Top tips for GMAT Sentence Correction

GMAT

Among the various grammatical structures tested in GMAT Sentence Correction, some patterns are both frequently tested and of first-order importance whenever they appear.

The dangling modifier is one such pattern. A modifier is simply a describer. A dangling modifier is a faulty construction in which the modifier cannot logically refer to the word supposedly described.

Here is an example: “Ascending the north slope of Mount McKinley, Wonder Lake could be seen in the distance.” “Ascending the north slope of Mount McKinley” is a modifier. Simply ask, in this sentence who or what is ascending Mount McKinley? Answer: Wonder Lake.

But Wonder Lake is a feature of the landscape, hardly the sort of thing that we would expect to climb a mountain. The dangling modifier problem disappears when the modifier is immediately followed by a reference to the ones climbing the mountain, e.g.: “Ascending the north slope of Mount McKinley, the mountaineers could see Wonder Lake in the distance.”

Comparisons are another very commonly tested issue in GMAT Sentence Correction. Here, the cardinal principle is to look for an apples-to-apples comparison that juxtaposes two things of the same sort.

Consider this example: “The size of the average class at Harvard is larger than Stanford.” This sentence inadvertently compares the size of the average class at Harvard (a number) to Stanford (a university), an apples-to-oranges comparison.

To make an apples-to-apples comparison, it is better to compare class size at one university to class size at another university, e.g.: “The size of the average class at Harvard is larger than that at Stanford.” (In this formulation that stands for “the size of the average class”.)

Now try to apply these patterns to the following Sentence Correction problem:

“Searching for clues to the causes of the recent accident, air safety investigators have closely examined information recovered from the flight data recorder; analysis of the cockpit voice recorder has uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder’s.”

A)  air safety investigators have closely examined information recovered from the flight data recorder; analysis of the cockpit voice recorder has uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder’s

B) air safety investigators have closely examined information recovered from the flight data recorder; analysis of the cockpit voice recorder has uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder

C) air safety investigators have closely examined information recovered from the flight data recorder; they have uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder by analyzing the cockpit voice recorder

D) the flight data recorder has been closely examined by air safety investigators; analysis of the cockpit voice recorder has uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder’s

E) the flight data recorder has been closely examined by air safety investigators; analysis of the cockpit voice recorder has uncovered content congruent with the flight data recorder

Problem Analysis

“Searching for clues to the causes of the recent accident…” is a noun modifier. Options A/B/C follow this modifier with a noun that produces a logical meaning—air safety investigators are searching for clues to the causes of the recent accident. Options D/E, on the other hand, contain a dangling modifier—clearly, the flight data recorder is not searching for clues, as the recorder is an inanimate object. So D/E are excluded.

In A/B/C, focus on the phrase “content congruent with”. This phrase implies that the content of the cockpit voice recorder is being compared to something else. In B and C, the something else is the flight data recorder. But this formulation compares the content of one recorder to the other recorder, an asymmetrical comparison.

Correct answer A draws a logically acceptable comparison between the cockpit voice recorder’s content and the flight data recorder’s (content). (The use of the possessive form “recorder’s” in A indicates that the noun “content” is understood as part of the second half of the comparison.)

image: Skakerman

study english online

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked