In this section we will be discussing the following topics:

  • Why Sentence Correction?
  •  Sentence Correction Process
  •  The SC Question Format
    •  Spotting Errors
    • Sentence Improvement
    • Sentence Construction
    • Sentence Identification
  •  Difficulties in Sentence
  •  Error Types
  •  Why Grammar?

WHY SENTENCE CORRECTION?

Words, phrases and sentences are the bases of any language. An error in their use may shake the very foundation of the language and make an expression meaningless or ambiguous in a context. Therefore, an aspirant has to clear those barriers before they begin their voluminous studies; and so sentence correction is one of the verbal problems in any competitive examinations.

Even with years of training and sessions in this area occasionally we experience difficulty choosing the correct usage or forms.

Many students erroneously assume that as long as their speaking contains the proper information, they have credibility. Wrong! A reader could justifiably question the technical competence of a person who displays poor answering skills. All language must have correct grammar and usage. If a student is to be considered credible and noteworthy in language skills, will do well in the job market and they rise faster in their careers.


SENTENCE CORRECTION PROCESS

Words, phrases and sentences are the bases of any language. An error in their use may shake the very foundation of the language and make an expression meaningless or ambiguous in a context. Therefore, an aspirant has to clear those barriers before they begin their voluminous studies; and so sentence correction is one of the verbal problems in any competitive examinations.

Even with years of training and sessions in this area occasionally we experience difficulty choosing the correct usage or forms.

Many students erroneously assume that as long as their speaking contains the proper information, they have credibility. Wrong! A reader could justifiably question the technical competence of a person who displays poor answering skills. All language must have correct grammar and usage. If a student is to be considered credible and noteworthy in language skills, will do well in the job market and they rise faster in their careers.


THE SC QUESTION FORMAT

There are a handful of question types that constitute the bulk of sentence correction questions. The ability to recognize these question types and understand what the test-writers are trying to test is imperative. Once you begin to recognize the format of these question types, the sentence correction section will become significantly easier as you will know exactly what is being tested and how to approach the question. The questions that follow are representative of the questions from each category. Pay careful attention to the answer explanation as it will explain the fundamentals of each category of question.

Spotting Error

The spotting of errors forms an indispensable part of any competitive exam. In this section, a number of sentences are given and each of them is divided into four parts in alphabets a-d or numbered 1-4. We are required to spot the part which has an error. If there is no error, our answer is (e)/(5). A sound knowledge of grammatical rules and regular practice will enable us to solve these questions.

TYPE 1

Illustration: In the following exercise, a sentence is divided into various parts with (/) sign. You have to identify which part of the sentence contains the error. If the sentence is error-free, then choose NO Error option.

Example: (A) Langar said the work /(B) showed that endothelial cells(C) can line veins, arteries / (D) and lymph tissues/.(E) No Error

Answer with an explanation: Verb series is wrong- said, showed, and can. Correction: Verb series- said, showed, and could

Hence, the error is in part (C).

 

TYPE 2:

Illustration:  Spotting the errors in underlined Parts of sentences – The question consists of a sentence, a part of which is underlined.  Four options (A, B, C, D) are given to replace the underlined clause. It can be a part of a sentence, a phrase, an idiom with incorrect syntax, tense, verb or other grammatical errors which may or may not exist. Option A is same as the question. The test taker is directed to pick out the most appropriate option that should replace the underlined clause in terms of standard written English.

Example: Although the proceedings(A) went(B) on for one year or so, we aren’t aware(C)

what were(D) the verdict of the gentlemen of the jury?

Answer with the explanation: Ans. 4.D- Error is of lack of subject-verb agreement. Explanation- ‘Jury’ is a collective noun, when the decision is collective it is supposed to be placed in singular number and should be followed by a singular verb. Hence not ‘were’ but ‘was’.

However, in case the jury is divided in the decision, we will write – The jury are divided in their verdict (it indicates all the individual members of Jury).


Sentence Improvement

The technique to attempt sentence improvement questions is a variation of spotting errors. In this type of questions, a sentence is given with a word or a phrase italicized, underlined or bold. Under this sentence, a number of substitutes are given as alternatives. An examinee is required to locate the error and find the correct answer among the alternatives given. When the alternative has been substituted, the sentence becomes grammatically correct. This question tests correctness and effectiveness of expression. In choosing your answer, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, and sentence construction. Choose the answer that produces the most effective sentence; this answer should be clear and exact, without awkwardness, ambiguity, redundancy, or grammatical error.

TYPE 1

Illustration: Below are given the sentences in which a part or the complete sentences have been italicized, which may or may not be correct as per the rules of standard written English.  The sentence is followed by four options labelled A,B,C & D. Option A is the same as the question. If you think that that no improvement is required in the sentence, choose option A, else do not waste your time reading this option. Please select the most appropriate option, out of the four options given for  the following sentence, which, in your view, should be the correct one in terms of rules of standard written English including usage of grammar, punctuation and spelling.  Please note that the meaning & context of the sentence must not change.

Example: Although I know the answer already and he invited me to visit him often, since I just have seen her in the square, I am never determined to yield this point.

A) Although I know the answer already and he invited me to visit him often, since I just have seen her in the square, I am never determined to yield this point.

B) Although I have already known the answer and he invited me to visit him often but since I just have seen her in the square, I am never determined to yield this point.

C) Although I knew the answer already, and he has often invited me to visit him, since I just have seen her in the square, I am never determined to yield this point.

D) Although I already know the answer and he often invited me to visit him , since I have just seen her in the square, I am determined never to yield this point.

 

Answer with explanation: Ans-

D – Explanation – Adverb modifies a verb/an adjective or an adverb. Place it before the verb i.e. ‘already know’, ‘often invited’, ‘have just seen’, ‘ determined never to yield this point – i.e. I will never compromise/surrender on this point, it is not ’never determined’ –it will mean –adverb never is giving emphasis on the determination of the subject ‘I’ besides this is the particular point which is never to be yielded.

 

TYPE 2

Illustration: The question comprises an underlined sentence which may or may not be correct as per the rules of standard written English. Again, four options (A, B, C, D) are given to replace the underlined sentence. Option A is same as the question. The test taker is directed to pick out the most appropriate option that should replace the underlined sentence in terms of standard written English.

Example: Experience tells us that ordinary citizens are always ready to make sacrifices and face difficulties for the benefit of the nation. I see that spirit when poor widow gives up her LPG subsidy, a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees to make his village clean.

A) poor widow gives up her LPG subsidy, a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees to make his village clean.

B) a poor widow gives up her LPG subsidy, when a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, when a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, when a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees to make his village clean.

C) widows give up her LPG subsidy, when a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, when a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, when a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees to make his village clean.

D) a poor widow giving her LPG subsidy, when a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, when a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, when a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees making his village clean.

 

Answer with explanation:  Parallelism series should be – Article + Adjective + Noun + Verb

In option A- article is missing, Option C – Article + Adjective is missing, and Option D- Verb usage is incorrect- not giving, but ‘gives’. Hence, option B is correct.

Experience tells us that ordinary citizens are always ready to make sacrifices and face difficulties for the benefit of the nation. I see that spirit when a poor widow gives up her LPG subsidy, when a retired school teacher contributes his pension to the Swacch Bharat mission, when a poor Adivasi mother sells her goats to build a toilet, when a soldier contributes 57,000 rupees to make his village clean.

 

TYPE 3

Illustration: In the question below a sentence is given a part of which is printed in bold type. This part may contain a grammatical error. Each sentence is followed by phrases 1, 2, 3 and 4. Find out which phrase should replace the phrase given in bold to correct the error, if there is any to make the sentence grammatically meaningful and correct. If the sentence is correct as it is and no correction is required mark 5. i.e.‘No correction required’ as the answer.

Example: Foreigners often come across with serious difficulties in studying English Comprehension

  1. come cross with
  2. have to come across with
  3. came across
  4. come across
  5. No correction required

Answer with explanation:  Ans- 4. Explanation: Redundancy, the word ‘with’. Come across means encounter with. Improvement is required in the phrase.

Hence, correct option is 4.


Sentence Construction

A sentence is a collection of words that convey sense or meaning and is formed according to the logic of grammar. The correct answer to any of our sentence construction questions will have all of the following 4 characteristics:

1. No grammatical mistakes

2. Correct sentence structure

3. No diction errors

4. No changes to the sentence’s intended meaning.

 

 

Illustration: In this type the Questions are incomplete sentences. Beneath each sentence will see four words or phrases, marked A-D or 1-4. Choose the one word or phrase that best completes the sentence.

Example: A Thane social worker experiments and concludes that the new Rs 2000 notes bleed colour ———— coming in contact with water.

  1. When
  2. While
  3. By
  4. on

Answer with explanation: Preposition, ‘on’ is correct. Option 1 and 2 describes the time and acts as conjunction that requires a subject with verb ‘it comes in contact’. Option 3, ‘by’ indicates indulgence of an agent, incorrect. Option 4, ‘on’ describes the position

A Thane social worker experiments and concludes that the new Rs 2000 notes bleed colour on coming in contact with water.


