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106 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
avoid redundancy:
avoid wordiness:
avoid being on the GMAT as it rarely adds to the meaning of the sentence
do not change the meaning of the sentence on the gmat; if an answer choice alters the original meaning it is incorrect.
clarity - altered meanings:
usually due to word placement:

known vs. unkown

multiple meanings

such as vs. like
word placement:
if a word changes its position in the answer choices you must consider whether the change has an impact on the meaning of the sentence.
ONLY the council votes on Tuesdays.
-- the placement of only means that the council alone votes on tuesdays, as opposed to perhaps the board voting on monday etc.
The council votes ONLY on Tuesdays
-- the placement of only means that the council votes on no other day but tuesday
The council ONLY votes on Tuesday.
-- the placement of only means that the council's sole activity on Tuesday is to vote
known vs. unknown
this category contains questions where the original sentence is certain about an outcome but the
answer choices indicate uncertainty or vice versa.

Also deals with a sentence which discusses a hypotheical situation but the answer choices present it as an actual situation (or vice versa)
known vs. unknown
The sudden drop in interest rates will create more favorable
investment oppurtunities


the sudden drop in interest rates may...
words of uncertainty
may might should ought would can
hypothetical vs. actual
if the original sentence discusses a hypothetical situation the answer choice can not present the situation as fact (and vice versa)
The colors of the sky WERE AS IF painted by a thousand angels
hypothetical - AS IF it were painted by angels... but the sentence makes it clear the sky wasn't.

actual- The colors of the sky WERE painted...
clarity of meaning: words with multiple meaning
if the precise meaning of a word can not be determined from the context, pick an answer choice that provides a definite fixed meaning.
such as vs like
Such as is used to indicate examples, like is used to indicate similarity (only between nouns)
animals such as lions live on the serengeti

animals like lions live on the serengeti
senetence 1 - lions are specific examples of animals in the serengeti

sentence 2- indicates that animals similar to lions live on the serngeti, but it is not clear that lions do.
Eliminate the middleman:
The Gmat tries to confuses subject/verb agreement by inserting phrases inbetween.
The houses of that rich man contain/contains very expensive furniture
Of is just another middle man:

The building of tall skyscrapers has/have increased in the past few years
HAS (singular) subject: building
And vs. Additive

and can unite two or more subjects forming a compound subject which requires
Joe and his friends ARE going to the beach
There are other phrases that can add to a subject - ALONG WITH, IN ADDITION TO, AS WELL AS, ACCOMPANIED BY, TOGETHER WITH, INCLUDING.

these additive phrases DO NOT form compound subjects
Joe, along with his friends, IS going to the beach.
Mathematics, in addition to history and science, IS a required subject.
When disjunctive phrases like OR, EITHER...OR,NEITHER...NOR, what verb form do you use?
In these sentences there are two subjects. If both are singular, use a singular verb. If both are plural, use a plural verb. If one is single and one is plural, find the subject that is closest to the verb and make sure it agrees in number.
Neither Joe nor his friends is/are going to the beach

Neither his friends nor Joe is/are going to the beach

EITHER or NEITHER (without OR and NOR)
are not considered to be part of disjunctive phrases so they are considered singular and take singular verbs
collective nouns are singular:

a collective noun is a noun that looks singular but refers to a group of people.
Some examples: administration, army, audience, class, crowd, faculty,orchestra,team
The crowd is/are cheering as the home team take/takes the field

Our army is/are attacking the enemy

Indefinite Pronouns:

An indefinite pronoun is one that is not specific about the thing to which it refers. ANYONE is an example of an indefinte pronoun. Most indefiniate pronouns are SINGULAR. All pronouns that end in -one, -body, or -thing fall into this category
Singular Pronouns:


*either/neither may require a plural verb when paired with or/nor... see previous card)

Five indefinite pronouns can be either singular or plural depending on the context of the sentence
How can you tell if SANAM pronouns are singular or plural?
Look at the 'of' construction (even though you generally ignore it)

