Friday, June 30, 2006

Even if vs even though

Even if - means whether or not and has to do with the conditions that may apply. Even if is used as a conjunction.(even alone cannot act as a conjunction).

Even though - Even though means despite the fact that and is a more emphatic version of though and although.

The link below clearly explains the difference between even though and even if.

even though vs even if

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Rather than vs Instead of

Rather than - shows preference. This expression is generally used in 'parallel' structures. e.g - with two nouns, adjectives, adverbs, infinitives or -ing forms. 


1). We ought to invest in machinery rather than buildings.
2). I prefer starting early rather than leaving things to the last minute.

When the main clause has a to - infinitive, rather than is usually followed by an infinitive without to or -ing form

e.g. - I decided to write rather than phone/phoning.

Instead of - suggests that one person, thing or action replaces another. Instead is not used alone as a preposition; we use the two words instead of.
Instead of is not usually followed by an infinitive.


1). I'll have tea instead of coffee, please.
2). I stayed in bed all day instead of going to work.
3). Amit was invited to the reception, but he was ill, so Akash went instead of him.

Note - Instead (without of) is an adverb. It begins or ends a clause usually.

e.g. - She didn't go to Greece after all. Instead , she went to America.


Usage --- instead of + noun phrase. Instead of is only a preposition and can introduce only a phrase i.e no verb.

Usage --- rather than + verb (or) rather than + noun. Further rather than can act as a preposition and can introduce a prepositional phrase or can act as a conjunction and introduce a clause


Mr. EGG explains the usage in simple way via cartoon on the link below: 
rather than usage

To understand the use of the above concept view questions 22 and 23 by clicking on the link below.

Although vs Though vs Even though

Although - linking word - expresses the idea of contrast.

e.g. - Although Amit has a car, he doesn't often drive it.

The clause with although can come at the end.

e.g. - Although the cafe was crowded, we found a table. OR We found a table, although the cafe was crowded.

Though - is informal. It means the same as although.

e.g. - Though / Although I liked the sweater, I decided not to buy it.

We can use though at the end of a sentence.

e.g. - I liked the sweater. I decided not to buy it, though.

Even though - is stronger, more emphatic than although.

e.g. -
1). Ram looked quite fresh, even though he'd been playing cricket.
2). Even though you dislike Sanya, you should try to be nice to her.

Note - We can use in spite of the fact (that) in the same way as although.

e.g. -
I'm no better, although I've taken the pills.
I'm no better in spite of the fact that I've taken pills.

Quick Tip only for GMAT -- Applicable most of the times but not always ...

Even though -- when the condition given is negative but the outcome/result is positive
e.g. -- Even though Ram hadn't studied, he passed the exam.

Although -- when the condition given is positive but the outcome/result is negative
e.g. -- Although Ram had studied very hard, he did not score well.

Mr. EGG explains the usage in simple way via cartoon on the link below: 
Although vs. Even though

Using Absolute Phrases

An absolute phrase -- is a modifier generally made from a noun or noun phrase and a participle. It can modify a noun or pronoun or the whole of the base sentence to which it is attached.

e.g - Teeth chattering, we waited for hours in the bitter cold.

Sails flapping, the boat tugged at its mooring.

The participle may be expanded into a participle phrase --

Sails flapping in the brisk morning breeze, the boat tugged at its mooring.

An absolute phrase with other combinations

1). Noun and adverb phrase - Ram sat back comfortable, feet up on the desk.

2). Noun and adjective - Muscles taut, he hefted the barbells to his chest.

3). Noun and adjective phrase - She waved to the crowd, her face radiant with triumph.

4). Noun and adverb - Shoulders hunched, Ronaldo zigzagged past the linebacker.

We can use various absolute phrases in succession - Hair golden, eyes blue, body slender and tanned, he personified the California look.

Note - We can put an absolute phrase at the beginning of a sentence or at the end, setting it off with a comma.

We can also put an absolute phrase in the middle.

e.g - The speaker, his voice trembling with rage, denounced the hecklers. (note the pair of commas)

See the sentence number 14 at the link below


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tenses - 1

If an action began in the past and continues into the present, use the present perfect tense.(Present Perfect = HAVE/ HAS + Past participle).

e.g - We have lived in a big mansion for five days.
(We lived in a big mansion for five days and still live there today)

If an action precedes an earlier past action, use the past perfect tense.(Past Perfect = HAD + Past Participle)

e.g - The play had started by the time we arrived at the theater.
(The earlier past action -- had started - is in the past perfect tense, while the later past action - arrived - is in the simple past tense.)

Otherwise, stick to simple tenses - as GMAT prefers simplicity.

e.g -

Incorrect - I think that ancient people HAD BELIEVED in many Gods.

