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SC TIPS & TRICKS

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New post Updated on: 27 Sep 2018, 09:26
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SC TIPS & TRICKS

hey everyone,
this is the thread for SC Tips & Tricks, feel free to post your SC tips & tricks here. I will update the post by adding more tips, tricks and quick reminders from time to time :)


SUBJECT-VERB AGREEMENT



Subject-verb agreement can get pretty tricky when certain elements are thrown in the mix. Here are some things to watch out for :)

SUBJECT-VERB SEPARATION

Problems often arise when something plural comes between a singular subject and its verb (or vice versa). This can occur in a number of different situations, for instance in sentences with subjects containing prepositional phrases, subjects containing relative clauses and subjects with appositives. For example,

    The deeply rooted desires of doom in the locked box tries to escape every now and then.
    Rewrite: The deeply rooted desires of doom in the locked box try to escape every now and then.

    The gangrene-ridden gremlin that will speak at our upcoming conferences support the anti-troll legislation.
    Rewrite: The gangrene-ridden gremlin that will speak at our upcoming conferences supports the anti-troll legislation.

    Each of the dragons have pretty painted nails.
    Rewrite: Each of the dragons has pretty painted nails.

    The whole process—the chocolate shower, the sword fight, the never-ending flow of singsongs and all the talking crocodile monkeys—weren’t of any interest to me.
    Rewrite: The whole process—the chocolate shower, the sword fight, the never-ending flow of singsongs and all the talking crocodile monkeys—wasn’t of any interest to me.


INDEFINITE PRONOUNS AS SUBJECTS

Indefinite pronouns as subjects can cause more problems than just subject-verb separation. Most indefinite pronouns are singular (e.g. another, anyone, anything, each, everybody, everything, much, no one, nothing, somebody, something), but some (i.e. all, any, more, most, none, some) can be either singular or plural depending on the context. They can refer to either a single quantity (mass/uncountable noun) or a number of individual units in a group (countable noun). Use your judgement to determine whether the indefinite pronoun refers to a countable or uncountable noun and decide whether the verb should be singular or plural.

Only some of Jaguar Juice was drunk. (uncountable, singular)
Only some of Cougar Cookies were missing. (countable, plural)

COLLECTIVE NOUNS AS SUBJECTS

Collective nouns are names of collections or groups that can be considered as individual units. Since most are countable nouns, they usually take a singular verb (unless pluralized, i.e. the army is coming this way vs. the armies are coming this way). That being said, a singular collective noun can take a plural verb if the writer is trying to emphasize the individual members of the group.

    The government is usually identified by its country and not its political leader.
    His family comes from Narnia. (singular)
    His family come from Narnia, Neverland and Wonderland. (plural)

    Countable nouns that are considered an amount or measurement (e.g. weight, distance, time, money) are usually considered as singular subjects.
    If you can afford it, $750 is enough to buy both Boardwalk and Park Place.
    I think 34685.526 years is a long time to wait for a spouse, even if he is your intergalactic soul mate.

    Words such as number, half and majority are often considered collective nouns and can be either singular or plural.
    A 52% majority isn’t very comforting
    The majority are coming to Polkaroo’s pool party.


VERBS BETWEEN SINGULAR AND PLURAL NOUNS

The problem here arises with sentences that have a singular subject but plural predicate noun (or vice versa). Always remember that the verb agrees with the subject, no matter what may come later on in the sentence. Still, this can lead to an awkwardly worded sentence. You can avoid this by rewriting the sentence to make both the subject and predicate noun singular (or both plural), or by rewriting the sentence entirely.
For example,

    Wrong: Dori’s downfall were shiny objects.
    Correct: Dori’s downfall was shiny objects.
    Rewrite: Shiny objects were Dori’s downfall.
    Rewrite: Dori was constantly distracted by shiny objects.


    COMPOUND SUBJECT WITH HOODWINKING CONNECTORS

    Compound subjects with and are obviously plural and the corresponding verbs should agree accordingly (NOTE: On rare occasions when the two subjects identify the same person or thing or when both are thought of as a unit, the verb is singular, e.g. My dog and my best friend was there for me that day). However, phrasal connectives (e.g. as well as, in addition to, together with) are prepositional phrases, not conjunctions. Therefore a singular subject followed by a phrasal connective still calls for the singular form of the verb. Even though this is grammatically correct, it can still come off sounding awkward. To solve this, rewrite the sentence with and.
      Wrong: The chicken as well as the turkey were convinced they could fly if they tried hard enough.
      Correct: The chicken as well as the turkey was convinced they could fly if they tried hard enough.
      Revised: The chicken and the turkey were convinced they could fly if they tried hard enough.


