GMAT Sentence Correction, GMAT Verbal
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GMAT Sentence Correction – The Subjunctive Mood

Among the vast array of rules pertaining to the Subjunctive Mood, there is one that gets tested on the GMAT — the one involving wishes, commands, requests and suggestions.

It is one of the easier rules to grasp and execute. Let us look at the same using the GMAT Sentence Correction question below.

The commission proposed that funding for the park’s development, which could be open to the public early next year, is obtained through a local bond issue.

(A) that funding for the park’s development, which could be open to the public early next year, is

(B) that funding for development of the park, which could be open to the public early next year, be

(C) funding for the development of the park, perhaps open to the public early next year, to be

(D) funds for the park’s development, perhaps open to the public early next year, be

(E) development funding for the park, which could be open to the public early next year, is to be

A question involving the usage of Subjunctive mood as tested on the GMAT will involve words such as proposed, command, ruled, ordered, suggested, requested etc. Words that express commands, orders, wishes or suggestions.

In all such cases proposed/commanded/ruled/suggested that…must be followed by be + verb. For example,

  • I suggest that he be sent home – Correct
  • I suggest that he should be sent home – Incorrect
  • I suggest that he must be sent home – Incorrect
  • I suggest that he is to be sent home – Incorrect

Similarly in this sentence proposed that should be follow by be.

Only options B and D do that.

And like we discussed in the post on Minor Error, once the major error, in this case Subjunctive Mood, is corrected the tie between two options is usually resolved using the subject.

D is incorrect since park’s development is followed by perhaps open to the public next year; this is incorrect since the development cannot be open to the public but the park.

Please note that along this rules applies only

  • when the verbs proposed, command, ruled, ordered, suggested, requested etc are followed by a that
  • and express a wish, request or command.

For example, the proposed highway….,will not fall under this rule since the verb is not followed by that.

Similarly, scientists have proposed that the expansion of the universe occurs at a rate…, will not fall under this rule since it does not express a wish, request or command.

It is not a frequently tested rule but one that can show up on test-day, so it is handy to have it covered.

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