Correct - I think that ancient people BELIEVED in many Gods.

In the above sentence the past perfect (had believed) is unnecessary because the sentence involves only one action in the past tense. Therefore, the simple past (believed) is correct.

Note the difference in meanings in the two sentences stated below

When I switched the TV on, the programme started. I was just in time.

When I switched the TV on, the programme had started. I missed the beginning.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Though ..... yet

1). When though is used with a verb in the subjunctive mood (expressing doubt, a condition contrary-to-fact, a wish, a concession) is followed by yet and not by but;

Though he might not have recognized me, yet it is rude of him.
Though she disallowed me, yet I will go to her.
Though he is poor, yet he is respected.

2). When though is used with a verb in indicative mood (expressing a fact or making a statement) a comma is used in place of yet.

Though he is my relation, I shall not spare him.
Though she is known to me, I shall not favour her.

Since vs For

Since / For

Since -- indicates a point in time.(since + starting point)

e.g - I have lived in Bangalore since 1991.
e.g - It's been raining since the beginning of the month.

For -- indicates the length of a period of time.(for + period of time)

e.g - I have lived in Bangalore for ten years
e.g - My mother will be in Delhi for the next ten days.

She'd been working there since a long time - Incorrect
She'd been working there for a long time - Correct

Friday, June 23, 2006

Few quick tips

1). There is -- considered wordy and may be frequently be omitted to create a more concise sentence.

2). When more is used in the comparative form of an adjective (more difficult) or adverb (more likely), it is followed by than.

3). They or it should not be used without definite antecedents. It must always be able to replace a noun.

e.g -- In that store they make a customer feel stupid.--- they is referring to whom? Here use of they is incorrect as there is no antecedent for they in this sentence so instead of they a proper noun should be used.

Note:In expressions of time and weather antecedent of it is not given.

e.g -- It is too hot today.

4). Subject form of pronoun always comes after ‘than’ or ‘as’.

e.g -- Peggy is smaller than I (am).

5). Because of is not same as caused by. An adverbial phrase beginning with because of answers the question "why" ?

e.g -- He is distrusted because of his deviousness. Here because of his deviousness is an adverbial phrase.

Why is he distrusted ? because of his deviousness.

6). Due to means caused by - Use due to only if it can be substituted by caused by.

7). Even if is used in conditional sentences to mean 'it doesn't matter if'.

e.g -- I will go on a tour of Europe next year even if none of you want to come with me.

8). We use a singular verb with the phrase the number of.

e.g -- The number of club members has increased this year.

9). We use a plural verb with the phrase a number of.

e.g -- A number of students were absent today.

10). Use of IN

i). IN + year / month / season

e.g -- in 1988 ; in september ; in winter ; in 21st century

ii). IN + a week or more

e.g -- in the easter holiday ; in the summer term

iii). IN + part of day

e.g -- in the morning ; in the evening

11). Use of ON

i). ON + day / date

e.g -- on wednesday ; on 15 April ; on that day

ii). ON + a single day

e.g -- on Easter monday ; on Christmas Day

iii). ON + day + part of day

e.g -- on Friday morning ; on Tuesday evening

12). Use of AT

i). AT + clock time / meal time

e.g -- at three o'clock ; at lunch (- time) ; at that time ; at the moment

ii). AT + two or three days

e.g -- at Easter / Christmas ; at the weekend (US : on the weekend)

Note - Exceptions - I woke up in the night (= in the middle of the night) ; It happened on Monday night ; I can't sleep at night (= when it is night)

13). We do not use in, on, or at before every, last, next, this, tomorrow and yesterday.

14). In time means 'early enough'

15). On time means at the right time , on schedule

I will keep updating this post .

If... Then construction

Tip for SC -- Conditional Rule

Whenever you come across the If .. Then construction in the sentence -- Follow the rule below.

IF Clause Then Clause

Present will + Base Verb

If Ram wins... he will give ...........

Past would/could + Base verb

If Ram won... he would give........

Past Perfect would/could + have + Participle

If Ram had won... he would have given.....

Sentence number 20 at below link shows the use of this rule.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Like vs. As

Like - used to compare two nouns.


Incorrect - Gita and Sita, as their mother Reema, are extremely smart.
Correct - Gita and Sita, like their mother Reema, are extremely smart.

As - used to compare two clauses. (A clause is a phrase that includes a verb).

Incorrect - Just like swimming is good exercise, running is a way to burn calories.
Correct - Just as swimming is good exercise, running is a way to burn calories.

Note : Do not use Like when you mean for example.