    TRICK: Prepositional phrases are posers; they don’t actually make the subject plural.


SUBJECTS CONNECTED BY OR, NOR

The verb should always agree with the subject closest to it. For example:
    Wrong: Bert or Ernie have to call Elmo a.s.a.p.!
    Correct: Bert or Ernie has to call Elmo a.s.a.p.!
    Wrong: Neither his gossiping guppies nor his chastising chicken are worth the wait.
    Correct: Neither his gossiping guppies nor his chastising chicken is worth the wait.

SUBJECT AFTER VERB

This most commonly occurs with there and here constructions. The verb still has to agree with subject that follows the verb. Note that when compound singular nouns follow here or there, most writers use a singular verb (that only agrees with the first and closest noun).
Now there are too many people who believe vampires sparkle in the sun.
Here come the pantisocratic polar bears.
Over her face glides a small stream of sorrows.

BUT Here comes the superficial sock king and his associates.


NOTE that it always takes a singular verb.
It is problems like these that make him rethink his mad mustard methods.

RELATIVE PRONOUNS AS SUBJECTS

Relative pronouns (who, which, and that) can be either singular or plural depending on their antecedent and the verb must agree accordingly.
His success was due to the lion’s pride and perseverance, which have lasted throughout the years. (antecedent = pride and perseverance; plural)

Most issues with agreement in these cases stem from the use of phrases containing one of the _ or one of those ­­_ that are followed by relative pronouns.
    She is one of the few princesses who like to play in the mud.

Here the verb is plural because the pronoun who refers to princesses. This type of construction only takes a singular verb when only is placed before one. For example,
He is the only one of those politicians who has a soul.


TRICK: You can always rearrange the sentence to avoid this problem.
    Revised: Unlike most other princesses, she likes to play in the mud.
    Revised: He is the only politician with a soul there.


WHICH VS. THAT




That is used to introduce a restrictive clause (i.e. a clause that contains essential information; usually you cannot remove it from the sentence without detracting from the meaning).

    Birds that migrate go south for the winter. (If we remove that migrate the sentence no longer makes sense because not all birds go south for the winter; only birds that migrate do.)

Which is used to introduce a non-restrictive clause (i.e. a clause that contains non-essential information; you can remove it from the sentence without detracting from the meaning). Non-restrictive clauses are usually surrounded by commas, though not always.

    Cars, which are usually expensive if purchased new, are very practical for commuters. (If we remove which are usually expensive if purchased new, the sentence still makes perfect sense.)

As mentioned previously, sometimes both that and which are correct in a given sentence depending on perspective.

    The store, which is near my house, is closed today.
    The store that is near my house is closed today.

In the first example, the writer is putting the emphasis on the store and the fact that it is closed while placing little importance on the fact that it is near his or her house. Perhaps the writer wished to go to the store (whether or not it was near his or her house was unimportant), but now s/he cannot because it is closed. In the second instance, however, the writer is putting much more emphasis on the fact that the store is near his or her house. In this case, there might be other stores of the same type that are open, but the one closest to him or her is closed. The difference is subtle and again depends on the intent and perspective of the writer.

THE EXCEPTION

The above rule for restrictive and non-restrictive clauses holds true for most sentences, but not in all instances. If a sentence containing a restrictive clause ends with a preposition, the sentence could be rearranged as to not have the preposition at the end, and this can only be done with which, even though one would expect that for a restrictive clause.

NOTE: Ending a sentence with a preposition is in no way ungrammatical; should your professor, revisor, etc. take issue with sentences ending in prepositions, however, be sure to rearrange the corresponding restrictive clause as seen in the example below.

Maggie is eating at the table that the cat is sleeping under.
Maggie is eating at the table under which the cat is sleeping.



NON-ESSENTIAL CLAUSES



Non-essential clauses are set off by commas (one before, one after) and, as their name suggests, are not essential to the meaning of a sentence. When they are crossed out, the sentence still makes sense.

Non-essential clauses are often used to distract from errors. When they are removed, the error is revealed.

Incorrect: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, and they are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Incorrect: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, and they are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Correct: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Note that non-essential clauses may also be included for no other reason than to make sentences long and complicated, and to distract from errors elsewhere in a sentence.

TIP: when you use paper-based prep materials, you should practice drawing a line through non-essential clauses in order to train yourself to eliminate them mentally on the actual exam.



