“And” Versus Other Conjunctions on GMAT

"And" is the only conjunction that can combine two singular nouns and make them plural. Watch the concept explained from the perspective of GMAT sentence correction questions.

"And" vs Other Conjunctions on GMAT

This short article will cover the unique nature of the conjunction "and", from the perspective of GMAT sentence correction. The conjunction "and" is unique among conjunctions that it can alter the order of nouns and affect subject-verb agreement. Understanding how it does so is quite important for answering GMAT sentence correction questions.

How "And" is Unique Among Conjunctions

"And" is the only term in the English Language that can join two singular words and make them plural. Let us illustrate with the help of the following example:

Example 1 - Jack and Joe are coming.
In this sentence, two singular entities are treated as a single plural entity; in the English language, such a phenomenon can only occur when the two nouns are joined by the word "and". Let us illustrate this concept through the following examples:

Example 2 - Jack and Joe are coming.
As you can see, in this sentence, the nouns "Jack" and "Joe" are singular. However, when taken together in the phrase "Jack and Joe", they are referred to with the plural verb "are"; this is entirely due to the use of the conjunction "and". If any other conjunction is used to link the two nouns, they will remain singular.

Example 3 - Jack, along with Joe, is coming.
In this sentence, the conjoining phrase "along with" is used, rather than the conjunction "and"; thus, this phrase does not join the nouns "Jack" and "Joe", rather the phrase "along with Jack" modifies the singular noun "Jack" and the singular verb "is" must be used.

Example 4 - Jack, accompanied by his friends, is coming.
This sentence is similar to Example 2; here, the conjoining phrase that is used, in place of the conjunction “and” is “accompanied by his friends”. The phrase "accompanied by his friends" modifies the singular noun "Jack"; "accompanied by" does not join "Jack" with "friends" to make a plural noun. Thus, the singular verb “is” must be used in this sentence, as well.

Keeping this subtle distinction in mind will help you in your GMAT sentence correction by enabling you to identify answer choices wherein the incorrect verb form has been used. Remember, only when “and” is used to join singular words will a plural verb be used.

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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