GMAT Prep Verbal Grammar Review - Part III

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Participle - Oxford

There are several parts of the verb system which function as if they were different parts of speech (in the case of a participle, an adjective). In grammar, the PARTICIPLE is the term for two verb forms, the PRESENT PARTICIPLE (the ``-ing'' participle) and the PAST PARTICIPLE (the ``-ed'' participle, also ending in ``-d' and ``-t''). Both participles may be used like adjectives, but only if the participle indicates some sort of permanent characteristic:``running water'', ``the missing link'', ``lost property''.

The PRESENT PARTICIPLE ends in ``-ing'' and is used in combination with the auxiliary ``be'' for the progressive continuous, as in: ``am driving'', ``has been talking'', etc.

The PAST PARTICIPLE ends in ``-ed'', ``-d'' or ``-t'' for all regular verbs and many irregular verbs, but many irregular verbs end in ``-en'' and ``-n'' (as in, ``stolen'' and ``known'') or with a change in the middle vowel (as in,``sung'').

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Singapore

Present Participle

The present participle ends in -ing. Like an adjective, it may be used to form a predicate with the verb to be:

Her feelings for her GMAT were burgeoning quickly.

She is stunning the class with her GMAT knowledge.

Used as an adjective, it holds the normal adjectival position:

Her burgeoning feelings for her GMAT surprised her.

The stunning GMAT test result shocked me.

Participles are commonly found in phrases alongside the main part of the sentence:

Burgeoning rapidly, her feelings for her GMAT rose to an untenable level.

If there is no appropriate noun, the sentence becomes nonsensical. The falsely assigned participle is known as `dangling' or `misrelated':

Wrong: Burgeoning rapidly, she was soon unable to control her feelings for her GMAT.

As we will discuss in the Sentence Correction section, this is one of the most common errors on the GMAT, so learn to recognize a misplaced modifier (dangling participle), and you will have great success with these questions.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Past Participle - Graz

The past participle ends in -(e)d or -t in most verbs. A few archaic strong forms remain; these are verbs which make the past tense by changing the internal vowel, e.g., write, wrote; see, saw. These have participles that end in -(e)n, e.g. written, seen. The past participle forms a compound tense (perfect) with the addition of the verb to have. This denotes the perfected or completed action:

I have decided to take the GMAT.

It is useful to be able to recognize tenses in the Sentence Correction section, because another of the most common errors on the GMAT is changing tenses needlessly in the middle of a sentence. Make sure that the answer you select does not have a change of tense which is not justified by the meaning of the sentence.

Used adjectivally, however, the past participle may also form a predicate with the verb to be.

I have helped you.

You are helped.

As with the present participle, the past participle must be related to its proper noun when forming a modifying phrase:

Embarrassed by her faux pas, the GMAT instructor left the room.

If the participle is misrelated (misplaced), comic results will occur:

Wrong: Covered with aluminum foil, the GMAT instructor popped the lasagna into the oven.

(Here it is the GMAT instructor, and not the lasagna, that is covered with aluminum foil)

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Innsbruck - Special Situations

Absolute participle constructions are rare, and normally consist of noun and participle - the noun to which the participle refers is actually present, although it does not have a function in the rest of the sentence:

The GMAT being over, the students all went home.

Weather permitting, the GMAT will be held outdoors.

A similar construction has the preposition with:

I returned to GMAT prep with my essay revised.

A few participles have virtually become prepositions in their own right. These are:

barring, considering, excepting, including, owing (to), regarding, respecting, seeing, touching;

and the past forms:

excepted, provided, given.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Gerund & Infinitive - Linz

The GERUND is a verbal noun, in English a word ending in ``-ing''. In fact, many grammarians of English use the term PARTICIPLE to include the gerund. Take the word ``visiting'' in the sentence: “They appreciate my visiting their GMAT study location.”

Like participles, gerunds are verbal elements which take on the role of another part of speech (in this case, that of a noun).

More common is the form ending in -ing, and this is identical with the form of the present participle. The two are distinguished only by function:

Taking this route to the GMAT test center was a mistake. (subject, taking)

Why are we going this way to the GMAT exam venue? (participle, going)

There is no preferred version, but it is important to maintain parallelism in your constructions.

If an ordinary noun can be substituted for the -ing form, then it is a gerund, e.g.,

Taking the GMAT was the fun part.

Its capture was the fun part.

The gerund retains its verbal function by taking an object:

Owning a GMAT prep book is very wise.

Less commonly, the noun function dictates the form:

The wearing of pink by GMAT students is a major fashion crime. (Wearing pink dots)

Where a noun or pronoun is used with a gerund, it should be in the possessive case:

My admonishing him will not change his mind about taking the GMAT.

It was his winning that bothered me, not my losing.

I can't stand my mother's telling my GMAT tutor embarrassing stories about me.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Gerund & Infinitive - Vienna

Any word may be used as an attributive (adjective) if placed before a noun. A gerund may be used this way (called a gerundive); its form is identical with the present participle, but the meaning will be different:

A building reputation - participle (a reputation that is building)

Some building blocks - gerund (blocks for building with)

A working appliance - participle (an appliance that works)

Working papers - gerund (papers which allow you to work)

The infinitive form of a verb has a ``to'' proceeding it:

to + verb

The infinitive form may be used in this function:

To err is human, to forgive, divine.

(= Error is human, forgiveness, divine.)

Care must be taken not to use a mixture of the two forms:

Talking to my GMAT instructor was one thing, but kissing him was entirely another!

To talk to my GMAT instructor was one thing, but to kiss him was entirely another!

Not: Talking to my GMAT instructor was one thing, but to kiss him was entirely another!

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Gerund & Infinitive - Prague

Do avoid inserting a word or a phrase between the to and the verb in the infinitive form. This error is known as a split infinitive.


I asked my GMAT tutor to quickly clean the table.


I asked my GMAT tutor to clean the table quickly.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Conjunction - Aarhus

Conjunctions are used to connect words or constructions. You should simply keep in mind that the most common conjunctions are AND, BUT, OR, which are used to connect units (nouns, phrases, gerunds, and clauses) of equal status and function. The other conjunctions, BECAUSE, IF, ALTHOUGH, AS, connect a subordinate clause to its superordinate clause, as in ``We did it BECAUSE he told us to.''

Generally don't begin sentences with conjunctions- however is better than but for this, but it goes best after semicolons. Or use the adverb instead.

Correlative expressions such as either/or, neither/nor, both/and, not only/but also and not/but should all correlate ideas expressed with the same grammatical construction.

Special care has to be taken with clauses: only clauses of the same kind can be joined with a conjunction. Similarly, a phrase cannot be joined to a clause.

American usage is extremely fastidious in making constructions parallel, and this is another one of the common tricks in the Sentence Correction questions. Keep a lookout for conjunctions and lists, and you will be able to catch these errors.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Helpful Topics - Dresden


  • Punctuation is the practice in writing of using a set of marks to regulate texts and clarify their meanings, mainly by separating or linking words, phrases and clauses. Currently, punctuation is not used as heavily as in the past. Punctuation styles vary from individual, newspaper to newspaper and press to press, in terms of what they consider necessary.

Improper punctuation can create ambiguities or misunderstandings in writing, especially when the comma is misused.For example, consider the following examples:

“They did not go to GMAT prep, because they were lazy.'' In this case, the people in question did not go for one reason: “because they were lazy.'' But consider the sentence again:

“They did not go to GMAT prep because they were lazy.''  In this case, without the comma, the people probably DID go, but not because they were lazy, for some other reason (they did not go because they were lazy, they went because they were tired).

Periods and Commas:

  • Periods and Commas are the most common form of punctuation. The period ends a sentence, whereas the comma marks out associated words within sentences. Commas are used for pauses, prepositional phrases, and appositive clauses offset from the rest of the sentence to rename a proper noun (Thomas, a baker,); they are the rest stop in English language.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Punctuation - Leipzig

Colons, Semicolons, and Dashes (or Hyphens): Many people avoid the use of colon and semicolon, because of uncertainty as to their precise uses. In less formal writing, the dash is often used to take the place of both the colon and the semi-colon. The rule is that both colons and semicolons must follow a complete independent clause. A semicolon must be followed by another complete clause, either dependent or independent. A colon may be followed by a list or phrase, or by a complete clause.

