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Removing Fluff from Sentences

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Transcript

In this last video, the grammar basics section, I'll discuss a point of strategy, namely, removing fluff from sentences. What exactly do we mean by this? Well the core of every sentence is the main subject and the main verb. You may remember from the previous videos, every sentence must have at least one independent clause.

And the independent clause of a sentence, the subject and verb of that clause is the main subject of the main verb of the sentence. So every sentence needs a main subject and a main verb, and every clause even a subordinate clause needs its own subject and verb. So the question is, how do we find these? How do we identify these?

To find the main subject and main verb, and the subject and verb of each clause. Eliminate all the prepositional phrases, all the modifiers, adverbs and adjectives, and all modifying phrases and clauses, and that will allow you to hone in on the core of each sentence and the core of each clause. This might be the single most important skill on the GMAT. In other words, if you're able to do this, you're able to see the fundamental structure of a sentence.

So suppose we look at a very complicated sentence. This particular sentence happens to be 7th amendment of the United States constitutions from the Bill of Rights. And incidentally, you wanna see very sophisticated, very complicated sentences, look at the sentences they use in the Declaration of Independence in the constitution, some very sophisticated writing there.

So this particular sentence, we start with some prepositional phrases. In suits at common law, prepositional phrases, then we get to a relative adverb, so this is beginning a subordinate clause now, where the value in the controversy shall exceed $20, so that's all a subordinate clause. Now we get to the independent clause, the right. Okay? That's a noun.

Then we have preposition, preposition, shall be preserved. We have a noun and a verb. There we go, a main noun and a main verb, and the independent clause. Then we get to a coordinating conjunction, and this is joining us to another independent clause. So then we get another noun, no fact.

Then we get a modifier, shall be re-examined. So we get a second noun and a second verb. Then we have some more prepositional phrases, some more modifying stuff. So what we have here is a sentence with two independent clauses, and we also have a subordinate clause. So let's go back and look at the subordinate clause.

So we have the relative adverb at the beginning, then inside this we have a noun, and shall exceed. That's the verb inside the clause. So the subordinate clause has its own noun and verb, and then there is two intermittent clauses each with their own noun and verb. And again, this ability to find the main noun and the main verb in each independent clause and find the noun and verb in each subordinate clause, this is a crucial ability on GMAT sentence correction.

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