GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement 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.

What is unique about these category is their relation to these things that are taken on to add to a being’s natural capacities.

Possible Answers:

What is unique about this category is it's relation to those things that are taken on

What is unique about this category is its relation to them things which are taken on

What is unique about these category is their relation to these things that are taken on

What is unique about those category is it's relation to those things which are taken on

What is unique about this category is its relation to those things that are taken on

Correct answer:

What is unique about this category is its relation to those things that are taken on

Explanation:

Pronouns should agree with their noun antecedents in number and case ("this" with the singular "category;" "those" with the plural and inanimate "things;" "that" with the nominative "things"). "It's," being a contraction of "it is," is not a pronoun!

Example Question #2 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement 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.

After reviewing all of the relevant legal information, the court decided that the original agreement had been strictly between she and the family trust, legally a technicality that significantly reduced the amount she expected to receive.

Possible Answers:

the court decided that the original agreement had been strictly between she and the family trust, a legal technicality that significantly reduced the amount she expected to receive

she expected to receive a significantly reduced amount because the court decided, based on a legal technicality, that the original agreement had been strictly between her and the family trust.

a technicality that the original agreement had been strictly between she and the family, decided by the court, significantly reduced the amount she expected to receive

the decision of the court significantly reduced the amount that she expected to receive, being based as it was on the legal technicality that the original agreement had been strictly between her and the family trust

the court decided that the original agreement had been strictly between her and the family trust, a legal technicality that significantly reduced the amount she expected to receive

Correct answer:

the court decided that the original agreement had been strictly between her and the family trust, a legal technicality that significantly reduced the amount she expected to receive

Explanation:

The clause at the beginning of the sentence modifies "the court," so that must be the subject of the sentence. Otherwise, the clause would be considered a dangling modifier. Additionally, the pronoun "she" is incorrectly used. Since the pronoun is functioning as the object of the preposition "between," it must be an objective-case pronoun. In order to be correct, it must be changed to "her," as in "the agreement is between her and the family trust."

Example Question #1348 : Gmat Verbal

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.

Like supermarkets across the country, the grocery chain was seeking to offer their clientele more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands.

Possible Answers:

the grocery chain was seeking to offer their clientele more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands.

the grocery chain was seeking to offer their clientele more local and organic products, to meet new consumer demands.

the grocery chain was seeking to offer their clients more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands.

the grocery chain was seeking to offer their clientele more local or organic products to meet new consumer demands.

the grocery chain was seeking to offer its clientele more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands.

Correct answer:

the grocery chain was seeking to offer its clientele more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands.

Explanation:

In the underlined portion of the sentence, "the grocery chain" is singular, but the chain's "clientele" is referred to with a plural pronoun, "their." The pronoun must be changed to the possesive singular pronoun, "its." As the only answer choice that makes this correction, "the grocery chain was seeking to offer its clientele more local and organic products to meet new consumer demands" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

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

It is explicitly stated in the employee handbook that all workers must supply his or her own steel-toed shoes.

Possible Answers:

that all workers must supply their own steel-toed shoes.

that each worker must supply their own steel-toed shoes.

that all workers must supply one's own steel-toed shoes.

that any worker must supply their own steel-toed shoes.

that each worker must supply they're own steel-toed shoes.

Correct answer:

that all workers must supply their own steel-toed shoes.

Explanation:

Because "all workers" is plural, the pronoun that refers to it as its antecedent must also be plural. Thus, the correct version of the sentence is: "It is explicitly stated in the employee handbook that all workers must provide their own steel-toed shoes."

If the workers are made individual ("each worker") then the correct pronoun form would be "his or her," because the individual pronoun is required but the gender of the worker is not specified.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

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

Neither the supervisor nor the employees expressed his objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

Possible Answers:

expressed one's objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

expressed his or her objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

expressed whatever objections he had at the time it was posted.

expressed their objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

had expressed his objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

Correct answer:

expressed their objections to the schedule at the time it was posted.

