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G-Matic Language—The Standard Written Expression

 

Informal English and standard written expression are basically different from each other for simple reasons. When you speak to your friends, you tend to be relaxed, sometimes to the extent of being careless, whereas when you commit yourself in formal writing, you tend to be very careful. Secondly, you have much time to plan, revise and correct your sentences in written expression. This naturally results in more complex and lengthy structures in standard written expression. These are the basic reasons for the G-matic complexity and precision.

Conventions of Formal and Informal Languages

G-matic language is inherently formal language as the sentences should follow the style of Standard Written Expression. This has been explicitly stated by test makers. However, the rules governing the formality are not as rigid as grammar rules. Conventions, rather than rules, decide whether a sentence is formal or informal. In fact, the very existence of formal language rules is doubtful. Thus, knowing these conventions and differences between formal and informal languages will sure help you acquire a certain degree of formality.

The following discussion is designed to give those differences and also to enable you to understand the reasons for the alien nature of G-matic sentences.
  1. Contractions are common in informal writing while there are not respected much in formal contexts.
     
     
     
    Example

    The manager doesn’t accept proposals from small companies. (informal)
    The manager does not accept proposals from small companies. (formal)
     

     
  2. Phrasal verbs which are very common in informal context, are less frequent than their single-word equivalents of formal expressions.
     
    Study the following examples to understand this concept.
     
     
    Example
    The cost of production came down. (informal)
    The cost of production decreased. (formal)
    The company will set up branches in three more countries. (informal)
    The company will establish branches in three more countries. (informal)
     
  3. Words chosen in informal situations are likely to be short and crispy while those in chosen in formal context are likely to be long and somewhat ornate.
     
     
     
    Example
    We began the work. (Informal)
    We commenced the operations. (formal)
    Our boss asked us not to discuss the matter. (informal)
    The manager instructed the employees to refrain from discussing the matter. (formal)
  4. informal expressions have a personal touch because they are more with I’s, we’s and you’s whereas formal sentences remove this personal touch.
     
     
    Example

    We have postponed the meeting. (informal)
    The meeting has been postponed. (formal)
    I think we should not postpone the meeting. (Informal)
    It is not advisable to postpone the meeting. (formal)

     


    Now, we should put our knowledge to a small test. The questions go beyond the conventions discussed above. You will learn some specific rules by reading the explanation at the end of the exercise.

Implications of Formal Language Conventions on G-matic Sentence

 

The appearance and stature of G-matic sentences are resulted mainly from this imposing of formality onto it.

  1. We follow the word order rules strictly in formal language.
     
     
    In informal expression, we tend to use phrases (groups of words without subject - verb group) without paying much attention to word order rules. In formal expression this practice is not acceptable.
     
     
    Because of this laxity in following word order rules, the sentence sometimes might give a sense that is different from the intended sense.
     
    Study the following example for the illustration of the point.
     
     
    Example

    I came to know that his father had died in his letter.
    For a casual observer, this sentence seems acceptable. For a GMAT taker, it should not! The placing of the phrase in his letter seems to give the sense that his father had died in his letter while the speaker intends to say that he came to know the matter in his letter.
     

     
     
    This unintended sense of the sentence makes the sentence unacceptable in G-matic language. The following are the G-matic versions of the sentence.

Example

I came to know, in his letter, that his father had died.

In his letter, I came to know that his father had died.
   Let me illustrate this with one more example.
? I gave the dog to my friend with the neck-belt.
 I gave my friend the dog with the neck-belt.


The first sentence gives the unintended sense of the friend having the neck-belt, while it is not surely what I meant. The corrected sentence gives the intended meaning.


G-matic implication

This possibility of unintended meaning because of word order results in a major testing point: misplacement of words and word groups. The error might be a misplaced modifier, misplaced relative clause, or squinting modifier error.
 

We will discuss the sentences with this problem in latter chapters.

  1. Long subjects with a lot of modification are common in formal expression whereas shorter subjects are quite common in informal expression.

By the way, subject is the noun or noun group about which the whole sentence expresses something. We will discuss the subject in more detail in the next chapter.


Study the following pair of expressions which are meant to express the same thing.

 

Example
  • The students who get respectable scores in GMAT can apply to top Business Schools. (formal expression)
  • Some students get good scores in GMAT and only those can apply to top B-schools. (informal expression)


The first sentence has as its subject a noun phrase the students who get respectable scores in GMAT. It has modifying relative clause who get respectable scores in GMAT. The subjects of this kind are common in formal expression.


In the second sentence, the long subject is broken into two clauses making the subjects shorter, but we need to use two subject verb groups (clauses) in the place of original one clause.


G-matic implication

The long subject phrase misleads you to the wrong option by creating illogical predication error which is studied in detail in Chapter 5.

Identification of the subject phrase is of crucial importance in GMAT.
Study the following example.

  • The final step in the development of any writing system is to develop separate symbols for vowels and consonants.

Down to Earth Practice
The subject phrase is the final step in the development of any writing system.
Reinforce your understanding with the following practice.

Identification of subject phrases

Identify the subject phrases of the following sentences.
  1. The bodies of almost all reptiles living in water-scarce conditions are covered by waterproof skins.
  2. The outermost moon of planet Uranus Oberon is the second biggest of the moons of planet.
  3. The study of Y-chromosome, which is inherited along the patrilineal line, from a father to his son, has given a complete genetic history of indigenous peoples of Americas.
  4. The ecologically diverse rainforests present in North America are the home of more than fifteen thousand species.
  5. A largely submerged, uninhabited, triangular shaped reef called Kingman Reef is not open to the public because of the fragile nature of its biome.
Keys
The italicized parts are the whole subject phrases.
  1. The bodies of almost all reptiles living in water-scarce conditions are covered by waterproof skins.
  2. The outermost moon of planet Uranus Oberon is the second biggest of the moons of planet.
  3. The study of Y-chromosome, which is inherited along the patrilineal line, from father to son, has given a complete genetic history of indigenous peoples of Americas.
  4. The ecologically diverse rainfomation rests present in North America are the home of more than fifteen thousand species.
  5. A largely submerged, uninhabited, triangular shaped reef called Kingman Reef is not open to the public because of the fragile nature of its biome.

 

c. Informal speech or writing contains sentences that usually start with subjects whereas G-matic sentences often are with sentences that do not start with subjects.

This way, the familiar word order is violated. Test makers are not sadistic to present strange word order and confuse you intentionally. This violation is mostly purposeful violation, which we will discuss in later part of this chapter. We find this kind of violation with all parts of sentences.


Study the following sentences that illustrate the word order nature of both informal and standard written expression.

  • There are 34 mammal species in Colorado River corridor and fifteen of them are rodents.

This sentence contains two main clauses both of which are started with subjects (there and fifteen).

  • Of the 34 mammal species in Colorado River corridor, fifteen are rodents.

In this sentence, the actual subject of the sentence is fifteen which is present almost at the tail-end of the sentence.

  • A storm is a disturbed state of atmosphere which affects the earth’s surface and it is marked by the presence of strong wind, thunder, lightning and heavy rain. (informal)
  • A disturbed state of atmosphere affecting the earth’s surface, a storm is marked by the presence of strong wind, thunder, lightning and heavy rain. (G-matic sentence)

In the first sentence, two main clauses are started with two subjects. In second one, which is typically G-matic, one main clause is reduced to descriptive phrase and the subject of the remaining main clause is postponed to the middle of the sentence.





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