GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #801 : 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

After the essay is written, please deliver a copy to ourselves.

Possible Answers:

in ourselves

to ours

for ourselves

to us

to ourselves

Correct answer:

to us

Explanation:

The use of "ourselves" is incorrect, as it is a referential pronoun, meaning that the word must refer to an earlier use of the first person plural pronoun. The use at the end of the sentence is the first one, and should not be a referential pronoun. "To us" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #41 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

The long term failure of the treaty was largely assumed to be due to it's unfavorable agreements for the weaker party.

Possible Answers:

due to it's unfavorable agreements among the weaker party.

due to it's unfavorable agreements for the weaker party. 

because its unfavorable agreements for the weaker party.

due to it's unfavorable agreements toward the weaker party.

due to its unfavorable agreements for the weaker party.

Correct answer:

due to its unfavorable agreements for the weaker party.

Explanation:

The sentence has an issue with the use of "it's" in the underlined portion. "It's" can only mean "it is" and never be the possessive, which can only be "its;" therefore, the correct answer choice is "due to its unfavorable agreements for the weaker party."

Example Question #541 : Sentence Correction

In the sentence below, select the phrasing of the underlined portion that produces the best sentence.

The physics conference, an annual gathering of elite minds, was the highlight of the year for forty world-class professors and myself.

Possible Answers:

for forty world-class professors as well as for myself.

for forty world-class professors, including myself.

for forty world-class professors and myself.

for forty world-class professors and me.

both for me as well as forty world-class professors.

Correct answer:

for forty world-class professors and me.

Explanation:

Never use "myself" as a simple subject (for "I") or object (for "me")—it should only be used in very particular circumstances. Use "myself" (and other pronouns ending in "self") only reflexively (where the subject and object are the same person, as in "I see myself") or to add emphasis ("I myself was there!").

Example Question #2391 : Act English

Everybody knows someone who has hated themself.

Possible Answers:

people who have hated themselves.

someone who hates themself.

someone who having hated themselves.

people who hate themself.

people having hated themselves.

Correct answer:

people who have hated themselves.

Explanation:

The problem with the underlined portion is the conflation of "someone" and "themself." This confusingly places a plural, "them," into a singular form to match it with "someone." To clean up this awkward phrasing, the best choice among the answers is "people who have hated themselves."

Example Question #341 : Improving Sentences

Suddenly, the hikers saw the mountain lion on the trail ahead of there path.

Possible Answers:

on the trail ahead there path.

on the trail up ahead of there path.

in the trail ahead of there path.

on the trail ahead of there path.

on the trail ahead of their path.

Correct answer:

on the trail ahead of their path.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence needs one change to one word. "There," indicating a location, should be changed to "their," the third person plural possessive. Thus, "on the trail up ahead of their path" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #52 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

When you are done with the book, please bring it to myself.

Possible Answers:

unto myself.

to myself.

for myself.

to me.

to I.

Correct answer:

to me.

Explanation:

The use of "myself" in the sentence is incorrect, as "myself" is a referential pronoun, but has nothing in the sentence to refer to earlier in the sentence; therefore, "to me" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2401 : Act English

Fine tuning the book took a great deal of time due to it's massive length.

Possible Answers:

due to it is massive length.

because of it's massive length. 

due to it's massive longevity.

due to it's massive length.

due to its massive length.

Correct answer:

due to its massive length.

Explanation:

The use of the word "it's" is incorrect in the sentence, as "it's" is only the contraction of "it is." The possessive form is always "its," making the correct answer "due to its massive length."

Example Question #65 : 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 issue was first brought to myself well over five years ago.

Possible Answers:

The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago.

The issue was first brought to my own self well over five years ago.

The issue being first brought to myself well over five years ago.

The issue was first brought to myself well over five years ago.

The issue was first bringing to myself well over five years ago.

Correct answer:

The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago.

Explanation:

The use of the pronoun "myself" in the sentence is wrong, as it is the only use of a first person pronoun, and needs a previous usage to refer to; therefore, the word needs to be changed to the simple first person pronoun, "me," which makes "The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago," the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2061 : 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 answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

For no apparent reason, the boy harbors a great deal of anger toward myself.

Possible Answers:

a great deal of anger toward me.

a great deal of anger for myself.

a great deal of angry toward myself.

a great deal of anger toward myself.

a great deal of anger to myself.

Correct answer:

a great deal of anger toward me.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun in this sentence is incorrect, as there is no previous use of the first person pronoun to which it can refer. The word "myself" needs to changed to the simple first person objective pronoun, "me." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "a great deal of anger toward me."

Example Question #2061 : 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 answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Many people do not trust them to watch their own weight.

Possible Answers:

them to watch their own weight.

themself to watch their selves own weight.

themselves to watch their own weight.

them to watch weight.

themselves to watch their selves own weight.

Correct answer:

themselves to watch their own weight.

Explanation:

The use of "them" is imprecise, as it is unclear who exactly "them" is referring to in the sentence. To clear up this confusion, the use of "themselves" is the best way to indicate this usage refers to the subject of the sentence. "Themselves to watch their own weight" is the correct answer choice.

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