PSAT Writing : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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 limiting artificial sugars is a wise thing to do, dietitians warn that one must also monitor your intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

Possible Answers:

must also monitor your intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

must also monitor their intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

must also monitor one's intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

must also monitor of one’s intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

must monitor one’s intake of salt, carbohydrates, and also saturated fat. 

Correct answer:

must also monitor one's intake of salt, carbohydrates, and saturated fat.

Explanation:

“One" is being used as a third person singular pronoun in this sentence, so instead of "your," "one's" should be used later in the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

If one wishes to understand a musical composition fully, we must consider the time period in which it was written.

Possible Answers:

we will have to consider the time period in which it was written.

we must have considered the time period in which it was written.

one must consider the time period in which it was written.

we must consider the time period in which it was written.

we must consider the time period corresponding to when it was written.

Correct answer:

one must consider the time period in which it was written.

Explanation:

The answer choice "one must consider the time period in which it was written" is correct because it contains the word "one," which matches the word "one" used in the first clause of the sentence.

All of the other answer choices are incorrect because they contain the pronoun "we," and therefore lead to pronoun agreement errors.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

If one is to construct a comprehensive model of the global economy, we must first account for alternating periods of expansion and contraction in the business cycle.

Possible Answers:

one must first account for

one must first account to

we must first account for

we must account firstly for

one had first accounted for

Correct answer:

one must first account for

Explanation:

The original text contains a pronoun consistency error. The underlined portion of the sentence contains the pronoun "we," but the sentence uses "one" before that. In order to maintain consistency, the underlined portion should use "one" rather than "we."

The answer choice "one had first accounted for" contains a tense error, even though it correctly uses "one" instead of "we."

The answer choice "one must first account to" is incorrect because the correct idiom is "account for."

Example Question #106 : 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.

Does one have a responsibility to help others, or do you only have a responsibility to help yourself?

Possible Answers:

Do ones have a responsibility to help others, or do ones only have a responsibility to help his or herself?

Does one have a responsibility to help others, or do you only have a responsibility to help yourself?

Does one have a responsibility to help others, or does one only have a responsibility to help themselves?

Do you have a responsibility to help others, or do you only have a responsibility to help yourself?

Does one have a responsibility to the helping of the others, or does one only have a responsibility to the helping of yourself?

Correct answer:

Do you have a responsibility to help others, or do you only have a responsibility to help yourself?

Explanation:

In the sentence as it is written, "one" and "you" are both used. You should stick to using one of these pronouns or the other, and not switch between them in a sentence.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

When you go to a buffet, one should make sure that you do not overeat.

Possible Answers:

be sure of

and make sure

make sure

then make sure

one should make sure

Correct answer:

make sure

Explanation:

The sentence begins by using the pronoun "you," but then switches to using the pronoun "one." These should be kept consistent.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

Though one must respect the opinions of others, you do not have to change your values to become part of the crowd.

Possible Answers:

one does not have to change your values to become part of the crowd.

one does not have to change one's values to become part of the crowd. 

you do not have to change one's values to become part of the crowd.

one does not have to change their values to become part of the crowd.

 you do not have to change your values to become part of the crowd.

Correct answer:

one does not have to change one's values to become part of the crowd. 

Explanation:

Since the third person pronoun "one" was used to describe the subject in the beginning, the subject must be referred to as "one" throughout the sentence. The correct answer is "one does not have to change one's values and become part of the crowd." 

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