Welcome to the most dreaded, yet one of the most important test-areas of Bank Examinations: GRAMMAR. English Grammar is something many of us have always loved to hate. But, you have to understand now that it is your future, considering that it is an important part of every major competitive examination. The paper-setters know the fact that grammar is the Achilles’ heel (of most students) and believe me; they always go for the jugular, catching the students’ unawares by the scruff of the neck.
But Wait! Do these Bank Exams test you on those prissy, schoolmarmish, prudish or puristic rules of grammar; or on Standard Correct Usage? Well, exams like the IBPS and SBI test you on Usage and not on rigorous rules of traditional grammar.
Rather than studying grammar extensively, we will try to summarize things and narrow down upon things that are most commonly found in our major exams. Generally, when we come across any sentence, we start looking at the punctuation and articles for figuring out the errors. But, is that what the real problem is? Not really! As, 90% of the questions that are asked in Error Finding check you on standard usage and sense of language.
So, what exactly should we check in a sentence when finding errors?
We must check the following in the respective order:
- Parallel Construction
- Subject – Verb Agreement
- Miscellaneous (Conjunctions, Prepositions, Pronouns etc…)
- Then, if there’s still a scope; check Articles etc
As stated above; in 90% of the questions, you won’t even reach point 4 and 5 as majority of the sentences the error is detected while checking the first two points only.
Let’s now understand how to apply the points stated above practically:
- Parallel Construction: Parallel Construction = Consistency
Example: She researches cell membranes and walls (incorrect)
Is she a biologist, or an interior designer or a biologist with interest in interior designing? The revision in the sentence will make the meaning clear:
She researches cell membranes and cell walls (correct). Now, the meaning is clear. Isn’t it?
Example: Not only do I like to ski, but I also like trekking (incorrect)
The verb used in the first part of the sentence is an infinitive (to + verb 1st form) ‘to ski’ and in the second part of the sentence is a gerund ‘trekking’ (verb + ing). The above sentence hence can be fixed in two ways:
Not only do I like to ski, but I also like to trek (correct)
Not only do I like skiing, but I also like trekking (correct)
- Use parallel structures when organizing items in a series or a list
- Noun + Noun + Noun: He likes roses, violets and bicycles
- Verb + Verb + Verb: When she was on stage, she danced, sang and acted like an angel
- Infinitive + Infinitive + Infinitive: I like to sing, (to) draw, and (to) write poetry
And so on…..
2. Ideas similar in content and expression should be expressed similarly
2. Subject- Verb Agreement:
Subject: A person or a thing that is being discussed, described or dealt with and one who or which performs the verb (work) in the sentence.
Example: Rahul walks to school everyday
In the above sentence walks is the verb. Now ask, who walks? The answer is your Subject. Rahul performs the work of the sentence (Rahul walks) so this makes Rahul the subject of the above example.
So, in order to find the right subject of the sentence, find the verb first and then ask; who is performing that work!
Once you find the right Subject; make the Verb in the sentence agree with the Subject!
Example: Your copy of these rules are kept on the desk (incorrect)
What is kept on the desk? Copy (Copy of rules) not the rules themselves; hence copy is the Subject! Copy is a Singular Subject that should be followed by a Singular Verb. So;
Your copy of rules is kept on the table (correct)
Example: Only a handful of the protesters remains (incorrect)
We can clearly see that; the Subject in the above sentence ie; Handful (of people) is plural and should be followed by a plural verb. So;
Only a handful of the protesters remain (correct)
- Singular Subjects → Singular Verbs
- Plural Subjects → Plural Verbs
All the Best!
Happy Studies 🙂