1. whether the word is been used to describe a thing.
2.investigate where the word is used in the sentence
3.look right in front of the word (a, the, my...)
Categories of nouns
1. most nouns made from adjectives are "qualities"
2. most nouns made from verbs represent "actions"
3. Proper nouns: spelled with capital letters (Harvard University)
4. common nouns (all universities)
5. compound nouns (case study, post office, dog collar, attorney-at-law, landlord ...)
6. collective nouns (Administration, refers to a group of composed members) i.e.: jury, company, family, army, majority, society, administration, tour group, agency, couple, duo are all singular
use amount for something you can't count
use number for something you can count (e.g.: a great number of friends have shown me a great amount of kindness)
Less for something you can't count
fewer for something you can count
(10 items or fewer!!)
Reflexive pronouns (myself, ourselves, itself, etc. )
You can use a reflexive pronoun correctly when the person doing the action and the person receiving the action are the same.
eg: He hit himself in the head.
The other correct use is to provide emphasis- I made this gift myself.
Bill will be sitting at this table with my husband and myself (should be me!!)
Subject pronouns (I, you, he, she, it, we, they)
Used as the subjects of sentences or clauses.
Subject pronouns perform verbs!
Indefinite pronouns (everyone, everybody, everything, all, each, another, any, other...)
If the pronoun ends with -one, -thing, or -body, it's singular.
each is always singular too.
Antecedent (most of the pronouns have antecedents, except:)
1. an indefinite pronoun such as anyone will not have an antecedent
2. you is often used without an antecedent
3. In a few circumstances, it doesn't need an antecedent (e.g.: It's raining. )
One (In general, if one appears as a pronoun in GMAT, it is very likely that there is an error. )
If one wants to do well, one should do one's homework.
(also: If you want to do well, you should do your homework.)
(Pronoun one DOESN'T mix well with other pronouns!!)
Wrong: People who want to become politicians should keep one's (correct: their) reputation spotless.
Many compound adjectives are hyphenated when placed before nouns, but not when on their own.
I am broken hearted.
She is a broken-hearted fan of B.
A blue, fringed dress (a dress is blue)
A blue-fringed dress (fringe is blue)
Gerund (-ing word)
Rule: An "-ing" word without a helper verb isn't a real verb!
If the "-ing" word is gerund, you should be able to substitute in a noun in its place.
Infinitives (to love, to defeat, to go...)
An infinitive cannot be the main verb of a sentence!
Can act like a noun, adjective or adverb.
Have/has (present perfect tense)
Present perfect verbs are used to describe actions that occurred at an unspecified time before the present. The effect is in the present.
You cannot use the present perfect with specific time expression!
Had (Past perfect)
Helping verb had is used to express "the past of the past"!
2 events happened in one sentence and time order is very important
Following words can be both adj. and adv.
fast, early, late, hard, high, monthly, daily
Adjectives ending with "ly"
adjective - adverb
lovely - lovely
friendly - friendly
lively - lively
costly - costly
early - early
"but" as a preposition
ie: All developed countries but U.S. have some form of national health insurance.
according to, apart from, aside from, as for, in back of, instead of, out of, ahead of, because of, in case of, in front of, in view of, in case of, in front of, prior to, apart from, by means of, in place of, next to, as of, in addition to, in spite of, on account of
preposition + object (it's a noun- noun, pronoun or gerund, but it cannot be the subject)
You won't find the subject and the verb of a sentence in a preposition phrase.
(for, and, or, nor, but, yet, so)
(either/or, neither/nor, both/and, whether/or, not only/but also)
link to parallel parts
(introduce dependent clauses)
Subordinating conjunction attaches two smaller sentences into a single sentence.
ie: after, as if, if , once, than, unless, where, although, as long as, even though, if only, since, that, until, whether, as, because, how, in order, so that, though, when, while
Aside the highway was the wreckage from the crash.
The wreckage from the crash was aside the highway.
The part of sentence before the colon must be able to stand alone!
colons are not just for going before lists. Colons can also go before explanations, rules, or examples.
eg: I was fired today: my boss caught me trying to steal a laser printer.
the two parts on either side of semicolon must be able to stand alone and must be closely related in meaning!
[wrong]: The volcano devastated the town; there was still hope.
(not closely related in meaning, need a conjunction here)
Do not use a semicolon before "and" or "but".
[wrong]: I like beer; and my grandmother likes bourbon.
[wrong]: He applied to Harvoard Business School; but he forgot to send his GMAT score.
"," should be used in both cases.
Use a semicolon before "however" and a comma after
(thus, therefore, moreover, nevertheless can be used in the same way)
[right]: Raw oysters are delicious; however, you should be careful where you buy them.
When you are given a sentence using a set of dashes, you should attempt to remove the dashes and whatever is in between them.
eg: The company leadership is faltering --the CEO embarrassed himself on the news just last night-- and the investors are restless. [Roght]
= The company leadership is faltering and the investors are restless.
that, which, who, when, and where
Don't use that or which for people-- instead, use who!
Use when only for time.
Use where only for place.
Comparison-- Do not compare a phrase that starts with "that" to one that starts with "when, where, which, or who"
[wrong] Liechtenstein is the only European nation that still has a monarchy with real- rather than largely ceremonial or diplomatic- power, and where the power given to the sovereign has actually increased in the current millennium.
should use "that" instead of "where"
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