July 25, 2019

GMAT Grammar Rules to swear by

GMAT is a very strict test when it comes to following Grammar rules. If the test follows a certain rule, it means that there will be no exceptions to the case and that rule would be valid for every single question on GMAT Verbal.

This is why time and again emphasis is placed on the importance of students learning GMAT grammar rules by heart.

A suggestion is to start the prep for the GMAT Verbal section by listing down all GMAT grammar rules and learning them before solving different question types.

The list of different grammar rules for the GMAT is widely available on the internet. The thing we want to focus on today is the set of rules that needs some special attention.

Order of correction

In a GMAT sentence correction question, you will be given various option choices which might seem legit on the first go. However, these option choices will obviously be missing some crucial details.

Before diving into the grammar rules, you need to be on the look-out for, we need to establish the order that you need to maintain while selecting the grammar rule to apply to an answer.


One very important thing to keep in mind while deciding which grammatically correct option choice to go with, a test-taker must remember to not change the meaning of a sentence.

For example:

The beauty of the show was that it tapped into the young minds of teenagers, put the fear of consequences in them, and providing a much-needed break from the monotony of school life.

  1. teenagers, put the fear of consequences in them, and provided a much-needed break.
  2. teenagers and put the fear of consequences in them, while providing a much-needed break.

Both a) and b) are grammatically correct sentences. However, b) changes the meaning of the sentence given at hand. This is why the correct answer would be a).


Redundancy occurs when a word or a phrase in a sentence repeats the same idea or intention. GMAT asks test-takers to make a sentence concise by removing any redundant information while maintaining grammatical accuracy.

For example:

The news about loosing the World Cup had shook the nation to its core but the fans still maintained decorum during the course of announcements that followed.

As you must have already figured out by looking at this sentence, during the course of is a redundant phrase. The words ‘the course of’ act as modifiers to the word ‘during’ and have the same meaning as it. This is why, the correct option choice would get rid of these words thus making it a concise answer.

Verb tense

The verb will be tested on nine different tenses.

Tense verb form example
Past tense Simple Past He ran.
  Past Continuous He was running.
  Past Perfect He had run.
present tense Simple Present He runs.
  Present Continuous He is running.
  Perfect Present He has run.
future tense Simple Future He will run.
  Present Continuous He will be running.
  Present Perfect He will have run.

This is pretty basic stuff, right? Well, while verb tenses are basic, special attention needs to be paid to indicators that the verb tense in the answer should be changed.

For example:

He had slept in his room, when the fire department busted through the doors.

In this sentence, the correct tense would be past continuous not past perfect. The indicator to change tense here is present in the second half of the sentence. ‘When the fire department busted’ is the even that took place while the subject was performing the action.

Past perfect tense represents an action that had already taken place in the past, thus, the correct option choice will change the tense of the action ‘had slept’ to past continuous, ‘was sleeping.’

Subject-Verb agreement

Subject verb agreement states that a verb and the subject should denote the same quantity. Hence, a plural subject should be followed by the plural form of the verb and a singular subject should be followed by the singular form of the verb.


Pronouns are the words that are substituted for a noun in a sentence.

Placement in a sentence

A pronoun, unlike a noun, will change it’s from depending on where it is placed in a sentence.

The pronoun can be used as a subject and object in a sentence and will take its relevant form in such a case. For example, I will become me if placed as the object pronoun.

Similarly, who is the subject form whereas, whom is the object form of the word. This is important as who and whom have been a tricky pronoun pair and are asked often in the SAT. You can know which one to use by replacing it with I or me. As we already know that I is the subject pronoun and me is the object pronoun, we can easily deduce which form of who should be in the sentence depending on which form of I fits in it.


A pronoun should always have an antecedent. This means that the relation of a pronoun to a noun should be clear. In case the pronoun doesn’t have an antecedent on the SAT, the sentence formation is considered in correct.

Also, the grammatical person and number of the noun should be copied to the pronoun as well. Thus, if the noun is being talked about in the 1st person, the pronoun should be I, Us, We and if the noun is plural the pronoun must be too.


The GMAT tests students frequently on three things:


Phrases that accompany each other


Idioms are verbal phrases that have verb + preposition pairs that always go together. You will be tested by changing the preposition after the verb and will have to replace it with the right preposition.

You are also to avoid slang or informal English during the test.

Parallel Comparisons

Parallel comparisons are comparisons of nouns to nouns, verbs to verbs, and so on.

This will be better explained with an example.

Exactly like a block of blue cheese, which has Penecillium Roqueforti, a type of mold, added to it for flavor, people who eat molded slices of brie won’t fall sick.

The comparison being made here is between blue cheese and people who eat molded slices of brie. Logically, you can see that those two things aren’t comparable.

Thus, the correct answer for this would look something like this.

Exactly like a block of blue cheese, which has Penecillium Roqueforti, a type of mold, added to it for flavor, molded brie won’t make people, who eat it, fall sick.


While there are several grammatical rules one should know while attempting the GMAT Verbal section, these are the few rules that seem to slide under the radar for most students. On being discussed these might seem like obvious rules but students often ignore these due to their focus on the more difficult ones.

With a test like the GMAT, ignoring any rule from the rule book is a major no-no. Thus, keep these rules in mind while solving any sentence correction question on the GMAT.

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