Missing/Ambiguous Referents



This/that, these/those not followed by a noun = wrong.

Which must be directly preceded by its referent, e.g. Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest, which was declared eradicated in 2011.

That = no comma, which = comma, e.g. The stocks that fell last week had been predicted to rise, NOT The stocks which fell last week had been predicted to rise. The GMAT tests this rule frequently.

USE OF DUE TO



In reality, due to is a synonym for caused by. If you’re not sure whether due to is being used correctly, plug in caused by, and see if the sentence still makes grammatical sense. If it doesn’t, because or another, grammatically appropriate synonym should be used instead.

For example, try plugging in caused by to one of the examples above:

Incorrect: Consumer spending is down caused by the recession.
Clearly, that does not work!
Correct: Consumer spending is down as a result of the recession.
Much better.

Now, consider a sentence closer to what you’ll encounter on the GMAT:

Correct: At the Battle of Waterloo, the French army formed a homogeneous national force whose high morale was due to (caused by) the belief that Napoleon was the greatest soldier since Julius Caesar.

Here, due to actually makes sense; however, the chance that it will appear in a correct answer on the GMAT is extremely low. The GMAC is primarily interested in whether you can identify when it is being used incorrectly. Answers that include because (of) or as a result (of) are, in contrast, far more likely to be correct.

That means you’re likely to see questions that look something like this:

At the Battle of Waterloo, the French army formed a homogeneous national force, and its moral was high due to the belief that Napoleon was the greatest soldier since Julius Caesar.

(A) national force, and its morale was high due to the belief
(B) national force whose high morale resulted from the belief
(C) national force, and its high morale because of their believing
(D) national force, with its morale that was high because of the belief
(E) national force, its high morale being due to their belief

A split like this makes it pretty clear what’s being tested. You could, of course, read meticulously through each answer, considering how it sounds.

A much more effective approach, however, is to work as follows:

-(A) and (E) contain due to — assume they’re wrong.

-(C) is wordy and contains a gerund, believing, so you can assume it’s wrong as well. (It also creates a nonsense construction when plugged by into the sentence.)

-(D) is the longest answer, and it’s also very awkward. It can be eliminated too.

That leaves (B), which is clean, clear, and correct.


Key Idioms:



    A means to + infinitive = a way of (doing something)
    A means of + noun = a form of

    Act like = act in a manner similar to
    Act as = act in the capacity of

    Between = compare two things
    Among = compare three or more things

    Due to = caused by. Note that this phrase is virtually always used incorrectly when it appears on the GMAT. Typically, answers containing because (of) or as a result (of) are correct.

    Regarded as, NOT regarded to be

    Try to, NOT try and

    Use such as, not like, to introduce examples



THE NUMBER OF vs A NUMBER OF



The expression the number is followed by a singular verb while the expression a number is followed by a plural verb. :)

Examples:
The number of people we need to hire is thirteen.
A number of people have written in about this subject.



VERBALS MUST NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH VERBS



Verbals are not verbs. On the GMAT, it is important to recognize that the –ing form of a word, without a helper verb like “is,” “was,” or “am,” does not act as a verb. Without one of these helper verbs, the –ing form of a word, called a verbal, acts as a noun or as a modifier. If a subject corresponds to a verbal and not a verb, the sentence is a fragment.

Participial Phrases

Participial Phrases are present participles or past participles and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Participial phrases contain verbs which act as adjectives in a sentence.

Examples:

    Singing very softly, the boy lulled his baby brother to sleep. (the participial phrase works as an adjective, modifying "boy")

    The girls, frightened by the police car's headlights, quickly came down from the school's roof. (the participial phrase works as an adjective, modifying "girls")


Gerund Phrases

Gerund Phrases contain verbs ending in -ing and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Gerund phrases act as nouns in a sentence. They can act as the subject or object of a verb, as a predicate nominative, and as the object of a preposition.

Examples:

    Waiting for his grades drove him crazy. (the gerund phrase works as the subject of the verb "drove")

    The woman denied knowing her own husband. (the gerund phrase works as the object of the verb "denied")

    He thought he could escape from his problems by running away. (the gerund phrase works as the object of the preposition "by")

    Making many acquaintances is cultivating future friendships. (the gerund phrases work as the subject and as the predicate nominative)

Infinitive Phrases

Infinitive Phrases contain verbals consisting of "to" followed by a verb and any modifiers, objects, or complements. Infinitive phrases usually act as nouns, but they can also act as adjectives and adverbs.

