GMAT Verbal : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

Take these papers to the processing department immediately, and you wait for them to be completely finished before returning.

Possible Answers:

and wait for them to be completely finished before returning.

and you wait for them to be completely finished before returning.

and you wait for them to be complete finished before returning. 

and you wait for them being completely finished before returning.

and you wait for them to be completely finished before return.

Correct answer:

and wait for them to be completely finished before returning.

Explanation:

Sticking "you" in this sentence is unnecessary with the phrase's imperative mood and the implied subject of "you" in the first part of the sentence, which creates a lack of parallel structure. "You" should be taken out of the underlined portion of the sentence to fix these problems. As only one answer choice makes this change, the correct answer is "and wait for them to be completely finished before returning."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

If I was a betting man, I would put my money down on the continued health and strength of the market for imports.

Possible Answers:

If I were a betting man

Whether I was a betting man

If I was a betting person

If I were to be a betting man

If I was a betting man

Correct answer:

If I were a betting man

Explanation:

This sentence is a rare use of the subjunctive mood, a verb mood that is used to indicate a hypothetical state or a statement contrary to reality. The subjunctive verb does not use the otherwise more appropriate verb tense "was," as it is indicating a desire of something not real and should use "were." "If I were a betting man" is the only answer choice that uses the correct verb form.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

Jerry said if he was in my position, he would do the same thing.

Possible Answers:

Jerry said that when he had been in my position, he would do the same thing.

Jerry said if he were in my position, he will do the same thing.

Jerry said if he had been in my position, he would do the same thing.

Jerry said if he were in my position, he were to be doing the same thing.

Jerry said if he were in my position, he would do the same thing.

Correct answer:

Jerry said if he were in my position, he would do the same thing.

Explanation:

This sentence discusses a condition that is contrary to fact (IF Jerry were in my position, which he is not), and thus uses the subjunctive mood. The subjunctive mood is used to express a wish, suggestion, condition, condition contrary to fact, or command. Because the sentence requires the subjunctive mood, the correct version reads: "Jerry said if he were in my position, he would do the same thing."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Let it be known that we recommend that she is admitted to our company.

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.

Possible Answers:

Let it be known that we recommend that she is admitted to our company.

Let it be known that we recommend that she were admitted to our company.

Let it be known that we recommend that she be admitted to our company.

Let it be known that we recommend that she am admitted to our company.

Let it be known that we recommend that she are admitted to our company.

Correct answer:

Let it be known that we recommend that she be admitted to our company.

Explanation:

When indicating a desire or proclamation, the subjunctive form of a verb—in this case, "be" instead of the usual indicative "is"—should be used.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

It is imperative that he knows the truth. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

It is imperative that the truth was known by him. 

It is imperative that he knows the truth. 

It is imperative that he knew the truth. 

It is imperative that he had known the truth. 

It is imperative that he know the truth. 

Correct answer:

It is imperative that he know the truth. 

Explanation:

In the original sentence, the verb "knows" is in the incorrect mood—the indicative. Because of the word "that", we know the sentence contains an order, which means that we must change the verb to the subjunctive mood ("know"). 

Example Question #14 : Verb Mood 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.

Victory is the ultimate goal of any general, but too precise a focus can clouds a leader's judgement.

Possible Answers:

can cloud a leaders judgement.

can clouds a leader's judgement.

can clouds leader's judgement.

can cloud a leader's judgement.

can clouds a leader's judgements.

Correct answer:

can cloud a leader's judgement.

Explanation:

The phrase underlined in the sentence uses the modal verb "can," which conditions what might happen in the future. The verb form "clouds" is incorrect as the verb after "can" still needs to feature the singular form necessary with the subject "focus." "Can cloud a leader's judgement" is the best choice among the answer.

Example Question #15 : Verb Mood 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.

He said he wouldn’t have jumped into the murky lake if someone else hasn’t jumped before him.

Possible Answers:

if someone else hasn’t jumped before him.

if someone else was not to have jumped before him.

if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.

if someone else would not to have jumped before him.

if someone else were not to have jumped before him.

Correct answer:

if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.

Explanation:

This sentence will try to trick you into using the subjunctive mood, but remember that the subjunctive is only used to describe hypothetical situations and dreams. Because the character actually did jump into the murky lake, the correct mood is simply the past indicative: “He said he wouldn’t have jumped into the murky lake if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.”

Example Question #16 : Verb Mood 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 cheese was given to the child by the parent, who then complained that it was too smelly to eat. 

Possible Answers:

The child gave by the parent the cheese

The cheese was given to the child by the parent

The parent gave the child the cheese

The cheese by the parent was given to the child

To the child the cheese was given by the parent

Correct answer:

The parent gave the child the cheese

Explanation:

The correct answer choice ("The cheese was given to the child by the parent") uses the active voice instead of the passive voice and makes the most grammatical sense in the sentence. Sometimes the passive voice is necessary, but when it is not necessary, it should be avoided.

Example Question #201 : Verb Formation 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.

In order to correcting John's essay, the professor needed to examine a very obscure theory on paleontology. 

Possible Answers:

In order to John's essay correct

In order to corrected John's essay

In order to correcting John's essay

In order to correct John's essay

In order to John's essay correcting

Correct answer:

In order to correct John's essay

Explanation:

The phrase "to correcting" is grammatically incorrect in standard written English, and needs to be "to correct" in the underlined phrase. 

Example Question #6 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

If I was you, I would leave that job immediately.

Possible Answers:

If I had been you, I will leave that job immediately.

If I was you, I should leave that job immediately.

If I were you, I will leave that job immediately.

If I were you, I would leave that job immediately.

If I was you, I will have to leave that job immediately.

Correct answer:

If I were you, I would leave that job immediately.

Explanation:

The example sentence expresses a hypothetical condition that is contrary to fact ("I," by definition, am not "you"), and therefore needs to be expressed using verbs in the subjunctive mood. "If" is a usually a good indication that a sentence will be in the subjunctive mood. In the subjunctive, "were" should be used instead of "was." "If I were you, I would leave that job immediately."

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