GRE: Master the Verbal with Grammar Power!

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Feeling lost in the jungle of GRE grammar rules? Fear not, warriors! This guide equips you with the tools to dissect sentences, conquer verb tenses, and ace the GRE Verbal Reasoning section.

GRE Verbal Reasoning: Demystifying Sentence Structure

The GRE Verbal Reasoning section assesses your understanding of grammar and your ability to analyze written language. Here's a breakdown of key topics related to sentence structure, along with examples, exercises, and study tips:

Basic Sentence Structure:

Concepts: A sentence is a group of words that expresses a complete thought. It typically has a subject (who or what the sentence is about) and a predicate (what is said about the subject).

Example: The dog (subject) chased the ball (predicate).

Exercise: Identify the subject and predicate in the sentence: "The energetic children played outside all afternoon." (Subject: children, Predicate: played outside all afternoon)

Study Tip: Understand the basic components of a sentence (subject and predicate) and practice identifying them in various sentences.

Nouns, Pronouns, and Adjectives:

Concepts: Nouns are words that name people, places, things, or ideas (e.g., dog, park, freedom). Pronouns replace nouns to avoid repetition (e.g., he, she, it, they). Adjectives describe nouns or pronouns (e.g., big, happy, interesting).

Example: The red car (adjective + noun) parked next to the house (pronoun) belongs to my neighbor.

Exercise: Identify the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives in the sentence: "The beautiful flowers bloomed brightly in the warm sunshine."

Study Tip: Learn to distinguish between nouns, pronouns, and adjectives based on their function in a sentence.

Verb Tense:

Concepts: Verbs indicate actions, states of being, or occurrences. They change form to show tense (past, present, future).

Example: She walks (present tense) to the store every day. She walked (past tense) to the store yesterday. She will walk (future tense) to the store tomorrow.

Exercise: Identify the verb tense used in each sentence: "I wrote a letter yesterday. I am writing a letter now. I will write a letter tomorrow."

Study Tip: Master the different verb tenses and practice using them correctly in context.

Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions:

Concepts: Idioms are expressions with figurative meanings that cannot be understood literally (e.g., "kick the bucket" means to die).

Example: The speaker kicked the bucket after a long illness. (Literal meaning nonsensical, figurative meaning: died)

Exercise: Identify the idiom and its meaning in the sentence: "He finally saw the light and changed his mind." (Meaning: came to understand something)

Study Tip: Learn common idioms and their meanings to improve your reading comprehension and avoid misinterpretations.

Pronoun Agreement:

Concepts: Pronouns should agree with the nouns they refer to in terms of number (singular/plural) and person (first/second/third).

Example: Each student (singular) received (singular verb) their (singular pronoun) own (adjective) test.

Exercise: Identify and correct any pronoun agreement errors in the sentence: "The team worked hard and achieved its goals." (Correct: The team worked hard and achieved their goals)

Study Tip: Pay attention to the antecedent (noun a pronoun refers to) and ensure the pronoun agrees in number and person.

Subject-Verb Agreement:

Concepts: The subject and verb in a sentence must agree in number (singular/plural).

Example: The cat (singular) chases (singular verb) the butterflies (plural).

Exercise: Identify and correct any subject-verb agreement errors in the sentence: "The flowers in the vase smells beautiful." (Correct: The flowers in the vase smell beautiful)

Study Tip: Identify the subject and verb in a sentence and ensure they agree in number.


Concepts: Modifiers are words or phrases that provide additional information about nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. They can be adjectives, adverbs, or prepositional phrases.

Example: The tall (adjective modifying noun) building with the red roof (prepositional phrase modifying noun) stands on the corner.

Exercise: Identify the modifiers and the words they modify in the sentence: "The runner quickly crossed the finish line in first place."

Study Tip: Recognize different types of modifiers and how they function in sentences to enhance clarity and


Concepts: Parallelism involves using similar grammatical structures for ideas that are presented together. It creates balance, rhythm, and clarity in sentences.

Example: I enjoy reading, writing, and learning new things. (Parallel structure using gerunds)

Exercise: Identify and correct any issues with parallelism in the sentence: "She likes to dance, sing, and playing the piano." (Correct: She likes to dance, sing, and play the piano)

Study Tip: Pay attention to the structure of sentences with lists or comparisons. Ensure ideas are phrased similarly for parallel structure.

Additional Tips:

Practice with real GRE questions: Look for practice problems that target specific grammar rules and sentence structure concepts.

Focus on understanding, not memorizing: Don't just memorize grammar rules. Strive to understand the logic behind them to improve your sentence analysis skills.

Read high-quality writing: Expose yourself to well-written material (articles, books) to improve your understanding of proper sentence structure and usage.

Utilize online resources: Many online resources offer GRE prep materials, including grammar lessons and practice exercises.

By mastering these fundamental concepts of sentence structure and practicing with relevant exercises, you'll be well-equipped to tackle the challenges of the GRE Verbal Reasoning section. Remember, a strong foundation in grammar will enhance your reading comprehension and improve your overall performance on the GRE.