Some of the money was missing
Some of the hats were missing

money - singular
hats plural
Some of the diamonds were/was stolen from the bank

All of the pie were/was eaten

When Each or Every is the subject of the sentence it requires a singular verb; the same is true for any subject preceeded by Each and Every
Every dog has/have paws
Every dog and car has/have paws
Each of these shirts is/are pretty
Note however when each or every follows a subject it has no bearing on the verb form:

They each are/is great players
"The numbers of" vs "The number of"
The numbers of is never correct.
The phrase THE NUMBER OF always takes a singular verb

A NUMBER OF always takes a plural verb.
Other numerical words - majority, plurality, minority - may be singular or plural based on context. If one means the many parts of the whole then it is plural. If one means the totality itself then use the singular verb.
The number of hardworking students in this class is/are quite large

A number of students in this class is/are hard workers

The majority of students in this class is/are hard workers

The student majority is/are opposed to the death penalty



Sometimes a phrase is the subject of a verb; in this case the subject is singular even if it contains plural words. Phrases always take singular verbs/

Having good friends is/are a wonderful thing

Whatever the want to do is/are fine with me

When in doubt think singular!
Inverted Subject Verb order is common on the GMAT to confuse us regarding subject/verb agreement. Flipping the order helps correct these mistakes
Active Voice
The subject of the sentence performs the action
Passive Voice
The subject of the sentence has an action performed on it (i.e. it is an object of another verb)
subjunctive mood
expresses wishes or commands, and events that are not necessarily true or contrary to fact
to+verb. do not split infinitives by placing a word in between to and the verb
I need you to run to the store
I need you to quickly run to the store

The progressive tense indicates an ongoing action. formed by adding -ing
sentences with more than one action do not necessarily require more than one verb tense; unless the actions
If an even started in the past but contains into (or remains true in) the present you must use:
the present perfect tense
you form the present perfect tense:
HAVE/HAS + Past Participle
Who gets HAVE
who gest HAS
HAVE* is plural
HAS is singular

*HAVE is paired with I
If more than one action in a sentence occurred at different times in the past you must:
use the past perfect tense for the earlier action and the simple past for the later action
You form the past perfect tense
HAD+ Past participle
Past participle of regular verbs:
Take the inifnitive, drop the 'to' and add -ed

I think that the ancient peoples had believed in many gods

I think that the ancient peoples believed in many gods
sentence 2 is correct. Only use perfect tenses when it is necessary; in this sentence only one action occurs in the past tense!
When forming the past perfect tense it does not matter which verb comes first in the sentence, only which verb comes first in time (the earlier verb gets perfect psat tense)
All perfect tenses use a form of the helping verb to have. what if 'to have' itself needs to be in the perfect tense?

follow the same rules:

Present perfect:
I have had many affairs
He has had many affairs

Past perfec
His wife divorced him because he had had many affairs.


IF she wins the lottery,
If you study,

WILL+INFINITIVE w/o 'TO' (aka base verb)

will give have the money to charity

you will score highly

If she won the lottery
If she studied


she would give have the money to chairty

she would score highly

If she had won the lottery,
If she had studied,


she would have given half the money to charity

she would have scored highly
IF...THEN... sentences
find the if clause
analyze the verb construction of the if clause. There are only the 3 options above. Would and Could NEVER appear in the IF clause.
Find the then clause.
Analyze the then clause, make sure that the verb construction follows appropriately from the if clause.
If or Whether
If does not always signal a conditional sentence:

I dont know IF i will go to the dance.

The if clause is not followed by a then clause so it is not a conditional sentence. In the sentence the word if carries the meaning of whether, in suce cause the GMAT prefers the use of whether.
If vs. Whether
Subjunctive mood
IF clause when the if clause expresses a condition contrary to reality

Hopes, proposals, desires, and requests formed with the ord by THAT.
If he was...
is always wrong on the GMAT

use: If he were...
When the subjunctive expresses uncertainty
the verb to be always appears as the word WERE regardless of the subject. it never appears as WAS.
If I were/was rich, I would donate money to charity.

If he were/was rich...
The subjunctive is also used to express the desire of one person or body for another person or body to do something. There is a degree of uncertainty as to whether or not the second person or body will do what is asked.