Examples:

    To live in Boston eventually is his main goal in life. (the infinitive phrase works as the subject of the sentence)

    Quentin Tarentino loves to babble during interviews. (the infinitive phrase works as the object of the verb "loves")

    Do you have any clothes to donate to the homeless shelter? (the infinitive phrase works as an adjective, modifying "clothes")

    She went home to visit her family. (the infinitive phrase works as an adverb, modifying "went")



How to use participial phrases in your writing




What is a participle? Participles are verbs that function as adjectives, which means that they modify a noun or a pronoun.

There are two kinds of participles:

    Present participle: verbs ending in –ing. Example: The smiling woman.
    Past participle: verbs ending in –ed (except for some irregular verbs). Example: The washed dishes.

What is a participial phrase?

A participial phrase is a phrase containing a past or a present participle.

Examples:

    Exhausted after twenty hours of work, he collapsed as soon as he got home.
    Floating in the pool, she looked up at the blue sky.

What’s the problem with participles / participial phrases?

You’ve probably heard of dangling participles, but participles can create other problems in fiction too. Let’s take a look at the major issues.

PROBLEM #1: DANGLING PARTICIPLES

Participle constructions can result in what’s called a dangling participle. That happens when the noun (or pronoun) the participle phrase should modify isn’t actually in the sentence. As a result, the participle is left dangling and ends up modifying the wrong subject.

Example:
Slipping into bed, Maggie was still on Anna’s mind.

The participial phrase modifies Maggie; however, it’s Anna, not Maggie, who’s slipping into bed.
Possible rewrites:
    Slipping into bed, Anna still thought of Maggie.
    When Anna slipped into bed, Maggie was still on her mind.


Another common source for dangling participles are body parts.
Example:
Sucking in a breath, Susan’s eyes snapped open.

It’s Susan—not her eyes—who’s sucking in a breath.

Possible rewrite:
Susan sucked in a breath. Her eyes snapped open.

PROBLEM #2: IMPOSSIBLE ACTIONS

One important thing you should understand about participle phrases is that they always indicate simultaneity. The action in the participial phrase and the action in the main clause happen at the same time.

If you use a participial phrase for sequential or consecutive actions—actions that happen one after the other—you’re creating a sentence that is physically impossible.
Example:
Unlocking the door, she went straight to bed.

She unlocks the door first and then goes to bed, so we can’t use a participle construction in this sentence.

Possible rewrites:
She unlocked the door and went straight to bed.

    After she had unlocked the door, she went straight to bed.

Incorrectly used participles are common with dialogue tags.
Example:
“Don’t tempt me,” she said, laughing.


Since she can’t talk and laugh at the same time, you should rewrite the sentence.

Possible rewrite:

“Don’t tempt me.” She laughed.

PROBLEM #3: OVERUSE OF PARTICIPIAL PHRASES

Some editors declare participial phrases the mark of an amateur and advise authors to never, ever use them. I find that a bit extreme. But it’s definitely true that overusing participial phrases is a bad habit for many new writers. Some authors even begin every other sentence with a participle in an attempt to vary sentence construction.
The problem is that too many participles create a monotonous rhythm that readers will notice—at least unconsciously. They’ll be ripped from the story for a moment while they think about the pattern of your sentences.
That’s why most editors advise writers to use participial phrases sparingly. That, of course, is just a rule of thumb, but it’s a good reminder to find better ways to vary sentence structure.

PROBLEM #4: BURYING IMPORTANT ACTIONS

When we read, we always pay more attention to the main clause while we consider subordinate clauses to be less important. If you put an interesting action into a participial phrase, you’re essentially burying it and making it appear less important than it actually is.
So, to create more engaging prose, make sure you put important ideas into main clauses, not participial phrases.

Problem #5: INCORRECT PUNCTUATION
Participial phrases can come at the beginning, the middle, or the end of a sentence. Most often, separate them from the main clause with a comma. Here’s how to correctly punctuate sentences with participial phrases:

If the participial phrase precedes the main clause, use a comma after the participial phrase.

Example:

    Hoping for a treat, the dog fetched the ball.

If you have a participial phrase in the middle of a sentence, use two commas—one before and one after the participial phrase.

Example:

    The dog, hoping for a treat, fetched the ball.

If the participial phrase follows the main clause, use a comma before the participial phrase.

Example:
    The dog fetched the ball, hoping for a treat.

If you wouldn’t use a comma with this last example, you’d basically say that it’s the ball—not the dog—that is hoping for a treat.

