Subject Verb Agreement and GMAT Sentence Correction

It is essential for a subject and its verb to agree in number on the GMAT.   Any time they don’t you automatically know that cannot be the correct answer choice. While sometimes it is clear that a subject and its verb disagree in number, other times it is more difficult to spot. This is because the test makers are trying to disguise the imperfection. There are two main ways they try to do this.

The first is to put a lot of words in between the subject and its verb, to confuse the reader and make them forget what they are looking for. For example:

            The road, which was constructed after the 1992 earthquake, look good.

It is not as easy to spot the flaw in this sentence as it would be if it were written in its more simple form:

The road look good.

The key to overcoming these problems is to break the sentences down into the crux of the meaning like is done above.

Another way that test makers try to trick the test takers is with subjects that sound plural, but grammatically, should be singular. For example, collective nouns seem like they should be plural subjects, because they refer to multiple people. However, collective nouns are singular subjects. For Example:

Correct: The crowd is excited.

Incorrect: The crowd are excited.

Other subjects that seem like they might be plural, but are actually singular are:

  • Everybody
  • Whoever
  • Each/every person
  • X along with Y

 

 

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