GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

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 #121 : Correcting Word 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.

The company held its employees responsible for the success or failure of it's products.

Possible Answers:

for the success or failure of it's products.

for the success or failure of its products.

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

for: the success or failure of its products.

for the success, or failure of its 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 #781 : Gmat Verbal

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, whose debut performance 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 could have earned her three nominations was shaking hands 

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

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

Example Question #91 : 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.

And the World Health Organization estimates that by 2030 that number of people living with diabetes will more than double.  

Possible Answers:

estimates that by 2030 although

estimates that by 2030 the

estimates that by 2030 a

estimates that by 2030 because

estimates that by 2030 even though

Correct answer:

estimates that by 2030 the

Explanation:

The correct answer will resolve the redundant relative pronoun that, replacing it with the definite article "the". Using the article "a" is problematic precisely because the article refers to a definite noun "the number of people...". The other answer choice that attempt to implement a subordinating conjunction all result in issues with awkward syntax.

Example Question #121 : 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.

Carl wanted to know who's car was parked in his parking spot.

Possible Answers:

whos car

whose car

whos' car

who's car

who'se car

Correct answer:

whose car

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the word "who's," which is a contraction for "who is." The context of this sentence dictates that the possessive form of the word be used here. The correct choice is "whose." The other choices are not actual forms of this word.

Example Question #122 : 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.

Sharon knew that she had to complete his assignment soon.

Possible Answers:

his

she

him

her

hers

Correct answer:

her

Explanation:

This sentence misuses the pronoun "his." Since a man is not mentioned anywhere in the sentence, it makes no sense to use the word "his." Most likely, it is Sharon's project that is meant here, meaning that "her" should be used. Note that "hers" is not a proper word. The correct choice is "her."

Example Question #93 : 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.

When the car refused to start, he tried changing it's battery.

Possible Answers:

he tried changing the car's battery.

he tried changing that battery.

he tried changing battery of the car.

he tried changing it's battery.

he tried changing its battery.

Correct answer:

he tried changing its battery.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in the usage of "it's," which is a contraction for "it is." The context of the sentence makes it clear that the possessive pronoun is needed here, which is "its," without the apostrophe. Note that "that" is not specific enough (could be referring so some other battery), and "the car's/of the car" is redundant, given the first half of this sentence. The correct choice is, "he tried changing its battery."

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