GMAT grammar: Master the language and ace the test

Updated on: Feb 19, 2024
GMAT grammar: Master the language and ace the test
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The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a standardised test that measures the aptitude and skills of individuals aspiring to pursue a graduate management program, such as an MBA (Master of Business Administration). One crucial aspect of the GMAT is grammar, as it assesses the test-taker's proficiency in written English, including sentence structure, punctuation, and usage.

Mastering GMAT grammar is essential for achieving a high score on the test and demonstrating strong communication skills, which are critical in the business world.

In this article, we will explore the importance of GMAT grammar, highlight key grammar concepts tested in the GMAT, and provide tips on how to ace the test by mastering the language.

Importance of GMAT grammar

GMAT grammar is of paramount importance as it directly impacts a test-taker's performance on the verbal section of the exam. A strong grasp of grammar is essential for achieving a high score and effectively conveying ideas in a clear and coherent manner. Here are some reasons why mastering GMAT grammar is crucial for you:

Also read: How to prepare for an online GMAT exam

1. Communication skills

GMAT grammar is not just about following rules, but also about effective communication. Business schools value applicants who can express their ideas clearly and concisely, as this skill is essential for success in graduate business programs and professional settings. By mastering GMAT grammar, test-takers can demonstrate their proficiency in written English, which is critical for crafting coherent and persuasive arguments in the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) section, as well as answering Reading Comprehension and Critical Reasoning questions in the Verbal section.

Also read: GMAT Integrated Reasoning section

2. Accuracy and precision

GMAT questions are designed to be challenging, and even minor grammatical errors can change the meaning of a sentence or a passage. Test-takers who are proficient in GMAT grammar can accurately identify errors and choose the correct answer choice, avoiding traps and pitfalls that may be intentionally set to test their grammar skills. Precise grammar usage also helps in conveying ideas with clarity, leaving no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.

3. Time management

GMAT is a time-limited exam, and efficient time management is crucial for success. Test-takers who are well-versed in GMAT grammar can quickly spot and correct grammatical errors, saving precious time during the exam. This allows them to allocate more time to other sections, such as Quantitative and Integrated Reasoning, which can significantly impact their overall score.

Also read: GMAT Geometry Strategies

4. Test-taking strategies

Mastering GMAT grammar also enables test-takers to employ effective strategies for tackling different types of verbal questions. For example, understanding subject-verb agreement rules can help eliminate answer choices that contain incorrect verb forms, narrowing down the options and increasing the chances of selecting the correct answer. Similarly, understanding modifiers and their correct placement can help identify answer choices with misplaced or ambiguous modifiers.

5. Confidence and performance

Confidence plays a crucial role in test performance. When test-takers are confident in their grammar skills, they are more likely to approach verbal questions with clarity and accuracy, resulting in better performance. On the other hand, weak grammar skills may lead to confusion, hesitation, and lower confidence, which can negatively impact overall test performance.

Also Read: GMAT or GRE MBA Admission

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Key grammar concepts tested in the GMAT

The GMAT Verbal section assesses a test-taker's grammar skills through a variety of question types, including Sentence Correction, Critical Reasoning, and Reading Comprehension. Here are some key grammar concepts that are commonly tested in the GMAT:

1. Subject-Verb Agreement

One of the fundamental rules of grammar is ensuring that the subject and verb in a sentence agree in number. For singular subjects, a singular verb should be used, and for plural subjects, a plural verb should be used.

For example: "The cat (singular subject) is (singular verb) sleeping" and “The cats (plural subject) are (plural verb) sleeping.” GMAT Sentence Correction questions often test this concept, requiring test-takers to identify and correct errors in subject-verb agreement.

2. Verb tenses

GMAT questions may test the correct usage of verb tenses, including past, present, and future tenses. Understanding when to use each tense and how they relate to other parts of a sentence is crucial for conveying ideas accurately.

For example: "I have completed (present perfect tense) the report" vs. "I completed (simple past tense) the report." Test-takers should be proficient in identifying and using the appropriate verb tense in different contexts.

