How To Solve Sentence Improvement And Construction Quickly

Key Points to note before answering:

There will be a sentence with a word or a phrase in an italicized form, or bold or underlined. Various options will be provided to you as a substitute of that word.

All you need to do is find out the error and choose the correct answer from all the options given. If your selection is correct; then the sentence will be clear and meaningful without any ambiguity. 

Let’s try some practical questions to understand the topic precisely.

how to solve sentence improvement question quickly

Type 1. Subject-Verb Agreement:

As the name subjects, both the subject an the verb should agree with each other in terms of it number or quantity  i.e. Singular or Plural.

The most important task always is to find the subject of sentence.

Rule 1: Matching the articles with nouns (Singular/Plural)

  • The boy was playing.. (Singular)
  • The boys were playing.. (Plural)

In case of collective nouns (like herd, group, army, etc.), the verb used is singular.

Rule 2: Subject Verb Agreement with collective nouns 

  • The list of items is on the desk.
  • A herd of cattle was grazing in the field

Let’s quickly scan through some of the important rules of subject-verb agreement.

  • Similarly, for subjects connected by ‘and’/‘or’, we use plural verbs.
  • Any sentence beginning with each/anyone/everyone, the verb takes a singular form.
  • For the sentences that contain pair words like ‘either/or’ and ‘neither/nor’ , the verb used will be singular provided that both the subjects are singular. In case one or both the subjects are plural, verb used there will be plural.
  • To clear your doubt regarding the subjects like ‘I’ and ‘me’, follow the following rules.
    • Shweta and I joined the dance club. (Here, ‘Shweta and ‘I’ take the subject form.)
    • Meghna took Shweta and me to the dance club. (Here, ‘Shweta’ and ‘me’ take the object form. the subject being Meghna)
    • Similarly, in case of comparison, ‘I’ is used with the other subject. E.g. She is smarter than I am.

Type 2. Changer/Modifier:

A modifier is an adjective or adverb, that describes or adds meaning to a sentence. As the name and relationship suggests, a modifier is placed next to a subject that needs modification.

Example:

Sitting in the room, the cat bit her. (there’s no clarity as to who is sitting in the room, the cat or the girl)

Correct way to write: Sitting in the garden, she was bitten by the cat.

Type 3. Parallel Elements

What is Parallelism and how to use it in a sentence?

Parallelism functions around the structure of a sentence. the different phrases or words that relate to the subject should be used in the same form. To make it clearer, see the example below:

Example:

Sonam loves dancing, singing and cooking. (Correct)

Sonam loves to dance, sing and cook. (Correct)

Sonam loves dancing, singing and to cook. (Incorrect)

Here, the forms are simple (first sentence) and continuous (2nd sentence). In the third sentence it is a mixture which is wrong.

Type 4. Redundancy:

Redundancy in a sentence means to have the presence of multiple words that can be otherwise summed up into a single word.

Example:

  • await – wait for
    • the lawyers await the judgement 
    • the lawyers wait for the judgement
  • fetch – to go and bring back
    • she asked me to fetch the drinks for her
    • she asked me to go and bring back the drinks for her

The same thing written twice in a sentence can be wrong and have grammatical errors when spoken or written.

Type 5.Pronoun Reference Error

A pronoun comes after the noun and should be able to refer clearly to one, clear, unmistakable noun. This type of noun is termed as antecedent.

Example – Mary kept the keys in the box and sold it later.

Here, ‘it’ can be referred to the box or the key, hence it’s a faulty pronoun. Instead it should be either,

  • ‘Mary kept the keys in the box and sold the keys later’ /or
  • ‘Mary kept the keys in the box and sold the box later’.

Hence, knowing how and where to use the noun-pronoun relation is very important. The three most important errors are:

  • Too many antecedents
    • bring the box out of the cabinet and fix it. (here, it can be referred to either the box or the cabinet, hence too many antecedents can confuse the reader’

  • Hidden Antecedents
    • The soda bottles were empty but we were tired of drinking it anyway. (here, it can be referred to wither soda or bottles, the hidden antecedent ‘it’ can be said as ‘The soda bottles were empty but we were tired of drinking the soda anyway’)

  • No antecedent at all
    • The clients called the office several times but they didn’t answer. (here, they can’t be the office, it has to be the receptionists or the employees, hence, they are the hidden antecedents. So the sentence could be ‘The clients called the office several times but the employees didn’t answer.’

Type 6. Wording

A reference error indicates the error while using appropriate words or phrases to complete a sentence. Sometimes even an idiom can be used incorrectly in a sentence that doesn’t extract the exact meaning of it.

There are some common pair of words that are often confused or used wrongly:

  • affect v/s effect
  • few v/s less
  • adapt v/s adopt
  • argue against v/s argue with
  • lay v/s lie
  • later v/s latter
  • Lean on / lean against