GMAT Verbal : Correcting Preposition Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Preposition 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.

Prior to becoming involved in politics, she was a schoolteacher at a public elementary school in her hometown for special needs children.

Possible Answers:

she was a schoolteacher at a public elementary school in her hometown for special needs children.

she was a schoolteacher at a public elementary school, in her hometown, for special needs children.

she was a schoolteacher, at a public elementary school in her hometown for special needs children.

she was a schoolteacher at a public elementary school in her hometown, for special needs children.

she was a schoolteacher for special needs children at a public elementary school in her hometown.

Correct answer:

she was a schoolteacher for special needs children at a public elementary school in her hometown.

Explanation:

The prepositional phrase "for special needs children" is awkwardly appended to the end of the sentence, making it read as though the subjects "hometown" was "for special needs children," rather than her teaching. The phrase should be moved closer to the mentioning of her career as a teacher, which is only done in the answer choice "she was a schoolteacher for special needs children at a public elementary school in her hometown."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Preposition 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 young woman had severed all ties with her family after they had shown strong disapproval for her choice to move across the country.

Possible Answers:

them had shown strong disapproval for her choice

they have shown strong disapproval for her choice

they had shown strong disapproval for her choices

they had shown strong disapproval of her choice

they had shown strong disapproval for her choice

Correct answer:

they had shown strong disapproval of her choice

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "for" in this sentence is incorrect, as it is not the common preposition matched with disapproval. The commonly used word is "of," which more properly conveys the connection to disapproval. The only answer choice which makes this change is "they had shown strong disapproval of her choice."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Preposition 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 young man had many run-ins with the law at one point in his life, but has not been arrested since a long time.

Possible Answers:

but has not been arrested from a long time.

but has not been arrested on a long time.

but has not been arrested for a long time.

but has not been arrested since a long time.

but has not been arrested about a long time.

Correct answer:

but has not been arrested for a long time.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "since" in this sentence is incorrect, as "since" must only be used to indicate a specific length of time. Because the sentence only indicates a general length of time, the proper preposition is "for." As the only choice to use the right word, the correct answer choice is "but has not been arrested for a long time."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Preposition 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.

She compared the merger with a bloodless coup.

Possible Answers:

She compared the merger against a bloodless coup.

She compared a bloodless coup with the merger.

She compared the merger to a bloodless coup.

She compared to the merger a bloodless coup.

She compared the against the merger a bloodless coup.

Correct answer:

She compared the merger to a bloodless coup.

Explanation:

The example sentence includes a preposition error. Prepositions are used to describe relationships of time, space, or logic between parts of a sentence. When a comparison is being made between two things, one thing (in this case the merger) is compared TO another thing (in this case a bloodless coup). "With" is used to describe combinations ("Tommy went to school with Jane), and compliance ("they complied with regulations"). The correct version of this sentence reads, "She compared the merger to a bloodless coup."

Example Question #6 : Correcting Grammatical 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.

The girls were always challenging their father's rules for every opportunity.

Possible Answers:

their father's rules for every opportunity.

their father's rules in every opportunity.

their father's rules on every opportunity.

their father's rules at every opportunity.

their father's rules onto every opportunity.

Correct answer:

their father's rules at every opportunity.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "for" in the sentence is odd, and does not properly reflect what the girls are doing. The preposition should be changed to indicate that they challenged during certain moments. The preposition that best shows this is "at," making the correct answer choice "their father's rules at every opportunity."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Other 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.

While I really enjoy studying the French language, I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Possible Answers:

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese as well.

I would also like to try learning some Portuguese.

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Correct answer:

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

Explanation:

Only the preposition “to” can follow the verb “to try.” It isn’t necessary to include the “as well” because “also” means the same thing; the original phrasing is redundant. 

Example Question #5 : Correcting Preposition 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.

She would frequently compare her mother with the most loving of saints.

Possible Answers:

to the most loving of saints.

to most loving of saints.

with most loving of saints.

with saints that are the most loving.

with the most loving of saints.

Correct answer:

to the most loving of saints.

Explanation:

The grammatical error in the underlined portion is the use of the word "with." Comparisons are not done "with" something else, but "to" something else. The correct answer choice is "to the most loving of saints."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Preposition 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.

The amount of people living in the area was still a matter of much debate in researchers.

Possible Answers:

among researchers.

around research.

in researchers.

around researchers.

among research.

Correct answer:

among researchers.

Explanation:

The underlined elements of the sentence have an issue with the usage of the preposition before researchers. The debate happens from one researcher to the next, and the correct preposition would indicate this. "Among researchers" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #2 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Questions are rarely asked by students in an imposing teacher.

Possible Answers:

by an imposing teacher.

through an imposing teacher.

to an imposing teacher.

in a teacher imposing.

in an imposing teacher.

Correct answer:

to an imposing teacher.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence has an odd use of the preposition "in." The questions are actually being asked by students, directed at the teacher, and the preposition needs to reflect this; therefore, "to an imposing teacher" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Other 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

In the past, corporations had very few restrictions on what they had to pay from employee's wages.

Possible Answers:

to pay from employees' wages.

for pay from employees' wages.

to pay on employees' wages.

to pay for employees' wages.

to pay from employees' wage.

Correct answer:

to pay for employees' wages.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "from" in the sentence is very odd. The correct preposition needs to indicate the the "wages" are something the "corporations" give to the "employees." The answer choice that best reflexts this is "to pay for employees' wages."

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