I really shouldn’t say “new” since this is a trend that’s been happening for several years. This trend I’m talking about is a shift away from idioms on the GMAT exam and a shift towards more meaning-based sentence correction GMAT questions.
What do we mean by “Meaning-based” SC questions?
Well, here’s one example coming from a student preparing for her GMAT.
I am confused with this example.
Q: The olympic games helped to keep peace among the pugnacious states of the Greek world in that a sacred truce was proclaimed during the festival’s month.
B) world, proclaiming a sacred truce during the festival s month
D) world, for a sacred truce was proclaimed during the month of the festival
Why this is D?
I did not understand the placement of for.
In the OG it is said that
In that …. Means inasmuchas
So here we pay attention to meaning.
“The olympic games kept peace among [these guys]” …OK, how did they do that?
Well, what follows “in that [blah blah blah]” attempts to explain how.
So the olympic games did X—and how did they do X? They did it “in that [blah blah blah]”
“in that” sounds a bit weird – but the essential meaning is there. We just need to find an answer choice that conveys this meaning but is worded in a more GMAT-friendly style.
(D) says the Olympic games did X [FOR] “a sacred truced was proclaimed”
Although not common, this is a proper way of wording an explanation – by using the word “for” and following it with reason.
Think of it like this:”Olympic game kept peace… FOR [this reason]” – so this makes sense and is what we want.
Let’s analyze (B):
Try to swap the -ING verb in the beginning to make sense of it like so:
“Proclaiming a sacred truce, the Olympic games helped to keep peace….”
Grammatically, this is OK – but it conveys a slightly different meaning from the original sentence. (B) simply says that the Olympic games is “proclaiming a sacred truce” and that it helped to keep peace among [X]. But it does not say that the first part is the REASON or EXPLANATION for the second part – as the original sentence intends to say.
In order to keep the meaning of the original sentence, we need (D) – which uses the word “FOR” as a way to offer that kind of explanation.
So this is an example of the types of SC question that are becoming more and more prominent on the GMAT exam. Going forward, there will be less emphasis on idioms and more emphasis on these kinds of meaning-based questions.
Hope that helps.
GMAT Pill Support Team