Also read: GMAT vocabulary you need to know to pass

3. Pronouns

Pronouns are words that take the place of nouns, such as he, she, it, they, etc. GMAT questions may test pronoun usage, including pronoun agreement and pronoun reference. Test-takers should be familiar with rules such as ensuring pronouns agree in number and gender with their antecedents (the noun they refer to) and avoiding ambiguous pronoun references.

For example: "John said he will submit his report" vs. "John said they will submit their report." Test-takers should be able to identify and correct errors in pronoun usage.

4. Modifiers

Modifiers are words or phrases that provide additional information about nouns, verbs, or other parts of a sentence. GMAT questions may test the correct placement and usage of modifiers.

For example: "The big, red apple" vs. "The red, big apple." Understanding the rules for using adjectives and adverbs, as well as their correct placement, is crucial for conveying meaning accurately and avoiding misplaced or ambiguous modifiers.

Also Read: GMAT Test Resources

5. Parallelism

Parallelism refers to using consistent grammatical structures in a sentence or a list. GMAT questions may test parallelism in various contexts, such as lists, comparisons, and verb forms. Test-takers should be able to identify and correct errors in parallelism, such as inconsistent verb forms or inconsistent structures in a list.

For example: "She likes to swim, run, and hiking" vs. "She likes to swim, run, and hike." Ensuring parallelism creates a sense of balance and clarity in a sentence.

6. Idiomatic expressions

GMAT questions may test the correct usage of idiomatic expressions, which are common phrases or expressions that have a specific meaning in English. These expressions often do not follow strict grammar rules and require memorization.

For example: "Depend on" vs. "Depend upon," or "Prefer to" vs. "Prefer over." Test-takers should be familiar with commonly tested idiomatic expressions and use them correctly in sentences.

7. Sentence construction

GMAT questions may test overall sentence construction, including word order, syntax, and clarity. Test-takers should be able to identify and correct errors in sentence structure, such as run-on sentences, sentence fragments, and awkward sentence constructions. A well-constructed sentence conveys ideas clearly and concisely, which is crucial for effective communication.

Also read: Create your GMAT Study Plan

3 tips to master the language to ace the GMAT

Mastering the language is essential for acing the GMAT, as it helps test-takers to accurately understand and analyse the grammar concepts tested in the Verbal section.

Here are some tips on how to master the language and excel in the GMAT:

1. Build a strong foundation

Start by building a solid foundation in English grammar. Review the fundamental grammar rules, including subject-verb agreement, verb tenses, pronouns, modifiers, parallelism, idiomatic expressions, and word usage. Use reputable grammar resources, such as grammar textbooks, online grammar guides, and grammar practice exercises, to strengthen your understanding of these concepts.

2. Practise regularly

Practice is key to mastering the language. Take advantage of GMAT practice exams, official GMAT Verbal practice questions, and other reputable practice resources to expose yourself to different types of grammar questions and hone your skills. Analyse your mistakes and learn from them to improve your grammar proficiency.

3. Read widely

Read a variety of materials, such as newspapers, magazines, articles, and books, to expose yourself to different writing styles, sentence structures, and grammar concepts. Pay attention to how authors use grammar rules to convey meaning and create clear and coherent sentences. Challenge yourself with materials that are slightly above your comfort level to push yourself to learn new grammar concepts.

Also read: Prepare for MBA without GMAT | GMAT Exam Pattern


Strong grammar skills are essential for accurately understanding and analysing the grammar concepts tested in the GMAT Verbal section. Diligent preparation and a thorough understanding of grammar concepts are key to confidently approaching the GMAT Verbal section and achieving a high score. So, invest time and effort in mastering the language, and you will be well-equipped to tackle the GMAT and achieve your desired results.

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Frequently asked questions

How important is grammar in the GMAT?

Grammar is highly important in the GMAT, as it constitutes a significant portion of the Verbal section, which accounts for one out of the four sections in the GMAT. Accurate understanding and application of grammar concepts are crucial for achieving a high score on the GMAT.

How can I improve my grammar skills for the GMAT?

You can improve your grammar skills for the GMAT by building a strong foundation in English grammar, practising regularly with reputable GMAT Verbal practice resources, reading widely, reviewing grammar concepts in context, learning idiomatic expressions, developing a systematic approach, reviewing and learning from mistakes, and seeking help when needed.

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