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Veritas Prep Blog : Ask GMAT Experts - Page 18
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# Veritas Prep Blog

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GMAT Tip of the Week: Getting Specific About Reading Comprehension [#permalink]
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Understanding Participles on the GMAT [#permalink]
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 FROM Veritas Prep Blog: Understanding Participles on the GMAT There is a lot of confusion surrounding the topic of Participles so let’s take a look at it today.Quite simply, participles are words formed from verbs which can be used as describing words (on the other hand, gerunds are verbs used as nouns, but that is a topic for another day!).There are two types of participles:1. The Past Participle – usually ends in -ed, -d, -t, -en, or –nFor Example: chosen, danced, known, sung etc2. The Present Participle – ends in –ingFor Example: choosing, dancing, knowing, singing etcThese participles often start the participle phrases used to describe nouns/noun phrases/entire sentences. The participial phrases are underlined in the examples given below.Examples:I want to stand next to the girl wearing the yellow dress.Standing next to the tall gentleman, she looked petite.Battered by hail, the car collapsed.The most important crop of this region is rice, sown in the month of June and harvested in October.Here is how participle phrases are usually used:Present Participle Phrases (the underlined parts of the sentences are participial phrases):1. At the beginning of a sentence followed by a comma and then a clause (present participle phrase + comma + clause) – In this case, the participle phrase could modify the subject of the clause or the entire clause.Examples:Wagging its tail, my dog ran up to me. (modifies ‘my dog’)Silencing the students, the principal stepped on to the podium. (modifies the entire clause because the principal silenced the students by stepping on to the podium)2. At the end of a sentence separated from the clause using a comma (clause + comma + present participle phrase) – In this case, the participle phrase modifies the entire preceding sentence.Example: The principal stepped on to the podium, silencing the students. (modifies the entire preceding clause)3. Following a noun without a comma – In this case, the participle phrase modifies the noun.Example: I want to stand next to the girl wearing the yellow dress. (modifies ‘the girl’)Past Participle Phrases (the underlined parts of the sentences are participial phrases):1. Following a noun separated by a comma (noun + comma + past participle phrase) – In this case, the participle phrase modifies the noun.Example: The most important crop of this region is rice, sown in the month of June and harvested in October . (modifies ‘rice’)2. At the beginning of a sentence followed by a comma and then a clause (past participle phrase + comma + clause) – In this case, the participle phrase modifies the subject of the clause.Example: Battered by hail, the car collapsed. (modifies ‘the car’)Note: In regular English grammar, a past participle phrase following a clause and separated by a comma (clause + comma + past participle phrase) could modify the entire preceding clause. But GMAT is not very keen on this usage; so avoid it. That said, remember that studying grammar rules in isolation is worthless. If the sentence demands such a construction, then it is correct to use it.Let’s take one of our own questions to understand this.Question: Due to the slow-moving nature of tectonic plate movement, the oldest ocean crust is thought to date from the Jurassic period, formed from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and lasted 200 million years.(A)   formed from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and lasted 200 million years.(B)   forming from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and lasting 200 million years.(C)   forming from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and lasted 200 million years.(D)   formed from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and lasting 200 million years.(E)    formed from huge fragments of the Earth’s lithosphere and has been lasting 200 million years.Here is our official solution:The correct response is (D).The meaning of the sentence is that the “oldest ocean crust” was “formed” in the past during the Jurassic period and is currently still “lasting” (since if it’s the “oldest” it must still be around!). We need the past tense/participle verbs to be used correctly.If you chose (A), the ocean crust was “formed” in the past” but if “lasted” is past tense then the oldest ocean crust is no longer around, which would mean it couldn’t be the “oldest.”If you chose (B) or (C), “forming” implies the crust is still being formed. While it’s true the Earth’s crust is constantly in flux, we’re concerned with the “oldest ocean crust” – that part that is no longer continuing to form, but was formed at some point during the Jurassic period.If you chose (E), you correctly used “formed,” however the present perfect “has been lasting” is unnecessarily wordy. The simple participle verb form will suffice.Does logic dictate that (D) is the correct answer? Yes. Will you ignore it because it uses past participle form modifying the previous subject/clause instead of ‘Jurassic Period’? No. Note that it is correct grammatically and you should know it. Whatever we can infer about the preferences of GMAT is from the questions it gives. GMAT doesn’t clarify its stand on every grammatical issue and the stand is probably flexible depending on the sentence under examination. So you need to be flexible in your understanding of what is and is not acceptable in GMAT. Use logic – remember, GMAT is a test of your reasoning skills. Get to the best answer under given circumstances.Karishma, a Computer Engineer with a keen interest in alternative Mathematical approaches, has mentored students in the continents of Asia, Europe and North America. She teaches the GMAT for Veritas Prep in Detroit, Michigan, and regularly participates in content development projects such as this blog!
