GMAT Sentence Correction, GMAT Verbal, Uncategorized
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GMAT SC – The preferred form of the verb

When it comes to GMAT SC it seems as if the list of rules that you need to keep in mind is unending. This post adds to the list of rules but please remember that when you read a sentence your first instinct should not be to fix it unless there is rule that is blatantly broken, always use the 3-2 SPLIT discussed here and here to first identify the error you need to fix.

Those who are familiar with GMAT SC and have solved quite a few questions on the same will be aware of a rule relating to the correct form of the VERB — the usage of the VERB in the VERB-ing form. Most test-takers take the rule in a one-size-fits-all version of avoid VERB-ing usage. The truth though is subtler — it is not that the VERB-ing is always incorrect, it is not preferred when used in a particular context.

The choice that you would usually be asked to make on GMAT Sentence correction is between FOR + VERB-ing and TO + VERB and between the two always choose TO + VERB. Let us take up a GMAT Sentence Correction that poses such a choice in front of you.


QUESTION 1
Outlining his strategy for nursing the troubled conglomerate back to health, the chief executive’s plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months.
(A) executive’s plans were announced on Wednesday for cutting the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(B) executive’s plans, which are to cut the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months, were announced on Wednesday
(C) executive’s plans for cutting the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months were announced on Wednesday
(D) executive announced plans on Wednesday to cut the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months
(E) executive announced plans on Wednesday that are to cut the company’s huge debt by selling nearly $12 billion in assets over the next 18 months

On the GMAT, TO + VERB form is preferred to FOR + VERB-ing form.

  • The government has earmarked funds for promoting education
  • The government has earmarked funds to promote education

Since verb-ING usually denotes a continuous tense, it is always rejected in favour of TO + VERB.

Please note that in the case of this rule it is not a question of grammatical correctness or incorrectness — it is a case of preference.

In the answer explanation to the question above states — to cut is a clearer phrase than for cutting in this sentence — it does not state that for cutting is incorrect.

This rule should strike you as you read the original sentence, leaving you to choose among options B, D & E. B is incorrect since the subject of the sentence has to be the executive and not the executive’s plans.

E incorrectly inserts an additional that are before to cut, leaving D as the only possible correct option.


QUESTION 2
Combining enormous physical strength with higher intelligence, the Neanderthals appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path, but their relatively sudden disappearance during the Paleolithic era indicates that an inability to adapt to some environmental change led to their extinction.
(A) appear as equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,
(B) appear to have been equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their path,
(C) appear as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,
(D) appeared as equipped to face any obstacle the environment could put in their paths,
(E) appeared to have been equipped for facing any obstacle the environment could put in their path,

Using the same GMAT preference for TO + VERB over FOR + VERB-ing, you can eliminate options A and E since they use for facing instead of to face.

Among B, C & D the latter two — C & D — can be eliminated since appeared as is incorrect since AS is always used to denote a role or a position; for example, …is widely regarded as the best or ….appeared as a minor character in. Hence, option B is the best option.

Even on this question the official answer explanation does not say for facing is incorrect it says “the expression equipped to face is clearer and more direct than equipped for facing

If you are aware of these small nuggets that are peculiar to GMAT Sentence Correction, you can shave a few seconds from the time taken to solve Sentence Correction questions and also choose the correct options with more certainty.

 

 

 

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3 Comments

  1. Anuradha says

    Hi Sir, Anuradha here. While solving this SC i could easily eliminate the options A and E first. Among the options B , C and D I dont get as to why appeared as is wrong! Can you please explain?

    Like

  2. Shyamala S Narayan says

    Hi Sir
    In Question 1 above, what helped me zero in on the answer was the non-underlined portion of the sentence, ‘outlining his strategy’. I then knew that I should look for the option that had ‘the executive ‘ and not ‘ the executive’s plans’. This led me to choice D.

    Thank you for such a lucid explanation!

    Like

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