31 Aug

When it comes to English section of SSC CGL & Bank PO / Clerk exams, it is often seen that students face difficulty in attempting questions based on sentence rearrangement / parajumbles. Some students even feel that sentence rearrangement questions should not be attempted at all as there is a high chance of getting them wrong. This lack of comfort is understandable as most students are unaware of how they should go about attempting these questions in a systematic manner.

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Experts from Vidya Guru, the Best Institute for SSC Coaching in South Delhi, have explained the different aspects of sentence rearrangement which you need to master for the exam. These aspects are as follows:

Structure of a Paragraph

Since the sentences that have been jumbled up belong to the same paragraph, the understanding of paragraph structure is necessary. Only with such an understanding will you be able to rearrange them and form a meaningful paragraph.Any well written paragraph has 3 parts:

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(A) Topic Sentence–The opening sentence is also known as the “topic sentence”. As the name suggests, it contains the topic of the paragraph. Its aim is to basically make the reader familiar with what the paragraph is about. It gives the reader an overview of the scope of discussion related to the paragraph. By and large this sentence defines what the reader can expect from reading the paragraph further.

(B) Supporting Details– Topic sentence is followed by the details that support the idea introduced in it.The supporting details generally comprise reasons, examples, facts, data, description etc and form the bulk of the paragraph. Their role is to ensure that the discussion progresses further and its various aspects are dealt with in sufficient detail.

(C) Closing Sentence–The conclusion of the paragraph, its sum total, is there in the closing sentence. The sentence is of great relevance because it ties all the loose ends together and takes the discussion to its logical end. Through this sentence the reader is presented with a takeaway. This take away is the net result of the discussion which had taken place before it.

The Right Approach

Adopting the right approach towards sentence rearrangement questions is essential. Without it, you may experience difficulty in finding out where to start from. Thus, it is recommended that you follow a step-based approach (described below) which is highly effective in tackling these questions.

  • Step: I Read all the given sentences.
  • Step: II Find as many mandatory pairs as you can.
  • Step: III Decide upon the topic sentence and the closing sentence.
  • Step: IV Move to the options and mark the right answers.

At the outset, pls. note that Step: II is the most important step in this approach. If you can spot mandatory pairs well, you will be able to effectively break down a sentence rearrangement question into smaller parts that are easily manageable. Once you have spotted the mandatory pairs, the task becomes much easier. The only thing required then is to sequence the pairs and arrive at the final arrangement.

What is a Mandatory Pair???

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A mandatory pair is a group of sentences that must necessarily come together. It means that the two sentences which form a pair have to be strongly linked with each other.When you are sure that no other sentence can come between a pair of sentences; it means you have found a mandatory pair.

Clues for Finding Mandatory Pairs

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(I) General to Specific: From a general introduction the discussion becomes more and more specific with each progressing sentence. You will be able to spot mandatory pairs, if you can observe and make out how this happens. You must follow the tone of discussion. The tone is general at first, then becomes progressively specific and is summative at the end (in the closing sentence).


  1. Persons at each level of a firm can participate in kaizen, from the Chief Executive Officer down, as well as external stakeholders when applicable.(General) 
  2. The format of kaizen could be individual, suggestion system, small group, or large group. (Specific) 
  3. At Toyota, it is generally a local improvement in a workstation or local area and involves a small group in improving their own work environment and efficiency. (Even more specific)

In the above sentences, it can be seen clearly that the paragraph starts with a topic sentence which has a general tone. Sentence A (the topic sentence) mentions that anybody related to the firm can participate in Kaizen. Sentence B makes the discussion specific by getting into further detail about the format of participation in Kaizen. Sentence C is even more specific as it gives the information about the format of participation seen at Toyota.

(II) Pronoun Antecedent: Pronouns are the words that replace nouns, noun phrases, or noun clauses. The antecedent is the entity that the pronoun replaces or refers to. Thus, the pronoun clearly forms a pair with the antecedent that it replaces. You will be able to identify a great number of mandatory pairs by focusing your attention on how the pronouns are being used.


  1. Science appears to have uncovered a set of laws that, within the constraints set by the uncertainty principle, tell us how the universe will evolve with the passage of time, if we are aware of its state at any given time. (A set of laws) 
  2. The Almighty might have originally decreed these laws, but it so seems that he has since left the universe to evolve as per them and now doesn’t interfere in its working.(These laws); (The Almighty) 
  3. But how did he select the early state or pattern of the universe? (He)

In the above example it is clearly visible that A-B forms a mandatory pair; “a set of laws” in sentence A becomes “these laws” in sentence B. Likewise, “The Almighty” in sentence B becomes “he” in sentence C, thereby making B-C a pair.

(III) Sequential Order: The discussion of ideas proceeds in the sequence in which they were introduced. The idea which is introduced earlier is brought up for discussion earlier.So it is suggested that you maintain a track of the order in which ideas appear one by one in the discussion.


