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Rules For Sentence Improvement And Construction

Sentence improvement and construction tests are intended to check your knowledge of English grammar. Under this a variety of English verbs, modals, tenses, conjunctions, prepositions, articles and suppositories questions will be asked.  

How to attempt 'Sentence Improvement and Construction' Questions?

What you will find:

  • A sentence with a phrase or word or a clause which will be in bold or underlined.
  • Four to five options will be presented following the question.

What you need to do:

  • Replace the underlined or bold word with an option so that the sentence becomes free of any grammatical mistakes.

Score Points:

  • The sentence improvement and construction techniques mainly check correctness and effectiveness of sentences.
  • While choosing the answers you should have enough knowledge of standard written English.
  • You have to select that answer which is clear, without any ambiguity or redundancy. 

Rules For Sentence Improvement & Construction

Type 1. Subject-Verb Agreement:

Under this, if the subject in the sentence is in the singular form then the verb will also be in the singular form and if the subject is in the plural form then the verb will also be in a plural form.

For example –

  • The boy is playing in the playing ground – here, “boy” is singular, hence it takes a singular verb “is”.
  • The parents know how to handle their naughty kids – here, “parents” is plural hence takes a plural verb “know”
  • Anybody is more fun than you – here, “anybody” is singular hence it takes a singular verb ‘is’.
  • The rats gnaw at the cheese – here, “rats” is plural hence it will take a plural verb “gnaw”
  • Both Mita and Rita love to have chocolates – here, with the use of ‘and’ we see that the two singular subjects ‘Mita and ‘Rita; become plural hence it will take a plural verb “love”
  • Rohan with his guitar and drums plays good music – here, though we use ‘and’ between two objects -guitar and drums, the subject here is Rohan, which is singular, hence it will take a singular verb “plays”.

Type 2. Modifier Words or Clauses

Modifier: A modifier is a word that modifies the meaning of a sentence (gives more information) about a particular subject.

There are two main types of modifiers:

  1. Adjectives – it modifies a noun.
  2. Adverb – it modifies verbs, adjectives or other adverbs.

Examples:

  1. She is very excited for her new day at work – here, the verb excited is modified by ‘very’ which shows the extent of her excitement.
  2. The room was beautifully decorated for the festival – here the verb decorated is modified with ‘beautifully’.
  3. Sarah was a sure fit for the dance group – here the verb fit i modified by the word ‘sure’.
  4. She practiced her session in the auditorium – here the noun sessions is modified by the collective adverb ‘in the auditorium’ thus modifying about the place of session.

Misplaced Modifiers:

Sometimes modifiers can be used in wrong places that change the subject which has to be modified.

  1. Her father bought a pet dog for his daughter named Junnie. – here, it implies that the daughter’s name was Junnie.
  2. Here father bout a pet dog named Junnie for his daughter. – Here, it implies that the pet’s name was Junnie.

The second sentence is the correct one.

Type 3. Parallel Elements:

It says that some ideas should be presented in the same grammatical form.

This means that if a sentence consists more than one verb then the form of all the verbs should be in the same form. If the starting verb is in simple form, all the verbs should follow the same patter.

Example:

  1. Neha loves to cook, dance and sing – here all the three verbs are in simple present form.
  2. Neha loves cooking, dancing and singing – In this sentence, all the three verbs follow the continuous form of verb.
  3. Some men love to sit and relax during travels while some like to work. – here all the three four verbs are in the simple present form.
  4. Mary went down the stairs and cooked for the men. – here the two verbs are in simple past form.
  5. Neither the weather in Mumbai nor the weather in Delhi are improving – here, we use the same form of sentence which is ‘the weather in’.
  6. The lesson was enriching both to listen and to learn – to listen and to learn is the same form of verb.

Type 4. Redundancy:

As per the rules of redundancy, any idea should not be repeated again and again. Repeated words should be avoided to make sentences clear.

Some of the common Redundant words are given in the lift:

  • Foreign imports
  • Bald – headed
  • Drop down
  • End result
  • Few in number
  • Follow after
  • General public
  • Hurry up
  • Chase after
  • But yet
  • Collaborate together

Examples:

  1. Three files of monthly statistics were combined into one. here the word into one is redundant because ‘combined’ already means to put together’.
  2. The teacher repeated again the lecture – here again is redundant because repeat already means ‘to say it again’
  3. The thief followed after her – here after is redundant because follow means ‘to be behind someone’ hence after is unnecessary here.

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 – Jane put the shoes in the rack but it slid down.

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

  • ‘Jane put the shoes in the rack and the shoes slid down’ /or
  • ‘Jane put the shoes in the rack and the rack slid down’.

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:

Wrong use of words may make the whole sentence wrong. Hence selection of the right word at the right place is very important.

For better understanding, few diction examples are given below. Try to practice these and other diction words available on the internet to clear all the doubts related to this topic.

While using wording function it is important to understand the difference between:

  • Homonyms – Two or more words having the same spelling or pronunciation but different meaning.
  • Homophones – Two or more words having different spelling and meaning but are pronounced alike.
sentence construction rules

 

Sample Questions

Question 1:

Which of the phrases given below each sentence should replace the phrase printed in bold type to make the grammatically correct? If the sentence is correct as it is, mark ‘E’ as the answer.

You need not come unless you want to.

a. You don’t need to come unless you want to.

b. You come only when you want to.

c. You come unless you don’t want to.

d. You needn’t come until you don’t want to

e. No correction required

Answer: A (You don’t need to come unless you want to.)

Question 2:

Which of the phrases given below each sentence should replace the phrase printed in bold type to make the grammatically correct? If the sentence is correct as it is, mark ‘E’ as the answer.

He is too important for tolerating any delay.

a. to tolerate

b. to tolerating

c. at tolerating

d. with tolerating

e. No correction required

Answer: A (to tolerate)