  • The APOSTROPHE (') used to show possession: Those GMAT books are Thomas's books.
  • The COLON (:) is normally used in a sentence to lead from one idea to its consequences or logical continuation. The colon is used to lead from one thought to another.
  • The SEMICOLON (;) is normally used to link two parallel statements.

Consider the following examples:

  • COLON: “There was no truth in the accusation that they cheated on their GMAT: they rejected it utterly.” Points to a cause/effect relationship, as a result of ...
  • SEMICOLON: ``There was no truth in the accusation; it was totally false.'' (Here two parallel statements are linked ``no truth'' and ``totally false''. In the COLON example, the consequence is stated after the insertion of the colon). Re-states initial premise, creates relation between disparate parts. Technically, these sentences could be broken down into two separate sentences and they would remain grammatically sound. But two sentences here would suggest separateness (which in speech the voice would convey with a longer pause) that is not always appropriate.
  • HYPHENS or DASHES: The hyphen or dash is perhaps most important in order to avoid ambiguity, and is used to link words. Consider the following example: ``Fifty-odd GMAT students'' and ``Fifty odd GMAT students'' When the hyphen is used, the passage means ``approximately fifty GMAT students.'' But the second passage means ``fifty strange GMAT students. Otherwise, the use of the hyphen is declining. It was formerly used to separate vowels (co-ordinate, make-up), but this practice is disappearing. For example: House plant, house-plant, and houseplant

GMAT Verbal Grammar - List of Irregular Verbs - Kuwait City

List of Irregular Verbs: Awake - Fight

To correctly use the verbs in different tense forms, please study the list carefully.

Base Form:         Past Tense:            Past Participle:

Awake                  Awake; Awoke         Awaked; Awoken

Be                        Was/Were                Been

Beat                     Beat                         Beat; Beaten

Become               Became                   Become

Begin                   Began                      Begun

Bend                    Bent                         Bent

Bite                      Bit                            Bitten

Bleed                   Bled                         Bled

Blow                    Blew                         Blown

Break                  Broke                        Broken

Bring                   Brought                    Brought

Build                   Built                           Built

Burst                  Burst                          Burst

Buy                    Bought                       Bought

Catch                 Caught                      Caught

Choose              Chose                       Chosen

Base Form:      Past Tense:      Past Participle:

    Come                   Came                     Come

     Cost                    Cost                       Cost

      Cut                     Cut                         Cut

     Deal                    Dealt                      Dealt

      Dig                     Dug                        Dug

     Dive                Dived; Dove               Dived

      Do                      Did                         Done

    Draw                     Drew                     Drawn

    Dream         Dreamed; Dreamt          Dreamed; Dreamt

    Drink                     Drank                    Drunk

    Drive                     Drove                    Driven

     Eat                        Ate                        Eaten

     Fall                        Fell                       Fallen

    Feed                        Fed                     Fed

     Feel                        Felt                      Felt

     Fight                      Fought                  Fought


GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - List of Irregular Verbs - Oslo

To correctly use the verbs in different tense forms, please study the list carefully.

Base Form:  Past Tense:     Past Participle:

Find                   Found              Found

Fit                      Fitted; Fit          Fitted; Fit

Fly                     Flew                  Flown

Forget                Forgot               Forgotten

Freeze                Froze                Frozen

Get                     Got                    Gotten; Got

Give                   Gave                  Given

Go                      Went                  Gone

Grow                   Grew                 Grown

Hang (an object)  Hung                Hung

Hang (a person)   Hanged            Hanged

Hear                      Heard              Heard

Hide                       Hid                   Hidden; Hid

Hit                          Hit                    Hit

Hold                       Held                 Held

Hurt                       Hurt                  Hurt

Keep                      Kept                 Kept

Kneel               Knelt; Kneeled       Knelt; Kneeled

Knit                  Knit; Knitted           Knit; Knitted

Know                     Knew                Known

Lay (put down)       Laid                  Laid 

Lead                       Led                   Led

Base Form:        Past Tense:      Past Participle:

Lean                      Leaned              Leaned

Leave                    Left                      Left

Lend                      Lent                     Lent

Let                         Let                       Let

Lie (recline)           Lay                       Lain

Light                      Lighted; Lit           Lighted; Lit

Lose                      Lost                       Lost

Make                     Made                     Made

Mean                     Meant                    Meant

Meet                       Met                       Met

Pay                        Paid                      Paid

Prove                     Proved                  Proved; Proven

Put                          Put                       Put

Quit                       Quit; Quitted          Quit; Quitted

Read                       Read                    Read

Rid                        Rid; Ridden            Rid; Ridden

Ride                         Rode                   Ridden

Ring                         Rang                   Rung

Run                          Ran                     Run

Say                          Said                     Said

See                          Saw                     Seen


GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - List of Irregular Verbs - Bergen

List of Irregular Verbs: Send - Write

To correctly use the verbs in different tense forms, please study the list carefully.

Base Form:         Past Tense:             Past Participle:

Send                      Sent                             Sent

Set                         Set                               Set

Shake                    Shook                          Shaken

Shine               Shone; Shined (polish)      Shone; Shined (polish)

Shoot                      Shot                            Shot

Show                      Showed                       Showed; Shown

Shrink                     Shrank                         Shrunk

Shut                        Shut                             Shut

Sit                           Sat                               Sat

Sleep                      Slept                            Slept

Slide                       Slid                              Slid

Speak                    Spoke                          Spoken

Speed                    Sped; Speeded           Sped; Speeded

Spend                    Spent                           Spent

Spin                       Spun                            Spun

Spring                   Sprang                         Sprung

Stand                    Stood                           Stood

Base Form:           Past Tense:           Past Participle:

Steal                        Stole                        Stolen

Stick                         Stuck                       Stuck

Sting                        Stung                       Stung

Strike                       Struck                      Struck, Stricken

Swear                      Swore                      Sworn

Swim                       Swam                      Swum

Swing                      Swung                     Swung

Take                        Took                        Taken

Teach                      Taught                     Taught

Tear                        Tore                         Torn

Tell                          Told                         Told

Think                       Thought                   Thought

Throw                      Threw                       Thrown

Wake                       Waked; Woke           Waked; Woke

Wear                        Wore                         Worn

Win                           Won                          Won

Wring                        Wrung                       Wrung

Write                         Wrote                        Written


GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Words Frequently Confused - Odense

The following words are often misused, even by experienced writers:

accumulative, cumulative

adverse, averse

affect, effect

affluent, effluent

allusion, illusion, delusion

alternate, alternative

amiable, amicable, amenable

anomaly, analogy

apposite, opposite

appraise, apprise

ascent, assent, accent

belated, elated

beneficent, benevolent

biannual, biennial

censer, censor, censure 

colloquy, obloquy

complement, compliment

contemptuous, contemptible

continual, continuous, contiguous

credible, credulous

decry, descry

deduce, deduct

deficient, defective

denote, connote

deprecate, depreciate

dependent, dependant

derisive, derisory

devolve, evolve

digress, regress

disburse, disperse

discrete, discreet

disquisition, inquisition

economic, economical

edible, eatable

efficient, effectual, effective

eject, inject

elusive, illusive

erotic, exotic

erupt, disrupt

euphony, cacophony

fallacious, fallible

fictitious, factitious

further, farther

grouchy, grungy

historic, historical

hoard, horde


GMAT Verbal Grammar Tips - Words Frequently Confused (Cont'd.) - Helsinki

homogenous, homogeneous

human, humane

hypercritical, hypocritical

inchoate, chaotic

induce, indict

ineligible, illegible

ingenious, ingenuous

insidious, invidious

intermediate, intermediary

introspection, retrospection

judicial, judicious

lie, lay

lightening, lightning

luxurious, luxuriant

monitory, monetary

negligible, negligent

notable, notorious

observance, observation

obtrude, intrude

ordinance, ordnance

oral, aural

overt, covert

peaceful, peaceable

perspective, perceptive

perspicacious, perspicuous

precipitate, precipitous

precede, proceed

preclude, prelude

prescribe, proscribe

principle, principal

prospective, prosperous

raise, rise

reputed, imputed

resource, recourse

salutary, salubrious

seasonal, seasonable

spasmodic, sporadic

tacit, taciturn

temperature, temperament

temporize, extemporize

tortuous, torturous

uninterested, disinterested

urban, urbane

veracious, voracious

vocation, avocation


If you think you may not know the difference between any of these pairs, or would like to brush up on the meanings of any of these words, please ask your instructor to clarify them, or look them up in a dictionary before your test date.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Tampere


American vs. British Usage

American spelling often differs from British usage, but this is not one of the factors tested in the GMAT examination. Examples include:

The use of -or instead of British -our, e.g., color, harbor, favor, and the use of -er for -re, e.g., center, fiber, theater.

The final or internal e is dropped in ax, acknowledgment, judgment, jewelry. Other modifications include: plow, wagon, check (cheque), pajamas, gray, mold, program, draft, marvelous, traveler.

The double -ll is retained in skillful, fulfill, install; the endings -ise, -isation, are written, -ize, -zation.

If such American spelling forms appear in the sentences for correction, no alternatives will be given, so that there is in fact no problem.

Some nouns have given rise to new usages, such as service, and this is acceptable in both American and British English. Others are not, e.g., suspicion for `suspect'. Again, the presence of other forms in the choices given will indicate whether this usage is to be considered non-standard or not. The word loan is used only as a noun in British English, but is an acceptable verb form in American English.

Standard American words frequently differ from their British equivalents -

Frequently Used in America:  Frequently Used in Britain:

              Apartment                                              Flat

              Boardwalk                                        Promenade

                    Bug                                            Insect

                 Drapes                                       Curtains

                Elevator                                                Lift

                   Fall                                          Autumn

               Fix a flat                                        Change a tire

   Garbage can, Ashcan                                  Dustbin

                   Gas                                             Petrol

         Hardware store                                    Ironmonger’s

                   Mad                                           Angry

                  Peek                                     Peer, Glimpse

                 Pillow                                          Cushion

                 Pitcher                                               Jug

               Railroad                                  Used as a verb

             Round trip                                         Return trip

              Salesgirl                                    Shop assistant

             Sidewalk                                        Pavement

                 Sick                                              Ill, Diseased

           Smokestack                                           Chimney

There are many more of these, but as these are not `diction' errors, no alternative version will be given among the multiple choice answers in the Sentence Correction section.

GMAT Verbal Grammar Quick Tip - Cologne

Standard vs. Non-standard Usage

There are many American expressions that do not meet standard requirements; most of these are easily recognized, but some may raise doubts. As a general rule, kind of and sort of are to be avoided altogether:

I was sort of hurt by the GMAT.

If used adjectivally - and this would be possible - kind of does not have an article:

I thought I saw you with some kind of GMAT prep book.

The expression those (these) kind of things is particularly offensive, since kind and sort are singular and would properly be preceded by that or this. Similarly, the ending -s should never be attached to compounds of -where, e.g., somewhere. The -s ending is, however to be found in the compounds of -ways, e.g., always, sideways, longways, lengthways, but anyways and ways are nonstandard forms, as are someway, noway and nohow. Nonstandard also are the expressions can't seem to, for `seem unable to' and go to, meaning `intend'. Any should not be used adverbially:

Wrong: I don't think the GMAT hurt him any.

The correct expression is at all.

Adjectives should not be used as adverbs:

Wrong: We agreed on the specifics of the GMAT some; (use some for `somewhat')

Wrong: I thought my GMAT study plan would sure succeed; (use sure for `surely', `certainly'.)

Wrong: I noticed a guy who was real tall standing outside my GMAT exam room; (use real for `really'.)

Non-standard usages would include verbs used as nouns, as in eats or invite (invitation), prepositions used in conjunctions, or without for `unless':

Wrong: I won't come along to the GMAT test without you apologize.

or on account for `because':

Wrong: I liked him on account he made me GMAT prep packets.

All should not be followed by of unless a pronoun follows:

I hate all those people.

I hate all of you!

Other nonstandard expressions include - 

    Nonstandard:                 Standard:

           Be at                           Be

       Both alike             Either ‘both’ or ‘alike’

           Bring                         Take

     Equally near               Equally

   Have a loan of               Borrow

       Have got                        Have

        Human                  Human being

      In back of                       Behind

       Inside of                       Within

       Lose out                        Lose

No account, no good    Worthless

      No place                     Nowhere

   Nowhere near            Not nearly

         Off of             From or completely

      Out loud                       Aloud

     Outside of              Outside or except

     Over with                       Ended

     Over with                        Over

  Plenty, Mighty                Very