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School Profile: Collaboration, Community Service, and Career Developme [#permalink]
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What Should I Do After I Submit My MBA Applications? [#permalink]
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SAT Tip of the Week: Here Are Your Dos and Don'ts Before Test Day [#permalink]
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1 Important Rule for GMAT Sentence Correction [#permalink]
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How to Succeed as a Young MBA Applicant [#permalink]
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2 Sentence Correction GMAT Questions Involving Participle Modifiers [#permalink]
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Get to Know Your MBA Professors [#permalink]
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SAT Tip of the Week: Why Do You Need Our Prep Course? [#permalink]
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School Profile: Become Savvy in International Relations at Tufts Unive [#permalink]
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Understanding 1337 GMAT Logic [#permalink]
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Prospective Student Days for MBA-Bound Military Veterans [#permalink]
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The Best Strategy for Completing Your MBA Applications [#permalink]
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GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life [#permalink]
 FROM Veritas Prep Blog: GMAT Tip of the Week: Sentence Correction in Real Life Totes McGotes. FML. Sorry for partying. I know, right? Of the common phrases that have permeated pop culture and everyday conversation, easily one of the most common is, wait for it…Wait for it.And that one phrase can totes make your GMAT score supes high. Like, for real.How?Perhaps the best example comes from an all-staff email sent at Veritas Prep headquarters this week regarding the holiday vacation schedule. It began “With pumpkin spice season nearing its apex, it’s…” Seeing that introduction, multiple Veritas Prep staffers commented later that “it’s” after the comma made them nervous, as the possessive of “season” is its, not it’s (which grammatically means “it is”).Now later in that sentence it became clear that the intention was “it is” (…”it’s time to start making holiday vacation plans.”), but the fact that so many Sentence Correction experts were on the edge of their seats just seeing that contraction “it’s” next to a possessive should demonstrate for you how to become great at Sentence Correction. To be efficient and effective with Sentence Correction, it’s helpful to anticipate what types of errors you might see, rather than simply sit back and wait for them to appear. Those who are most successful at Sentence Correction read sentences looking for signs of potential danger; they’re proactive as they search for likely Decision Points. For example, if you were to read the introduction:Particularly for a leadership or management role, it is important that a candidate be both…your senses should be heightened for parallel structure with “both X and Y,” number one, and secondly you should be acutely aware that the word “be” precedes the word “both,” so there is a very high likelihood that there will be an extraneous “be” after the word “and” to follow. In other words, when you see “both,” wait for it…where’s the “and,” and is the portion directly after it parallel to the first portion?Correct:(A) qualified to perform the duties of most subordinates and able to inspire subordinates to perform those duties at a higher level.Incorrect:(B) qualified to perform the duties of most subordinates and be able to inspire subordinates to perform those duties at a higher level.While the grammar of this problem is crucial, true expertise comes from knowing where to focus your attention and expend your mental energy. Analyzing every word of every answer choice is exhausting, so the experts train themselves to see clues and “…wait for it” focusing back in on the parts of the sentence most highly correlated with errors. Clues can be:Signals of parallel structure: both, either, neither, not onlySignals of verb tense: since, from, untilSignals of pronoun or subject/verb agreement: it, they, its, theirTo train yourself to spot those clues that tell you to “wait for it…”, pay attention not only (wait for it…) to the grammatical reasons that an answer choice is right or wrong in your homework, but also (here it is…is it parallel?) to the signals outside the underline that required the application of that grammar. Sentence Correction is to an extent about “what do you know” but to really excel it also has to be about “what do you do” – the clues and signals that tell you what to look for and where to spend your time and energy.Are you studying for the GMAT? We have free online GMAT seminars running all the time. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!By Brian Galvin
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A 750 Level GMAT Question on Statistics! [#permalink]
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