Word Modifiers – What are they? Well, these are words that you can use to modify an existing word to make it easier or more specific to the context. Modifiers in the GRE examination can take on many different forms, though the most popular ones are obviously the modifiers over the ‘I’ in ‘I.’ (I mentioned the multitude of modifiers above!) Multiple types of Modifier mistakes, where an element modifying another part of the sentence has been used wrongly, also show up very often on the GRE, especially in Sentence Correction.
English Modifier – This can be used to describe something that has already been said in English (like “I love you”, “we have coffee” or “the movie is awesome”). This is done by substituting the noun for the adjective. For instance, I loved you, we had coffee and the movie is awesome.
Nontraditional Modifiers – These are also a common feature of the GRE and can really help you get better, don’t fall victim to them though! Examples include “the writer is a fantastic writer”, “he/she is a wonderful writer”, “the book is interesting” and “this is a very good book”. Also keep in mind that “I” is considered a nontraditional modifier, because you don’t add a definite article after it (which is what the writer does).
Modifier Combination Errors – When you do get a question or answer that asks for a noun, instead of a verb, it might give you this message: “I’m a student of” or “I am a student of”. You will get an answer such as “I’m a student of philosophy”, which is incorrect. As well as that, you could also get questions like “I’m a student of philosophy.” and “I’m a student of philosophy…”
Sentence Correction Errors – It’s very easy for Modifiers to slip into GRE and end up changing the meaning of sentences! You can fix this by checking the first paragraph of the essay you’re writing and seeing if there’s any modifcation, then removing it. If you see that your essay doesn’t have any it’s okay, you can go back and write it again, correcting it. If it does, then remove the modifer and replace it with a more specific one, like “a student of philosophy.”
In general, it’s always better to have a few Modifier tips than none at all, because they are a critical part of a GRE question. If you’re struggling with GRE, I highly suggest that you learn them! A quick Google search for “Modifier Mistakes on the GRE” will yield some great tips for getting better. Even if you aren’t, the right training from someone who knows GRE can really improve your results!
Get a lot of practice on this. And if you’re like me and you haven’t studied for the exam yet, don’t worry, you’re in good company, as most people have struggled with it and made mistakes before. There’s no reason to feel bad about that!