Sentence Identification

Sentences are basic building blocks of communication. A sentence is a series of words that communicate a complete thought. Sentences have a defined structure with a subject and a predicate. They may fall into four different types (declarative, interrogative, exclamatory, or imperative). Finally, sentences may be simple, complex, or compound. Here, we have to identify the sentence(s) or part(s) of the sentence(s) that is/are correct in terms of grammar and usage (including spelling, punctuation and logical consistency).

TYPE 1

Illustration: This question type consists of four sentences, forming a paragraph, out of them one or more sentences or all the sentences, may be correct.  The options (A,B,C,D) are given accordingly and you are supposed to mark the  most appropriate option that identifies the correct sentences in the paragraph.

Example:

A. If you couldn’t find my umbrella, you may tell me so that

B.I will ask someone over there to help me find out the same

C. As you know, it is still raining cats and dogs outside this shelter,

D. and the gentleman, who has just dropped us to this bus shelter in his car, also left us.

E. Now we cannot do anything else but to wait for someone who can help us.

 

1.A&E         2. C&D        3. C&E        4. B,D&E    5. A&D

 

Answer with explanation: Ans-C&E-  Explanation -The correct sentences can be picked out, if you have clarity of rules of English Grammar, punctuation, spelling and tenses along with the syntax pattern for short and long sentences, as this type of error creates more confusion. So a good deal of practice is required of various parts of speech in grammar along with correct use of punctuation.

A-Incorrect – If you couldn’t find my umbrella, you might tell me so that (use might-Conditional if clause in past,main clause –would/should/could might+base verb)

B-Incorrect- I would ask someone over there to help me find out the same (use would- clause is connected to if clause, again the same structure- would/should/could might+base verb)

C-Correct- As you know ,it is still raining cats and dogs outside this shelter,( Cats & Dogs-use of idiom, verb is correct)

D-Incorrect -and the gentleman, who has just dropped us to this bus shelter in his car,hasalso left us(Incorrect, instead use- has left –parallel action “ has just dropped”  “has left”. If the sentence were framed –“ and the gentleman who dropped us to this bus shelter in his car a few minutes ago, has also left”-it would be correct.

E-Correct-Now we can’t do anything else but to wait for someone who can help us. (Correct)

 

TYPE 2

Illustration: Marking the incorrect sentences in a paragraph-It is opposite to earlier one. Here also, you are given four sentences- the difference is that you have to mark the incorrect sentences, which may be one or more. Right choice of options can be exercised by following the rules of grammar, syntax and verbosity. In this type, there are four sentences or parts of sentences that form a paragraph. Identify the sentence(s) or part(s) that is/are incorrect in terms of grammar including, spelling, punctuation and usage. Pick out the most appropriate option, out of the options that follow the question.

Example

(a) One thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency

(b) and the vice presidency is more bigger than any of us. So I have

(c) instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team

(d) set eight years ago and work as harder as we can to make sure that

(e) this is a successful transition for the president-elect.

  1. Only (a)
  2. (a), (c) & (e)
  3. Only (e)
  4. (b) & (d)
  5. none of the above

Answer with explanation: Ans- 4 (b) & (d), Comparison words are wrongly framed.

Explanation:

(a) One thing you realize quickly in this job is that the presidency

(b) and the vice presidency is more bigger than any of us. So I have (bigger than)

(c) instructed my team to follow the example that President Bush’s team

(d) set eight years ago and work as harder as we can to make sure that (as hard as)

(e) this is a successful transition for the president-elect.

 

TYPE 3

Illustration: Re-writing of entire sentence.  It may contain one error, multiple errors or no error.  Four options (A, B, C, D) with the re-written sentence structure are given and the most appropriate one has to be picked out. There may be the direction to the aspirant  in the beginning of the question  like- ‘ if you think, sentence needs re-writing, do not  waste your time reading  option ‘A’ as it is same as the question’. Proceed accordingly as close reading of Option A is required in case, you find no error or unable to find any error in the question. In this case all the options are required to be closely read before marking the correct answer.

Example: My neighbour as well as his wife always discuss the family problems before me.

A. My neighbour as well as his wife always discuss the family problems before me.

B.My neighbour as well as his wife have always discussed the family problems before me.

C.My neighbour as well as his wife always discusses the family problems before me.

D.My neighbour as well as his wife  are always discussing the family problems before me.

 

  1. A    2. B             3. C             4. D

 

Answer with explanation: Ans. 3.C-Explanation– Compound word ‘as well as’ is followed by the verb and pronouns in accordance with the former (first) subject. We must write – The Principal as well as the teachers is coming; use of plural verb ‘are’ will be wrong.

 

Conclusion: Sentence Correction and types of questions in paragraphs and sentences is a very important part of Verbal Ability and the question types vary from company to company.  Wrong attempts on these two-three questions may take you out of the fray and the right attempts may enable you to enter your desired company. Sentence correction questions can be understood and solved fairly easily, if proper attention is paid to the information given in the problem. With a little logical understanding and following certain steps, one can score high in this section.

 

Fraction of the percentile counts, please remember. To increase the percentile we have to learn, the main error types, prevailing in sentence correction questions, the tips and the tricks.


DIFFICULTIES IN SENTENCE 

There are a few ways that SC questions get harder:

  • Sentences get longer.
  • The underlined portion gets longer (sometimes including the entire sentence).
  • The correct answer is less appealing.
  • Length is a challenge, especially since it makes patterns more difficult to spot. But with focus, longer sentences can usually be reduced to familiar problems.
  • The toughest problems are those where all five choices don’t sound very good. While on some items, “clarity of expression” is the difference between a right answer and a wrong answer, there are other where none of the choices would pass the “clarity of expression” test.
  • Instead, on these questions, four of the questions will have unambiguous grammatical mistakes, and the fifth will not. Even if that fifth choice is wordy, or somewhat confusingly worded, it must be right: a grammatically incorrect sentence will always be wrong.

 

EXAMPLE:

Find the correct option in 1 minute 15 seconds—–

In his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which social critics see as yet another piece of evidence to support their thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural food among Americans, Michael Pollan elucidates industrial farming, explains organic farming, and discusses hunting and gathering food for oneself.

  1. In his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which social critics see as yet another piece of evidence to support their thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural food among Americans, Michael Pollan elucidates industrial farming, explains organic farming, and discusses hunting and gathering food for oneself.
  2. Michael Pollan, in his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which social critics see as yet another piece of evidence to support their thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural foods among Americans, elucidates industrial farming, explaining organic farming and discussing hunting and gathering food for oneself.
  3. In his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, elucidating industrial farming, explaining organic farming, and discussing hunting and gathering food for oneself, Michael Pollan gives social critics yet another piece of evidence to support their thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural food among Americans.
  4. Michael Pollan, in his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, serving as yet another piece of evidence to support the thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural food among Americans, elucidates industrial farming, explains organic farming, and discusses hunting and gathering food for oneself.
  5. In his best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, which is seen by social critics as yet another piece of evidence to support their thesis of a burgeoning interest in natural food among Americans, Michael Pollan elucidates industrial farming, explaining organic farming and discussing hunting and gathering food for oneself.

Answer with Explanation

Start: Find the subject and verb

Option 1: Subject- Michael Pollan Verb: elucidates, explains and discusses. Option 1, subject-verb concord is maintained.

Option 2 and 5: Verbs are not parallel- elucidates, explaining and discussing.

Eliminate option 2 and 5.

Option 3: Parallel pronoun is not used. Subject- Michael Pollan, Pronoun- their.

Eliminate option 3.

Option 4: Incorrect Modifying phrases are used for Michael Pollan and Americans.

Eliminate option 4.

End: And, re-read the sentence with the replaced option. The answer should be error free.

Hence, the answer is 1.

 

Conclusion: The Tips and Tricks, for easy, moderate and hard questions or for short or lengthy sentences, will work only if the candidate is proficient to correct the error types.


ERROR TYPES

The candidate is not required to be familiar with the complicated grammatical jargon but should have basic knowledge of word usages, matching of subject and verbs, correct usage of tenses, the ability to frame grammatically correct sentences.

This handbook is strategically grouped into eight sections to have an overview of major error types.

Eight Types of Errors in Sentence Correction

  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Modifiers
  • Parallelism
  • Comparisons
  • Verb and Time Sequences
  • Prepositions
  • Idioms and Phrases

 

Conclusion: Complete knowledge of error types prepares candidates thoroughly for the existing exam formats besides giving them an edge over others by equipping them to successfully tackle new types or formats appearing the English section of placement tests.

The backbone of each section is correct grammar usage. So our target is to make you to know about the common pitfalls encountered in attempting questions based on grammar usage, especially while attempting practice questions or tests.


WHY GRAMMAR ?

Sentences in which errors should be detected or improvements suggested, basic rules of correct grammatical usage of words are of immense help. Each error type including the rules is explained through illustrations, which makes understanding the concept interactive.

Finally, a few tips to help us to conquer grammar.

  1. Please develop a positive attitude towards grammar! Make it a friend.
  2. Be aware of common errors in grammar. Make sure to know how to avoid those mistakes.
  3. Identify the kind of mistakes we tend to make and ensure that not to keep repeating the same mistakes.
  4. We tend to be casual in the way we speak. We worry about grammar only when we write. The truth is we tend to write the way we speak. Try to be grammatically correct even when you speak. Those who speak right, write better!
  5. And one final tip ­ Read, read and read. Be conscious of the writing techniques used by experts. Observe, understand and use those techniques.