GMAT Verbal : Correcting Appositive Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Appositive 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 Treasurer of Acme Inc. Melissa Williams presented the CFO with a rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market ahead of the company’s debt issuance.

Possible Answers:

The Treasurer of Acme Inc. Melissa Williams presented the CFO with a rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market ahead of

The CFO was presented with a rigorous analysis, of the high-yield bond market, by Melissa Williams, Treasurer of Acme Inc., ahead of

The CFO was presented with a rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market by Melissa Williams, Treasurer of Acme Inc., ahead of

Treasurer Melissa Williams of Acme Inc. presented the CFO with rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market ahead of

Melissa Williams, the Treasurer of Acme Inc., presented the CFO with a rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market ahead of

Correct answer:

Melissa Williams, the Treasurer of Acme Inc., presented the CFO with a rigorous analysis of the high-yield bond market ahead of

Explanation:

Appositive clauses that supply additional or optional information must be contained within commas. Since we do not need to know that Melissa is the Treasure of Acme Inc. that information must be contained by commas. The correct answer also uses the active voice.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Appositive 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.

John Smith the notable economist has difficulty distinguishing his publications from those of other prominent colleagues due to the commonness of his name.

Possible Answers:

Notable economist, John Smith has difficulty distinguishing his publications

John Smith the notable economist has difficulty distinguishing his publications

The notable economist John Smith has difficulty distinguishing his publications

The notable economist, John Smith, has difficulty distinguishing his publications

A notable economist, John Smith has difficulty distinguishing his publications

Correct answer:

The notable economist John Smith has difficulty distinguishing his publications

Explanation:

This appositive clause (that John Smith is a notable economist at a certain university) is necessary to understand the meaning of the sentence; therefore, it must not be surrounded by commas. If it is surrounded by commas, the identify of the John Smith in the sentence is still not known because he has several other colleagues that go by the same name. Presumably, identifying him as "the notable economist" removes this ambiguity.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Appositive 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.

Mary Williams, the interim CEO, took control of the company following a debacle at one of the company's international manufacturing plants.

Possible Answers:

The interim CEO Mary Williams took control of the company

Mary Williams, the interim CEO, took control of the company

Interim CEO, Mary Williams, took control of the company

Mary Williams the interim CEO took control of the company

Mary Williams the interim CEO, took control of the company

Correct answer:

Mary Williams, the interim CEO, took control of the company

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. Appositive clauses that supply additional information should be surrounded by commas.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Appositive 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 projections, a new tool for sports franchises gave front offices advantages over their competitors who did not employ as many number crunchers.

Possible Answers:

The projections, a new tool for sports franchises, gave

The projections a new tool for sports franchises gave

The projections, a new tool for sports franchises gave

The projections, a new tool for sports franchises have given

The projections a new tool for sports franchises, gave

Correct answer:

The projections, a new tool for sports franchises, gave

Explanation:

In the sentence, the phrase "a new tool for sports franchises" is an appositive phrase, a phrase that adds extra meaning to the subject "projections," but is not a part of the main subject of the sentence. Any such appositive phrase must be set apart from the rest of the sentence with commas, both before and after the phrase. "The projections, a new tool for sports franchises, gave" is the only answer choice that correctly places commas around the phrase.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Appositive 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.

For John Duns Scotus, the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas, God is a being, albeit one of a very different sort than material beings.

Possible Answers:

For John Duns Scotus, the most notable Scholastic philosopher, of the generation after Aquinas God

For John Duns Scotus, the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas, God

For John Duns Scotus, the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas God

For John Duns Scotus the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas God

For John Duns Scotus the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas, God

Correct answer:

For John Duns Scotus, the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas, God

Explanation:

The appositive phrase that renames "John Duns Scotus" is "the most notable Scholastic philosopher of the generation after Aquinas." Commas are required at both ends of this complete phrase to set it off, but commas are not needed before the prepositional phrases "of the generation" or "after Aquinas."

Example Question #6 : Correcting Appositive 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.

It is worth considering the work of a transitional figure the Englishman Richard Melville if we are to understand the changes that took place in the twenty years between these two philosophers.

