which served and serving.


By using error clues, you can understand that you need a parallel participle phrase, which is parallel to the phrase set edge-wise in the ground. You can now conclude that supporting … is the correct choice.


You can decide on this by developing two individual sentences—as we discussed in parallelism chapter—and by identifying which one is logical. For your understanding, the two sentences are given below.

  • Dolmen consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs, set edge-wise in the ground. (This is the first coordinate clause.)
  • Dolmen consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs, supported /supporting a flat stone…. (This is the second coordinate clause. The use of supporting is logical here.)

Step 3

Basing on your identification of errors, eliminate the wrong options.

Though many types of errors are tested in G-matic sentence correction, it is wise to concentrate only on the errors you are confident about.

  • Dolmen, a prehistoric chamber built by Megalithic man, consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs set edge-wise in the ground and supported a flat top stone that serves as a roof.
    • supported a flat top stone that serves ()
    • supporting a flat top stone serving
    • supporting a flat top stone which served
    • supported a flat top stone and serving ()
    • which supports a flat top-stone serving ()

In the above question, we have been able to eliminate three options.

To help you to eliminate this way, you should compare certain elements of the sentence. The required cases of comparison are given in a tabular form in Section B.


Step 3

If you are left with two or more options at this juncture, repeat step 2 and step 3 with the remaining part of the underlined portion.

Let us continue with our discussion of the above question.

  • Dolmen, a prehistoric chamber built by Megalithic man, consists of three or more huge uncut stone slabs, set edge-wise in the ground and supported a flat top stone that serves as a roof.
    • supported a flat top stone that serves ()
       
      * supporting a flat top stone serving
    • supporting a flat top stone which served ()
    • supported a flat top stone and serving ()
    • which supports a flat top-stone serving ()

Of the two remaining options, select the option that is stylistically and grammatically better. Obviously, second option is better as it expresses the sense concisely.





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