HSPT Language Skills : Identifying Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Language Skills

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Usage Errors

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a grammatical error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a grammatical error.

Possible Answers:

To be able to pass the math test, you need to be able to calculate the sum of two and two.

No Errors

Which one of these cookies over there in the bakery case looks most delicious to you?

Yesterday the weather report said it might rain today, but today the forecast says it will be sunny all day.

Correct answer:

Which one of these cookies over there in the bakery case looks most delicious to you?

Explanation:

The sentence that contains the grammatical error is shown below.

Which one of these cookies over there in the bakery case looks most delicious to you?

The error occurs in the sentence's use of the word "these." Later in the sentence, the phrase "over there" is used; this tells us that the cookies are located at some relatively distant position from the speaker and the addressee. Because of this distance, we need to use the demonstrative pronoun "those," which is used for relatively distant people and things, as opposed to "these," which is used for people and things located relatively close by.

The corrected sentence would read,

Which one of those cookies over there in the bakery case looks most delicious to you?

Example Question #2 : Identifying Usage Errors

Identify which one of the following sentences contains a grammatical error. Select “No Errors” if none of the sentences contains a grammatical error.

Possible Answers:

The streets grew eerily quiet just before the storm came crashing into town.

Robins are one of the first bird to show up at the beginning of spring.

No Errors

After their last classes ended and their summer vacation started, Sam, Kate, and Jill went to the bakery to celebrate.

Correct answer:

Robins are one of the first bird to show up at the beginning of spring.

Explanation:

The answer choice that contains the a grammatical error is "Robins are one of the first bird to show up at the beginning of spring." The phrase "one of the first bird" does not make grammatical sense. Here, "one" does not need to agree with "bird." "Bird" needs to be changed to "birds." This is because the sentence is specifying that robins are one out of a group of birds (all birds that show up in spring). Thus, to convey that the speaker is specifying robins as one bird out of a group of birds, the singular "bird" needs to be changed to the plural "birds." The corrected sentence would read, "Robins are one of the first birds to show up at the beginning of spring."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: