SAT Writing : Identifying Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

I hate having to go to the doctor because they always ask very invasive questions that make me uncomfortable. No error

Possible Answers:

ask 

they

make me 

having to 

No error

Correct answer:

they

Explanation:

The word, "doctor" is singular. Therefore, pronouns that refer back to the doctor should also be singular. "They" is plural and therefore is incorrect; the phrase "he or she" should be used in the sentence, as we do not know the doctor's gender.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

In order for a person to balance a career and family, it is essential that they be able to prioritize all the things that must be accomplished. No error

Possible Answers:

that 

able to 

No error

and

they

Correct answer:

they

Explanation:

The subject of this sentence is "person." Therefore, the pronoun should be the singular "he or she," not the plural "they."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The flock of geese flew rapidly through the air for miles on end until they became fatigued and had to land to rest. No error

Possible Answers:

flock of 

had to 

No error

miles on end

they 

Correct answer:

they 

Explanation:

"Flock of geese" is singular. Therefore, the corresponding verb should refer to a singular subject, not a plural one. "They" should be changed to "it."

Example Question #72 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

That university is particularly known for their strong film program and dedication to the creative arts. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

their

is

dedication

to

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

This sentence contains a discrepancy in agreement of plurals. "University" is a singular noun, not a plural noun, so the correct possessive pronoun should be "its," not "their."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Despite their propensity to frighten young children, the garden snake is actually quite harmlessNo error

Possible Answers:

their

No error

to frighten

is

quite harmless

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

The plural pronoun "their" refers to the singular noun "the garden snake". These should agree in number. Changing "their" to "its" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "Despite its propensity to frighten young children, the garden snake is actually quite harmless."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The department received most of their funding from private donors who were interested in the research. No error

Possible Answers:

received

who were

interested in

No error

their

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

The pronoun "their" should refer to a plural noun, but here it refers to the singular noun "department". A singular pronoun should be used: "The department received most of its funding from private donors who were interested in the research."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Although John was excited to meet his new teacher, he was also nervous because he didn't know what their instruction style would be like. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

their

Although

excited to meet

he didn't know

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

Although the gender of the teacher is not specified, "teacher" is still singular. Therefore, the plural possessive pronoun "their" should not be used. Rather than using "their," the sentence should say "his or her."

Example Question #4 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The schools in that area have always been known for its strong academics, athletic program, and up-to-date facilities. No error

Possible Answers:

have

been known

No error

its

and

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is "schools," a plural noun. So, one should not use "its," a singular possessive pronoun, to refer to "schools," a plural noun. Replacing "its" with "their" would correct the sentence's error.

Example Question #77 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The mayor has often proposed reductions in the sales tax because shoppers can benefit from this whenever they shop. No error

Possible Answers:

because

this

whenever

has often proposed

No error

Correct answer:

this

Explanation:

Pronouns and their antecedents must agree. In this sentence, "reductions" is plural, while "this" is singular, so "this" contains the sentence's error.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Instead of accepting the aliens’ offer to take over, the humans rejected them and attempted vainly to fight back. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

the aliens' offer

them

vainly

Instead of

Correct answer:

them

Explanation:

This sentence has a disagreement between a pronoun and its antecedent. The “offer” is singular and “them” is plural. The corrected sentence reads, "Instead of accepting the aliens’ offer to take over, the humans rejected it and attempted vainly to fight back."

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