GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #591 : 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

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because you never know when a car might come.

Possible Answers:

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because they never know when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when you cross the street because one never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when I cross the street because you never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when a person crosses the street because you never knows when a car might come.

Correct answer:

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come.

Explanation:

The example sentence features inconsistent pronoun usage. Since the sentence first uses the pronoun "one," the sentence must remain consistent in its usage of that pronoun. It is incorrect to follow "one" (when used as a pronoun) with "you." The correct version of the sentence reads, "It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control your ego.

Possible Answers:

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control his ego.

When you are trying to learn a new skill it is important to control his ego.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control an ego.

When you are trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

Correct answer:

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

Explanation:

The example sentence includes an inconsistent use of pronouns. The use of the neutral third-person pronoun "one" cannot be followed within the sentence by the second-person pronoun "you." Pronouns must remain consistent within sentences, so starting with "one" means that "one" must remain the pronoun. The correct version of the sentence reads, "When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego."

Example Question #593 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

When one is expecting a baby, how early should you begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Possible Answers:

When one is expecting a baby, how early should she begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should they begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should one begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should we begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should you begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Correct answer:

When one is expecting a baby, how early should one begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Explanation:

Since "one" is the pronoun used in the clause that begins the sentence, "one" should also be the subject of the sentence in all other instances. 

Example Question #594 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

If students can focus on completing their homework, she will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests.

Possible Answers:

If students can focus on completing their homework, it will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, she will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, he will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, we will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, they will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

Correct answer:

If students can focus on completing their homework, they will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

Explanation:

Given the use of "students" as the subject, we know that we will need to use a plural pronoun. Therefore, "they" would be a more appropriate pronoun to use than "she."

Example Question #595 : 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

If one is to be successful in the world, they must make responsible choices.

Possible Answers:

If one is to be successful in the world, we must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, one must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, she must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, he must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, they must make responsible choices.

Correct answer:

If one is to be successful in the world, one must make responsible choices.

Explanation:

The error in the current sentence is a lack of consistency in pronoun usage. Since we use the word "one" as our pronoun initially, we should keep using the word "one" as our pronoun throughout the rest of the sentence.

Example Question #596 : 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.

The process of passing a law is a long and tedious process that involves reviewing them multiple times. 

Possible Answers:

the law

it

they

them

which

Correct answer:

it

Explanation:

It is clear that the pronoun is supposed to refer to "law," which is a singular noun. Furthermore, laws do not have a gender, so the correct pronoun would be "it." The choice "the law" would be redundant because it is already clear that we are still speaking about the "law."

Example Question #2072 : 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. One of the underlined choices repeats the answer as it is written. 

When we have purpose in our lives, they can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled.

Possible Answers:

one can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

they can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

you can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

we can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

she can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

Correct answer:

we can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

Explanation:

The sentence begins with the pronoun "We" but switches to the pronoun "they." We must therefore change the second pronoun to "we" in order to maintain grammatical consistency.  

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