GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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.

You must be sure to bring the materials directly to myself.

Possible Answers:

 for myself.

 to me.

 to I.

 to myself.

 unto myself.

Correct answer:

 to me.

Explanation:

The use of the pronoun "myself" is incorrect in this sentence, as "myself" is a reflexive pronoun and needs a referent earlier in the sentence. As no earlier use of a first person pronoun exists in the sentence, a reflexive pronoun is inappropriate. "To me" is the correct answer choice. "To I" might look like a potentially correct answer, but because "I" is the object of the preposition "to," it needs to be in its objective form, "me," not its subjective form, "I."

Example Question #1661 : Sat Writing

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.

The documents were surrendered to themselves as soon as the commission had finalized their work.

Possible Answers:

to them soon as

to themselves soon as

to themselves as soon as

to them as soon as

to themselves when

Correct answer:

to them as soon as

Explanation:

The use of the pronoun "themselves" is incorrect in the sentence, as "themselves" is a reflexive pronoun and needs a noun earlier in the sentence to refer back to as a referent. This is the only issue in the sentence, and replacing "themselves" with the non-reflexive third person plural object pronoun "them" is sufficient. The correct answer choice, then, is "to them as soon as."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

I have never doubted the facts for me, but I am aware that others have misgivings.

Possible Answers:

for me

itself

me

mine

Omit the underlined section.

Correct answer:

Omit the underlined section.

Explanation:

The use of "for me" is a confusing and odd use of the pronoun. Normally, we might consider changing "for me" to "for myself," since "I" has already been used in the sentence and "myself" would have a clear antecedent. However, the phrase "for myself" isn't necessary in this sentence; the sentence still makes complete sense without the inclusion of the phrase. Omitting the underlined portion simplifies the sentence and is grammatically correct, and it is the only answer choice that both corrects the error contained in "for me" and doesn't introduce other grammatical errors.

Example Question #61 : Correcting Pronoun 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.

You must give this information to herself immediately, with no delays.

Possible Answers:

to herself immediately, with no delaying.

to herself immediately with no delays.

to her immediately, with no delays.

to herself immediately, with no delays.

to herself immediate, with no delays.

Correct answer:

to her immediately, with no delays.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "herself" in this sentence is incorrect and confusing, as no third-person female pronoun or name has been mentioned, so "herself" has no antecedent. The sentence only needs to use the simple female third-person objective pronoun "her." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "to her immediately, with no delays."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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.

Unsure of how to complete the math problem, Tony asked his teacher, which hesitated before answering.

Possible Answers:

and which

and that

who

that

whom

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

We need to chose a relative pronoun to replace "which" that can describe a person, because the pronoun is referring to Tony's teacher. Of the available answer choices, only "who" and "whom" can refer to people. "Whom" is an objective pronoun while "who" is a subjective pronoun. A trick for deciding which form to use in a sentence is to replace the pronoun with the word "him." If "him" makes grammatical sense, you need to use the objective form, "whom." In this sentence, it does not make sense to say "him hesitated before answering," so we need to use the subjective form, "who."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Rarely does a person get such an opportunity more than once in their lifetime.

Possible Answers:

more than once in a lifetime.

more than once in their lifetime.

more than once for their lifetime.

more then once in their lifetime.

more than once in there lifetime.

Correct answer:

more than once in a lifetime.

Explanation:

The use of the word "their" in the sentence is highly problematic, as it is both plural when the subject is singular and creates an odd referent. These issues can both be cleared by replacing it with the article "a," as in the correct answer choice "more than once in a lifetime."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Reading the daily paper was the usual morning routine for himself.

Possible Answers:

for him.

to himself.

from himself.

for himself.

on himself.

Correct answer:

for him.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun is incorrect in the sentence, as "himself" needs a previous use of the third person pronoun to refer back to in its usage. This pronoun needs to be changed to the simple pronoun "him," and otherwise there are no further issues with the sentence. The correct answer choice is "for him."

Example Question #52 : Improving Sentences

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 report was immediately given to himself when I was done reading it.

Possible Answers:

given to himself 

given to him

gave to himself 

giving to himself 

given for himself 

Correct answer:

given to him

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "himself" is incorrect in the sentence as a reflexive pronoun needs to refer back to an earlier use of the regular pronoun of the same person. The pronoun needs to be changed to the simple "him," making "given to him" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #32 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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 reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Are you mad about me going to the party with them?

Possible Answers:

Are you mad with them going to the party about me?

Are you mad about the party?

Are you mad about my going to the party with them?

Are you mad about the going of the party of me with them?

(No changes to original.)

Correct answer:

Are you mad about my going to the party with them?

Explanation:

When the "–ing" form of a verb is used as a noun (called a "gerund"), the pronoun immediately preceding it should be in the possessive form.

Example Question #51 : Improving Sentences

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.

Wealthy patrons often give anonymous gifts because identities are protected.

Possible Answers:

because identities be protected.

because their identities protection.

so their identities are protected.

so identities are protected.

because identities are protected.

Correct answer:

so their identities are protected.

Explanation:

The sentence as written is incorrect because it does not specify what or whose "identities are protected" by "anonymous gifts." The correct answer needs to at least refer back to the "wealthy patrons" in order to explain their behavior. "So their identities are protected" is the best choice among the answers.

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