GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #55 : 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 board only requires you to attend this meeting.

Possible Answers:

requires only yourself

only requires yourself

only require you

only requires you

requires just yourself

Correct answer:

only requires you

Explanation:

The sentence is correct as it is written. The use of "you" in this sentence is proper instead of "yourself," because "yourself" is a reflexive pronoun, meaning it needs to refer back to an earlier use of "you." 

Example Question #56 : 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.

There is many issues with the prosecution's case against the mafia leader.

Possible Answers:

Those are

There is

These have

That is

There are

Correct answer:

There are

Explanation:

The verb in the underlined portion is used with the "many issues," a plural. Therefore, the verb needs to be plural. Also, the word beginning the sentence needs to appropriately reference the "many issues." "There are" is the only answer choice that fits both criteria.

Example Question #57 : 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.

This has been a favorite band of me for a while.

Possible Answers:

Of myself for a while, this has been a favorite band.

This has been a favorite band of myself's for a while.

This band has been a favorite of mine for a while.

Of I, this has been a favorite band for a while.

For a while, this has been one of mine favorite bands.

Correct answer:

This band has been a favorite of mine for a while.

Explanation:

Instead of using the first-person objective pronoun "me," the first-person possessive pronoun "mine" should be used in order to imply ownership of opinion in this sentence. So, the correct answer is, "This band has been a favorite of mine for a while."

Example Question #71 : Other Pronoun 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.

If you ever see someone walking along this street at night trying to hitch a ride, make sure you don't pick them up.

Possible Answers:

them

him or her

him and her

they

he

Correct answer:

him or her

Explanation:

"Someone" is singular, so a singular pronoun must be used to refer back to it. Because "someone" can be male or female, it's best to use the phrase "him or her."

Example Question #71 : Other Pronoun 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.

After the team had them first big victory, the coach decided to go out for a celebration pizza dinner.

Possible Answers:

his

its

them

it's

their

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

"Team" is a singular word, so "them" must be replaced by a singular possessive pronoun.

Example Question #41 : 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.

Your sure your dad told you what time your mom would be home tonight, right?

Possible Answers:

Your sure your dad told you what time your mom would be home tonight, right?

You're sure your dad told you what time you're mom would be home tonight, right?

Your sure you're dad told you what time you're mom would be home tonight, right?

You're sure you're dad told you what time you're mom would be home tonight, right?

You're sure your dad told you what time your mom would be home tonight, right?

Correct answer:

You're sure your dad told you what time your mom would be home tonight, right?

Explanation:

The first underlined part can be broken apart into "you are," and calls for the use of the contraction "you're;." The second two cases are possessives, and call for the use of "your."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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.

In order to decrease scrutiny, the organization began holding all there press conferences in secret.

Possible Answers:

all they're press conferences in secret.

all there press conferences in secret.

all they are press conferences in secret.

all of there press conferences in secret.

all their press conferences in secret.

Correct answer:

all their press conferences in secret.

Explanation:

The use of "there," which means a particular place, is incorrect in this sentence. The sentence is written in a way to indicate that "there" should be the third person plural possessive pronoun, "their." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "all their press conferences in secret."

Example Question #242 : 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 rains came so hard that there football game had to be delayed.

Possible Answers:

there own football game

they're football game

there football game

there football games

their football game

Correct answer:

their football game

Explanation:

The use of "there" is absolutely incorrect in this sentence. What should be used is the third person plural possessive pronoun "their; therefore, "their football game" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #61 : 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Over the course of history, powerful people have always asserted their selves when a crisis has occurred.

Possible Answers:

them

their selfs

their self

their selves

themselves

Correct answer:

themselves

Explanation:

"Their selves" means essentially their independent identities, and is not a reflexive pronoun that refers back to the "powerful people" Therefore, the correct answer is "themselves," which is just such a reflexive pronoun.

Example Question #62 : 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Few domesticated animals have the ability to fend for themselves without humans providing for themselves.

Possible Answers:

providing themselves

providing for them

provide for them

provide for themselves

providing for themselves

Correct answer:

providing for them

Explanation:

"Themselves" is a referential pronoun, and the structure of the sentence would make it refer to "humans." For the sentence to make sense, the pronoun needs to indicate "domesticated animals" are the ones being provided for. "Providing for them" is the correct answer choice.

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