Possible Answers:

the work of a transitional figure the Englishman, Richard Melville, if we are to understand

the work of a transitional figure the Englishman Richard Melville if we are to understand

the work of a transitional figure, the Englishman Richard Melville, if we are to understand

the work of a transitional figure, the Englishman, Richard Melville, if we are to understand

the work of a transitional figure the Englishman Richard Melville, if we are to understand

Correct answer:

the work of a transitional figure, the Englishman Richard Melville, if we are to understand

Explanation:

Appositive phrases, which rename a noun, are set off by commas from the rest of the sentence. However, "Richard Melville" is not itself an appositive renaming "the Englishman," as it tells us which Englishman the sentence is talking about, rather than renaming a known Englishman "Richard Melville."

Example Question #7 : Correcting Appositive 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

One such transitional figure Richard Melville, who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus, developed several new positions that would later be incorporated into the work of later authors.

Possible Answers:

One such transitional figure Richard Melville who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

One such transitional figure: Richard Melville, who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

One such transitional figure, Richard Melville who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

One such transitional figure Richard Melville, who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

One such transitional figure, Richard Melville, who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

Correct answer:

One such transitional figure, Richard Melville, who worked in the time between Aquinas and Duns Scotus

Explanation:

In this case, an appositive comes at the beginning of the sentence, renaming "Richard Melville" as "one such transitional figure" among many. Appositives must be set off by commas from the rest of the sentence if they contain information that is unnecessary for understanding the rest of the sentence. Since taking out the appositive phrase ("One such transitional figure, who worked . . .") yields a complete sentence, the appositive "Richard Melville" must be set apart by commas.

Example Question #8 : Correcting Appositive 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.

According to Thomas Aquinas the thirteenth-century philosopher, and theologian, God is not a being in the strict sense and thus, in a way, not a subject for metaphysical investigation.

Possible Answers:

According to Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth-century philosopher, and theologian, God

According to Thomas Aquinas the thirteenth century philosopher and theologian God

According to Thomas Aquinas the thirteenth-century philosopher, and theologian, God

According to Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian, God

According to Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian God

Correct answer:

According to Thomas Aquinas, the thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian, God

Explanation:

In the sentence, "the thirteenth-century philosopher and theologian" is an appositive that renames "Thomas Aquinas"; appositives are set off by commas at both ends, as in the credited response. No comma is needed between "philosopher" and "theologian," however. Because "thirteenth-century" is being used as an adjective in this case a hyphen is needed. 

Example Question #9 : Correcting Appositive 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.

Jeremy Bentham an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished for his body to be preserved and displayed after his death.

Possible Answers:

Jeremy Bentham an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties wished 

Jeremy Bentham: an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished 

Jeremy Bentham was an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished 

Jeremy Bentham, an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished 

Jeremy Bentham an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished 

Correct answer:

Jeremy Bentham, an early advocate for various civil rights and liberties, wished 

Explanation:

"an early advocate..." is an appositive, further describing, renaming, or defining the subject of the sentence (in this case "Jeremy Bentham" is being classified as "an early advocate for various civil right and liberties"). Appositives such as these should be offset by two commas, one each before and after. 

Example Question #10 : Correcting Appositive 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 seminar presentation, scheduled to take place at 2:00 had to be delayed until 3:30 because of severe technical difficulties.

Possible Answers:

The seminar presentation, scheduled to take place at 2:00, had to be delayed

The seminar presentation scheduled to take place at 2:00, had to be delayed

The seminar presentation scheduled to take place at 2:00 had to be delayed

The seminar presentation, scheduled to take place at 2:00 had to be delayed

The seminar presentation, was scheduled to take place at 2:00, and had to be delayed

Correct answer:

The seminar presentation, scheduled to take place at 2:00, had to be delayed

Explanation:

"scheduled to take place at 2:00" is an appositive phrase, adding meaning to the subject "the seminal presentation. Appositive phrases such as these should be offset by commas at both beginning and end. Such phrases often rename the subject of a sentence.

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