GMAT Verbal : Correcting Verb Voice Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Verb 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.

Perhaps the shift in the profit sectors will reverse itself in the next few months, makes the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

Possible Answers:

has made the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

makes the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

makes an entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

making the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

to make the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

Correct answer:

making the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run.

Explanation:

The use of the present tense verb "makes" in the final, underlined portion of the sentence creates a confusing meaning. The present participle is the only verb from which appropriately connects to the main portion of the sentence. The only answer choice which correctly makes this change is "making the entire conversation unnecessary in the long run."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Verb 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 key issue in the case concerned whether or not the defendant ever having possession of the murder weapon.

Possible Answers:

ever having possession with the murder weapon.

ever having possession of the murder weapon.

even having possession of the murder weapon.

ever having possession to the murder weapon.

ever had possession of the murder weapon.

Correct answer:

ever had possession of the murder weapon.

Explanation:

The use of the present participle "having" in this sentence is incorrect, as the issue is whether the defendant had possesion in the past. The verb needs to be changed to the past participle form. The only answer choice which contains the correct verb form is "ever had possession of the murder weapon."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Verb 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.

Due to the legal complexities of the case, the brief was filed by the lawyer's associate in a neighboring jurisdiction that has friendlier laws.

Possible Answers:

the lawyer's associate filed the brief in a neighboring jurisdiction

the brief was filed by the lawyer's associate toward a neighboring jurisdiction

the brief was filed by the lawyer's associate in a neighboring jurisdiction

the lawyer's associate brief was filed in a neighboring jurisdiction

the brief filed by the lawyer's associate in a neighboring jurisdiction

Correct answer:

the lawyer's associate filed the brief in a neighboring jurisdiction

Explanation:

As it is written, the sentence has the frequently-made but serious mistake of using the passive voice to describe the action taking place. Not only is active voice the preferred method in structuring a sentence, but, in this sentence, the active voice clarifies a complex sentence. As the only choice to properly use the active voice, "the brief was filed by the lawyer's associate in a neighboring jurisdiction" is the correct answer.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Verb 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.

More than any other person who having held the position, the student body president actually ran a vigorous campaign to be elected to his office.

Possible Answers:

More than any other persons who having held the position,

More than every other person who having held the position,

More than any other person who held the position,

More than any other person who having held this position, 

More than any other person who having held the position,

Correct answer:

More than any other person who held the position,

Explanation:

The use of "having" in the underlined phrase is both unnecessary and awkwardly introduces a passive voice construction. Simply by eliminating the word "having" makes the clause use an active voice construction and have a much simpler construction. "More than any other person who having held his position," is, therefore, the correct answer choice.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Verb 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 incredible speed was the document transcribed by Kevin.

Possible Answers:

With incredible degrees of speed, Kevin transcribed the document.

Kevin did transcribe the document with incredible speed.

Kevin transcribed the document with incredible speed.

It was with incredible speed that Kevin did transcribe the document.

It was with incredible speed that Kevin transcribed the document.

Correct answer:

Kevin transcribed the document with incredible speed.

Explanation:

The example sentence is made awkward and confusing by its use of the passive voice. In a sentence that uses the passive voice, objects are acted upon by subjects ("the document was transcribed"), whereas in sentences that use the active voice, subjects act on objects ("Kevin transcribed the document"). Unnecessary use of the passive voice often confuses the reader, and usually makes sentences longer than they need to be and less smooth. When possible, direct and simple statements of fact are preferable to longer, less fluid constructions of the same idea. The most precise, concise, and grammatically functional rephrasing of the sentence reads, "Kevin transcribed the document with incredible speed."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Verb Voice 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.

Scenes from daily life were painted by the French Impressionists, in a break with their predecessors.

Possible Answers:

Scenes from daily life were painted by the French Impressionists, in a break with their predecessors.

In a break with their predecessors, the French Impressionists painted scenes from daily life.

The French Impressionists’ scenes from daily life were painted in a break with their predecessors.

Breaking from their predecessors, scenes from daily life were painted by the French Impressionists.

The French Impressionists broke from their predecessors who painted scenes from daily life.

Correct answer:

In a break with their predecessors, the French Impressionists painted scenes from daily life.

Explanation:

The initial sentence is in passive voice. The correct answer conveys the proper meaning while changing it to active voice.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Verb Voice 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.

Very few animals in the world were actually able to domesticate by human beings.

Possible Answers:

to domesticate

to domesticating

to be domesticated

to be domesticating

to domesticated

Correct answer:

to be domesticated

Explanation:

The central problem with the underlined words in the sentence is that the animals seem to be the ones doing the domesticating—at least until the reader gets to the phrase "by human beings," and the sentence becomes confusing. The underlined words need to convey that human beings are the ones doing the domesticating, and that the animals are the objects of that domestication. Since "Very few animals in the world" is the subject of the sentence and cannot be changed here, we need to use the passive voice to describe that domestication is the thing being done to the animals. "To be domesticated" is the correct answer choice, as it is the only answer that correctly uses passive voice and avoids introducing additional errors (like "to be domesticating," which uses present progressive tense unnecessarily and doesn't agree with the previous past-tense verb "were . . . able."

Example Question #8 : Correcting Verb 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.

The nation’s economy was growing rapidly for reasons having to do with booming foreign investment following the discovery of vast natural resources.

Possible Answers:

since the discovery of vast natural resources is what can cause a boom in foreign investment.

because a boom in foreign investment was what followed the discovery of vast natural resources.

as a result of booming foreign investment following the discovery of vast natural resources.

because the discovery of vast natural resources led to a boom in foreign investment.

for reasons having to do with booming foreign investment following the discovery of vast natural resources.

Correct answer:

because the discovery of vast natural resources led to a boom in foreign investment.

Explanation:

The initial sentence is wordy and in passive voice. The correct answer is concise and active.

Example Question #9 : Correcting Verb 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.

For his service in the war, the soldier was giving the country's highest honor by the President.

Possible Answers:

the soldier was giving that country's highest honor

the soldier was given the country's highest honor

the soldier was giving the country's highest honor

the soldier is giving the country's highest honor

the soldier was given the countries highest honor

Correct answer:

the soldier was given the country's highest honor

Explanation:

The soldier would have trouble "giving" an award "by the President." The use of the final prepositional phrase "by the President" indicates that the soldier is receiving the award. The only answer choice that clarifies this point is "the soldier was given the country's highest honor," making it the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Verb Voice Errors

Select the answer that produces the most effective sentence, one that is clear and exact, without awkwardness or ambiguity.

Hearing about the crisis in the developing country, a campaign was organized by the class president and raised $5,000.

Possible Answers:

an organized campaign by the class president raised $5,000.

a campaign that raised $5,000 was organized by the class president.

the class president organized a campaign raising $5000.

the class president organized a campaign, which raised $5,000.

a campaign was organized by the class president and raised $5,000.

Correct answer:

the class president organized a campaign, which raised $5,000.

Explanation:

Figure out who is the subject of the first part of the sentence—the class president, rather than the campaign itself, heard about the crisis. Also, avoid passive voice ("the campaign was organized").

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