There are two exceptions when you don’t use a comma:

If the participial phrase comes at the end of a sentence and follows immediately after the noun it modifies, don’t use a comma.

Example:

    Sarah often saw the dog fetching the ball.

If the participial phrase is a restrictive one, don’t use a comma.

Example:

    The dog fetching the ball was mine.

Summary

    So, take a look at the participial phrases in your manuscript. Make sure you…
    use them sparingly;
    avoid dangling participles;
    use them only for actions that can happen at the same time;
    avoid using them for important actions;
    punctuate them correctly
    .


The 10 most common punctuation mistakes and how to avoid them in your writing


1. Don’t add commas wherever you pause to breathe in a sentence.

I’ve heard that advice often, but it’s actually misleading. The rules are there for a reason, so learn them—and then if you break them, do it to achieve a certain effect, not because you don’t know them.

2. Don’t produce comma splices.

A comma splice is when you put together two complete sentences with a comma. Instead, break them into two sentences with a period between, or use a semicolon instead of a comma.

    Incorrect: My favorite food is pizza, I love the melted cheese.
    Correct: My favorite food is pizza; I love the melted cheese.

3. Don’t use a comma after a coordinating conjunction.

Coordinating conjunctions are words that connect words, phrases, and sentences. You can easily remember them with the acronym FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so). For some reason, I sometimes see people using a comma after coordinating conjunctions, especially after but. What you should do instead is to use a comma before the coordinating conjunction if it connects two complete sentences.

    Incorrect: Danielle refused to eat spinach but, she loved ice cream.
    Correct: Danielle refused to eat spinach, but she loved ice cream.

4. Don’t use a comma in compound predicates.

A compound predicate is a series of two verbs that belong to the same subject. Unlike a compound sentence, which consists of two complete sentences with a subject and verb each, compound predicates don’t need a comma.

    Incorrect: Danielle refused to eat spinach, but loved ice cream.
    Correct: Danielle refused to eat spinach but loved ice cream.

5. Don’t use apostrophes to form the plural of a noun.

The two main functions of apostrophes are to a) show possession, e.g., my brother’s car, and to b) indicate contractions and omissions. Apostrophes shouldn’t be used to form the plural of nouns.

    Incorrect: My parent’s call me every Sunday.
    Correct: My parents call me every Sunday.

6. Don’t confuse it’s and its.

It’s is a contraction for it is or sometimes it has. Its is a possessive pronoun. If you are ever unsure which is correct, replace the word with it is (or it has) and see if it makes sense. If it doesn’t, use its without an apostrophe.

    Incorrect: The cat sharpened it’s claws.
    Correct: The cat sharpened its claws.

7. Don’t place commas and periods outside of quotation marks if you are using American English.

With few exceptions, punctuation marks go within quotation marks. Note that the rules of British English differ from this usage.

    Incorrect (in American English): When she says “immediately”, she means half an hour later.
    Correct: When she says “immediately,” she means half an hour later.

8. Don’t punctuate dialogue incorrectly.

First, learn the difference between a dialogue tag such as “she said” and an action beat, which is an action that the character performs before, after, or while he or she speaks. Use a comma with dialogue tags and a period with action beats. You can learn more about action beats and dialogue tags and how to punctuate them in this blog post.

    Incorrect: Maggie pounded on the table, “Give me the book.”
    Correct: Maggie pounded on the table. “Give me the book.”

9. Don’t forget to use a comma to set off a direct address (usually a title or name) in dialogue.

If you insert the address in the middle of a sentence, set it off with a comma before and after.

Incorrect: “If we don’t want to be late Mr. Benson, we need to leave now.”
Correct: “If we don’t want to be late, Mr. Benson, we need to leave now.”



WHO VS. WHOM


THE RULE

    Who is the subject of a verb (i.e. the one doing the action).
    Who’s there?
    Please let me know who will be going.

    Whom is the object of a verb (i.e. the one being acted upon).
    With whom did you go?
    Tomorrow we will announce whom we selected.


THE TRICK


The difference between who and whom is similar to that between he and him, or they and them.

He and they are the subjects of verbs, and him and them are objects.

If you ever find yourself confused by whether to use who or whom, try substituting he/him or they/them to see which makes sense.

He or they would mean you should use who, and him or them would indicate that whom is the correct choice (Hint to remember: both him and them end in m, like whom, so that would therefore be the logical choice).

For a question, you might need to use the answer, and other sentences might need rearranging for the trick to work.

