Modifier Rules Most GMAT Test-Takers Get Wrong

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Modifier Rules Most GMAT Test Takers Get Wrong

Modifiers are defined as words or phrases in a sentence that pay special attention to the verb, object, or subject in a sentence. The GMAT sentence correction section is primarily designed to assess your ability to identify common grammatical errors and a clear understanding of simple and complex sentences asked in the exam. There are certain sentence correction rules for this section. The entire sentence or a portion of it will be highlighted, and it may contain up to two errors. A total of five options are given for each sentence and you get to choose the correct sentence that will make the sentence error-free. In your GMAT exam, you can expect between 11 and 16 sentence correction questions. In the given blog, we will cover the modifier rules most GMAT test takers get wrong.

Related Reads: Sentence Correction for Competitive Exams

Modifier Rules Most GMAT Test-Takers Get Wrong

Modifier Rules

There are some key modifier rules most GMAT test takers get wrong which should be clear and questions related to the same should be thoroughly practised. Good command of modifier rules can definitely help us in increasing our GMAT score by a great margin.

Misplaced Modifiers

  • Placement of modifiers is crucial as correct placement of modifiers in a sentence helps to convey a clear meaning of the given sentence and vice-versa
  • Replace the underlined portion in the question by selecting the apt answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, grammatically correct and meets the requirements of standard written English.

For example,
One of the twenty-two official languages of India, many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras.

(A) Many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras.

(B) Many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals would make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras.

(C) Playing a role in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals is the use of Sanskrit, having the form of hymns and mantras.

(D) Sanskrit is used in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals in the form of hymns and mantras.

(E) Sanskrit being used in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals in the form of hymns and mantras.

The above question is an example of a misplaced modifier and the correct answer which conveys the meaning correctly is Option D.

Dangling Modifiers

  • When a sentence commences with an introductory phrase that describes but does not name the subject, it must be followed immediately by the subject. A dangling modifier is created if the subject is not placed immediately after.

For example,

Using a stethoscope, heartbeats can be detected.

The subject is not mentioned and here, using a stethoscope is a dangling modifier. The correct sentence for the above sentence would be as follows-

Using a stethoscope, a doctor can detect heartbeats

Also Read: Everything You Need to Know About GMAT Score Chart

Important Tips for Mastering Modifier Rules

There are some tips and tricks under modifier rules most GMAT test takers get wrong which should definitely be taken care of for the sentence correction section in the GMAT exam.

  • Acquaint yourself with common GMAT idioms.

A strong command of idioms is an excellent way to eliminate answer options. In some cases, knowing the correct form of an idiom can narrow your options down to two. This saves time as well and increases the probability of getting the correct answer.

  • Read the errors and highlight them.

First and foremost, read the passage carefully and pay special attention to the underlined section. Mark any obvious grammatical errors with a circle. This will then assist in narrowing down the irrelevant and wrong options in the question asked.

  • Focus on the word order.

 Some examples are a bit tricky with regard to the placement of phrases in a sentence that affects the meaning of the sentence. In some cases, changing just one word can cause a drastic change between the intended and grammatical meaning of the given sentence.

  • Learn about the various types of errors.

The GMAT employs a variety of sentence errors in the sentence correction section. A clear understanding and thorough practice of the questions related to these errors will enable you to work much more efficiently and crack the GMAT sentence correction section.

Check out the GMAT Sample Paper and Best Books for GMAT

Important Questions 

In order to crack the sentence correction section in the GMAT exam and understand the various modifier rules most GMAT test takers get wrong, one must practice important questions that can be asked in the exam.

Q1 A prolific architect who worked from the turn of the century until the late 1950s, Julia Morgan designed nearly 800 buildings in California, perhaps the most notably Hearst’s monumental at San Simeon.

  1. Julia Morgan designed nearly 800 buildings in California, perhaps most notably Randolph Hearst’s monumental estate at San Simeon.
  2. Perhaps the most notable of the early 800 buildings in California designed by Julia Morgan was William Randolph Hearst’s monumental estate at San Simeon.
  3. Of the nearly 800 buildings in California designed by Julia Morgan, perhaps the most notable was William Randolph Hearst’s monumental estate at San Simeon.
  4. Nearly 800 buildings in California were designed by Julia Morgan, of which William Randolph Hearst’s monumental estate at San Simeon is perhaps the most notable.
  5. William Randolph Hearst’s monumental estate at San Simeon is perhaps the most notable of the nearly 800 buildings in California designed by Julia Morgan.

Correct Answer-Option A

Q2 In order to better differentiate its product from generic brands, the cereal company first hired a marketing firm that specializes in creating campaigns to build brand awareness and then retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal.

  1. then retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal
  2. retools its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal
  3. then retooled its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal
  4. then will retool its factory to produce a variety of different shapes of cereal
  5. then produces a variety of different shapes of cereal through retooling its factory

 Correct Answer-Option C

Q3 Believed to be one of the first widely read female authors of the Western world, Christine de Pizan’s masterwork The Book of the City of the Ladies was written in 1405 and is a history of the Western world from the woman’s point-of-view.

A. Believed to be one of the first widely read female authors of the Western world

B. Written by one of the first widely read female authors of the Western world

C. One of the first widely read female authors of the Western world, as some belief

D. Written by what some believe as one of the first widely read female authors of the Western world

E. Believed by some as one of the first works by a widely read female author in the Western world

          Correct Answer- Option B

Q4 Unlike the nests of leaf cutters and most other ants, situated underground or in pieces of wood, raider ants make a portable nest by entwining their long legs to form “curtains” of ants that hang from logs or boulders, providing protection for the queen and the colony larvae and pupae. 

A. The nests of leaf cutters and most other ants, 

B. The nests of leaf cutters and most other ants, which are 

C. Leaf cutters and most other ants, whose nests are 

D. Leaf cutters and most other ants in having nests 

E. Those of leaf cutters and most other ants with nests

Correct Answer-Option C

Q5 One of the twenty-two official languages of India, many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras.

(A) many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras

(B) many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals would make use of Sanskrit in the form of hymns and mantras

(C) playing a role in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals is the use of Sanskrit, having the form of hymns and mantras

(D) Sanskrit is used in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals in the form of hymns and mantras

(E) Sanskrit being used in many Hindu ceremonies and Buddhist rituals in the form of hymns and mantras

Correct Answer-Option D

This was all about modifier rules most GMAT test takers get wrong. This will definitely help you out in acing the modifiers section in the GMAT. Hope you found the blog to be insightful and informative! Are you ready to kickstart your study abroad journey? Our experts and counsellors at Leverage Edu are just a call away to provide you with end-to-end support with your application process. Sign up for a free session today!

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