GMAT Verbal : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, and Sentence Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The engineer was unsure as to whether his critical reasoning skills or his plethora of internships were to thank for his new job. 

Which answer best replaces the underlined section of the sentence?

Possible Answers:

was unsure, as whether his 

was unsure as to whether his

was unsure as to which his

was unsure whether his

was unsure, as to whether his

Correct answer:

was unsure whether his

Explanation:

"As to whether" should always be just "whether." The same is true for "which." Finally, adding a comma to the section renders it incorrect.  

Example Question #2 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The competition initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created serious divisions inside the office that were quite difficult to smooth over.

Possible Answers:

The competition initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created 

The competition initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman soon created 

The competition that initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created 

The competition, initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created 

The competition initially meant to provide new forms, of interest for the salesman, soon created 

Correct answer:

The competition, initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created 

Explanation:

In this sentence, the participial phrase "initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman" is an interrupting phrase, a phrase that provides extra meaning to the sentence, but is not a necessary part of the sentence's construction. All such phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. "The competition, initially meant to provide new forms of interest for the salesman, soon created" is the only answer choice which makes such a change.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Their dog will always be loved by them. 

What sentence best replaces the underlined sentence above?

Possible Answers:

They're dog will always be loved by them. 

Their dog will always be loved by them. 

They will always love their dog. 

Their always going to love their dog. 

Their dog will always be loved (by them). 

Correct answer:

They will always love their dog. 

Explanation:

Sentences should almost always be written in the active voice, rather than the passive voice. There is no need for parentheses, and "their" is correct, not "they're." So "They will always love their dog" is the best answer.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Mr. and Mrs. Jeffries are nervous about finding out where they will be accepted to graduate school, as where they are accepted may force them to have a long-distance relationship and they have never had that before.

Possible Answers:

may force them to have a long-distance relationship and they have never had that before.

may force them to have a long-distance relationship, which they have never had before.

may be forcing them to have a long-distance relationship, and that is something they have never had that before.

may be forcing them to have a long-distance relationship, which they have never had that before.

may force them to have a long-distance relationship, and they have not had a long-distance relationship before.

Correct answer:

may force them to have a long-distance relationship, which they have never had before.

Explanation:

The correct answer is: "may force them to have a long-distance relationship, which they have never had before," because it is the most efficiently phrased and is grammatically correct. 

The answer choice "may force them to have a long-distance relationship, and they have not had a long-distance relationship before" is incorrect because the phrase "and they have not" is unnecessarily wordy compared to the correct answer. 

The answer choice "may be forcing them to have a long-distance relationship, and that is something they have never had that before" is incorrect because "may be forcing" refers to present action, and Mr. and Mrs. Jeffries have not yet found out where they have been accepted to graduate school.

The answer choice "may be forcing them to have a long-distance relationship, which they have never had that before" is wrong because "which they have never had that before" is grammatically improper.

The answer choice "may force them to have a long-distance relationship and they have never had that before" is somewhat of a run-on sentence, and the correct answer is more succinctly phrased.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Forecasters warn of a sharp drop in oil prices, although loved by consumers, could have dire consequences for the world economy.

Possible Answers:

Forecasters warning of a sharp drop in oil prices

Forecasters' warn of a sharp drop in oil prices

Forecasters warn that a sharp drop in oil prices

Forecasters warn of a sharp drop in oil price

Forecasters warn of a sharp drop in oil prices

Correct answer:

Forecasters warn that a sharp drop in oil prices

Explanation:

The key word to consider when answering this question is the conditional word "could" in the last portion of the sentence. Because the forecasted shop drop in oil prices is discussed in conditional terms after the comma, it must also be discussed in conditional terms before the comma, and in the way the sentence is presented, it is not. The only answer choice that features appropriate wording is "Forecasters warn that a sharp drop in oil prices"; the "that" allows for the conditional, in the sense of the forecasters warning that if a sharp drop in oil prices occurs, it could have dire consequences for the world economy.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

With just a few quick swings of the machete, the debris was cleared away by the guide, allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction.