Who/whom is at the door? Answer: He is. Therefore who is correct.

I met three of the new professors yesterday, one of who/whom has already published several books. I met three of the new professors yesterday; one of them has already published several books. Therefore whom is correct.



Let’s look at another:

    Who/whom should I talk to about labeling food in the refrigerator?

    Try substituting “he” and “him”: I should talk to he. I should talk to him. “Him” works, so the word you need is whom.

    Correct: Whom should I talk to about labeling food in the refrigerator?

    However, this trick can prove to be problematic in certain instances. For example:


    The elderly man who/whom he believes may be his grandfather is standing in the doorway.

    In this case, the sentence would have to be rearranged to use the trick discussed above.
    He believes that he may be his grandfather.

Given the above, who is the correct choice. The reason this could potentially be problematic is the placement of the word in the sentence. Since it is placed next to another pronoun (he), we might assume that who is in fact the object and should therefore be whom. This, however, is not the case.

Here is another example:

    Ask whoever/whomever walks by for directions.

This example proves particularly difficult even with the trick because we automatically think of Ask him for directions, and this would lead us to believe that the correct choice is whomever. Conversely, whoever is correct. In this sentence, the entire phrase whoever walks by is the object of ask.
A quick way of double-checking is seeing if who/whoever or whom/whomever is the subject of any of the verbs in the sentence.

In this case, whoever is the subject of walks by, and therefore the correct choice would be whoever.


RUN-ON SENTENCES AND COMMA SPLICES



Run-on sentences can be divided into two types.

    The first occurs when a writer puts no mark of punctuation and no coordinating conjunction between independent clauses.


    The second is called a comma splice, which occurs when two or more independent clauses are joined by just a comma and no coordinating conjunction

Example of a run-on sentence:

    The flowers are beautiful they brighten the room. (Incorrect)

Example of a comma splice:

    The flowers are beautiful, they brighten the room. (Incorrect)

Examples of correct alternatives:

    The flowers are beautiful. They brighten the room.
    The flowers are beautiful; they brighten the room.
    The flowers are beautiful, and they brighten the room.
    The flowers are beautiful because they brighten the room.


In order to better understand run-on sentences and comma splices, it is important to review the basics of writing a grammatically correct simple sentence:

A simple sentence is made up of only one independent clause. An independent clause is a group of words that contains a subject and a predicate and forms a complete thought when standing alone.
The subject refers to someone or something (the subject contains at least one noun or pronoun).
The predicate refers to what the subject does or is (the predicate contains the verb or verbs).
Both the subject and predicate can contain additional descriptive elements, such as adverbs, adjectives, prepositions, or other modifying phrases, but in its most basic form the subject is the part of the sentence that contains the noun, and the predicate contains the verb.

A sentence can be complete and correct with one basic independent clause made up of one subject plus its corresponding predicate. To demonstrate the basic structure of a simple sentence, find the noun that forms the subject and divide it from the verb.

    A frog jumped. ( A frog - subject, "jumped" - predicate)


By dividing the noun and verb, we can add modifiers to a simple sentence and still see the two basic parts, the subject and the predicate.

    A crazy frog jumped on me ( a crazy frog - subject, jumped on me - predicate)

Without the correct separation, the two independent clauses written together form a run-on sentence. Once you can identify a run-on sentence by its incorrect structure, it is not hard to find a way to correct it.

When two independent clauses appear in one sentence, they must be joined (or separated) in one of four ways:

    1. The two clauses can be made into two separate sentences by adding a period.
    2. The two clauses can be joined by a comma and a coordinating conjunction (comma plus: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet).
    3. The two clauses can be joined by a semicolon.
    4. The two clauses can be rewritten by adding, changing, rearranging, or deleting words. The simplest way to accomplish this is to add a subordinating conjunction between the clauses.


Originally posted by dave13 on 10 Sep 2018, 08:02.
Last edited by dave13 on 27 Sep 2018, 09:26, edited 37 times in total.
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How to Find Hidden Errors in GMAT Sentence Correction

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Non-Essential Clauses

Non-essential clauses are set off by commas (one before, one after) and, as their name suggests, are not essential to the meaning of a sentence. When they are crossed out, the sentence still makes sense.

Non-essential clauses are often used to distract from errors. When they are removed, the error is revealed.

Incorrect: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, and they are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Incorrect: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, and they are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Correct: The body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for controlling sleep cycles and which function on a 24-hour clock, are more sensitive to light at night—even when a person’s eyes are closed.

