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GMAT Idiom List

About one-third of the Verbal questions you'll see will be Sentence Correction questions. A good number of these will require you to know common English idioms. An idiom is the conventional way of phrasing something. For example, it is correct to say "Neither Jim nor Mary went to the movie." rather than "Neither Jim or Mary went to the movie."

Understanding idioms is one of the toughest things for non-native English speakers to master. Because there are virtually no rules for determining which is the correct idiom, it often boils down to simple memorization. Never before has a list been published of the most-commonly tested idioms. Also, if you come across more in your studies, feel free to e-mail them to us at desk@gmattutor.com. We would greatly appreciate it!

A couple of notes about this list. First, the following idioms are usually correct. For instance, "I created this document with Microsoft Word." However, "I created this document in the United States." You'll notice that the idiom was different depending on the context. Use common sense and understand that these are the phrasings that are correct the most often. Also, when you see a letter like X or Y it means that there will be a word in place of that letter. An example of this would be if I were "to mistake you (X) for Monica Lewinsky (Y)".

We hope this list helps you with your studying!

GMAT Idiom List:


  • a debate over
  • a lot
  • a responsibility to
  • a result of
  • a sequence of
  • agree with
  • as an instance of
  • as good as/or better than
  • as great as
  • as much as
  • attend to (someone)
  • attribute X to Y/X is attributed to Y
  • based on
  • believe X to be Y
  • both X and Y
  • centers on
  • concerned with
  • conform to
  • created with
  • defined as
  • depends on whether
  • depicted as
  • different from/differ from
  • distinguishes between X and Y
  • distinguish from
  • doubt that
  • either...or
  • enable to
  • fascinated by
  • forbid X to do Y
  • identical with
  • in contrast to
  • independent from
  • indifferent towards
  • modeled after
  • (no) more...than/(no) less...than
  • more than ever
  • neither...nor
  • not only...but also
  • not so much...as
  • prohibits X from doing Y
  • potential to
  • range from X to Y
  • regard as
  • regardless
  • responsible for
  • resulting in
  • retroactive to
  • so X as to be Y
  • so (adjective) that
  • subscribe to
  • such...as
  • the same to X as to Y
  • to contrast X with Y
  • to mistake X for Y
  • to result in
  • to sacrifice X for Y