GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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:

Whose wallet is this?

Who is the wallet for?

Whom is this wallet for?

The wallet for whom is this?

Who's 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.

Example Question #552 : Sentence Correction

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, which it nicknamed "Project Zero."

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

The company planned to dominate the market with its new product, whom it 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 #101 : 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.

The purpose of the inquiry was to determine whose responsible for the accident.

Possible Answers:

to determine which was responsible for the accident.

to determine what person was responsible for the accident.

to determine who was responsible for the accident.

to determine whose 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 #93 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

itself.

I.

me.

we.

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."

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