GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #351 : 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 brought to myself as soon as he was aware of the problem.

Possible Answers:

The issue was brought to me

The issue was brought to myself

The issue was bringing to myself

The issue brought to myself

The issue was brought on myself

Correct answer:

The issue was brought to me

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is incorrect when it has no previous first person pronoun to refer to. "Myself" must be replaced by the simple first person objective pronoun "me." As the only answer choice to make this change, "The issue was brought to me" is the correct answer.

Example Question #74 : 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 boys all arrived together to make sure they had a numerical advantage on they're side.

Possible Answers:

on their side.

on there side.

in they're side.

unto there side.

on they're side.

Correct answer:

on their side.

Explanation:

The key grammatical issue in the sentence is that two homonyms are confused, creating a mispelling in "they're." "They're" is actually the contraction for "they are," while the sentence needs the third person plural possesive form. "On their side" is 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.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger that fit the given description.

Possible Answers:

The police searched for weeks for a mugger that fit the given description.

A mugger that fit the given description was searched for for weeks by the police.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger who fit the given description.

The police, searching for weeks for a mugger, which fit the given description.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger, one that fit the given description.

Correct answer:

The police searched for weeks for a mugger who fit the given description.

Explanation:

The error in the original sentence is that the word "that" cannot modify people. "Who" must be used to refer to the mugger. 

Example Question #61 : 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 teacher had to repeat many questions to her students, which were very sleepy that day.

Possible Answers:

that

what

who

they

which

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

Because the word being chosen is referring to a group of people ("students"), you need to use "who."

Example Question #61 : 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 ability to distinguish faces is one that certain people lack, but itself is a skill that can be developed.

Possible Answers:

but its is a skill

but itself are skills

but itself is skillful

but it is a skill

but itself is a skill

Correct answer:

but it is a skill

Explanation:

The use of "itself" in the sentence is incorrect. "Itself" is a referential pronoun, and as the word is used as the subject in a complete though, there is nothing to refer to therefore, the correct answer is "bit it is a skill."

Example Question #61 : 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

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was her's.

Possible Answers:

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was her's.

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted they were her's.

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was belonging to her.

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted they were hers.

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was their's.

Correct answer:

I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was her's.

Explanation:

The possessive pronouns "hers," "his," "yours," "its," "ours," and "theirs" are never used with apostrophes. The correct version of this sentence reads: "I was fairly certain that the handbag was mine, but she insisted it was hers."

Example Question #61 : 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.

Marie was not looking forward to visiting the company, who was considered quite aggressive in the industry, because of its reputation for its equally aggressive employees.

Possible Answers:

who's was considered quite aggressive in the industry

who was considered quite aggressive in the industry

which was considered quite aggressive in the industry

whose was considered quite aggressive in the industry

whom was considered quite aggressive in the industry

Correct answer:

which was considered quite aggressive in the industry

Explanation:

This sentence contains a pronoun usage error. The word "who" is meant to refer to company, but is never use to describe non-human words. The appropriate choice is "which," making the correct choice "which was considered quite aggressive in the industry."

Example Question #62 : 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.

The countries, who's economies are developed, tend to rely on consumer spending to drive growth.

Possible Answers:

who's economies are developed

which have developed economies

whose economies are developed

which have economies that are developed

whose economies developed

Correct answer:

which have developed economies

Explanation:

This sentence contains three errors: two pronoun errors and a verb voice error. First, the pronoun "who" can never be used to describe non-humans (additionally, even if this was correct, the proper form would be "whose," not "who's." The appropriate word is "which." Additionally, the clause contains a passive voice verb (the subject of the clause is not doing the action of "developed"). The correct choice is, "which have developed economies," which fixes all of these issues.

Example Question #61 : 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.

Anne was walking to their friend's house.

Possible Answers:

Anne was walking to their house.

Anne was walking to the friend's house.

Anne was walking to her friend's house.

Anne was walking to friend's house.

Anne was walking to she's friend's house.

Correct answer:

Anne was walking to her friend's house.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses a pronoun. The correct answer is, "Anne was walking to her friend's house" since it is the most clear and concise. Using "their" makes it ambiguous as to whether the sentence is saying that Anne is heading to the house that she shares with someone else (In this case, the person would need to be mentioned before using "their") or if she is just going over to someone else's house. The use of "the" in this place is equally vague (It begs the question "whose friend?") and "she's" is not the proper form.

Example Question #61 : 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.

Who's wallet is this?

Possible Answers:

Who is the wallet for?

The wallet for whom is this?

Who's wallet is this?

Whom is this wallet for?

Whose wallet is this?

Correct answer:

Whose wallet is this?

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "who's." This word is a contraction for "who is." The appropriate form is "whose." The correct choice is, "Whose wallet is this?" The other choices contain errors in pronoun usage and dangling prepositions.

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