GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #81 : Pronoun Case 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.

For he and I, the most important issue is the debate over voting rights.

Possible Answers:

For he and me,

For him and I,

For I and he,

For me and him,

For he and I,

Correct answer:

For me and him,

Explanation:

The underlined introductory phrase features two subjective pronouns, "he" and "I," but an introductory phrase does not contain the subject of the sentence. Both pronouns need to be changed to the appropriate objective pronouns, making "For me and him" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #651 : 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.

Raymond and me were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Possible Answers:

Raymond and I were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Raymond and me were asked to review the proposal prior to the investors' meeting.

I and Raymond were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Raymond was asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Me and Raymond were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Correct answer:

Raymond and I were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting.

Explanation:

The example sentence features a pronoun case error. In the example sentence, the objective case is used incorrectly. (The objective case is used when pronouns are objects of verbs or objects of prepositions.) The example sentence is best rewritten using the subjective case (which is used when the pronoun as a subject).

A quick test of the pronoun case is to rephrase the sentence using the pronoun as subject. You would not, for instance, say "Me was asked to review the proposal." The best version of the sentence is "Raymond and I were asked to review the proposal before the investors' meeting."

Example Question #52 : 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.

I have no clear idea who I am speaking to.

Possible Answers:

I have no clear idea to whom I am speaking with.

I have no clear idea to what I am speaking with.

I have no clear idea who right now I am speaking to.

I have no clear idea to whom I am speaking.

I have no clear idea whom I am speaking to.

Correct answer:

I have no clear idea to whom I am speaking.

Explanation:

The example sentence features a very common error of pronoun case, which leads the sentence to incorrectly conclude with a preposition. Rather than using the subjective-case "who" in saying "who I am speaking to," it is correct to use the objective-case "whom." The correct version of the sentence reads, "I have no clear idea to whom I am speaking."

Example Question #51 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

She said that she was going to choose whomever was the first person to submit his or her resume.

Possible Answers:

She said that she was going to choose whoever submitted his or her resume first.

She said that she was going to choose whoever; she wanted the first person to submit his or her resume.

She said that she was going to choose whomever, the first person to submit their resume.

She said that she was going to choose whomever was the first person to submit his or her resume.

She said that she was going to choose whoever was the first person to submit his or her resume.

Correct answer:

She said that she was going to choose whoever was the first person to submit his or her resume.

Explanation:

When trying to determine whether to use who or whom, you can use the following rule: try to substitute “he/him” or “she/her.” If either “he” or “she” sounds correct when substituted, then you need the subjective case of the pronoun, "who," because "he" and "she" are subjective case pronouns. If an objective case pronoun ("him" or "her") sounds correct, you need the objective case pronoun "whom."

It may still seem tricky to determine which pronoun is needed here, as in the sentence as a whole, the pronoun in question appears to be the object of the verb "to choose," but it is the subject of the clause "whoever was the first person to submit his or her resume." In cases such as these, the pronoun case is determined by the role it plays in the clause, not in the entire sentence. This means that in this case, we need "whoever," as the pronoun is the subject of the clause "whoever was the first person to submit his or her resume."

Example Question #51 : 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. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

John commented, “Our preference for the same foods leads me to believe that you and me have a great deal in common.”

Possible Answers:

to believing that you and me have a great deal in common." 

to believe that you and me have a great deal in common."

to believe that yourself and I have a great deal in common."

to believe that you and I have a great deal in common." 

to believing that you and I have a great deal in common."

 

Correct answer:

to believe that you and I have a great deal in common." 

Explanation:

“Believing” would constitute an incorrect gerund usage. “Me” must be changed to “I” because it is the nominative case pronoun.

Example Question #53 : 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.

The responsibility of scheduling the CEO's visit, including meal locations and transportation, was assigned entirely to Kathy and I.

Possible Answers:

was assigned entirely to Kathy and me.

were assigned entirely to Kathy and I.

was assigned entirely to Kathy and also to me.

was assigned entirely to both Kathy and I

was assigned entirely to Kathy and I.

Correct answer:

was assigned entirely to Kathy and me.

Explanation:

The first person pronoun in this sentence is the object of the preposition "to," and should therefore be in objective case. "Me" is the appropriate choice instead of "I." To simplify, you can remove Kathy momentarily (sorry, Kathy!) and see how the sentence would sound in a simpler form. "...was assigned to I" doesn't sound right, so "...was assigned to Kathy and I" shouldn't be right, either.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Case

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The manager, clearly struggling to rationalize the decision that had come from farther up the chain of command, offered Will and I a half-hearted explanation for why we had to work late on Friday.

Possible Answers:

offered Will and I a half-hearted explanation for why it was that we had to work late on Friday.

offered Will and I a half-hearted explanation as to why we had to work late on Friday.

offered Will and I a half-hearted explanation for why we had to work late on Friday.

offered Will and me a half-hearted explanation for why we had to work late on Friday.

offered Will and I each a half-hearted explanation for why we had to work late on Friday.

Correct answer:

offered Will and me a half-hearted explanation for why we had to work late on Friday.

Explanation:

The first person pronoun should be the objective case "me" as opposed to the subjective "I." If we remove "Will" from the sentence and simplify by removing the modifier offset by commas, we get the super-simple: "The manager offered I a half-hearted explanation." This illustrates the benefit of the simplifying tip, which can point out sentence flaws that become shrouded as complexity increases.

Example Question #53 : 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.

The new boss, who everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment.

Possible Answers:

The new boss whom everyone liked made many changes that led to a better working environment.

The new boss, who everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment.

The new boss who everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment.

The new boss, whom everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment.

The new boss who everyone liked made many changes that led to a better working environment.

Correct answer:

The new boss, whom everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment.

Explanation:

The sentence misuses the word "who." "Who" is only used when it is the subject of a clause, but it is acting as the object the clause "everyone liked," so the appropriate choice is "whom." All other punctuation is already correct, so the best choice is, "The new boss, whom everyone liked, made many changes that led to a better working environment."

Example Question #201 : 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.

People whom give advice without prompt tend to annoy Jessica.

Possible Answers:

whom

which

who's

whose

who

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

This sentence contains a misuse of the word "whom." "Whom" is only used when it functions as the object of a verb or preposition in a clause, but it is clear that whatever word should be in this position is acting as the subject of the clause in this sentence. The appropriate answer is "who" because the pronoun is acting as the subject of the clause and is referring to people. The correct answer is "who."

Example Question #202 : 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.

Joshua, who we like so much, had difficulty studying for the test, so we decided to help him.

Possible Answers:

whom

which

that

who's

who

Correct answer:

whom

Explanation:

This sentence uses the wrong form of "who." It is clear that "that" and "which" are not appropriate, because Joshua is a human. The pronoun "who" is not the subject of the relative clause; however, the "who" is being liked, not doing the liking. When it is not the subject of the clause, the appropriate form is "whom." The correct choice is, "whom."

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