GMAT Verbal : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

All of Mr. Jones's children's teeths' roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments.

Possible Answers:

Mr. Jones's childrens' teeth's roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments

Mr. Jones' childrens' teeths' roots were in good health, according to several dentist's assessments

Mr. Jones' children's teeths' roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments

Mr. Jones's childrens' teeths' roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments

Mr. Jones's children's teeth's roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments

Correct answer:

Mr. Jones's children's teeth's roots were in good health, according to several dentists' assessments

Explanation:

The rules of apostrophes say that you must ues an apostrophe after the "s" of a plural noun that ends in "s" but before the "s" if the noun is pluarl and irregular (e.g., teeth). Mr. Jones could be Mr. Jones' or Mr. Jones's, depending on convention.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Unlike his predecessor, the new president was willing to work with his political enemies almost as much as leader's of his own party.

Possible Answers:

with his political enemies almost as much as leader's of his own party.

with his political enemies almost as much as leader's, of his own party.

with his political enemies, almost as much as leader's of his own party.

with his political enemies, almost as much as, leader's of his own party.

with his political enemies almost as much as leaders of his own party.

Correct answer:

with his political enemies almost as much as leaders of his own party.

Explanation:

As it is written, the sentence portrays the president as working with the "leader's of his own party," which has an inappropriate use of the possesive form. The sentence must be corrected to make the word a simple plural form by taking out the apostrophe. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "with his political enemies almost as much as leaders of his own party."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The computer breakdown resulted in her losing roughly three weeks worth of work on her dissertation.

Possible Answers:

roughly three weeks worth the work

roughly three weeks worth of her work

roughly three weeks' worth of work

roughly three weeks worth of work

roughly three week's worth of work

Correct answer:

roughly three weeks' worth of work

Explanation:

In this sentence, "three weeks" is actually a possessive, as the sentence could be rearranged as "[the] worth of three weeks" and mean the same thing. Therefore, "weeks" should be changed into the possessive form "weeks'." As the only answer choice that appropriately makes this change, "roughly three weeks' worth of work" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Despite a lengthy investigation into the matter, officials were still unsure who's bag was left unattended in such a suspicious location.

Possible Answers:

official's were still unsure who's bag was left unattended

officials were still unsure who's bag was being left unattended

officials were still unsure who's bag was left unattended

officials are still unsure who's bag was left unattended

officials were still unsure whose bag was left unattended

Correct answer:

officials were still unsure whose bag was left unattended

Explanation:

The word "who's" is a contraction of "who is," not the possessive form of "who," as it is used in this sentence. The correct possessive form of "who" is "whose." As the only choice to use the appropriate word, "officials were still unsure who's bag was left unattended" is the correct answer.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

The mens' daughter's are creating a revenue projection flow chart for the fourth quarter. 

Which option best replaces the underline portion of the sentence?

Possible Answers:

The mens' daughters are creating

The mens daughter's are creating

The men's daughters' are creating

The mens' daughter's are creating

The men's daughters are creating

Correct answer:

The men's daughters are creating

Explanation:

The correct possessive form of men (a plural word) is "men's." There should be no apostrophe used in the word "daughters," as they do not possess anything in this sentence. 

Example Question #4 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Given the uncertainty of the current weather conditions, its nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident in their plan's.

Possible Answers:

its nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident in their plans.

it's nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident in their plan's.

its nearly impossible for traveler's to feel confident in their plans.

it is nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident in their plans.

it's nearly impossible for traveler's to feel confident in their plan's.

Correct answer:

it is nearly impossible for travelers to feel confident in their plans.

Explanation:

The example sentence contains two apostrophe errors. First, "it's" in this case is a contraction of "it is." "Its" (with no apostrophe) is used to signal the possessive (e.g. "the machine performed its function"). The most correct, and appropriately formal, version of this sentence would use "it is."

The travelers' "plans" are in this case simply plural, so no apostrophe is needed. "Plan's" would only be used to signal that something belonged to the plans.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The new campus was finally built; it's facilities were considered to be the best.

Possible Answers:

its' facilities were considered to be the best.

it's facilities' were considered to be the best.

it's facilities were considered to be the best.

its facilities were considered to be the best.

its facilities' were considered to be the best.

Correct answer:

its facilities were considered to be the best.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an apostrophe error: the sentence uses the word "it's" in the second clause in order to show possession. Unlike other words; however, "its (without an apostrophe)" is the correct possessive form of "it". "It's" is a contraction for "it is." The correct answer choice is "The new campus was finally built; its facilities were considered to be the best.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The Roosevelt's were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century; the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum contains many thousands of documents and primary sources related to the family.

Possible Answers:

The Roosevelt's were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century, and the

The Roosevelts were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century; the

The Roosevelt's were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century; the

The Roosevelts were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century, the

The Roosevelt's were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century, the

Correct answer:

The Roosevelts were a powerful American political family throughout most of the 20th century; the

Explanation:

Attaching 's to a last name (such as Roosevelt) makes it possessive, not plural. For that reason, no apostrophe is necessary here and the suffix should be -s without the apostrophe. The initial semicolon was the appropriate punctuation for the sentence. 

Example Question #4 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

Clevelands main attractions include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a Botanical Garden.

Possible Answers:

Cleveland's main attractions include: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a Botanical Garden.

Cleveland's main attraction's include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Botanical Garden.

Clevelands main attractions include: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a Botanical Garden.

Cleveland's main attractions include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and a Botanical Garden.

Cleveland's main attractions include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Botanical Garden.

Correct answer:

Cleveland's main attractions include the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Botanical Garden.

Explanation:

Cleveland is a possessor (of "main attractions") in this sentence, and therefore the added possessive "s" should include an apostrophe as well: "Cleveland's." Since there are only two items in the list ("the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a Botanical Garden"), no comma is necessary to separate the two. 

Example Question #5 : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

After months of research and development, the new product was unveiled to the board members in a presentation designed to show off it's new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

Possible Answers:

in a presentation designed to show off its new features, that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

in a presentation designed to show off it is new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

in a presentation designed to show off it's new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

in a presentation designed to show off their new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

in a presentation designed to show off its new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

Correct answer:

in a presentation designed to show off its new features that were sure to attract the attention of consumers young and old.

Explanation:

"It's" is a contraction, used to stand in for "it is" or "it has." As evidenced by one of the incorrect answer choices, "it is" makes no sense in this sentence - neither, therefore, does "it's." "Its" (without an apostrophe) is the possessive of "it" and the correct word to use in this sentence.

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