GMAT Verbal : Correcting Preposition Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

To some people, the idea of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is synonymous for rowdy behavior, noisiness, and disorder.

Possible Answers:

with

of

to

about

in meaning for

Correct answer:

with

Explanation:

According to the idiomatic usage of prepositions, "synonymous" is typically followed by the preposition "with," not "for." All other variations are grammatically incorrect. 

Example Question #1 : Correcting Preposition 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, something that drove her whole family crazy.

Possible Answers:

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children for her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, 

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children and her own, 

Correct answer:

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

Explanation:

“With” and “to” are the only possible prepositions for the verb “compare.” “Compare with” is used for objects of essentially the same type (for example, comparing one family’s children with another family’s), while “compare to” is used for objects of essentially different types (for example, comparing a mother to a raging forest fire).

Example Question #951 : Sentence Correction

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.

Even though we started on the same day, at this point Robert is junior than me in the company.

Possible Answers:

at this point Robert is junior from me in the company.

at this point Robert is junior to me in the company.

at this point Robert is equally as junior than me in the company.

at this point Robert is junior against me in the company.

at this point Robert is junior underneath me in the company.

Correct answer:

at this point Robert is junior to me in the company.

Explanation:

Comparative prepositions (like "senior" or "junior") are followed by "to", not than, from, or against. The correct version of the sentence reads, "Even though we started on the same day, at this point Robert is junior to me in the company."

Example Question #1 : Preposition 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The night grew so cold that all the campers were shivering although a raging fire.

Possible Answers:

despite a raging fire.

although a raging fire.

even though a raging fire.

from a raging fire.

through a raging fire.

Correct answer:

despite a raging fire.

Explanation:

The use of "although" in the last part of the sentence is confusing and awkward. A different preposition can more clearly indicate the fact the campers "were shivering" while a fire was "raging," which should warm them. The best answer choice to do this is "despite a raging fire."

Example Question #2 : Preposition 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. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

That author's most recent novel is based on the Civil War in Spain, but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Possible Answers:

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions. 

but on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Correct answer:

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

Explanation:

The fragment “on a deeper level” must have a comma before and after it because it interrupts the second clause of the sentence. Also, the word “protest” must be paired with the preposition “against.” 

Example Question #501 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The beach can be a fun place to visit about long weekends.

Possible Answers:

The beach is always a fun place to visit beyond long weekends.

The beach can be a fun place to visit on long weekends.

The beach is often a fun place to visit around long weekends.

The beach can be a fun place to visit about long weekends.

The beach is always a fun place to visit further long weekends.

Correct answer:

The beach can be a fun place to visit on long weekends.

Explanation:

Here, the preposition "on" is most appropriate of the choices available.

Example Question #11 : Correcting Grammatical 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.

Never before did the members of the class see a sight such like that.

Possible Answers:

 a sight such as that.

 a sight such that.

sight such like that.

 a sight such like that.

 a sight such like.

Correct answer:

 a sight such as that.

Explanation:

"Such as" and "like" are related terms, with both being used to indicate examples of things mentioned earlier in the sentence. The correct usage, however, is either "such as" or "like," with "such like" being completely incorrect. The correct answer is "a sight such as that."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Preposition 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.

When the CFO hired an outside consulting group to double-check the already-completed project, she was disappointed to learn that the new results were inconsistent to those presented by her team.

Possible Answers:

the new results were inconsistent with that presented by her team.

the new results were inconsistent with those presented by her team.

the new results were inconsistent from those presented by her team.

the new results were inconsistent to that presented by her team.

the new results were inconsistent to those presented by her team.

Correct answer:

the new results were inconsistent with those presented by her team.

Explanation:

"Inconsistent with" is the correct adjective/preposition pair. The determiner "those" should match what it refers to in number, so "those (results)" is the appropriate choice over "that."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Preposition Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than those of her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

Possible Answers:

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than those of her predecessor; a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than those of her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than that of her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

The COO strove to make her habits quite different to those of her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

Correct answer:

The COO strove to make her habits quite different than those of her predecessor, a change that did not go underappreciated by her subordinates.

Explanation:

The correct pairing is "different from;" "than" is only used with comparative adjectives such as "larger than" or "smarter than." "Different from those" is correct - the demonstrative "those" must match, in number, what it refers to - in this case, "habits."

Example Question #13 : Correcting Preposition Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent to facts mentioned in the textbook, leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

Possible Answers:

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent to facts mentioned in the textbook, leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent to facts mentioned in the textbook, leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent with facts mentioned in the textbook leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent with facts mentioned in the textbook, leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent from facts mentioned in the textbook, which left the students confused and feeling lost.

Correct answer:

The professor's ramblings were inconsistent with facts mentioned in the textbook, leaving the students confused and feeling lost.

Explanation:

The correct preposition pairing is "inconsistent with," not "inconsistent to" or "inconsistent from."

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