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How to prepare CAT Grammar?

You think that grammar is so vast and its rules are infinite. You will be surprised after reading this article that Grammar is so easy to master.


Introduction to CAT Para Jumbles

As you enter the most important phase of your CAT preparation, a number of questions must be popping in your head. One of those questions must be: howto study for CAT grammar in the next few days?

But before you read the answer to this question, you need to understand the anatomy of CAT grammar questions and the areas probed traditionally. These would give you a fair estimate of what you need to study in the coming months.

As far as the types of questions go, CAT provides a series of sentences (on most occasions, from the same paragraph) and asks you to identify the correct/incorrect sentences. The tricky part in these questions is actually not the format but the kind of errors probed in the question. A lot of these questions feature pure grammar-based errors. To solve the Sentence Correction Questions correctly, it is important that you should be thorough with the basics of Grammar.

Let's look at an actual CAT question from CAT 2008, which will clarify the application of Grammar in CAT:

Question: Directions: These are sentences that form a paragraph. Identify the sentence(s) or part(s) of sentence(s) that is/are correct in terms of grammar and usage (including spelling, punctuation and logical consistency). Then, choose the most appropriate option.

A. In 1849, a poor Bavarian imigrant named Levi Strauss

B. landed in San Francisco, California,

C. at the invitation of his brother-in-law David Stern

D. owner of dry goods business.

E. This dry goods business would later became known as Levi Strauss & Company.

(1) B only

(2) B and C

(3) A and B

(4) A only

(5) A, B and D

Answer: Option 1, Only B. Only sentence B is a correct sentence. The rest of the statements have the following errors:

Statement A - the spelling of 'immigrant' lacks a 'm'

Statement C - lacks a punctuation mark (,) after the word David Stern

Statement D - should have begun with "'an' owner of dry goods business."

Statement E - This dry goods business later came to be known as Levi Strauss & Company

This example shows that to solve grammar based questions, it is important to know the basics of grammar.

The error types in Grammar based questions include errors related to the parts of speech

The list of these errors includes:

  • Correct usage of Nouns
    For Example Incorrect: He ran an amazing 10 miles race and bagged the trophy.
    Correct: He ran an amazing 10-mile race and bagged the trophy.
    A compound noun like 10-mile race will always be singular and not plural. More examples of the same are: a five-foot room (Not a five feet room) and a hundred rupee note (Not a hundred rupees note)
  • Pronoun Related Errors
    For Example: Incorrect: How could she blame you and he for the accident?
    Correct: How could she blame you and him for the accident?
    In this sentence the object form of the pronoun, i.e. him will be used because the subject is 'She' and the objects are 'you and him.'
  • Correct usage of Adjectives and Adverbs
    For Example Incorrect: They played real good.
    Correct: They played really well.
    Good is an adjective; we say he is a good boy. The adverb form of good is well. Real is also an adjective and we will use the adverb form really to modify the adverb well.
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
    For Example Incorrect: His mastery of several sports and the social graces make him a sought-after prom date.
    Correct: His mastery of several sports and the social graces makes him a sought-after prom date. Subject-Verb Agreement states that a singular verb should be used with a singular subject and a plural verb should be used with a plural subject. In this given sentence, the subject is 'mastery' and it is a singular subject, so we will use the singular verb makes.
  • Verb Tense errors
    For Example: Incorrect: If the cyclist wins the race, it will be representing an extraordinary comeback from his earlier cancer.
    Correct: If the cyclist wins the race, it will represent an extraordinary comeback from his earlier cancer.
    In this case, the sentence starting with if indicates that it's a hypothetical situation and if that happens it will represent a comeback only once so we would not be using future continuous tense but simple future tense.
  • Prepositional errors
    For Example Incorrect: Scientists are excited and interested in the innovations in the field of agriculture.
    Correct: Scientists are excited about and interested in the innovations in the field of agriculture.
    The correct preposition to be used after excited is about and not in.
  • Errors related to Conjunctions
    For Example Incorrect: Although Harsh had prepared well for the exam he still failed.
    Correct: Although Harsh had prepared well for the exam yet he failed.
    The conjunction although is followed by yet and not still.

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How to prepare CAT Grammar?

The above errors form the core of basic grammar errors that you should prepare. An ideal approach for preparation involves working on each one of the areas mentioned above one at a time.

The second set of errors that make an appearance in CAT (and it is not a friendly appearance) involve the following type of errors:

  • Punctuation errors
  • Idiomatic errors

Out of these, the first one can be managed fairly easily, but the latter two will be a challenge. One option for studying idiomatic and prepositional errors involves going through books such as High School Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin. The other option is to use your reading skills for identifying these errors. You are advised to build a basic list of these errors (you can do so by writing down all the errors that appear in your tests) and keep revising this list to ensure that you are able to memorize these errors.

This brings us to the books that you can refer to. Two books that you can use for your CAT preparation are:

a. High School Grammar and Composition by Wren and Martin: Treat this as your textbook which you use for reference purposes, and clarifying core topics.

b. Better English by Norman Lewis: Written in an informative and interesting style, this is easy to read grammar text that will help you learn grammar basics.

Along with the above, you need to carry out one simple exercise to ensure that you maximize your score in grammar questions. Solve 10 to 20 grammar questions per day, and as stated above, make a list of the new errors you learn from every test. In the last thirty days, this list will work as your ready-reckoner for grammar.

The above form the rudimentary basics of CAT Grammar preparation. We will also be providing targeted articles that will provide you handy tips and tricks to solve grammar questions.

How to prepare CAT Grammar: Key Learning

  • As CAT 2016 approaches, the given tips become more specific in nature.
  • Go through this article and prepare a plan of how you will go ahead with the Verbal Ability section.

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