GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #561 : 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.

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 would be 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 is 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 #111 : 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.

I wish to know who's wallet this is.

Possible Answers:

whose

whoose

the person who is

whos'

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."

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 #112 : 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.

Who's book is this?

Possible Answers:

Whose

Whos'

Whoe's

Who's

Who is

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."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors