GMAT Verbal : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : 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.

Unsure of how to complete the math problem, Tony asked his teacher, which hesitated before answering.

Possible Answers:

and which

and that

who

that

whom

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

We need to chose a relative pronoun to replace "which" that can describe a person, because the pronoun is referring to Tony's teacher. Of the available answer choices, only "who" and "whom" can refer to people. "Whom" is an objective pronoun while "who" is a subjective pronoun. A trick for deciding which form to use in a sentence is to replace the pronoun with the word "him." If "him" makes grammatical sense, you need to use the objective form, "whom." In this sentence, it does not make sense to say "him hesitated before answering," so we need to use the subjective form, "who."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Rarely does a person get such an opportunity more than once in their lifetime.

Possible Answers:

more than once in a lifetime.

more than once in their lifetime.

more than once for their lifetime.

more then once in their lifetime.

more than once in there lifetime.

Correct answer:

more than once in a lifetime.

Explanation:

The use of the word "their" in the sentence is highly problematic, as it is both plural when the subject is singular and creates an odd referent. These issues can both be cleared by replacing it with the article "a," as in the correct answer choice "more than once in a lifetime."

Example Question #31 : 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.

Reading the daily paper was the usual morning routine for himself.

Possible Answers:

for him.

to himself.

from himself.

for himself.

on himself.

Correct answer:

for him.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun is incorrect in the sentence, as "himself" needs a previous use of the third person pronoun to refer back to in its usage. This pronoun needs to be changed to the simple pronoun "him," and otherwise there are no further issues with the sentence. The correct answer choice is "for him."

Example Question #71 : 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.

The report was immediately given to himself when I was done reading it.

Possible Answers:

given for himself 

gave to himself 

giving to himself 

given to him

given to himself 

Correct answer:

given to him

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "himself" is incorrect in the sentence as a reflexive pronoun needs to refer back to an earlier use of the regular pronoun of the same person. The pronoun needs to be changed to the simple "him," making "given to him" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #32 : 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.

Are you mad about me going to the party with them?

Possible Answers:

Are you mad with them going to the party about me?

Are you mad about the party?

Are you mad about my going to the party with them?

Are you mad about the going of the party of me with them?

(No changes to original.)

Correct answer:

Are you mad about my going to the party with them?

Explanation:

When the "–ing" form of a verb is used as a noun (called a "gerund"), the pronoun immediately preceding it should be in the possessive form.

Example Question #51 : Improving Sentences

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.

Wealthy patrons often give anonymous gifts because identities are protected.

Possible Answers:

because identities be protected.

because their identities protection.

so their identities are protected.

so identities are protected.

because identities are protected.

Correct answer:

so their identities are protected.

Explanation:

The sentence as written is incorrect because it does not specify what or whose "identities are protected" by "anonymous gifts." The correct answer needs to at least refer back to the "wealthy patrons" in order to explain their behavior. "So their identities are protected" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #71 : 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.

The board only requires you to attend this meeting.

Possible Answers:

only requires yourself

only require you

requires only yourself

only requires you

requires just yourself

Correct answer:

only requires you

Explanation:

The sentence is correct as it is written. The use of "you" in this sentence is proper instead of "yourself," because "yourself" is a reflexive pronoun, meaning it needs to refer back to an earlier use of "you." 

Example Question #41 : 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. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

There is many issues with the prosecution's case against the mafia leader.

Possible Answers:

There are

That is

Those are

These have

There is

Correct answer:

There are

Explanation:

The verb in the underlined portion is used with the "many issues," a plural. Therefore, the verb needs to be plural. Also, the word beginning the sentence needs to appropriately reference the "many issues." "There are" is the only answer choice that fits both criteria.

Example Question #71 : 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.

This has been a favorite band of me for a while.

Possible Answers:

This has been a favorite band of myself's for a while.

For a while, this has been one of mine favorite bands.

Of myself for a while, this has been a favorite band.

This band has been a favorite of mine for a while.

Of I, this has been a favorite band for a while.

Correct answer:

This band has been a favorite of mine for a while.

Explanation:

Instead of using the first-person objective pronoun "me," the first-person possessive pronoun "mine" should be used in order to imply ownership of opinion in this sentence. So, the correct answer is, "This band has been a favorite of mine for a while."

Example Question #41 : 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.

If you ever see someone walking along this street at night trying to hitch a ride, make sure you don't pick them up.

Possible Answers:

they

them

him and her

he

him or her

Correct answer:

him or her

Explanation:

"Someone" is singular, so a singular pronoun must be used to refer back to it. Because "someone" can be male or female, it's best to use the phrase "him or her."

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