GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #81 : 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.

They named the robot, who had the capability to run, Marie.

Possible Answers:

the robot, who had the capability to run

the robot which had the capability to run

the robot, whom had the capability to run

the robot, that had the capability to run

the robot, which had the capability to run

Correct answer:

the robot, which had the capability to run

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "who." This pronoun is only used when referring to humans. The correct pronoun for a robot is "which." Note that "that" could also be appropriate if the comma before the word were omitted. Clauses that begin with "that" are not separated with commas, but relative clauses (Those beginning with forms of "who" or "which") should be separated by commas. The correct choice is, "the robot, which had the capability to run."

Example Question #82 : 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.

She wished to study in Rome because she was enamored with it's history.

Possible Answers:

Rome; because she was enamored with it's history.

Rome because she was enamored with its history.

Rome: because she was enamored with it's history.

Rome, because she was enamored with it is history.

Rome, because she was enamored with it's history.

Correct answer:

Rome, because she was enamored with it's history.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "it's," which is a contraction for "it is." The correct form (the possessive) is "its," without an apostrophe. The correct choice is, "Rome because she was enamored with its history." No additional punctuation is necessary. The word "because" does not take a comma before it when joining clauses.

Example Question #81 : 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 book is this?

Possible Answers:

Who's

Whoe's

Whose

Who is

Whos'

Correct answer:

Whose

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "who's," which is a contraction for "who is." The context of the sentence tells us that the pronoun should be possessive. The correct form is "whose."

Example Question #84 : 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.

She dabbled in many areas, that ultimately led to her new invention.

Possible Answers:

areas; that ultimately led to her new invention.

areas; which ultimately led to her new invention.

areas, who ultimately led to her new invention.

areas, which ultimately led to her new invention.

areas, that ultimately led to her new invention.

Correct answer:

areas, which ultimately led to her new invention.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "that." The word "that" does not begin a new clause; therefore, there should not be a comma before the word. Either "that" needs to be changed to "which," or the comma needs to be omitted. The choice that corrects this issue is, "areas, which ultimately led to her new invention."

Example Question #84 : 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 the movies, the teens, which were excited, bought much food.

Possible Answers:

the teens, being excited, bought much food.

the teens, whom were excited, bought much food.

the teens, that were excited, bought much food.

the teens, who were excited, bought much food.

the teens, which were excited, bought much food.

Correct answer:

the teens, who were excited, bought much food.

Explanation:

This sentence uses the wrong pronoun. The word "which" is never used for nouns which refer to humans. The correct choice here is "who." No other changes are necessary. Note that "that" does not begin a relative clause (in which case you would have to omit the commas), and the word "being" generally has to do with existence and is never used in this way. The correct choice is, "the teens, who were excited, bought much food."

Example Question #85 : 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 Presidents of the nations, which convened to talk about world issues, arrived early in the morning.

Possible Answers:

that

who's

whom

which

who

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "which." Since the sentence is about the Presidents (this is the subject), "which" is inappropriate as it can only refer to non-humans (Additionally, nations cannot "convene," but representatives (i.e. people) from those nations can). If the relative clause were to be re-written, it would be "they convened to talk about world issues." Since "they" is acting as the subject here, the correct word to replace it would be "who." The correct choice is, "who."

Example Question #87 : 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 held its employees responsible for the success or failure of it's products.

Possible Answers:

for: the success or failure of its products.

for the success, or failure of its products.

for the success or failure of its products.

for: the success or failure of it's products.

for the success or failure of it's products.

Correct answer:

for the success or failure of its products.

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "it's." This form of the word "it" is a contraction for "it is." Since the word is meant to be possessive here, the correct form is "its," containing no apostrophe. No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is, "for the success or failure of its products."

Example Question #88 : 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.

"Its important to study every day," the teacher stated.

Possible Answers:

Its' important to study every day

I'ts important to study every day

Its' important to study every day

Its important to study every day

It's important to study every day

Correct answer:

It's important to study every day

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "its," which is the possessive form of the word "it." It is clear from context, however, that the contraction, "it's" is necessary here. The correct choice is, "It's important to study every day." The other choices do not contain legitimate forms of the word "it."

Example Question #86 : 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 man that's dog bit the infant swears the whole ordeal was far less gruesome than the parents made it out to be.

Possible Answers:

whos' dog bit the infant swears

whose dog bit the infant swears

what's dog bit the infant swears

who's dog bit the infant swears

thats dog bit the infant swears

Correct answer:

whose dog bit the infant swears

Explanation:

You can immediately cross out the answer choice with a gross error in both mechanics and grammar: "whos'". Using the relative pronoun "that" to describe a person is incorrect. In this case, the relationship between the noun "man" and the "dog" is one of ownership. We need to use the possessive relative pronoun "whose". All of the other answer choices incorrectly address these two points.

Example Question #90 : 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.

An inspiration to young people, the starlet, who's debut performance earned her three nominations shook hands, with some new friends.

Possible Answers:

the starlet, who's debut performance would have earned her three nominations, shook hands 

the starlet who's debut performance had earned her three nominations shook hands 

the starlet who's debut performance might have earned her three nominations shook hands 

the starlet, whose debut performance earned her three nominations, shook hands 

the starlet who's debut performance could have earned her three nominations was shaking hands 

Correct answer:

the starlet, whose debut performance earned her three nominations, shook hands 

Explanation:

The central issue here is not verb tense usage but, rather, incorrect pronoun usage. "Who's" represents the contraction of the pronoun and verb "who is." The correct possessive form of the pronoun who is "whose." All of the other answer choices do not address this issue.

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