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Only equivalent things or individuals can be compared.
If there are more than two things being compared, then you need to use superlatives (-est adjectives).
(3 or more things)
| bigger than |
more intelligent than
more ambitious than
| the biggest |
the most intelligent
the most ambitious
When you are comparing people or things, it is in general better to use like, unlike, or not unlike. For example
Like you, I enjoy ice cream (like because we are comparing the two of us).
When comparing actions, as or just as are more appropriate. For example
As you do, I enjoy ice cream (as because here we are comparing our enjoying ice cream).
When you use a pronoun in a comparison using the words than or as, use the proper pronouns as if all the words were being said.
Most of the time when we use a comparison using than or as, we leave words out. This is technically called an elliptical clause--a clause with an ellipsis. An ellipsis is words left out.
Look at it this way. There is a difference between the two following sentences. Both are grammatically correct; they just mean two different things.
He likes you more than me.
He likes you more than I.
Think of what words are left out:
He likes you more than I do.
(I is the subject)
He likes you more than he likes me.
(Me is the direct object)
When a pronoun follows than or as in a comparison, make sure you understand what words are missing and then use the correct pronoun.
Incorrect: He is taller than her.
(i.e., than her is?)
Correct: He is taller than she.
(i.e., than she is. Much better!)
Incorrect: He is as happy as them.
(i.e., as happy as them are?)
Correct: He is as happy as they.
(i.e., as happy as they are.)
Correct with one meaning:
He sees you more often than I. (i.e., than I see you.)
Correct with another meaning:
He sees you more often than me. (i.e., than he sees me.)
The case of the pronoun makes the difference!
Pronouns are the names we give things and people to avoid repeating the proper name incessantly.
|Subject pronouns||Object pronouns||Possessive adjectives|
| I |
| me |
| my |
its (NOT it's)
The real problem, if you have not already guessed it, is the it/them problem.
For example, the word Congress: is it an it or a they? Usually Congress is considered an it, because it is one political organization, even though it has several hundred members.
Here are some lists of words to help you keep this idea straight:
|Words That Always Take Singular Verbs And Pronouns|
(For example has, not have)
|any + singular noun |
|no + singular noun |
|some + singular noun |
|every + singular noun |
|each + singular noun|
Everyone is here.
Each person knows the answer.
Pronouns should correspond correctly to the person or thing described either earlier or later in the sentence.
Subject/verb agreement problems sound easy, all you need to do is make sure that the verb form agrees with the subject of the sentence.
However it is worth being aware of several tactics used in these questions to make them more difficult.
All focus on making to it harder for you to correctly identify whether the subject of the sentence is singular or plural.
You will often find singular subjects which sound plural in the GMAT.
The following are all singular even though they end in 's'.
Statistics is a hard subject for many students
The news is good from home.
Gymnastics is an Olympic sport.
The names of places and of companies and other organizations are usually regarded as singular, regardless of their ending.
The United States is a large country.
Goldman Sachs is in the Forbes 500 for 2003
The United Nations is based in New York City
Collective nouns are also treated as singular subjects.
The army is ready.
The jury needs more time.
|List of collective nouns|
Some nouns are always treated as plurals even if there is only one of them
The scissors are new
|List of plural nouns|
In the GMAT you will often find that a phrase or clause often separates the subject and the verb. The verb must still agree with the subject.
Incorrect: The rate of MBA applications are increasing.
Correct: The rate of MBA applications is increasing
This is because 'rate' is the subject of this sentence and is singular.
In an attempt to confuse you in the GMAT, the phrase or clause separating subject from verb will hint at a plural answer when the subject is singular.
One of the chickens is going to cross the road.
A group of defense contractors is lobbying for a change in the law.
Compound subjects are also used to make subject/verb agreement questions more challenging.
Most compound subjects take a plural verb
Sally and Tom are going to the cinema.
Sally and her nephews are going to the cinema
However there are some exceptions.
Two or more singular subjects joined by or or nor take a singular verb.
Sally or Tom is going win the race.
Neither Sally nor Tom nor Victor is an MBA student.
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