Note that non-essential clauses may also be included for no other reason than to make sentences long and complicated, and to distract from errors elsewhere in a sentence.

TIP: when you use paper-based prep materials, you should practice drawing a line through non-essential clauses in order to train yourself to eliminate them mentally on the actual exam.

Originally posted by dave13 on 10 Sep 2018, 08:32.
Last edited by dave13 on 11 Sep 2018, 09:26, edited 2 times in total.
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New post 10 Sep 2018, 10:05
Functions of Nouns
Here’s the list of the 10 functions of nouns. Notice that Functions 1-5 require the presence of a verb. Notice that Function 6 requires the presence of a preposition. Then notice that Functions 7-10 are independent functions enabling the noun to stick directly onto sentences without the help of verbs or prepositions:

1. Subjects of Sentences

2. Subject Complements (“Predicate Nouns” or “Predicate Nominatives”)

3. Direct Objects of Transitive Verbs

4. Objects of Verbal Phrases

5. Indirect Objects

6. Objects of Prepositions

7. Noun Appositives

8. Noun Modifiers

9. Noun Adverbs

10. Noun Absolutes

Now, Noun Absolutes

You cannot read an award-winning novel and fail to find oodles of noun absolutes. Neither can you listen to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, ESPN’s Sports Center, or CNN’s Moneyline and not hear an array of these structures. All good writers use noun absolutes, so it’ll pay you to learn what they’re all about.

Before discussing this structure, let me provide an example.

10. Noun Absolutes

And finally, our model sentence shows the 10th function of the noun, the noun absolute:
The professor, John Smith, is the noun expert, so yesterday he gave the class his views on the importance of learning to write papers clearly, his studentsfeverishly taking notes on all he said.


A Phrase

Basically, a noun absolute is a phrase. It is therefore not a clause. Thus, it does not have a conjugated verb in it. It might very well have a verbal, in the form of a present participle ( ing verb), past participle ( ed verb), or sometimes an infinitive (to verb).

Anchoring the structure is a noun (or a pronoun) (students in the model sentence above). Usually—but not always—this noun or pronoun points directly to a referent in the sentence.

Opportunity to Use

The opportunity to use noun absolutes typically arises when you’ve stated a plurality, that is, you’ve identified a bunch of things or circumstances, and you then want to give some examples. If you’re an ESPN sports announcer, you might say:
Several top seeds bit the dust last night. Duke lost to Florida, and Kansas fell to Seton Hall.
The “top seeds” is your plurality. Duke’s and Florida’s losses are your examples. Look how the noun absolute condenses everything into a single sentence:
Several top seeds bit the dust last night, Duke losing to Florida and Kansas falling to Seton Hall.

How to Form Noun Absolutes

The noun absolute comes in five different forms. Basically, the structure consists of a noun (or pronoun) plus five types of words or phrases, four describing the noun, one restating it. We might call the noun or pronoun starting the noun absolute the anchor noun or the anchor pronoun.

Commit to memory these examples of the five basic types of noun absolutes. The anchor nouns (or anchor pronouns) starting the structure appear in bold, the added structure in bold italic.

1. Noun + True Adjective or Adjectival Phrase
His research complete, he began to write his report.

Her face red with embarrassment, the Senator finally found her place in her notes and continued her speech, the crowd uneasy with her discomfort.
Notice in these first examples two of the noun absolutes have referents in the sentence. The phrase his research complete refers to the word he in the sentence. The phrase her face red with embarrassment refers to the Senator.

But look at the noun-absolute phrase ending the second example. The phrase the crowd uneasy with her discomfort has no referent in the sentence. So a noun-absolute phrase usually—but not always—refers to another noun or pronoun in the main sentence.

2. Noun + Present Participle (-ing verb)
The parties raised $500,000, the founder paying $400,000, the others contributing $100,000.

His tires screeching on the pavement, John braked to avoid the pedestrian.

3. Noun + Past Participle (-ed verb or irregular form, e.g., said)

These issues resolved, the agency turned its attention to other matters.

That said, the chair then turned her attention to the treasurer’s report.

His face twisted in hatred, the killer wildly hurled the hammer at his victim’s head.

4. Noun + Prepositional Phrase

In one of my writing courses presented at a federal agency, I was explaining the noun absolute to a class of lawyers. One of the lawyers said, “Well, I’m currently working on a novel. I like to pattern my style after Hemingway’s, and I can’t imagine that he’d use such a structure.”

The issue was joined, as lawyers are wont to say.

