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Sentence Correction: Comparison on GMAT





Here is a set of free short videos for stepwise preparation of Comparison on GMAT. For a more detailed treatment of the topic, you may want to opt for our GMAT online course or our GMAT test series of 15 mock tests.


Comparative Versus "Superlative" Form



On the GMAT, “comparative” and “superlative” are both different forms of adjectives, used to make comparisons. Here, we will cover exactly what the superlative and comparative forms are, how they differ, and how they are used in GMAT sentence correction.

Comparative Form and Superlative Form


The purpose of the comparative form is to make a comparison between exactly two elements. By contrast, the purpose of the superlative form is to make comparisons among groups of more than two elements. Please go through the following examples to understand this concept, better.

Example 1 - Rose is older of the two sisters.
In example 1, a comparison is being made between two people, Rose and her sister. Thus, in order to be correct, the sentence uses the comparative form of the word “old”, “older”.

Example 2 - Rose is the oldest person in her family.
In this example, , the ages of everyone in Rose's family, presumably more than two people, are being compared to hers, meaning that as the sentence involves more than two elements, the superlative form of the word "old", "oldest" is used, signifying that the noun that it is used to describe possesses the most or most extreme form of a particular quality, in this case, age.

Although the difference between the comparative and superlative forms may not seem very important, understanding it will enable you to tackle a number of tricky GMAT sentence correction questions successfully.


Compared with Versus "Compared to"



On the GMAT, you will find that there are some sentence correction questions that hinge on highly subtle shifts in the idiomatic usage of certain words. These questions require a firm understanding of how the use of idioms shifts, as the context changes. Here, we will cover the use of one pair of such phrases, “compared with” and “compared to”. Be sure to pay close attention to the difference between the use of these two phrases, when attempting your GMAT sentence correction.

The Difference Between "Compared With" and "Compared To"


From the use of the word “compared” within both of these phrases, it should be obvious that these phrases are used to make comparisons between people or things. While these two phrases are highly similar in function, there is one very straightforward difference in their usage. The phrase "compared with" is used to compare similar things, while the phrase "compared to" is used to compare dissimilar things. Please go through the following examples to understand this concept.

Example 1 - Compared with his father, Jack is taller.
In this sentence, the noun “Jack” is being compared with the noun “his father”. The two nouns being compared are of the same type, both human beings. Thus, “compared with” is the right phrase to use.

Example 2 - Compared to the pillar, Jack is shorter.
Unlike example 1, example 2 compares two things of different types, a human being, and an inanimate object. Thus, the correct phrase to use is "compared to".

We hope that we have been able to provide you with sufficient clarity on this concept. However, please note that the example used here is fairly straightforward. On the GMAT, you might find this concept used in a more complex manner. Keep this rule in mind to tackle such sentence correction questions.


"Agree with" versus "Agree to"



On the GMAT, there are certain idioms that you must pay especially close attention to. The use of these idioms is highly context-specific, and a slight shift context can necessitate the use of an entirely different word or phrase. Here, we will cover the use of the phrases “agree with” and “agree to”.

Use of Agree With and Agree To on GMAT


Similar to other phrases discussed on this page, the basic function of “agree with” and “agree to” is obvious. Both of these phrases are used to denote a sense of agreement between two or more entities. The difference between these two phrases is fairly simple. The phrase "agree with" is used for referring to agreeing with a person, and the phrase "agree to" is used for referring to agreeing with a non-person. If you find the latter usage confusing, bear in mind that one can also be in agreement with an idea or an ideology. Please go through the following examples, carefully, to understand this concept fully.

Example 1 - Jack agrees with his father on the decision to hold the stocks.
In example 1, “agree with” is the correct phrase to use, as the agreement expressed is between two individuals.

Example 2 - Jack has agreed to hold the stocks.
Here, the agreement expressed is not between Jack and the holder of an idea, rather the agreement exists between Jack and the idea to hold the stocks, itself. Thus, the correct phrase to use is “agreed to”.

While attempting the GMAT sentence correction, be sure to keep this distinction in mind. In doing so, you will be able to eliminate incorrect answer choices more efficiently and avoid traps.


Use of "Distinguish"



In this section, we will cover the use of the word “distinguish” on the GMAT. The correct use of this idiom is fairly restrictive and can affect the structure of the sentence heavily. You will need a solid understanding of the different uses that this word has, to tackle your GMAT sentence correction. Thus, in this section, we will cover exactly how the word “distinguish” is used within sentences, on the GMAT, in detail.

Correct Uses of “Distinguish”


There is one fundamental concept that you must keep in mind, for when you encounter the word “distinguish” on the GMAT. Namely, that there are only to correct uses of this word:

1.Distinguish between A and B
2.Distinguish A from B

If you see any sentence correction option choice that uses “distinguish” in an other way, consider it to be incorrect and discard it as an option. Please go through the following examples to understand this concept.

Example 1 - Teacher asked the student to distinguish between a delta and a valley.

Example 2 - Teacher asked the student to distinguish a delta from a valley.
Both of these sentences are perfectly correct and display how the word "distinguish" should be used in a sentence. By keeping this information in mind, you will be able to tackle your sentence correction section more efficiently, by immediately discarding obviously incorrect answer choices.


Between Vs Among on GMAT



Another set of idioms that are used in comparisons and frequently seen in challenging GMAT questions are “between” and “among”. Again, the use of these words depends, heavily, on the context in which they are employed. Thus, it is vital that you understand these contexts to tackle sentence correction questions that include these words.

Use of Between and Among


On the GMAT, "between" is used when two elements are involved, and the word "among" is used when more than two elements are involved. Please go through the following examples, to understand this concept.

Example 1 - Given a choice between butter and cheese, Jack prefers cheese.
In this sentence, there is a comparison made between to elements, the nouns “butter” and “cheese”. Therefore, as only two elements are involved, the correct word choice is between.

Example 2 - Given a choice between all milk products, Jack prefers cheese.
In example 2, however, " all milk products" are mentioned, a category that likely includes a multitude of elements. Thus, the appropriate word to use here is "among".

While attempting the GMAT sentence correction, be sure to keep this distinction in mind. In doing so, you will be able to eliminate incorrect answer choices more efficiently and avoid traps.



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