GMAT Verbal : Correcting Verb Voice Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #8 : 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.

After the novelist threw the draft into the trash, the crumpled paper was retrieved by his concerned assistant.

Possible Answers:

his concerned assistant, retrieving the crumpled paper.

the crumpled paper was retrieved by his concerned assistant.

the crumpled paper had been retrieved by his concerned assistant.

his concerned assistant retrieved the crumpled paper.

retrieved by his concerned assistant, who crumpled the paper.

Correct answer:

his concerned assistant retrieved the crumpled paper.

Explanation:

Avoid the passive voice of the original ("the crumbled paper was retrieved") and choose the simplest answer that preserves the original meaning of the text.

Example Question #9 : 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.

The new boss was eagerly anticipating by the employees, because no one in the office knew what to expect.

Possible Answers:

was anticipating eagerly

was eagerly anticipated

was eagerly anticipating

was eager anticipation

eagerly anticipated

Correct answer:

was eagerly anticipated

Explanation:

The context of the underlined phrase show it is actually a use of the passive voice, with the anticipation done "by the employees," not the new boss. Thus, the correct answer must feature a passive construction. "Was eagerly anticipated" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #81 : Correcting Usage 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 ancient texts are often confused to people who do not understand their full context.

Possible Answers:

often are confused

are often confused

confusing often are

are confused often

are often confusing

Correct answer:

are often confusing

Explanation:

The sentence is written as to make the texts be "confused," when the latter part of the sentence makes clear the people reading them are "confused." The word needs to be changed to a form that properly conveys this. "Are often confusing" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #11 : 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.

Under the old regime, liberties curtailed greatly.

Possible Answers:

The old regime had liberties curtailing a great amount.

The old regime greatly curtailed liberties.

The old regime's liberties were greatly curtailed.

Under the old regime, liberties being curtailed greatly.

Under the old regime, liberties curtailed greatly.

Correct answer:

The old regime greatly curtailed liberties.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence contains a flaw in word order. To have the sentence make sense, the government, and not liberties, must be doing the curtailing. The only answer choice that correctly indicates that "the old regime" is the thing doing the curtailing without introducing errors into the sentence is "The old regime greatly curtailed liberties."

Example Question #31 : Usage 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.  

Tom was given the most lucrative promotion, although Mr. Jones normally only recognizes the most senior accountants.

Possible Answers:

Tom was given the most lucrative promotion, although the most senior accountants were recognized normally only by Mr. Jones.

Tom was given the most lucrative promotion, although Mr. Jones normally only recognizes the most senior accountants.

Mr. Jones gave Tom the most lucrative promotion although normally only he recognizes the most senior accountants.

Although Mr. Jones normally only recognizes the most senior accountants, he gave Tom the most lucrative promotion.

Tom was given the most lucrative promotion after Mr. Jones normally only recognizes the most senior accountants.

Correct answer:

Although Mr. Jones normally only recognizes the most senior accountants, he gave Tom the most lucrative promotion.

Explanation:

The initial clause of the sentence, "Tom was given the most lucrative promotion," uses the passive voice; conventionally, altering this type of sentence to use active voice makes it clearer and more concise.

Example Question #41 : Usage 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.

At the turn of the century, many new advances in technology were discovered by scientists.

Possible Answers:

Scientists discovering many new advances in technology at the turn of the century.

At the turn of the century, scientists discovered many new advances in technology. 

Many new advances in technology were discovered by scientists at the turn of the century.

At the turn of the century, many new advances in technology were discovered by scientists.

At the scientist's turn of the century, they discovered many new advances in technology. 

Correct answer:

At the turn of the century, scientists discovered many new advances in technology. 

Explanation:

This example shows how the active voice is preferred over the passive voice. The active voice constructs a much stronger sentence than the passive does.

Example Question #11 : 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 time that was had by Jenny at the circus was good.

Possible Answers:

Jenny's time at the circus was good.

Jenny at the circus had a good time.

The circus was there for Jenny to have a good time at.

Jenny had a good time at the circus.

A time that was good was had by Jenny at the circus.

Correct answer:

Jenny had a good time at the circus.

Explanation:

The voice of the verb in the example sentence is passive. In general, where possible, it is best to use active voice over passive voice. Active sentences use the subject as the agent of the main verb, and are therefore usually simpler and clearer than passive sentences. The best version of this sentence reads, "Jenny had a good time at the circus."

Example Question #501 : Improving Sentences

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.

Mike and Jonas were asked to spar by the boxing coach, eager to see how they would perform in a simulated match.

Possible Answers:

Eager to see how they would perform in a simulated match, the boxing coach asked Mike and Jonas to spar.

Mike and Jonas, eager to see how the boxing coach would perform in a simulated match, asked them to spar. 

Mike and Jonas were asked to spar by the boxing coach, eager to see how they would perform in a simulated match.

The boxing coach, eagerly sees how Mike and Jonas would perform in a simulated match, asked them to spar.

Mike and Jonas, eager to see how they would perform in a simulated match, were asked to spar by the boxing coach.

Correct answer:

Eager to see how they would perform in a simulated match, the boxing coach asked Mike and Jonas to spar.

Explanation:

The initial independent clause in the sentence, "Mike and Jonas were asked to spar by the boxing coach," uses passive voice ("were asked"); it becomes clearer when we use active voice ("the boxing coach asked Mike and Jonas . . .").

Example Question #12 : 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.

He was reminded by his friends to bring back gifts from his trip.

Possible Answers:

He was buying gifts because his friends reminded him to get gifts.

He, reminded to bring back gifts by his friends, decided to buy some gifts at the store.

He was reminded by his friends to bring back gifts from his trip.

He was reminded by his friends to bring back gifts: from his trip.

His friends reminded him to bring back gifts from his trip.

Correct answer:

His friends reminded him to bring back gifts from his trip.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. It is most proper for the subject of the verb to be doing the action of the verb. In this sentence; however, the subject "he" is not doing the action "remind." He is being reminded, which means someone else is doing the action to him. The best choice is: "He was reminded by his friends to bring back gifts from his trip" because it fixes this error, is concise, and is not redundant, like the other sentences. 

Example Question #13 : 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.

Japanese longswords, katanas, are considered the best swords in the world by many individuals.

Possible Answers:

Many individuals consider Japanese longswords, katanas, the best swords in the world. 

Japanese longswords, katanas, are the best swords in the world according to the opinion of many individuals. 

Japanese longswords, katanas, are considered the best swords in the world by many individuals. 

Many individuals consider Japanese longswords, a katana, the best sword in the world.

Many individuals might consider Japanese longswords, also known as katanas, to be the best swords in the world.

Correct answer:

Many individuals consider Japanese longswords, katanas, the best swords in the world. 

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "Japanese longswords...are considered..." is in the passive voice. Since there is already an interrupting appositive renaming the subject here, it is best to simply re-phrase this sentence in the active voice in order to avoid an overly wordy and complex sentence. The most clear and concise choice in this instance is, "Many individuals consider Japanese longswords, katanas, the best swords in the world." The other choices are too wordy or contain inconsistencies (e.g. longswords...a katana). 

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