  1. This book is full of interesting stories and practical suggestions, describing Mr. Carton’s activities at Vingresor (where he assumed his 1st presidency at age 32), Linjeflug, and SAS in particular.(1st – Vingressor, 2nd – Linjeflug & 3rd – SAS) 
  2. He began at Vingresor as an order giver, not as a listener — neither to the staff nor to his consumers and committed every possible mistake in the book. (1st – Vingressor) 
  3. By the time he entered Linjeflug 4 years later, he had learnt a lot from his experience, infact, he started out his 2nd stint as topdog by assembling the entire staff together in a hanger and asking for support, a far cry from his yelling out commands just 48 months prior.(2nd – Linjeflug) 
  4. At SAS, he entered during a time of crisis. (3rd – SAS)

Observe the sequence in which the names of 3 companies are introduced in sentence A: Vingressor, Linjeflug& SAS. In succeeding sentences, the same sequence is maintained. Sentence B discusses “Vingressor”, sentence C “Linjeflug” and sentence D “SAS”.

(IV) Complete Name – Surname (Incomplete Name): If there are 2 sentences out of which one contains the complete name and the other only the surname or halfname, then the sentence which has the complete name comes prior to the sentence which has only the surname or half name.The basic idea is that the complete name represents the complete identity of the individual. Once you have become familiar with the complete identity, a surname or half name can be used.


A. Chad Ruffin believes users have a hard time comprehending speech in noisy surroundings, mainly because today’s ear implants provide                   almost no information about pitch.(Complete Name – Chad Ruffin.

B.  Ruffin knows it firsthand; he himself received a cochlear implant 6 years ago. (Surname – Ruffin)

The sequence can be seen clearly in the above example, where the complete name Chad Ruffin comes prior (in sentence A) to the surname Ruffin (in sentence B).

(V) Full Form – Abbreviation: The full form provides complete information regarding something.Once that information is there, an abbreviation / acronym can be used in its place. The usage of an abbreviation / acronym ensures that needless repetition is avoided. Such repetition becomes cumbersome to the reader so writers generally use abbreviations / acronyms to replace a full form.Thus, you will see this clue getting applied frequently in sentence rearrangement.


  1. Gross Domestic Product represents the total monetary value of all commodities &services produced over a specific period of time. (Full Form – Gross Domestic Product) 
  2. In a nutshell, GDP is everything produced by people and businesses, including salaries of workers. (Short Form – GDP)

In sentence A “Gross Domestic Product” (the full form) is present. Sentence B, which comes afterwards, does not repeat the complete set of words: Gross Domestic Product. Because the reader is now familiar with what Gross Domestic Product is, the writer uses the short form “GDP”.

(VI) Link Word / Connectors: Link words are also known by other names such as connectors, conjunctions and transitional words. They are widely used in writing to connect two sentences. Their importance lies in the fact that they modulate the flow of discussion.Focusing on the usage of link words will give you idea regarding how a sentence stands in relation to its succeeding sentence.


  1. Gravitational force is not included in Grand unified theories.
  2. But, this doesn’t matter a lot, because gravitational force is so feeble that its effects can usually be overlooked when we deal with elementary particles or atoms.(But – Connector of Contrast); (Because – Connector of Reason)
  3. However, the fact that the force is both long range and always attractive means that its effects all combine together.(However – Connector of Concession)
  4. So for a fairly large number of particles, gravitational force can supersede all other forces. (So -Connector of Conclusion)

“But” (in sentence B) clearly shows that Sentences A and B are in opposition. “Because” (in sentence B) gives the reason why the non inclusion of gravitational force does not matter a lot. “However” (in sentence C) indicates that sentence C somewhat deviates or moves away from what had been expressed in sentence B. Finally, “so” (in sentence D) indicates in the direction of a conclusion. On reading further, it is clear that a conclusion has been arrived at in sentence D.

(VII) Keywords / Key Phrases: That word in a sentence which has greater significance as compared to others words is the keyword.There could also be a group of words that together express an important idea. Such a group is known as a key phrase. When a keyword or a key phrase appears in discussion, it is often seen that the next line repeats it. The next line generally defines it and explains the meaning behind it. You will see that the discussion starts revolving around the keyword.Hence, it is fairly easy to spot a mandatory pair by looking at the use of keywords / key phrases.


  1. Kaizen (a Japanese management technique) ensures continuous small improvements, the culture of continual aligned small improvements and standardization generates significant results in the form of compound productivity improvement. (Keywords: continuous, continual and improvement) 
  2. Thus, the English translation of “kaizen” can be: “continuous improvement” or “continual improvement.”(Repetition of keywords)

Sentence A contains key words such as continuous, continual and improvement. These keywords get repeated in sentence B. In fact, they come together to form phrases: “continuous improvement”&“continual improvement”and make A-B a mandatory pair.

Finally, the ability to apply the clues described above will be critical during the time of the exam. It is suggested that you attempt ample number of questions so that you can hone this ability. But, in case you experience any difficulty or doubt regarding how to apply these clues, you can consult experts of SSC Coaching in East Delhi by writing to vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com.


This article will act as a hand guide using which you can attempt sentence rearrangement questions confidently. Tell us which other clues you apply in sentence rearrangement…

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