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GMAT Idiom Quiz: Do You Know Your Prepositions?

You know your idioms, right? You’ve studied a list—indeed you’ve veritably pored over it (not pored through it!)—so you can distinguish, with the unerring eye of a seasoned grammarian, the nuances of (or was that in?) idiom usage. Then, in the midst of a question and a flurry of words, you blank out.

It is what I call list lull—the tendency for your brain to be lulled to sleep by an seemingly endless series of words followed (or not followed) by a preposition, and for you to be lulled by the false complacency that you have learned the proper idiomatic construction. For when you open the Official Guide, you are suddenly stymied, was it attributed to or attributed in? (It’s the latter).

To see if you truly know your idioms, I’ve concocted a nasty little quiz. Below are four sentences, each containing several idioms. You have to choose which idiom of the two (or three) is correct. Sometimes neither will be correct. Other times both will be correct.

Donning my math hat: If a sentence tests four idioms, and there are four different possibilities, the chances of guessing correctly are 1 in 256. So if you can answer all five correctly…well, you have a knack for (not towards!) idioms. Good luck!

 

1. The government decreed/decreed that anyone who dared to break/breaking  the curfew be held accountable on/for their disregard of/disregarding the law.

 

2. Attributing the unprecedented drought to/towards changes in the solar cycle, the research team failed to account for /take account of the influence of any terrestrial culprits, namely our destruction in/of rainforests and our unbridled consumption in/of gasoline.

 

3. Prone in/to mistaking natural childhood impulsivity as/for attention deficit disorder (ADD), childhood psychologists are notorious in/for overmedicating children, creating a lifelong dependency on/towards certain medications.

 

4. To cite/citing the proliferation of smart phones as one of the chief causes of/causes for student inattention, many high schools are cracking down on/upon the use of/use in handheld devices by requiring that/requiring students to submit/submit to a metal detection test.

 

 

Answers:

1. decreed that, both, for, disregard of

2. to, account for, of, of

3. to, for, for, on

4. Citing, both, on, use of, requiring, submit to

 

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7 Responses to GMAT Idiom Quiz: Do You Know Your Prepositions?

  1. Warren August 7, 2016 at 5:50 am #

    For #4 can you explain why “requiring that” is not acceptable?

    To cite/citing the proliferation of smart phones as one of the chief causes of/causes for student inattention, many high schools are cracking down on/upon the use of/use in handheld devices by requiring that/requiring students to submit/submit to a metal detection test.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 16, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

      Hi Warren,

      The correct idioms are either:

      Require someone to do something

      or

      Require that someone do something

      In this case, we have: “requiring students to submit to…”

      We could also have: “requiring that students submit to…”

  2. Komal April 7, 2012 at 3:33 am #

    From where did you get “Both” in the 1st and 4th answer choice? It must be “to break” and “causes of”. Or do you mean we can use any of these two given options? But then “to break” and “causes of” sound better to me. 🙂

    • summer May 13, 2016 at 11:35 pm #

      I agree with you. Can Magoosh please answer this question?

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 18, 2016 at 12:05 pm #

        Hi there 🙂

        By “both” we mean that either choice is acceptable.

        That said, it could be argued that dare + gerund in Question 1 is not correct, as the verb dare is typically followed by the infinitive, and not gerund, of a verb. That said, both are acceptable. Likewise, either “causes of” or “causes for” can be used in Question 4.

        Hope this helps 🙂

  3. Amanda March 30, 2012 at 8:45 am #

    Reading this just reinforces the fact that I have a lot of studying to do. 😉

    • Chris Lele
      Chris March 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      No worries :).

      This is a tricky set of idioms, and out of all the grammar concepts tested on SC, idioms are the trickiest.

      Manhattan GMAT offers a great idiom list, as does Magoosh. With a little study you’ll get most of the idioms above correct.


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