Possible Answers:

the guide allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction is clearing away the debris

the guide allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction cleared away the debris

the debris was cleared away by the guide, allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction

the guide cleared away the debris, allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction

the debris was cleared away, the guide allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction 

Correct answer:

the guide cleared away the debris, allowing his group to follow his path without obstruction

Explanation:

Eliminate the answer choices which include the passive voice. This question also has to do with order of relevance. Consider that the initial prepositional phrase describes the guide's most relevant action. What is the most important thing the guide did? He cleared away the debris. That should be mentioned in the active voice before the fact that he allowed his group to follow his path. Choose the answer that most efficiently describes the primary action (in the active voice) and sets up the clauses about the consequences of his action.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

With just a few quick swings of his ax, the log was split down the middle by the carpenter, allowing the wood to sit in the fireplace just right.

Possible Answers:

the carpenter’s splitting the wood allowed it to sit just right down the middle of the fireplace.

the carpenter’s splitting of the wood down the middle allowed it just right to sit in the fireplace.

the log was split down the middle by the carpenter, allowing the fireplace to hold just right the wood.

the carpenter’s splitting the wood allowed it to sit just right down the middle of the fireplace.

the carpenter split the log down the middle, allowing the wood to sit in the fireplace just right.

Correct answer:

the carpenter split the log down the middle, allowing the wood to sit in the fireplace just right.

Explanation:

Eliminate the answer choices which include the passive voice. This question also has to do with order of relevance. Consider that the initial prepositional phrase describes the carpenter’s most relevant action. What is the most important thing the carpenter did? He split the log down the middle. That should be mentioned in the active voice before the fact that his action allowed the wood to sit in the fireplace. Choose the answer that most efficiently describes the primary action (in the active voice) and sets up the clauses about the consequences of his action.

Example Question #8 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

There is no other specialized term for those who study tsunamis than "seismologist," as the study of tsunamis is but a subspecialty of those who study the Earth's movements in general.    

Possible Answers:

There is no other specialized term for those who study tsunamis than

Because there is no specialized term for those who study tsunamis except

Without a specialized term for those who study tsunamis other than as

There is no specialized term for those who study tsunamis other than

Since there is no specialized term for those who study tsunamis but for

Correct answer:

There is no specialized term for those who study tsunamis other than

Explanation:

The "as" at the beginning of the sentence’s final clause, "as the study of…" makes that clause dependent—it can’t stand on its own. Thus, the underlined clause must remain independent, or else the sentence will become a fragment. 

The word "seismologist" must be linked to noun phrase that begins "no specialized term…" with a word that makes sense in context and is idiomatically correct.

"Other than" makes perfect sense in context, and adding a conjunction to the beginning of the sentence would leave us with two dependent clauses.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

With just a few quick swings of his ax, the debris was cleared away by forester, allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction.

Possible Answers:

the forester cleared away the debris, allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction

the forester allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction cleared away the debris

the forester allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction is clearing away the debris

the debris was cleared away, the forester allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction 

the debris was cleared away by the forester, allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction

Correct answer:

the forester cleared away the debris, allowing his vehicle to pass without obstruction

Explanation:

Eliminate the answer choices that include the passive voice. This question also has to do with order of relevance. Consider that the initial prepositional phrase describes the forester's most relevant action. What is the most important thing the forester did? He cleared away the debris. That should be mentioned in the active voice before the fact that his action allowed his vehicle to pass. Choose the answer that most efficiently describes the primary action (in the active voice) and sets up the clauses about the consequence of his action. If the subject of the first clause is the forester "swinging" his axe, he must be the subject of the second clause to avoid a dangling modifier error.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Other Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Since her husband began playing the guitar, Martha has become far more expert a distinguisher of a tuned instrument and an out of tune instrument, a classical guitar and an electric guitar.

Possible Answers:

far more expert in distinguishing a tuned instrument from an out of tune one, a classical guitar from 

far more expert in distinguishing a tuned one and an out of tune one, a classical guitar or  

far more the expert as far as distinguishing between a tuned instrument, an out of tune one, a classical guitar, and

far more expert a distinguisher of a tuned instrument and an out of tune one, a classical guitar and

much more expert when it comes to distinguishing a tuned instrument and an out of tune one, a classical guitar from 

Correct answer:

far more expert in distinguishing a tuned instrument from an out of tune one, a classical guitar from 

Explanation:

One can distinguish a from b, or distinguish between a and b. The correct answer is the only one that follows this idiomatic pattern.

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