GMAT Verbal : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #112 : Correcting Other 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.

The CEO asked the people on the team to be discrete concerning the confidential information about the new deal.

Possible Answers:

direct

discerning

discrete

discreet

deliberate

Correct answer:

discreet

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "discrete," which means individual/distinct. The correct word is "discreet," which means cautious/using good judgement and can be interpreted also as secretive. The context of the sentence (use of the word "confidential") tell us this is the correct choice: "discreet."

Example Question #113 : Correcting Other 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.

He wished to illicit feelings of nostalgia in audiences with his new movie.

Possible Answers:

illegitimate

revisit

elicit

illicit

implicit

Correct answer:

elicit

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "illicit," which means illegal. From the context of the sentence, it is clear that the subject wants to bring out or evoke these feelings in his audiences. The correct choice is "elicit," which fits this definition. 

Example Question #114 : Correcting Other 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.

Kenda complemented Michael's effort on the project when she made him employee of the month.

Possible Answers:

complemented

complimented

claimed

completed

censured

Correct answer:

complimented

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in word choice. The word "complement" means to complete. It is clear from the context of the sentence that Kendra intends to give Michael recognition for his effort. The choice that means this is "compliment (with an "i")."

Example Question #115 : Correcting Other 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.

She decided to talk to her neighbor since his music played continually: it never stopped, even at night.

Possible Answers:

continuously

continually

congenially

conveniently

consternately

Correct answer:

continuously

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in word choice. The word "continually" means to happen constantly, but most importantly is that this word implied that whatever is happening starts and stops. "Continuously," the correct choice, means to go on/never-ending. From the structure of the sentence, it is apparent that the second clause explains whatever word precedes it (hence the colon). The answer is "continuously." 

Example Question #116 : Correcting Other 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.

The CEO created a systemic plan detailing the changes that would affect the company, step-by-step.

Possible Answers:

systematic

system

subtle

synergy

systemic

Correct answer:

systematic

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "systemic," which means affecting an entire system. While it is likely that any changes a CEO makes may be systemic, the key to this sentence are the words "step-by-step," which indicates a plan that will be rolled out in pieces or in a system. The correct choice is "systematic," which means according to plan/arranged into a system.

Example Question #117 : Correcting Other 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.

Today, she planned to walk far than she had ever before.

Possible Answers:

further

more

increased

farther

far

Correct answer:

farther

Explanation:

This sentence misused the word "far." While this word does denote distance, it is in the positive form when the comparative form is necessary in order to compare things, as in this sentence. The correct choice is "farther" which indicates a literal increase in distance. Do not confuse this with "further," which means a figurative increase in distance/progression. Additionally, the word "more" simply indicates an increase in frequency, not distance, and "increased" is too vague. The correct choice is, "farther."

Example Question #118 : Correcting Other 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.

She decided to sue the newspaper for the slanderous statements it printed.

Possible Answers:

absurd

obstreperous

incredulous

slanderous

libelous

Correct answer:

libelous

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "slander." Though slander does mean a statement(s) harmful to a person's reputation, it specifically applies to spoken statements. Since the sentence states that the statements were published (i.e. written), they cannot be slanderous by definition. The correct word here is "libelous," which refers to written defamatory statements. The correct choice is "libelous."

Example Question #119 : Correcting Other 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.

Thought the medicine seemed to have many averse effects, they board approved it.

Possible Answers:

averse 

avalon

availed

adverse

averted

Correct answer:

adverse

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "averse," which means to dislike. It is clear from the context of the sentence, however, that unintentional/harmful is meant. This is the definition of "adverse." The correct choice is, "adverse."

Example Question #120 : Correcting Other 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.

The affects of the changes saved billions of dollars.

Possible Answers:

The effects of: the changes saved

The effects of the changes saved

The affects of: the changes saved

The affects of the changes, saved

The affects of the changes saved

Correct answer:

The effects of the changes saved

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "affect." "Affect" is a verb meaning to change. It is clear that the results of the changes (hence, a noun) is meant in this sentence. "Effect" is the correct choice, meaning a change/result of something. No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "The effects of the changes saved."

Example Question #611 : Correcting 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.

"The special effects effect the very substance of the film," claimed the director.

Possible Answers:

"The special effects effected the very substance of the film,"

"The special effects effect the substances of the film,"

"The special effects effect the very film substance,"

"The special effects affect the very substance of the film,"

"The special effects effect the very substance of the films,"

Correct answer:

"The special effects affect the very substance of the film,"

Explanation:

Making nouns plural or modifying the syntax doesn't resolve the core problem. "Effect" is not a verb. It is frequently confused with the verb "affect." The correct answer choice resolves this problem alone. Any other adjustments are entirely unnecessary.

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