This use of the subjunctive is formed:
by using THAT+the infinitive form of the verb minus TO
The parolee knew it was imperative that he found a job quickly

The parolee knew it was imperative that he find a job quickly
sentence 2 is correct.

infinitive - TO FIND
Passive voice often makes a sentence wordy and akward. Passive voice is formed a form of to be followed by a participle.
The Pizza was eaten by the hungry students.


the hungry students ate the pizza
IT HAS BEEN DECIDED by jason that he will not attend college
Jason decided not to attend college
Passive Voice is not always incorrect; in science, medical and technical writing styles it may appear in the correct answer choice.
In this operation, new blood vessels are inserted to bypass blocked vessels.
The passive voice is also required when the non underlined portion of the sentence contains the person or agent performing the action preceded by the word by
The shuttle launce *seen around the world* by people of all ages, all races, and all religions.


The shuttle launce was seen around the world by people of all ages, all races, and all religions.
Pronoun Reference
When you see a pronoun you must ask yourself "to which noun or pronoun does this refer to or replace?"
Friendship was something James truly valued, so he disliked it when they talked about him behind his back.

what are the pronouns and antecedents?

he, him, his refer to james
they - no clear antecedent
Jessica and I/ME weht on a picnic together
Subject pronoun - I
Who/Whom are you going to marry
who are? YOU are!

you is the subject - so we use object pronoun WHOM
The picnic was attended by Janice and I/ME
Object - ME
Jose's room is so messy that his mother calls him a pig.

what are the pronouns and antecedents
His and Him

HIS is a possesive pronoun and it correctly refers to Jose's (a possesive noun)

Him would only be accurate if it reffered back to Jose.

Rewrite the sentence:

Jose's room is so messy that his mother calls Jose a pig.
Their a posessive form of the plural pronoun THEY , so their can onlyl refer to a plural subject.

When the person calls take down THEIR information.

change to:

when the people call take down their information, or when the person calls take down his information.
the antecedent PERSON, is singular so it requires the sinfular pronoun his or her.

ditto for everyone.
Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that point out. They are this, that, these, and those. That is my hat. I like these not those.
Relative pronouns join dependent clauses to independent clauses. They are who, whose, whom, which, and that. For example, He found his money that he had lost. That joins the two clauses together into one sentence.
Modifiers on the GMAT can be simple adverbs or adjectives to complex phrases. Often modifying phrases are separated from the noun being modified by commas on the GMAT.
an adverb modifies a verb,adjective,adverb,phrase etc.; many adverbs are formed by adding -ly to an adjective. adjectives describe nouns or pronoun.

DO NOT use an adjective where an adverb is required.
Modifiers should touch the noun they are modifying.

Using the latest technolgy, the problem was identified
Using the latest technology is modifying mechanical problem, when it should modify engineer. rewrite the sentence.
Kendra, like all her friends, is happy to be on vacaation

Kendra, like all her friends, is happy to be on vacation.

a modifying phrase should not be separated from the noun it modifies.
Possesive Poison:

Dangling modifiers often appear in sentences with possessive pronouns.

Unskilled in complex math, Bill's score on the entrance exam was poor.
unskilled in complex math is modifying bill's score, when it should be modifying bill.


Unskilled in complex math, Bill did not score well on the
ADverbial phrases do not need to touch the word they are modifying, although they should be placed in the sentence in such a way as to avoid ambiguity regarding which word it modifies.

The group arrived in New Orleans and decided to stay in a fancy hotel a week before mardi gras.
A week before mardi gras is meant to modify when the group arrived. But it is placed closer to decided then arrived.

The group arrived a week before mardi gras and stayed in a fancy hotel.
Who vs Which vs That
The pronoun who introduces phrases that modify a person. Which introduces phrases that modify things. That can modify people or things
Which vs. That
Which is used to introduce non essential modifiers. These clauses provide information about a noun that is not necessary for identfying the noun.

That is used to introduce essential modifiers, clauses that are necessary for identifying that noun.

Who can introduce either.
To find my house walk down the left side of the street until you reach the third house which is red.

To find my house walk down the left side of the street until you reach the third house that is red.
both sentences might not lead you to the same house.

1 - leads you to the 3rd house on the left side of the street. it just happens to be red.

2- leads you to the third red house on the left side of the street.
This is my uncle john, who lives in ny.

this is my uncle john who lives in ny.
1-non essential, probably only has one uncle john.

2- he has more than one uncle john
Only guests, who are accompanied by tenants, are allowed in the pool.

Only guests who are accompanied by tenants are allowed in the pool.
If an answer choice differs from the original sentence in that it sets a clause apart with commas, ask yourself whether an essential or non essential clause is needed.

In this example, the first sentence illogilcally that only guests that happen to be accompanied by tenants are allowed to use the pool.

the second sentence logically states that it is essential for guests to be with tenants to use the pool.
The police found the murder weapon, which made the prosecutors job easier
the murder weapon made the job easier!

the police found the murder weapon, making the prosecutor's job easier.

if which seems to refer to the action of the preceeding clase, find an answer choice that links which properly to a noun antecedent or avoid the use of which.
often pronouns - such as WHICH THAT THOSE WHO etc - signal parallel structures. If one item includes a pronoun it is often appropriate to include the same pronoun in parallel items:

I prefer to hire employees who work hard to those that don't.

I prefer to hire employees WHO
work hard to those WHO don't
Pronoun phrases can also help to make sentence parts parallel:

Ralph likes a variety of people, including those who are popular and who are not.

Ralph likes a variety of people including THOSE WHO are popular and THOSE WHO are not.
Comparisons are a special form of parallelism; when you find a comparison make sure what is being compared is parallel in structure and logical meaning
Certain words and phrases signal comparisons:
more than
less than
shorter than
different from (different than is ALWAYS WRONG)
as (adjective) as
as many as
as few as
as little as
as much as
as high as
as short as
Like vs As
Like should be used to compare nouns

As should be used in a comparison involving clauses. A clause is a phrase that includes a verb.

as may also be used in
Bella and June, LIKE/AS their mother Stacy, are extremely smart.

Just LIKE/AS swimming is good excercise, skiinh is a great way to burn calories.

Like vs Such As
do not use like when you mean for example... use SUCH AS.
Comparisons must be logically parallel. They must compare similar things.

Frank's build, like his brother, is extremely muscular.

right or wrong?
WRONG - it is comparing franks build with his brother (and not his brother's build"

Franks build, like that of his brother...

or Frank, like his brother, has a muscular build.
Comparative vs. Superlative forms

when comparing 2 things use the comparative form. when comparing more than 2 things use the superlative form.

Regular Comparative is formed by:

Regular Superlative is formed by:
Regular comparative:
add -er or the word MORE


MORE interesting

Regular superlative: ad -est
or add most


MOST interestinv
Irregular comparative and superalative


Good Better Best
Bad Worse Worst
Much,Many More Most
Little Less,lesser,little Least
Far, Farther Further Farthest Furthest
Countable items (dollars hats buildings people) Uncountable things (water, wreckage,patience, monet)

How do you know?

1 dollar, 2 dollars, 3 dollars. COUNTABLE

1 money, 2 money, STOP. money is not countable.
MANY hats
MUCH patience
AS MUCH patience AS kindness
AMOUNT OF patience
between vs amoung
between is used to relate two things; among more than 2 things
relating 2 things vs 3 things:
2 things:

between X and Y
X is better than Y
X is worse than Y
X is less than Y
X is more than Y

3 or more things:

Among X,Y,and Z
X is the best among (x,y and z)
X has the most among...
X has the least among...
The Number of dogs IS/ARE greater than the number of cats

A number of dogs IS/ARE chasing away cats


the number is singular, a number is plual
a colon is used to equate parts of a sentence. It is usually used to equate a list with its components. You should be able to insert the word NAMELY after a colon.
A semicolon connects two closely related statements that are capable of standing on their own as sentences
always wrong on the GMAT:
the numbers of > use THE NUMBER OF

do it > use DO SO

whether or not > use WHETHER