GMAT Verbal : Correcting Colon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Colon Errors

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

I’ve always had a green thumb for vegetable, flower, and herb gardens: my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

Possible Answers:

gardens; however, my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

gardens, and my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

gardens; my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

gardens: my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

gardens: My mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

Correct answer:

gardens; my mother, though, was barely able to keep a houseplant alive.

Explanation:

Because the first sentence isn’t actually introducing the second sentence but is rather a different thought altogether, a colon isn’t the correct punctuation mark. Instead, a semicolon should be used to separate these two independent clauses. Adding a “however” to the second clause would be redundant, as we already have the word “though” to indicate contrast.

Example Question #12 : Correcting Colon Errors

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

In the past three years, Jing has lived in Madison, Wisconsin: Ann Arbor, Michigan: and Laramie, Wyoming.

Possible Answers:

In the past three years, Jing has lived in Madison, Wisconsin: Ann Arbor, Michigan: and Laramie, Wyoming.

In the past three years, Jing has lived in Madison, Wisconsin, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Laramie, Wyoming.

In the past three years, Jing has lived in Madison, Wisconsin; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Laramie, Wyoming.

In the past three years, Jing has lived in: Madison, Wisconsin; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Laramie, Wyoming.

In the past three years, Jing has lived in: Madison, Wisconsin: Ann Arbor, Michigan: and Laramie, Wyoming.

Correct answer:

In the past three years, Jing has lived in Madison, Wisconsin; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Laramie, Wyoming.

Explanation:

Because “In the past three years, Jing has lived in” is not an independent clause, no punctuation is needed to separate it from the list that follows. Because the items in the list are compound (each place name contains a comma), semicolons are needed to separate the items and provide clarity.

Example Question #13 : Correcting Colon Errors

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate; he or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Possible Answers:

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate; he or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate; He or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate, he or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate: he or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate, He or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Correct answer:

Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate: he or she should be experienced, amiable, and willing to put in long hours.

Explanation:

Because “Julia had several requirements for the ideal job candidate” is an independent clause, the list that follows must be preceded by a colon, not a semicolon.

Example Question #14 : Correcting Colon Errors

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

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules, the children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Possible Answers:

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules; The children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules: the children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules; the children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules, The children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules, the children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Correct answer:

Lacey has several basic babysitting rules: the children can only have one friend over at a time, the TV can’t be on during dinner, and bedtime is at eight o’clock sharp.

Explanation:

Because “Lacey has several basic babysitting rules" is an independent clause, the list that follows must be preceded by a colon. A semicolon is never used to separate a list from its antecedent.

Example Question #15 : Correcting Colon Errors

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

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office: Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

Possible Answers:

The following students: must report immediately to the principal’s office, Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office: Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office, Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office: Jamie Kendrick; Leon Duke; Cesar Alonso.

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office; Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

Correct answer:

The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office: Jamie Kendrick, Leon Duke, and Cesar Alonso.

Explanation:

Here, we’re separating an independent clause (“The following students must report immediately to the principal’s office”) from a list (the students’ names), so the correct punctuation is a colon and not a semicolon. Semicolons are only used to separate two independent clauses, not an independent clause and a list. Although the list that follows the semicolon isn’t a complete sentence, the first word must still be capitalized because it’s a person’s name. The items in the list aren’t compound items, so a simple comma is fine to separate them.

Example Question #16 : Correcting Colon Errors

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

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees: elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Possible Answers:

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees; elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees: elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees: elms; American chestnuts; red oaks; and lindens are among her specialties.

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees, elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Lannifer is an expert on growing: several kinds of trees elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Correct answer:

Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees: elms, American chestnuts, red oaks, and lindens are among her specialties.

Explanation:

Here, we’re separating an independent clause (“Lannifer is an expert on growing several kinds of trees”) from another independent clause that enumerates several items first introduced in the first clause, so the best punctuation is a colon and not a semicolon.

Example Question #391 : Gmat Verbal

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.

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Possible Answers:

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next, Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next which were Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next. Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next: Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next; Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Correct answer:

Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next: Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia.

Explanation:

The phrase "Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia" describes exactly what countries are on Karen's list. When a clause is used in order to describe some element of a preceding independent clause, they should be joined with a colon (unless the previous clause ends with a verb). The correct choice is, "Karen finalized the list of countries she was traveling to next: Brazil, France, India, China, and Australia."

Example Question #392 : Gmat Verbal

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.

They decided to restructure the company, the company would now exist under a bigger, parent company.

Possible Answers:

They decided to restructure the company the company

They decided to restructure: the company, the company

They decided to restructure the company: the company

They decided to restructure: the company, the company

They decided to restructure the company, the company

Correct answer:

They decided to restructure the company: the company

Explanation:

This sentence contains a misuse of a comma. This sentence joins two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction. In this case, a semicolon (because the two clauses are related) or colon (because the second clause explains an element of the first clause) would be appropriate. Since there is not an option with a semicolon in the correct place; however, the correct answer is, "They decided to restructure the company: the company."

Example Question #393 : Gmat Verbal

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 loved to look at pictures of luxury cars: because he wished to own one in the future.

Possible Answers:

luxury cars: because he wished to own one in the future.

luxury cars because he wished to own one in the future.

luxury cars - because he wished to own one in the future.

luxury cars; because he wished to own one in the future.

luxury cars, because he wished to own one in the future.

Correct answer:

luxury cars because he wished to own one in the future.

Explanation:

This sentence misused a colon. Colons are used in order to join clauses when the second clause explains something about or in the preceding clause when conjunctions are absent. The word "because," however, is a conjunction and no punctuation but the period at the end is necessary. The correct choice is, "luxury cars because he wished to own one in the future."

Example Question #394 : Gmat Verbal

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.

Fabian went to the store to buy a new calculator, his calculator suddenly stopped working.

Possible Answers:

buy a new calculator: his calculator

buy a new calculator his calculator

buy a new calculator, his calculator,

buy a new calculator - his calculator,

buy: a new calculator, his calculator

Correct answer:

buy a new calculator: his calculator

Explanation:

This sentence combines two independent clauses without the use of a coordinate conjunction. Furthermore, the second clause explains an element of the first clause (why he was buying a new calculator). The most appropriate punctuation would be a colon after "calculator." The correct answer is, "buy a new calculator: his calculator"

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