GMAT Sentence Correction: Verbs and Parallelism

February 25, 2013

General

This is our first post on GMAT sentence correction. We’ve talked a lot about many other parts of GMAT preparation, including reading comprehension, math, and even circles. But you will also be tested on basic grammar issues.

Try this GMAT sentence correction problem, provided by the GMAT Club:

Knocked from the asteroid belt, an asteroid that comes close to Earth may be captured by Earth’s gravitational field, ultimately spiraling inward and, fully consumed during its fiery descent through the atmosphere while being a “falling star”, or is redirected at high speeds along a new trajectory.

  1. spiraling inward and, fully consumed during its fiery descent through the atmosphere while being a “falling star”, or is redirected
  2. having spiraled inward and, fully consumed when its fiery descent through the atmosphere to be a “falling star”, or is redirected
  3. having spiraled inward and being fully consumed when its fiery descent through the atmosphere as a “falling star”, or was redirected
  4. spiraling inward and, fully consumed during its fiery descent through the atmosphere to act like a “falling star”, or be redirected
  5. spiraling inward and being fully consumed during its fiery descent through the atmosphere as a “falling star”, or be redirected

What do you pick for this GMAT sentence correction question? If you’re not sure where to even start, let’s review helping (or auxiliary) verbs, verb number, and issues of parallelism.

Helping verbs, of course, help out other verbs, indicating a tense or some other quality of a verb. The main verb of a sentence must always agree with the subject in number and case (usually the auxiliary verb will just stay the same regardless of whether the subject is singular or plural). (Check out the original post for many examples and rules of agreement.)

However, GMAT sentence correction, like many standardized tests, will often put a lot of emphasis on parallelism. It’s estimated that as many as fifty percent of all GMAT verbal questions will deal with parallelism. Of course, parallelism can make it difficult to follow rules about number and auxiliary verbs.

So, take another look at the question and the original post. What do you pick? What else do you need to prepare for as you get ready to apply to MBA programs in Washington DC?

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