GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #71 : Correcting 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.

The board only requires you to attend this meeting.

Possible Answers:

only requires yourself

only require you

requires only yourself

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 #41 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

There are

That is

Those are

These have

There is

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 #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.

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

Possible Answers:

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

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

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

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

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

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 #41 : 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.

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:

they

them

him and her

he

him or her

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:

its

their

it's

his

them

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

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

Example Question #41 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

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

Your sure your dad told you what time your 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 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 #2 : 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 there press conferences in secret.

all of there press conferences in secret.

all their press conferences in secret.

all they are press conferences in secret.

all they're 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 #42 : 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.

The rains came so hard that there football game had to be delayed.

Possible Answers:

there football game

there football games

their football game

there own football game

they're 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 #41 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

their self

their selves

their selfs

them

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 #41 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

provide for them

providing for them

provide for themselves

providing for themselves

providing 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.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors