GMAT Verbal : Correcting Apostrophe Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Correcting Apostrophe 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.

Because of it's constant malfunctions, the owner replaced the printer. 

Possible Answers:

Because of it's constant malfunction, the owner

Because of it's constant malfunctions, the owner

Because of its constant malfunction, the owner

Because of its constant malfunctions, the owner

Because of its constant malfunctions the owner

Correct answer:

Because of its constant malfunctions, the owner

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. The word "it's" is a contraction for "it is." The correct word is "its," without the apostrophe, which is the possessive form of "it." No other corrections are necessary. The other choices are wrong because of other small errors in noun-adjective agreement or punctuation. The correct choice is, "Because of its constant malfunctions, the owner."

Example Question #22 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 teacher collected the student's homework every day; however, many of them often did not do the assignments.

Possible Answers:

The teacher collected the students' homework every day

The teacher collected the student's homework, every day

The teacher collected the student's homework every day

The teacher collected the students homework every day

The teacher collected the students' homework, every day

Correct answer:

The teacher collected the students' homework every day

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. It is clear from the context of the sentence that the sentence is referring to many students (they key word is "them"). The correct plural, possessive form of the word "student" is students'. No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "The teacher collected the students' homework every day."

Example Question #23 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 company gave its' employees particularly big bonuses this year.

Possible Answers:

gave its employees particularly, big bonuses this year.

gave it's employees particularly big bonuses this year.

gave its employees particularly big bonuses this year.

gave its' employees particularly big bonuses this year.

gave it's employees particularly, big bonuses this year.

Correct answer:

gave its employees particularly big bonuses this year.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "its'." In fact, "its' " is not a word at all. What is necessary in this spot is the possessive form of "it," which is "its (no apostrophe)." No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "gave its employees particularly big bonuses this year."

Example Question #24 : Correcting Apostrophe 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.

Emille liked to speak with his coworker's every day.

Possible Answers:

speak with his coworker's, every day.

speak with his coworkers every day.

speak with his coworkers, every day.

speak with his coworker's every day.

speak with his coworkers' every day.

Correct answer:

speak with his coworkers every day.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. The word "coworkers" in this sentence is clearly meant to be plural; words should never be pluralized with an " 's." The correct choice is, "speak with his coworkers every day."

Example Question #25 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 rabbit's ate their food in the corner of the kennel.

Possible Answers:

The rabbit's ate their food

The rabbit's' ate their food

The rabbits' ate their food

The rabbits ate, their food

The rabbits ate their food

Correct answer:

The rabbits ate their food

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. While the latter half of the sentence contains a possessive statement ("their food"), the word "rabbits" is not possessive itself, but plural. An apostrophe should never be used to pluralize a word in English. The correct choice is, "The rabbits ate their food."

Example Question #26 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 investor's opinions on the company greatly influenced their willingness to give it money.

Possible Answers:

The investors opinions on the company greatly, influenced 

The investors' opinions on the company greatly influenced

The investors' opinions on the company greatly, influenced 

The investors opinions on the company greatly influenced 

The investor's opinions on the company greatly, influenced 

Correct answer:

The investors' opinions on the company greatly influenced

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in the placement of the apostrophe. The word "investors" is plural, which we can deduce by the use of the pronoun "their" later on in the sentence. The correct possessive plural contains an apostrophe after the "s." The correct choice is, "The investors' opinions on the company greatly influenced."

Example Question #27 : Correcting Apostrophe 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.

Though Elsa visited all of the company's nearby, she was unable to interest them in her product.

Possible Answers:

the companies nearby, she was unable to interest it

the companys nearby, she was unable to interest them

the companies nearby, she was unable to interest them

the company's nearby, she was unable to interest it

the company's nearby, she was unable to interest them

Correct answer:

the companies nearby, she was unable to interest them

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. It is clear from the context that the word "company" should be plural; however, you should never use an " 's" in order to pluralize a word. The correct plural form of "company" is "companies." The correct choice is, "the companies nearby, she was unable to interest them."

Example Question #28 : Correcting Apostrophe 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.

His' sister said she would visit in the near future.

Possible Answers:

His' sister said she would visit

His sister said she would visit

His sister's said she would visit

His's sister said she would visit

Hi's sister said she would visit

Correct answer:

His sister said she would visit

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in the use of the apostrophe. Even though the word "his" is possessive, it is possessive already without the need for an " 's." Omit the apostrophe; the correct choice is, "His sister said she would visit."

Example Question #29 : Correcting Apostrophe 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 teacher reviewed the lesson with the student's that stayed behind.

Possible Answers:

the lesson with the students that stayed behind.

the lesson with the students' that stayed behind.

the lesson' with the student's that stayed behind.

the lesson with the student's that stayed behind.

the lesson' with the students that stayed behind.

Correct answer:

the lesson with the students that stayed behind.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the apostrophe. The word "students" has an apostrophe, when it is not possessive. The correct form is "students" note that you should never use an apostrophe in order to pluralize a word. The correct choice is, "the lesson with the students that stayed behind."

Example Question #30 : Correcting Apostrophe 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.

Magaret took her horses' out of the stable so that they could walk around.

Possible Answers:

Magaret took her horses' out of the stable

Magaret took her horse' out of the stable

Magaret took her horses out of the stable

Magaret took her's horses out of the stable

Magaret took her horse's out of the stable

Correct answer:

Magaret took her horses out of the stable

Explanation:

This sentence misuses an apostrophe. Even thought the word "her" is possessive, that does not make "horses" possessive. The apostrophe should be omitted for this reason. Note that you should never pluralize a word with an apostrophe. The correct choice is, "Magaret took her horses out of the stable."

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