GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #71 : 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 company planned to dominate the market with its new product, who they nicknamed "Project Zero."

Possible Answers:

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, whom they nicknamed "Project Zero."

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, whom it nicknamed "Project Zero."

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, for it they nicknamed "Project Zero."

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, which it nicknamed "Project Zero."

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, which they nicknamed "Project Zero."

Correct answer:

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, which it nicknamed "Project Zero."

Explanation:

This sentence contains two pronoun errors. First, "who" is not the appropriate pronoun because it refers to "product," which is a non-human noun. All non-humans are referred to with the pronoun "which" in English. Furthermore, the usage of "they" is incorrect, since it refers to the word "company," which is grammatically singular, even though it possibly refers to many individuals. The correct choice is, "The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, which it nicknamed "Project Zero." "

Example Question #71 : 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 purpose of the inquiry was to determine whose responsible for the accident.

Possible Answers:

to determine whose responsible for the accident.

to determine who was responsible for the accident.

to determine which was responsible for the accident.

to determine what person was responsible for the accident.

to determine if he was responsible for the accident.

Correct answer:

to determine who was responsible for the accident.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "whose," which is possessive. It is clear from the context of the sentence that "who was" should be in this place. The correct choice is, "to determine who was responsible for the accident." Note that the choices with "he was" and "what person was" are wrong because the first is imprecise and ambiguous (it is typical to mention a person or thing by name before using he, she, or it) while the second is less concise.

Example Question #2071 : 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.

When you are done with your work, please show it to myself.

Possible Answers:

me.

we.

I.

itself.

myself.

Correct answer:

me.

Explanation:

The sentence presented uses a reflexive pronoun, "myself," that does not refer back to anything previously mentioned. The proper form would be the standard pronoun "me," which is the correct answer.

Example Question #72 : 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.

Services like Twitter might seem silly, but it has played an important role in journalism, protests, and revolutions. 

Possible Answers:

but they have played an important role

but they has played an important role

but it have played an important role

but we have played an important role

but it has played an important role

Correct answer:

but they have played an important role

Explanation:

This sentence uses the wrong pronoun. Since the subject of the sentence is "services," the correct pronoun to describe it would be "they." The correct phrasing would be "they have," which makes the best choice: "but they have played an important role."

Example Question #72 : 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.

At one point in time, a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, they are more commonly a call to another country.

Possible Answers:

a long-distance call was a call to another city, now, it is more commonly a call

a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, it is more commonly a call

a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, they are more commonly a call

a long-distance call was a call to another city, now, they are more commonly a call

a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, it would be more commonly a call

Correct answer:

a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, it is more commonly a call

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in pronoun usage. The pronoun "they" does not properly match its antecedent: a long-distance call. The usage of the article "a" indicates that "long-distance call" is singular (because it is referring to the general concept, not individual calls). Therefore, the appropriate pronoun would be "it." Furthermore, the change from "they" to "it" requires the verb to be changed as well from "are" to "is." 

The sentence joins two independent clauses together without the use of a coordinate conjunction, so the semicolon is necessary before the word "now," and the word "now" functions as an introductory phrase here, explaining information necessary to the context of the sentence, but outside of the main sentence, grammatically. These types of phrases must be followed by a comma in order to separate them from the rest of the sentence. The correct answer choice is, "a long-distance call was a call to another city; now, it is more commonly a call."

Example Question #74 : 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.

Heidi wanted to know who's letter she received.

Possible Answers:

to know whos letter she received.

to know who's letter she received.

to know whose letter she received.

to know who'se letter she received.

to know who letter she received.

Correct answer:

to know whose letter she received.

Explanation:

This sentence uses the incorrect form of "who." "Who's" is a contraction for "who is." The appropriate form here is whose, which is the possessive form of the word "who." The correct choice is, "to know whose letter she received."

Example Question #75 : 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 robot, who the company built, was the first to trick people into believing it was truly human.

Possible Answers:

The robot, whom the company built, was the first

The robot, who the company built, was the first

The robot, which the company built, was the first

The robot, the company built, was the first

The robot, that the company built, was the first

Correct answer:

The robot, which the company built, was the first

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "who." The pronoun "who" is reserved for humans only. All other things, whether living or not, is referred to as "which" in standard English. Note that "that" is inappropriate here because it would make the following phrase ("the company built") a part of the main clause, which would mean you would have to omit the commas. The same explanation applies to just omitting the pronoun. The correct choice is, "The robot, which the company built, was the first."

Example Question #76 : 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 company, who's products I love, is revolutionizing the Tech Industry.

Possible Answers:

whose products I love

which has products I love

who's products I love

whoose products I love

that has products I love

Correct answer:

which has products I love

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "who's." There are two issues with the usage of this word: first, "who's" is a contraction for "who is" and is not possessive; the correct form would be "whose." The second issue, however, is that "who" should never be used with non-human words. The correct pronoun would be "which." "That" cannot be used because it would make the phrase "has products I love" a part of the main clause, which would require deleting the commas. The correct choice is, "which has products I love."

Example Question #71 : 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 wish to know who's wallet this is.

Possible Answers:

whos'

whoose

the person who is

whose

who's

Correct answer:

whose

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "who's," which is a contraction for "who is." It is clear from the context of this sentence that the possessive form, "whose," is necessary here. The other choice are not actual forms of this pronoun or are too wordy. The correct answer is, "whose."

Example Question #78 : 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 car seemed to have a problem with it's transmission

Possible Answers:

to have a problem with: it's transmission.

to have a problem with it's transmission.

to have a problem with its transmission.

to have a problem with: its transmission.

to have a problem with, it's transmission.

Correct answer:

to have a problem with its transmission.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "it's," which is a contraction for "it is." The appropriate form here (the possessive) is "its," omitting the apostrophe. No additional changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "to have a problem with its transmission."

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