GMAT Verbal : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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 most likely explanation of such phenomenon is which geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights.

Possible Answers:

whether geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights.

that geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights.

which geothermal forces, under the earth, produce the odd sights.

which geothermal forces under the earth, produce the odd sights.

which geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights.

Correct answer:

that geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights.

Explanation:

The use of "which" in the underlined portion of the sentence is incorrect, as which should only be used to refer to things that are not necessary parts of the sentence. The appropriate word choice in this context is "that," making the correct answer choice "that geothermal forces under the earth produce the odd sights."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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.

Looking at a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with familiar crimes, the chief of detectives felt he would be able to solve the high profile case.

Possible Answers:

Looking at a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with similar crimes,

Looking at a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with familiar crimes,

Looking at a number of convicted criminals that had been charged with familiar crimes,

Looking to a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with familiar crimes,

Looking at a number of convicted criminals who having been charged with familiar crimes,

Correct answer:

Looking at a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with similar crimes,

Explanation:

The use of "familiar" in this sentence is confusing and strange. Familiar means "resembling," when the sentence needs a word meaning "exactly like, or very close." "Looking at a number of convicted criminals who had been charged with similar crimes," is the only answer choice that replaces "familiar" with a word that better gets to the intended meaning of the sentence.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

There were two tests too every student there, too. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

There were two tests to every student there, to. 

There were two tests too every student there, to. 

There were too tests to every student there, too. 

There were two tests to every student there, too. 

There were to tests to every student there, two. 

Correct answer:

There were two tests to every student there, too. 

Explanation:

"To" is a preposition. "Too" is an adverb, meaning "also" in this sentence example. 

Example Question #4 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

I'm going to have to take a look at it's foot, or else its going to fall off. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

I'm going to have to take a look at its foot, or else it's going to fall off. 

I'm going to have to take a look at it's foot, or else it's going to fall off. 

I'm going to have to take a look at its foot, or else its going to fall off. 

I'm going to have to take a look at it is foot, or else it is going to fall off. 

I'm going to have to take a look at it's foot, or else its going to fall off. 

Correct answer:

I'm going to have to take a look at its foot, or else it's going to fall off. 

Explanation:

Remember, if "it" owns something, that thing is "its" rather than "it's." Confusing, we know. Likewise, "it is" contracts to "it's."

Example Question #5 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

The sleeping man was so still he was literally dead. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

The sleeping man was so still he was figuratively dead. 

The sleeping man was so still he was literarily dead. 

The sleeping man was so still he was basically dead. 

The sleeping man was so still he was liberally dead. 

The sleeping man was so still he was literally dead. 

Correct answer:

The sleeping man was so still he was figuratively dead. 

Explanation:

"Literally" is often used as an exaggeration in service of a metaphor or image. This is incorrect. Never use this word. 

Example Question #6 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

She went to the therapist's and laid down on the couch. 

Which option best replaces the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

She went to the therapist's and layed down on the couch. 

She went to the therapist's and lay down on the couch. 

She went to the therapist's and lie down on the couch. 

She went to the therapist's and laid down on the couch. 

She went to the therapist's and lied down on the couch. 

Correct answer:

She went to the therapist's and lay down on the couch. 

Explanation:

"Laid" is the past tense of "to lay," which means "to set something down." "Lay" is the past tense of "to lie," as in "to lie down."

Example Question #7 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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.

She loved to walk through the park, irregardless of the constant stormy weather.

Possible Answers:

She loved to walk through the park regardless of the constant stormy weather.

She loved to walk through the park irregardless of the constant stormy weather.

She loved to walk through the park, irregardless of the constant stormy weather.

She loved to walk through the park, regarding of the constant stormy weather.

She loved to walk through the park, regardless of the constant stormy weather.

Correct answer:

She loved to walk through the park, regardless of the constant stormy weather.

Explanation:

The word "irregardless" is not an actual word. The correct word is "regardless," which means "without concern" or "in spite of." The punctuation and everything else is correct in this sentence, so the correct answer is, "She loved to walk through the park, regardless of the constant stormy weather."

Example Question #8 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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.

Today, Jacob ran further than he ever had before.

Possible Answers:

Jacob ran farther, than he ever had before.

Jacob ran further than he ever had before.

Jacob ran further, than he ever had before.

Jacob ran farther than he ever had before.

Jacob ran far than he ever had before.

Correct answer:

Jacob ran farther than he ever had before.

Explanation:

The use of "further" is incorrect in this sentence. The sentence is attempting to convey the amount of distance that Jacob ran on a particular day; the correct word to portray this is "farther." You use "farther" when talking about an actual distance and "further" when talking about a more general/abstract concept of advancement in something. Furthermore, no commas are necessary in the underlined portion of this sentence. The correct answer is, "Jacob ran farther than he ever had before."

Example Question #9 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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 company hired the consultants in order to advice its staff on the new industry standards.

Possible Answers:

the consultants in order to advice its staff on the new industry

the consultants in order to advise its staff on the new industry

the consultants, in order to advise its staff on the new industry

the consultants, in order to advice its staff on the new industry

the consultants in order to advice its staff on the newer industry

Correct answer:

the consultants in order to advise its staff on the new industry

Explanation:

The use of "advice" is incorrect here. "Advice" is a noun meaning "a recommendation, but we need the verb in this sentence. The verb for "to give a recommendation" is spelled "advise." The correct choice is, "the consultants in order to advise its staff on the new industry."

Example Question #562 : Correcting Word Usage 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 important to obtain your license first; than, you may work in this industry.

Possible Answers:

obtain your license first; than, you may work in this industry.

obtain your license first; then, you may work in this industry.

obtain your license first; you may work in this industry.

obtain your license first, than, you may work in this industry.

obtain your license first; only than, you may work in this industry.

Correct answer:

obtain your license first; then, you may work in this industry.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "than," which is used to show comparison between two or more things. The correct word here is "then" because the sentence is showing a progression of events. Furthermore, "then" cannot be omitted from the sentence as it would alter the meaning (a semicolon would no longer be appropriate to join the sentences since there would be no indication of the relation between those two phrases. The correct choice is, "obtain your license first; then, you may work in this industry."

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