I didn’t have to do much homework. Here’s the first sentence in Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls:
“He lay flat on the brown, pine-needled floor of the forest, his chin on his folded arms, and high overhead the wind blew in the tops of the pine trees.”

5. Noun + Noun

The final type of noun absolute differs from the first four. The first four added structures that modify the anchor noun. But the fifth type of noun absolute adds a noun that restates the anchor noun. This restating noun acts somewhat like a noun appositive, but it is not set off with an additional comma.
Our opponent has chosen to ignore scientific principles, his theories a wish list of insupportable propositions.

The defendant knew he’d survive the trial, his sister the only witness to the murder.

Many of these structures have become widely known sayings in our language, our culture, and even our law. In the following examples, the noun or pronoun appears in bold italic, the added structure in bold:
All things considered, the business managed to survive.

Other things being equal, the proposition will withstand scrutiny.

Weather permitting, we’ll convene the class in the park.

The case was televised to the world, Judge Ito presiding.

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” U.S. Constitution, Second Amendment.
Right now, you should tuck away a thought for the chapter on clause-cutting in the eBook Developing a Powerful Writing Style: “Word War IV: Clauses vs. Phrases.” Look at the five structures we add to a noun or pronoun to yield the five types of noun absolutes. Commit them to memory:

1. adjective or adjectival phrase 2. present-participial phrase ( ing phrase) 3. past-participial phrase ( ed phrase) 4. prepositional phrase 5. noun appositive

source: https://www.grammar.com/Noun-Function-10-Noun-Absolutes
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New post 11 Sep 2018, 09:57

The 8 Most Common GMAT Idioms Mistakes



YAY! very useful tips! :)

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New post 13 Sep 2018, 11:52
Adjective or Adverb ? A QUICK REMINDER

An adjective describes a noun or pronoun: "That boy is so loud!"

An adverb describes a verb or anything apart from a noun and pronoun: "That boy speaks so loudly!"

Adverbs are used to answer how questions e.g. "How does he talk? - He talks loudly."
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New post 13 Sep 2018, 23:24
Object vs Subject QUICK REMINDER

To figure out things such as when to use who or whom or lay or lie, you need to be able to identify the subject and object of a sentence.

Fortunately, it's easy! The subject is the person or thing doing something, and the object is having something done to it.
Just remember the sentence I love you.

"I" is the subject of the sentence. "You" is the object of the sentence and also the object of my affection. How’s that? You are the object of my affection and the object of my sentence. It’s like a Valentine’s Day card and grammar trick all rolled into one.
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New post 14 Sep 2018, 11:46
What is predicate ? QUICK REMINDER

The predicate is the part of a sentence (or clause) that tells us what the subject does or is. To put it another way, the predicate is everything that is not the subject.

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New post 16 Sep 2018, 06:56
WHO vs WHOM QUICK REMINDER

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New post 16 Sep 2018, 07:19
Where vs Which QUICK REMINDER

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New post 19 Sep 2018, 12:54
"Seem" VS 'Seem to be" ? A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 19 Sep 2018, 13:04
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LIKE vs AS :) A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 19 Sep 2018, 13:20
4 ways to use -ING words in English" ? A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 19 Sep 2018, 13:22
PARTICIPLES - ITS TIME FOR ADVANCED GRAMMAR :) A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 20 Sep 2018, 02:31
UNLESS & IF NOT - negative conditional. A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 06:04
Noun Clauses A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 08:35
Noun + Noun modifier A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 08:45
Inverted Sentences A QUICK REMINDER

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 14:32
generis you are welcome to post your SC any tips and tricks here :)
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New post 24 Sep 2018, 20:08
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dave13 wrote:
generis you are welcome to post your SC any tips and tricks here :)

WOW! Color me impressed! :thumbup:

I had no idea this topic existed. :upsidedown

What laudable and generous initiative you display!

THANK YOU.

Indeed I shall post my tips and tricks. Thank you for the heads up! :-D
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New post 27 Sep 2018, 03:45
generis i am glad you like this initiative :) okay here is a sentence :-)

"I can write a book about how different people use the word “tomorrow” in each context, which in case is published, will become a best-seller."

Now question: is it a grammatically correct sentence? 

“which” logically must refer to the “book” but which is preceded by “context”, “tomorrow” isn’t it ambiguous sentence ? or is it correct ?

relative pronoun "which" is preceeded by comma and followed by dependant clause. is it correct ?
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Re: SC TIPS & TRICKS &nbs [#permalink] 27 Sep 2018, 03:45

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