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How to Solve Sentence Improvement Questions in CDS 2018

Last Updated - February 12, 2018

CDS is conducted by Union Public Service Commission Exam twice a year to select candidates for Defence Forces. The exam is held nation-wide and a large portion of aspirants appear for the exam, which makes selection tougher.

The English paper in this exam serves an integral part of the CDS examination conducted by UPSC. It is a highly scoring subject and can improve the overall score substantially. One of the most important topics of English paper is Sentence Improvement. It has the highest number of question asked regularly. This article will help candidates prepare better for the sentence improvement section.


How to Solve Sentence Improvement Questions in CDS 2018

Sentence Improvement deals with the proper usage of grammar rules and exceptions. Minute grammatical mistakes are common even in proficient English speakers. The main reason for this is lack of preparation plan and practice. Candidates can follow the following tips to improve their sentence improvement skills.

Read the Sentence Carefully

The error part is highlighted or underlined in sentence improvement questions. Most questions have grammatical errors like wrong usage of nouns, pronouns, prepositions, wrong usage of idioms and phrases, etc.

Candidates should carefully read and analyze the underlined part of the sentence. Candidates should verify the subject-verb agreement. If the subject is singular, then the verb should also be singular and vice-versa. For example:

  • Deepika and I am secretly in love. (Incorrect)
  • Deepika and I are secretly in love. (Correct)

Check for Tenses

The key to get a grip over sentence improvement section is to learn and understand as many rules of grammar as possible. The usage of correct tense with verb is important, as many candidates diminish their scores by using incorrect verbs. For example:

  • Deepika didn’t loved me. (Incorrect)
  • Deepika didn’t love me. (Correct)

The Parallelism Approach

This approach tells us that whenever you see a sentence, the balance or flow of the sentence will always follow the same grammatical structure. Any deviation can be easily caught and be corrected by maintaining the structure. For example:

  • I should forget her, move on and I should make a tinder profile. (Incorrect)
  • I should forget her, move on, and make a tinder profile. (Correct)

Repetition

Some questions contain sentences that have words that provide redundant or repeated information. This error can be easily spotted and rectified. For example:

  • I should return back all her gifts. (Incorrect)
  • I should return all her gifts. (Correct)

Modified Errors

Candidates should focus on the correct usage of modifiers i.e. adjectives and adverbs. It is important to focus on the subject of the verb and not leaving the participle alone. For example:

  • I often imagine killing her during my spare time. (Incorrect)
  • During my spare time, I often imagine killing her. (Correct)

Which v/s That

“Which” is a non-essential modifier and “That” is an essential modifier. However, both of them refer to the noun that immediately precedes them. For example:

  • I’ve started dating her friend which lives nearby. (Incorrect)
  • I’ve started dating her friend that lives nearby. (Correct)

Phrases

If the entire sentence is underlined, it means that the phrases and clauses need to be re arranged. Do not look for any grammatical error, try to jumble the sentence to make sense of it. You may come across a run-on sentence (sentence having two dependent clauses connected with a comma) which can easily be solved with logical thinking.

Improve Vocabulary

Try to read and listen to different media of English. Read newspapers, books, magazines, etc. or watch English television serials or news. This would not only improve your English, but also expand your knowledge.


CDS 2018 English Paper Pattern

The English paper has a total of 120 questions that need to be answered in a time slot of 120 minutes. Out of the three papers (English, Mathematics, and General Knowledge), English is by far the most scoring paper in CDS. The paper consists of Grammatical and Non-Grammatical sections described below:

  • Grammatical Section: Sentence Improvement, Spotting Errors, Fill in the Blanks, etc.
  • Non-grammatical Section: Reading Comprehension, Para-Jumbles, Synonyms, Antonyms, Cloze Test, One-Word Substitution, etc.

To understand the pattern of the questions asked, given below is the analysis of CDS papers from 2014 to 2016:

TopicsNumber of Questions 
 2014 CDS-I2014 CDS – II2015 CDS – I2015 CDS – II2016 CDS-I2017 CDS- I
Sentence Improvement202020252021
Ordering of words in a sentence111171520
Ordering of sentences in b/w first and last sentence108101021
Fill in the blank4101010
Selecting Words/ Cloze Test2020202520-
Spotting Errors202520151526
Reading Comprehension151623202121
Synonyms10128159-
Antonyms108710-
Word Substitution5-

The minimum marks to qualify for the English section are 24. Candidates should target at least 60 correct questions for English section. As it is clear from the analysis of previous years’ papers, about 20 to 25 questions are asked from the topic Sentence Improvement. Therefore, a good command on this topic is essential for a good score.


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