How to solve each Sentence Correction Question

How to solve each Sentence Correction Question

Sentence Correction accounts for 33% of the entire Verbal section that means close to 14 questions on the GMAT. And as you might have been told or might have read that it is easier to improve on the Sentence Correction problems as compared to the Critical Reasoning and Reading Comprehension problems. So, wouldn’t it be amazing to have a guide for solving each of the sentence correction.

Below is a Sentence Correction question from the Official Guide.

While all states face similar industrial waste problems, the predominating industries and the regulatory environment of the states obviously determines the types and amounts of waste produced, as well as the cost of disposal.

A. all states face similar industrial waste problems, the predominating industries and the regulatory environment of the states obviously determines
B. each state faces a similar industrial waste problem, their predominant industries and regulatory environment obviously determine
C. all states face a similar industrial waste problem; their predominating industries and regulatory environment obviously determines
D. each state faces similar industrial waste problem, the predominant industries and the regulatory environment of each state obviously determines
E. all states face similar industrial waste problems, the predominant industries and the regulatory environment of each state obviously determine

Below, we have listed down a few steps that would help you to sail through this problem with ease.

Step 1 is to read the problem: In the Sentence Correction questions, pay special attention to the first and the last two words of the underlined part as most of the times, these are the words that will offer a split in the answer options. At this point, you should also try and understand the meaning of the sentence.

There are some particular words that you need to pay special attention to. Example, if you see the word “and” or “that”, looking for a parallelism error can be a good start. Similarly by going through the options, you can figure out that there is something going on with the Subject and Verb. Keep in mind that most of the times, there will be one difference at the starting or end of each answer choice.

Often, we are overwhelmed by a problem and find it hard to find a starting point. Focusing on certain words while reading the problem will surely help you to efficiently solve the problem and allow you save precious time by not re-reading the sentence.

Generally you should start a problem by trying to find out the following issues:

  1. S-V Agreement
  2. Modifiers
  3. Parallelism
  4. Working Verbs
  5. Usage of certain words – such as vs like, whether vs if, that vs which etc.

Coming back to our problem at hand, we have the underlined part:

  • Starting with all states/each state
  • Ending with determine/determines

This is a clear indication that the problem is testing S-V agreement. So we should be looking for a choice in which the subject matches with the Verb in number.

Step 2 is to remember your notes and see what piece of information you need to solve this particular problem. We have identified that the problem has S-V agreement issue and we know that:

  1. Singular subject needs a singular verb
  2. Plural subject needs a plural verb

Step 3 is the step in which you actually start solving the question by striking off the wrong answer choices. In this problem, the subject is “the predominating industries and the regulatory environment”. Since we have “and” between “the predominating industries” and “the regulatory environment”, we have a plural subject here. Remember that two entities can form a plural subject only if they are joined by “and”.

This means that the Verb has to be plural. Now we should start striking off the answer choices that have this particular error. Finally we are left with the following two options

  1. each state faces a similar industrial waste problem, their predominant industries and regulatory environment obviously determine
  2. all states face similar industrial waste problems, the predominant industries and the regulatory environment of each state obviously determine

Now that we are a left with two options that do not have the initial error that we figured out, we need to go back and relook at the options to find out other flaws.

Again, we have different first words in the answer choices. Since we are dealing with a plural subject, the pronoun used for the subject should also be plural. Hence we can strike off option D too.

In the end, we are left with the correct option E.

We hope that the article was useful for you. Go ahead and try these steps on other Sentence Correction problems and tell us what you think.

Here is an official Sentence Correction problem to try your hands on:

In order to properly evaluate a patient’s state of mind and gain informed consent prior to surgery, a substantial period of time must be spent with the operating physician by the patient to become fully aware of the pros and cons of undergoing a surgical procedure.

A. a substantial period of time must be spent with the operating physician by the patient to become fully aware of the pros and cons of undergoing a surgical procedure
B. the operating physician and the patient must spend a substantial amount of time together, thus ensuring full awareness of the pros and cons of undergoing the surgical procedure
C. the patient must spend a substantial amount of time with his or her operating physician, thus ensuring that he or she has been made fully aware of the pros and cons of undergoing the surgical procedure
D. the operating physician must spend a substantial amount of time with the patient, thus ensuring that the patient is fully aware of the pros and cons of accepting the undergoing procedure
E. the operating physician must ensure that he or she is fully aware of the pros and cons of undergoing a surgical procedure by spending a substantial amount of time with the patient

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