Explanation:

This sentence uses a correlative conjunction ("Neither . . . nor") to connect two antecedents; therefore, the pronoun must agree with the second antecedent, in this case "the employees," which is plural. Thus, the correct pronoun is "their." 

Example Question #5 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement 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 guidelines clearly stated that if a supervisor or an employee had a workplace issue, they were supposed to take the problem to the Human Resources department.

Possible Answers:

had a workplace issue, he or she was supposed to take

have a workplace issue, they were supposed to take

had a workplace issue, they are supposed to take

had a workplace issue, they were supposed to take

had a workplace issue, they were supposing to take

Correct answer:

had a workplace issue, he or she was supposed to take

Explanation:

The use of the plural pronoun "they" is wrong in this sentence, as a pronoun must always be in agreement with its antecedent, which in this sentence is each of the singular nouns "a supervisor" and "an employee." The pronoun should be changed to an appropriate singular form. As the only option that makes this change, "had a workplace issue, he or she was supposed to take" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement 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 strategy was a remarkable departure from those laid by the general’s predecessor.

Possible Answers:

a remarkably departure from those laid

a remarkable departure from the ones laid

a remarkable departure for those laid

a remarkable departure from the one laid

a remarkable departure from those laid

Correct answer:

a remarkable departure from the one laid

Explanation:

In this sentence, the use of the demonstrative pronoun "those," which indicates a plural antecedent, is not in agreement with the singular subject of "strategy." The pronoun should be changed to a singular form to be in agreement with the subject. There is only one answer choice that makes this change, "a remarkable departure from the one laid," which is the correct answer.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement 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 addition to helping the environment, renewable resources—such as solar power and hydroelectricity—may also provide an economic benefit, as it may reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Possible Answers:

as they depend on the reduction of foreign oil.

as it reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

as it may reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

this being the reduction in our dependence on foreign oil.

as they may reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Correct answer:

as they may reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Explanation:

The pronoun "it" should be plural because its antecedent is the plural subject "resources." Only two choices correcty change "it" to "they," but one of them, "as they depend on the reduction of foreign oil," confuses cause and effect. The resources are not dependent on the reduction of foreign oil. The correct answer is "as they may reduce our dependence on foreign oil."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Most men who go to sporting events find it an enjoyable diversion.

Possible Answers:

Most men who go to sporting events find it an enjoyable diversion.

Most men who go to sporting events find them an enjoyable diversion.

Many men who go to sporting events find it an enjoyable diversion.

Most men who go to sporting events find it to be an enjoyable diversion.

Most of the men who go to sporting events find it an enjoyable diversion.

Correct answer:

Most men who go to sporting events find them an enjoyable diversion.

Explanation:

The sentence as written contains one small error. "It," a singular pronoun, is used to refer to the plural "sporting events." In order to fix this issue, the pronoun needs to be made plural, which is done in "Most men who go to sporting events find them an enjoyable diversion."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

While it can seem like a daunting task to train for a marathon, anyone who has completed the challenge knows that preparing a plan that they stick to is the key to success. 

Identify the answer choice that best improves the underlined portion of the sentence. 

Possible Answers:

preparing a plan that he sticks to

sticking to a plan 

preparing, and having that be a plan that they stick to

preparing a plan that they stick to

preparing a plan and sticking to it

Correct answer:

preparing a plan and sticking to it

Explanation:

In this sentence, the subject is "anyone," a singular pronoun. Therefore, all pronouns relating back to "anyone" should be singular. In the underlined portion of the sentence, "preparing a plan that they stick to," "they" is plural, not singular. Now that we have identified the problem, we have to figure out how to correct it.

Given that "anyone" is gender neutral, the best way to improve this sentence is avoid the use of a gendered pronoun (meaning "he" or "she") and simply avoid using a pronoun at all. The correct answer, "preparing a plan and sticking to it," accomplishes this objective and is therefore the best way to improve the sentence.

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