GMAT Verbal : Correcting Colon Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #225 : Sentence Correction

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.

She wrote many books: her most popular book was published the previous year.

Possible Answers:

She wrote many books; her most popular book

She wrote many books, her most popular book

She wrote many books: her most, popular book

She wrote many books: her most popular book

She wrote many books her most popular book

Correct answer:

She wrote many books; her most popular book

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the colon. Colons are used to join two related clauses when the second clause explains something about the first clause. While clauses here are related, the second clause does not explain anything about the author writing many books. A semicolon would be more appropriate. The correct choice is, "She wrote many books; her most popular book."

Example Question #226 : Sentence Correction

Choose the best version of the underlined sentence.  One option will remain unchanged.

Jonathon crammed all night for his final, he overslept his alarm clock and missed the exam.

Possible Answers:

Jonathon crammed all night for his final, he overslept his alarm clock, and missed the exam.

Jonathon crammed all night for his final: he overslept his alarm clock and missed the exam.

Jonathon crammed all night for his final, he overslept his alarm clock and missed the exam.

Jonathon crammed all night for his final.  He overslept his alarm clock, and missed the exam.

Jonathon crammed all night for his final; he overslept his alarm clock and missed the exam.

Correct answer:

Jonathon crammed all night for his final: he overslept his alarm clock and missed the exam.

Explanation:

The sentence has a cause and effect structure. The cramming all night led to him missing his alarm clock and oversleeping.  Because of the interconnected nature of the two parts, the best connector is a colon. 

Example Question #227 : Sentence Correction

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.

These four are my favorite animals, cats, dogs, and bears

Possible Answers:

animals. Cats, dogs, and bears. 

animals: cats, dogs, and bears.

animals; cats, dogs, and bears. 

animals, cats, dogs, and bears. 

animals-cats, dogs, and bears. 

Correct answer:

animals: cats, dogs, and bears.

Explanation:

In this case, the colon is the best option. The first part of the sentence introduces the following list of animals. Therefore, the colon is the best punctuation to separate the related parts of the sentence. Note that a colon can only follow an independent clause, which "These four are my favorite animals" is. Putting a period at the end of that independent clause, however, creates a fragment with the second clause.

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