Because GMAT

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This tip for improving your GMAT score was provided by David Newland at Veritas Prep.

There is a conspiracy out there. Modern forms of communication are conspiring to make the sentence correction and analytical writing portions of the GMAT more difficult for you.

E-mail was already a more informal means of communication than those used in the past. Now texting, “Facebooking,” and “tweeting” are even more informal. This would not be important if the grammatical innovations inspired by these forms of communication would stay confined to their origins.

However, linguists have discovered that the new forms of grammar are crossing over from new media into people’s speech—and their writing. This can mean struggles for those who hone their English language skills in the real world and then try to apply that knowledge to the GMAT.

“Because GMAT”
The latest example of the drift away from proper grammar goes something like this:

Question: “Why have I not see you lately?”
Answer: “Because GMAT.”

What this means in proper English is “You have not seen me lately because I have been so busy with the GMAT.”

This ungrammatical use of “because” is known as the “because preposition” since the word “because” is being used as a preposition. This usage is also known as “because reasons,” with “reasons” meaning whatever reason you have for a given outcome or behavior. So the reason I have not seen you lately is “GMAT.”

GMAT Grammar Fact: “Because” is not, in fact a preposition and should not be used this way. Because is actually a subordinating conjunction that should be followed either by a clause or a preposition. For example, “We have to complete the AWA on the GMAT because schools want a writing sample.”

Because Reasons
Here are some other sentences that I found, with each featuring the “because preposition.” (All examples come from the article, “English Has a New Preposition, Because Internet,” by Megan Garber of the Atlantic).

“I am late because YouTube.”
“I am reading this because procrastination”

And here is the response that I will be using to any question posed by my GMAT students that happens to concern geometry: “Because Math.”

Admit it: The “because preposition” is fun. It is succinct and a little ironic. It not only describes a specific situation but seems to indicate a whole category as well. This is particularly seen in the often used phrase “Because politics.” Many other nouns have been used with because, including “science, people, art, school, and comedy.”
However, nouns are not the only recipients of the “because treatment.” Verbs and adjective are also being tied to “because.”

Examples include: “Can’t talk now because cooking.” And “Making up examples because lazy.”

Not on the GMAT
This is an extreme example of the informal English used by people on a daily basis—especially in electronic communication—being at odds with the formal English required on sentence correction and the AWA essay.

A more common example—also unacceptable on the GMAT—is the incorrect use of “which.” In everyday discussions, the following sentence would seem acceptable to most people: “It rained yesterday, which caused us to postpone the picnic.”

If you have been studying relative clauses, you know that this use of which is incorrect. That is why it is strange to hear your colleagues—and even your boss—use this construction. When used as a relative clause, which should modify only a noun, not an action. In the above sentence, the “which clause” is incorrectly attempting to modify the action of raining yesterday.

These are just two examples—one fun (because new), the other old and widely used (which is to be expected)—of the uses of English you should guard against if you are getting ready to take the GMAT. You need to be familiar with formal, correct, English grammar. Why? Because GMAT!

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