Gmat Sentence Correction Example - Click on the link below and see sentence number 38

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It vs It's

Never confuse It with It's

A). Its - is a possessive determiner. (Possessive Pronoun)

Meaning - belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned or easily identified.

e.g - Turn the camera on its side.

B). It's - short form for either it is or it has.(Contraction)

e.g - 1). It's my fault. 2). It's been a hot day.

If you have trouble keeping them straight, try remembering this phrase:

Use its like his ; use it's like he's.

1). His tact impressed us. --- He's tactful.
2). Its beauty pleased us. --- It's beautiful.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Like vs Such As

What's the difference between "like" and "such as"?

Common usage errors on GMAT:

Can you buy me some fruit like apples or pomegranate?

Why the above sentence is wrong?

Use of "like" in the above sentence mistakenly suggests that the speaker does not want apples or pomegranate, but rather some other fruit that is similar to apples or watermelon.

On GMAT, "like" means "similar to", and "such as" means "for example".


Can you buy me some fruit like apples or watermelon?

In GMAT, this sentence implies that the speaker does NOT want apples or watermelon; instead, he prefers some fruit similar to apples and watermelon.

Correct - Can you buy me some fruit such as apples or watermelon?apples and watermelon are examples of the type of fruit we want.
I would like you to buy such fruit as apples and watermelon for me.
This is simply a variation -- notice how such and as are separated.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Subjunctive Verbs

Subjunctive Verbs

A subjunctive verb is used to express -

(1) conditional tenses, most of which involves would and were.

(2) wishes and demands, the construction of which follows two strict rules
(a) that always comes right after the verb, and
(b) the second verb is always in the infinitive form and should is always omitted.

The second use of a subjunctive construction

1). The following verbs are used --- with such a construction to express importance (in such moods only).
Also remember that such verbs have other forms of usage (followed by to infinitive, for example) when used in other moods.

suggest .


The Indian government demanded that the UK pay compensations for damages of the Indian embassy.

2. Nouns derived from subjunctive verbs above are also used with the construction.



The UK is considering the proposal that it pay compensations for damages of the Indian embassy.

3. The adjectives below are also used to express subjunctive moods -



It is essential that the UK pay compensation for the Indian government for the damages of the Indian embassy.

How to apply on Gmat questions:

The Forton-Dodd bill requires that a bank disclose to their customers how long they will delay access to funds from deposited checks.

A.that a bank disclose to their customers how long they will delay access to funds from deposited checks

B. a bank to disclose to their customers how long they will delay access to funds from a deposited check.

C. that a bank disclose to its customers how long it will delay access to funds from deposited checks

D. a bank that it should disclose to its customers how long it will delay access to funds from a deposited check

E. that banks disclosed to customers how long access to funds from their deposited check is to be delayed

Answer and Explanation -

Ans - C.
D, E - Subjunctive mood rules violated. In D, requires a bank that it should is ungrammatical; requires that a bank is the appropriate idiom. In E, the use of the passive construction is to be delayed is less informative than the
active voice because the passive does not explicitly identify the bank as the agent responsible for the delay
B, like D and E, illogically shifts from the plural customers and funds to the singular check, as if the customers were jointly depositing only one check
A, C - are all fine in the subjunctive rules while B conforms with the use of require someone to do something.
The next point to choose the answer is a pronoun reference. Their and they in A and B do not agree with singular noun bank so these two choices get eliminated also.

See sentence number 47 at the link below

Gmat Idioms

Most frequently used Idioms and idiomatic usages in Gmat questions -

allow for
argue over
at a disadvantage
attribute to
between A and B

capable of
consider (without as, to be etc.)
consist of
contribute to
cost of something
cost to someone
be credited with
be given credit for
- e.g Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer and mathematician, is credited with designating positions on Earth.Hipparchus, a Greek astronomer and mathematician, is given credit for designating positions on Earth.
debate over
define as
different from
distinguish A from B
distinguish between A and B
either A or B
forbid to
from A to B

in danger of
just as + clause, so too + clause
mistake for
model after
a native of
be native to
neither A nor B
not A but Bnot only A but also B (also observe parallelism)
not so much as
prevent from
prohibit from
persuade to
range from A to B
regard as
require to
required of
see as
so + adj. + as to
so + adj./adv. + that + clause
substitute A for B
view as
whether (not if and without
or not)

Here are few more IDIOMS

able to do something
ability to do something
ability in something
absent from
acclaim to be
acclaim as
act as

accede to
accepted into + group
accepted to + college/ university
accepted at + college/ university
access to
accustom to
according to
account for
accuse of
acquaint with
adapt from
adapt to something
addicted to something
admit of something
advantage of something
afraid of
afflicted with
agree with
X agree on + doing something X (change to agree to do something)
agree on + something
agree to something
agree to do something
aid + somebody/ something
aid something + in + doing something
allow for
amount to
angry at/ with
appeal to somebody

appear to
apply to
approach (the noun, not the verb) to something
approve of
argue over
argue with
argue about something
argue for something
arrive at
as __ as
ask of
associate with
assure that
at a disadvantage
attempt to
attend to
attention to
attest to
attribute to
available to
averse to
aiming to
aim at
aware of
aversion to/ for/ toward something

based on
because of
believe to be
between [a] and [b]

call for
craving for
choice of
choose from
choose to
claim to
collaborate with
conclude that
consequence of
consistent with
continue to
contrast with
contribute to
convert to
cost to/of
credit with
comply with
conform to
consider to be
composed of
compare with/to
consist in
consist with
consist of
correspond to
correspond with

date from
deal with
debate over
decide to
defend against
define as
delighted by
demonstrate that
depend on
depict as
descend from
different from
difficult to
distinguish [a] from [b]
draw on
due to
desirous of
divergent from
decide on

[in an] effort to
enamored with
encourage to
estimate to be
expose to
extend to
extent of
equal to
expected to

fear that
fluctuations in
forbid to
force to
frequency of
from [a] to [b]
fail in hypothesize that

in contrast to
in danger of
in order to
in violation of
inclined to
infected with
instead of
introduce to
isolate from
intent to
in search of
increase in

just as…so too

less than
likely to
liken to mistake for

model after
more than
move away from
meet with

[a] native of
native to
not [a] but [b]
not only…but also
not so much…as
necessity of
necessity for
negotiations with

on account of
opportunity for
opportunity to
opposed to
opposite of
ought to

prejudiced against
permit to
persuade to
predisposed to
pressure to
prevent from
prized by
prohibit from
protect against
provide with
preferable to
prior to
partake of
practice for
practice to
practice of

question whether

range from [a] to [b]
rather than
regard as
replace with
require to
required of
[the] responsibility to
responsible for
result from, result in
rule that
result of

[the] same as
see as, send to
sense of so…that
spend on
subject to
substitute [a] for [b]
suffer from
superior to
supplant by
suspicious of
sympathy for
sympathize with
separate from

target at
think of…as
threaten to
train to
transit to
try to
type of
tamper with
tie to
tend to
to seek support from

use as
[the] use of

view as
vote for

willing to
worry about

Problems with comparatives

Problems with Comparatives


1. Specific similarlity = as + adj./adv. + as

2. Comparative = adj./adv.: more + adj./adv. + than or / + than

3. Superlative = adj./adv.: the most + adj./adv. or
the adj.est/adv.est

Always remember some irregular adjectives/adverbs like these -

good - better - best

far - farther or further - farthest or furthest
little - less - least
many/much - more - most
bad - worse - worst

Points to remember

1). Be sure that you make a comparison with logically comparable nouns. You cannot compare a company in India with USA but you can compare a company in India and a company in USA.

You usually use "that of" or "those of" instead of repeating a noun to express a logical comparative.


Incorrect: A car in India is much different from USA
Correct: A car in India is much different from that of USA

Incorrect: The question whether to divest themselves of stock in companies that do business in South Africa is particularly troublesome for the nations 16 private Black colleges because their economic bases are often more fragile than most predominantly White colleges.

Correct: The question whether to divest themselves of stock in companies that do business in South Africa is particularly troublesome for the naiton’s 16 private Black colleges because their economic bases are often more fragile than those of most predominantly White colleges.

You’re comparing between economic bases of Black colleges and economic bases of White colleges.

2). Take care while using these pairs of similar words -

the same as - the same
similar to - similar
different from - different
like - alike

The formers are always followed by noun while the latters aren’t.


American cultures are (the same as/similar to/different from/like) those of England.
American cultures and those of England are (the same/similar/different/alike).

3). Multiple numbers (half/twice/three times/ten times etc.) are always used with as much/many as


USA has roughly twice as many people as India (does).

4). Fewer than and less than - Always use fewer than with a countable noun and leave an uncountable noun for less than. Fortunately you don’t have a problem between more (many) than and more (much) than!


There are fewer people in Japan than there are in India. People in Japan spend less time at home than do Americans.

5). Double comparatives - Remember this structure; The more ..........., the more........


Incorrect: Dr. Hakuta’s research among Hispanic children in the United States indicates that the more the children use both Spanish and English , their intellectual advantage is greater in skills underlying reading ability and nonverbal logic.

Correct: Dr. Hakuta’s research among Hispanic children in the United States indicates that the more the children use both Spanish and English , the greater their intellectual advantage in skills underlying reading ability and nonverbal logic.