GMAT Verbal : Correcting Verb Voice Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Correcting Verb 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 was named Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

Possible Answers:

The company was named Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

They named the company Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

The company was being named Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

The company named Tesla, in homage to the great inventor, was well known.

They were naming the company after Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

Correct answer:

They named the company Tesla, in homage to the great inventor.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "The company was named..." is in the passive voice. While it can be correct to use the passive voice in certain instances, in this case the active verb voice is a better choice (that is, the subject of the sentence should be doing the action). The correct choice is, "They named the company Tesla, in homage to the great inventor" since it is the most clear and concise choice that fixes this error. The other choices are too wordy or change the overall meaning of the sentence.

Example Question #22 : Correcting Verb 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 patent system is designed to encourage innovation, but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

Possible Answers:

The patent system is designed to encourage innovation, but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

The patent system is designed to encourage innovation; but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

The patent system is designed to encourage innovation but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

The government designed the patent system to encourage innovation but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

The government designed the patent system to encourage innovation, but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

Correct answer:

The government designed the patent system to encourage innovation, but many people feel it is abused by various parties. 

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error of concision and clarity related to verb voice. Since the real issue here is the "feelings" of the people who were abused by the patent system, it is better to phrase this sentence in the active voice (the subject of the sentence must do the action). Making this sentence in the passive voice is unnecessarily verbose and confusing.

Example Question #23 : Correcting Verb 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.

Many articles are edited on Wikipedia every day.

Possible Answers:

A great number of articles are edited by a great number of people every day on Wikipedia. 

People edit many articles on Wikipedia every day.

Many articles are edited on Wikipedia every day.

People edit a great amount of articles on Wikipedia every day.

An enormous amount of articles are edited on Wikipedia every day.

Correct answer:

People edit many articles on Wikipedia every day.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The sentence is in the passive voice (e.g. "are edited"). In the correct choice, the subject should be in the active voice, for clarity's sake: the subject of the sentence should be doing the action. The best choice is, "People edit many articles on Wikipedia every day" because it fixes this issue and is the most concise sentence. The other choices are too wordy or redundant. 

Example Question #24 : Correcting Verb 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.

Rock is said to have evolved from African-American styles of music, like Jazz.

Possible Answers:

Rock evolved from African-American styles

Rock evolved African-American styles

Rock is said to have evolved from African-American styles

Rock was created from African-American styles

Rock has evolved from African-American styles

Correct answer:

Rock evolved from African-American styles

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The passive voice is used (is said). Since "Rock" is the subject of the sentence, it should do the action of the sentence. The best choice is "Rock evolved from African-American styles" since it is the most concise choice that fixes this issue. The choice "Rock evolved African-American styles" is incorrect because it changes the entire meaning of the sentence.

Example Question #25 : Correcting Verb 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.

After only one year, the song was named "The Best Song of All Time."

Possible Answers:

people named the song "The Best Song of All Time."

 the song was named the best song of all time.

 the song was named "The Best Song of All Time."

 the song, named "The Best Song of All Time."

people named the song the best song of all time.

Correct answer:

people named the song "The Best Song of All Time."

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice: the phrase "the song was named" is in the passive voice; active voice is usually preferred. In this case, the presence of the introductory clause "after only one year" makes a more active, concise verb voice the better choice. Rephrasing to "the people named the song" fixes this issue. Note that "the best song of all time" should be in quotes and capitalized because it is treated as an exact title given to the song. The answer is, "people named the song "The Best Song of All Time." "

Example Question #26 : Correcting Verb 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.

Tim was reprimanded by his parents for staying out till 12 AM.

Possible Answers:

Tim's parents reprimanded him for staying out till 12 AM.

Tim was reprimanded for staying out till 12 AM.

Tim was reprimanded by his parents for staying out till 12 AM.

Tim was reprimanded by his parents till 12 AM.

His parents reprimanded for staying out till 12 AM.

Correct answer:

Tim's parents reprimanded him for staying out till 12 AM.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "Tim was reprimanded" is in the passive voice; the correct choice should always be in the active voice (That is, the subject of the clause should be doing the action). The only choice that corrects this issue is, "Tim's parents reprimanded him for staying out till 12 AM."

Example Question #27 : Correcting Verb 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.

After the storm hit, many new buildings were built instead of reconstructing the old ones.

Possible Answers:

many new buildings were built instead of: reconstructing the old ones.

many new buildings were built instead of reconstructing the old ones.

the town built many new buildings instead of: reconstructing the old ones.

the town built many new buildings instead of reconstructing the old ones.

the town built: buildings instead of reconstructing the old ones.

Correct answer:

the town built many new buildings instead of reconstructing the old ones.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "buildings were built" is passive voice; the correct choice should be in the active voice (The subject of the clause should do the action). No additional changes are necessary. The choice that fixes this error is, "the town built many new buildings instead of reconstructing the old ones."

Example Question #28 : Correcting Verb 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.

Strategy games were preferred by her and her friends.

Possible Answers:

She and her friends preferred strategy games.

She, and her friends preferred strategy games.

Strategy games were preferred by her, and her friends.

Strategy games were preferred, by her and her friends.

Strategy games were preferred by her and her friends.

Correct answer:

She and her friends preferred strategy games.

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "Strategy games were preferred" is in the passive voice; the correct choice in the active voice (The subject of the clause should do the action). The issue here is the friend's choice, not the strategy games themselves. It is confusing and unnecessary to make the receiver of the action the grammatical subject here. The choice that fixes this issue is, "She and her friends preferred strategy games."

Example Question #503 : 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Horses were domesticating by humans thousands of years ago.

Possible Answers:

were domesticated

were domesticating

domesticating

domestication

domesticated taking place

Correct answer:

were domesticated

Explanation:

The sentence describes what humans did to horses in the past, a fact that needs to be reflected in the verb's tense and transitivity. The correct answer must indicate that the domesticating being discussed took place in the past and was done by humans to horses, leading to "were domesticated" as the only possible answer choice.

Example Question #29 : Correcting Verb 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.

His pictures were hung on the wall in order to show off the beautiful places he traveled.

Possible Answers:

His pictures, being hung on the wall, in order to show off

He hung his pictures, on the wall, in order to show off

He hung his pictures on the wall in order to show off

His pictures were hung on the wall, in order to show off

His pictures were hung on the wall in order to show off

Correct answer:

He hung his pictures on the wall in order to show off

Explanation:

This sentence contains an error in verb voice. The phrase "His pictures were hung" is in the passive voice. The correct choice should always be in the active voice (i.e. the subject of the sentence should be doing the action of the main verb). No other changes are necessary. The correct choice is "He hung his pictures on the wall in order to show off."

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