GMAT Verbal : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #612 : 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.

Everyone accept for John understood what the task at hand would require of them; John didn't quite get the seriousness of his role in all of this.

Possible Answers:

Everyone accepts that John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Everyone accept for John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Everyone except that John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Everyone except John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Everyone accept John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Correct answer:

Everyone except John understood what the task at hand would require of them

Explanation:

The correct answer resolves the major issue, the commonly confused words "accept" and "except" as well as the unnecessary preposition "for": "Everyone except John understood...". The other answer choices either fail to resolve the error in diction or incorrectly modify the preposition "for," resulting in unidiomatic syntax, for example "except that John."

Example Question #613 : 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 chief ordered the officers to hone in on the suspect.

Possible Answers:

spread

home

concur

hone in

converge

Correct answer:

converge

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "hone," which means to sharpen. The phrase meant here is "home in on," which means to converge. "Concur" means to agree, "spread" means to separate out, and "home" means a building where something resides. The correct choice is "converge," which means to close in on.

Example Question #614 : 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 affect of the meeting was far greater enthusiasm for the upcoming event.

Possible Answers:

mission

affect

cause

effect

resolution

Correct answer:

effect

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "affect," which is a verb meaning to cause. It is clear from the context of the sentence that a word meaning a result is necessary here. The appropriate word is "effect," which is the noun to affect. The other words do not fit properly. "Cause" is a verb meaning to change or a noun meaning a mission. "Mission" means a statement of purpose, and resolution means the act of completing an action. The correct choice is "effect." 

Example Question #615 : 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 children were amazed by the enormity of the elephant.

Possible Answers:

extension

scope

capacity

bulk

enormity

Correct answer:

bulk

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "enormity," which means a great amount of evil. The context of this indicated that the children are amazed by the size of the elephant. While all of the choices have something to do with size, there are slight differences in how each word is used. "Capacity" means the amount of volume something can hold, "scope" means the range something covers, "extension" means a continuation, and "bulk," the correct choice, means the size of something in three dimensions. 

Example Question #616 : Correcting Usage Errors

Choose the best version of the underlined portion of the sentence.  One option will remain unchanged.

I cannot understand there reluctance to try the delectable cuisine of India!

Possible Answers:

I cannot understand they're reluctance to try the delectable cuisine of India!

I cannot understand there reluctance to try the delectable cuisine of India!

I cannot understand their reluctance to try the delectable cuisine of India!

Correct answer:

I cannot understand their reluctance to try the delectable cuisine of India!

Explanation:

This tests a commonly misused word.  We have three options:  'there', 'their', and 'they're'.  The latter is a conjunction between the words 'they' and 'are', which is not appropriate in the context here.  'There' refers to a location (i.e. 'over there').  Since that is not what we need here, the option 'their' is correct because it is referring to people. 

Example Question #617 : Correcting Usage Errors

Please choose the best version of the underlined phrase.  One option will remain unchanged.

I worry that I will be ready to take my driver's license test or that I will ever be ready!

Possible Answers:

I worry that I will never be ready to take my driver's license test or that I will never be ready!

I worry whether I will be ready to take my driver's license test or whether I will ever be ready!

I worry that I will be ready to take my driver's license test or that I will ever be ready!

I worry if I will be ready to take my driver's license test or if I will ever be ready!

Correct answer:

I worry whether I will be ready to take my driver's license test or whether I will ever be ready!

Explanation:

When not stating a condition necessary for the action, it is always preferable to use the word 'whether' over 'if'.  In this instance, 'that' is also not the best version of the sentence.  'Whether' is best because there are multiple meanings to the word 'that' and 'if', and it eliminated the ambiguity. 

Example Question #618 : Correcting Usage Errors

Please choose the best version of the underlined portion of the text.  One option will remain unchanged. 

Although continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

Possible Answers:

Although continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

Despite continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

With continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

While continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

As a result of continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

Correct answer:

As a result of continuous altercations between the white settlers and the Native Americans, tensions grew to a fever pitch. 

Explanation:

Here, we need to choose the phrase that makes logical sense.  The sentence needs a phrase that works in the same direction as the concluding clause.  The tension grew because of the continuous altercations.  Therefore, the best option is 'as a direct result of', since the first clause caused the second.  'Although' and 'despite' need a contradictory ending to the sentence.  'While' is not grammatically correct, and 'with' is not the best version of the underlined phrase. 

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