An Exception in the Usage of “Each” on GMAT

In this brief video, understand an exception with the usage of "each", particularly from the perspective of the GMAT sentence correction questions.

An Exception in the Usage of "Each" on GMAT

Subject verb agreement is one of the most basic and important concepts that you must master, to tackle GMAT sentence correction and there are certain phrases and words that require special attention to determine their form.One example of such a word is “each”. In this short article, we will cover an important exception to the general rule regarding the usage of the word “each” on the GMAT.

The Exception to the Rule

Generally speaking, when the word “each” is used, in a sentence, a singular verb must be used. Let us illustrate this rule, through the following example:

Example 1 – Each student in this class is intelligent.
As you can see, the singular verb “is” has been used in this sentence, even though the sentence refers to multiple students; this is because the use of the word “each” means that each student is being referred to individually.

However, there is one exception to this rule. When each is preceded by a plural noun, a plural verb must be used. Please refer to the following example, for a better understanding of this concept:

Example 2 – They each are intelligent.
In this sentence, the subject “they” has come before the word “each”. Therefore, as the pronoun “they” is plural, the plural verb “are” must be used. Example 2 differs from Example 1, in that the subject comes before the word “each” rather than after; in Example 1, the subject was the noun “student” and came after the word “each”; so, the singular verb “is” was used.

In both spoken and written English, the first usage is considerably more common; thus, it is considered the default usage and the second usage is typically referred to as an exception to the rule.

While we are discussing the usages of “each” on the GMAT, let us also take up another important concept, related to the same. Please note that, on the GMAT, the use of the word “each” is preferred over that of the word “every”. This preference is a result of the fact that the word “every” has a much stronger connotation than the word “each” does. Remember, the GMAT favors a moderate, business-like connotation; therefore, words that have very strong connotations, either positive or negative, should be avoided.

This article has deliberately been kept brief; for a more elaborate explanation, please refer to Experts' Global's Stage One Sentence Correction videos.

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