GMAT Verbal : Correcting Modifier-Word Modified Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Correcting Modifier Word Modified Agreement 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.

All film directors must be thoughtful in his use of light and shadow.

Possible Answers:

All film directors must be thoughtful in her use of light and shadow.

All film directors must be thoughtful in one's use of light and shadow.

All film directors must be thoughtful in someone's use of light and shadow.

All film directors must be thoughtful in a use of light and shadow.

All film directors must be thoughtful in their use of light and shadow.

Correct answer:

All film directors must be thoughtful in their use of light and shadow.

Explanation:

"All film directors" is a plural noun in which all film directors are described as a unified group. The example sentence incorrectly shifts to a singular pronoun ("his") later in the sentence. In order for a singular pronoun to be correct in this situation, the sentence would have to be begin "Any film director" and the preferred pronoun form is gender neutral: "Any film director must be thoughtful in his or her use of light and shadow." The use of "all" means that the film directors must be treated as a unified group of many people. The correct version of the sentence reads, "All film directors must be thoughtful in their use of light and shadow."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Modifier Word Modified Agreement 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

Even after all these time, I still do not know how to swim.

Possible Answers:

Even after all those time, I still do not know how to swim.

Even after all this time, I still do not know how to swim.

Even after all some times, I still do not know how to swim.

Even after all time, I still do not know how to swim.

Even after all these times, I still do not know how to swim.

Correct answer:

Even after all this time, I still do not know how to swim.

Explanation:

The example sentence makes a modifier error. In order for the sentence to be correct, the "time" must either be treated as a unified, grammatically singular block of time (in which case "all this time" is the correct phrasing), or treated as multiple occurrences (grammatically plural) in which case "all these times" is correct. In either case, the modifier and the word modified must agree in number. Since it is the only one of these options that is included without additional errors, the correct response reads, "Even after all this time, I still do not know how to swim." 

Example Question #1 : Correcting Modifier Word Modified Agreement 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 appeal of art is largely a subjective experience that critics nonetheless take as an objective studies.

Possible Answers:

an objective study.

a studies of objectivity.

the study's objective.

an objective studies.

the objective studies.

Correct answer:

an objective study.

Explanation:

The key issue with the underlined phrase is the simultaneous use of "an" and the plural form "studies." Either the singular "an" or the plural "studies" needs to be changed to make the forms match. "An objective study" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #1381 : 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.

Marcus enjoyed his work, civil engineers, finding that he could have a concrete impact on this community.

Possible Answers:

A civil engineer, his work made Marcus enjoy finding

Marcus enjoyed his work, finding civil engineers

Marcus, a civil engineer, enjoyed his work, finding 

Marcus enjoyed his work as civil engineers finding

Marcus enjoyed his work as a civil engineer finding

Correct answer:

Marcus, a civil engineer, enjoyed his work, finding 

Explanation:

The major issue here is not only the misplaced modifier "civil engineers" but also modifier agreement. Note that using the plural "civil engineers" is inappropriate. The correct placement of the modifier uses the phrase to modify Marcus. To convey Marcus' profession (singular), one must adjust the modifier to agree with the singular noun. The incorrect answer choices fail to resolve both of these issues and result in awkward syntax or modifier placement errors.

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