GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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.

If one is planning to argue with Damon about whether cats are better than dogs, you must be prepared to cite many sources to support your argument. 

Possible Answers:

she must be prepared

one must be prepared

he must be prepared

you must be prepared

they must be prepared

Correct answer:

one must be prepared

Explanation:

The error in this sentence stems from the lack of agreement between its pronouns. Since the sentence begins with the pronoun "one," we must change the other pronoun ("you") to "one" in order to make the sentence correct. 

Example Question #11 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because you never know when a car might come.

Possible Answers:

It is very important to look both ways when I cross the street because you never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when you cross the street because one never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when a person crosses the street because you never knows when a car might come.

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because they never know when a car might come.

Correct answer:

It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come.

Explanation:

The example sentence features inconsistent pronoun usage. Since the sentence first uses the pronoun "one," the sentence must remain consistent in its usage of that pronoun. It is incorrect to follow "one" (when used as a pronoun) with "you." The correct version of the sentence reads, "It is very important to look both ways when one crosses the street because one never knows when a car might come."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control your ego.

Possible Answers:

When you are trying to learn a new skill it is important to control his ego.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

When you are trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control his ego.

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control an ego.

Correct answer:

When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego.

Explanation:

The example sentence includes an inconsistent use of pronouns. The use of the neutral third-person pronoun "one" cannot be followed within the sentence by the second-person pronoun "you." Pronouns must remain consistent within sentences, so starting with "one" means that "one" must remain the pronoun. The correct version of the sentence reads, "When one is trying to learn a new skill it is important to control one's ego."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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.

When one is expecting a baby, how early should you begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Possible Answers:

When one is expecting a baby, how early should one begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should she begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should you begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should they begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

When one is expecting a baby, how early should we begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Correct answer:

When one is expecting a baby, how early should one begin preparing the baby's bedroom?

Explanation:

Since "one" is the pronoun used in the clause that begins the sentence, "one" should also be the subject of the sentence in all other instances. 

Example Question #141 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

If students can focus on completing their homework, she will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests.

Possible Answers:

If students can focus on completing their homework, we will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, they will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, she will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, he will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

If students can focus on completing their homework, it will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

Correct answer:

If students can focus on completing their homework, they will find it easier to score high marks on the unit tests. 

Explanation:

Given the use of "students" as the subject, we know that we will need to use a plural pronoun. Therefore, "they" would be a more appropriate pronoun to use than "she."

Example Question #15 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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.

If one is to be successful in the world, they must make responsible choices.

Possible Answers:

If one is to be successful in the world, one must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, he must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, they must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, we must make responsible choices.

If one is to be successful in the world, she must make responsible choices.

Correct answer:

If one is to be successful in the world, one must make responsible choices.

Explanation:

The error in the current sentence is a lack of consistency in pronoun usage. Since we use the word "one" as our pronoun initially, we should keep using the word "one" as our pronoun throughout the rest of the sentence.

Example Question #141 : 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 process of passing a law is a long and tedious process that involves reviewing them multiple times. 

Possible Answers:

them

which

it

they

the law

Correct answer:

it

Explanation:

It is clear that the pronoun is supposed to refer to "law," which is a singular noun. Furthermore, laws do not have a gender, so the correct pronoun would be "it." The choice "the law" would be redundant because it is already clear that we are still speaking about the "law."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent 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 underlined choices repeats the answer as it is written. 

When we have purpose in our lives, they can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled.

Possible Answers:

they can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

we can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

one can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

you can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

she can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

Correct answer:

we can wake up every day feeling confident and fulfilled

Explanation:

The sentence begins with the pronoun "We" but switches to the pronoun "they." We must therefore change the second pronoun to "we" in order to maintain grammatical consistency.  

Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Case

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.

This is a very difficult decision that will not be taken lightly, either by him or myself.

Possible Answers:

either for him or myself.

neither by him nor myself.

either by him or myself.

either by him or me.

either by him or by myself.

Correct answer:

either by him or me.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is incorrect in this sentence, as it has no earlier pronoun or noun to reflect back to in the earlier part of the sentence. The correct pronoun for this sentence is the simple objective pronoun "me." The only answer choice that makes the correct change to the underlined portion of the sentence is "either by him or me."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Case

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.

"Working towards a peaceful solution is the most important thing," said the Secretary of State, "for both the President and I."

Possible Answers:

said the Secretary of State, "for both the President and I."

says the Secretary of State, "for both the President and I."

said the Secretary of State: "for both the President and I."

said the Secretary of State "for both the President and I."

said the Secretary of State, "for both me and the President."

Correct answer:

said the Secretary of State, "for both me and the President."

Explanation:

The use of "I" in the final quoted part of this sentence is incorrect, as it is functioning as an object of the preposition "for," but "I" is the subjective form of the first person pronoun. The correct pronoun for the object in a sentence is "me." Therefore, as the only answer choice to use the right pronoun, the correct answer is "said the Secretary of State, "for both me and the President."

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