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GMAT Sentence Correction Tip: Ignore Distractions Between the Subject and Verb of a Sentence

On the surface, subject-verb agreement is a fairly simple English grammar concept. Subjects and verbs must always agree in a sentence. Singular subjects require singular verb conjugations, while plural subjects require plural verbs.

Simply put, we say “I like cake” instead of “I likes cake.” Likewise, we would say “The students go to the movies” instead of “The students goes to the movies.”

This rule becomes a bit more difficult to execute on the GMAT for two major reasons:

  1. GMAT sentences often contain irregular subjects such as indefinite pronouns or compound subjects. You might identify the phenomena as the subject of the sentence, for example, but should that take a singular or plural verb? (answer: the phenomena is plural and therefore requires a plural verb).
  2. The GMAT test makers often separate the subject and verb as far as possible in the sentence with fluff language, prepositional phrases, modifiers, and other distracting words, making subject-verb agreement recognition difficult.

In terms of overcoming that second issue, you need to train yourself to ignore those distractions between the subject and verb in a sentence.

How do you do that? Learn to employ what we call The Bracketing Technique. To see how, check out this short video: