The GMAT test has surely made grammar a surreal experience. From the point of view of a trainer who enjoys every class, no matter how repetitive it may get, I must salute the test for what it has been able to concoct of the many grammar rules. Very basic stuff one grew up knowing and mastering is now laced with the unknown, the not-so-obvious, and sometimes even the impossible. As a result, a Sentence Correction class often ends up much like an odyssey, with participants struggling to find a purpose.

Let me use this platform to share some SC questions that required more than my fair share of effort to explain and justify. Below is the first of these, and I invite readers to share other SC questions that we can discuss and understand here.

  1. Australian embryologists have found evidence that suggests that the elephant is descended from an aquatic animal and its trunk originally evolved as a kind of snorkel.

(A) that suggests that the elephant is descended from an aquatic animal, and its trunk originally evolving
(B) that has suggested the elephant descended from an aquatic animal, its trunk originally
evolving
(C) suggesting that the elephant had descended from an aquatic animal with its trunk originally evolved
(D) to suggest that the elephant had descended from an aquatic animal and its trunk originally evolved
(E) to suggest that the elephant is descended from an aquatic animal and that its trunk originally evolved

The most important thing to watch out for here are the two “thats.” The first, evidence that, is a relative pronoun simply sitting after evidence and referring to it, while the second that suggests that is a reporting conjunction that reports information. This latter is crucial. Since the embryologists report 2 details – one about the elephant and the other about its trunk – it is clear that the reporting conjunction will need to be used twice. So all we need to do is look for an answer or answers that suggest that the elephant…………………………., and that its trunk…………………………………..

Based on this understanding, we can locate just one answer….E.

Following the same rule, we can identify the need to observe a parallel of that in the example below:

Sartre believed each individual is responsible for choosing one course of action over another, which gives value to the act, and that nothing that is not acted upon has value.

(A) each individual is responsible for choosing one course of action over another one
(B) that each individual is responsible for choosing one course of action over another
(C) that each individual is responsible for choosing one course of action over another
(D) that each individual is responsible to choose one course of action over the other
(E) each individual is responsible for choosing one course of action over another one

Here, we can spot that; this hints at the need for an earlier use of that – as a reporting conjunction. So, trace the sentence back to the first verb – believed – and identify answers that use that to report each detail being reported. So we pick the three answers – B, C, D – and use that to report the first clause and then identify the right answer relying on the idiom responsible for in B.

I will end this demonstration by reminding GMAT test takers to be vigilant about the non-underlined part of the SC question….there will always be something there to guide you through the seeming maze of words and structures.

April 13, 2023
GMAT: Sentence Correction Twisters

GMAT: Sentence Correction Twisters: Not Such a Deal Really!!!

The GMAT test has surely made grammar a surreal experience. From the point of view of a trainer who enjoys every class, no matter how repetitive […]
March 25, 2023
GMAT Preparation Tip

GMAT Preparation Tip: Start with the most Basic Critical Reasoning Question Type

‘Weaken the argument’ is the most basic of the GMAT critical reasoning questions, and hence, it is in place to start a review of critical reasoning […]
February 21, 2023
Concept of Triangles in GMAT and GRE

Concept of Triangles in GMAT and GRE | Learn at Option Institute

Triangles are the most important objects studied in mathematics. They are closed figures with three sides and angles. Based on the length of sides and size […]
December 26, 2022
GMAT Test Preparation

The Rule of the Game is to know that an exception also makes a Rule!

GMAT sentence correction is about rules, the bookish grammar rules teachers and students overlooked at school but have returned to haunt the test taker. And the […]
December 21, 2022
GMAT Preparation Tip

GMAT Quant: The Question Type Unique to the GMAT

The 80/20 rule says that 80% of your output comes from 20% of the effort. I am a firm believer in this amazing rule and, hence, […]
September 16, 2022
Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Skills Required for the Critical Reasoning Questions on the GMAT

Critical Reasoning questions on the GMAT arouse a mixed reaction from test takers. While some find these questions easy, others insist they make no sense and […]
August 9, 2022
Sentence Correction

There is More to Sentence Correction than the Grammar

Why is it that even after a fairly rigorous GMAT Prep schedule, students cannot display a readiness to tackle the sentence correction questions on the GMAT? […]
July 29, 2022
Few Factors, More Multiples

Few Factors, More Multiples

Continuing our discussion of prime numbers, we shall discuss two very important concepts of GCF or LCM in this post. Frequently, on the GMAT, you may […]
July 25, 2022
GRE Quantitative Comparison Continued

GRE Quantitative Comparison Continued

GRE Quantitative Comparison This article takes up from where the one of 9th March left off. We will look at GRE QC questions from a slightly […]