GMAT Verbal : Correcting Word Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GMAT Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #13 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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 leader of the football players make all decisions for the entire group.

Possible Answers:

the football players making all decisions

the football players to make all decisions

the football players were making all decisions

the football players makes all decisions

the football players make all decisions

Correct answer:

the football players makes all decisions

Explanation:

The use of the plural verb form "make" is incorrect in this sentence, as the subject, "The leader," is a singular noun. A subject and verb must always be in agreement, meaning the verb needs to be changed to a singular form. Only "the football players makes all decisions" uses the proper verb form, so it is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #14 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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 first of the shows were much tamer than the shows that came later.

Possible Answers:

the shows were much tamest

the shows was much tamer

the show's were much tamer

the shows were much tamer

the shows were more tamer

Correct answer:

the shows was much tamer

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is a singular noun, "first," but the sentence is written with a plural verb, "were." A subject and the verb that describes its action must always be in agreement, meaning this verb needs to be changed to a singular form. The only answer choice to use the correct verb form is "the shows was much tamer."

Example Question #15 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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 boys were making trouble for everybody else.

Possible Answers:

the boys was making trouble

the boys were making troubling

the boys were make trouble

the boys were made trouble

the boys were making trouble

Correct answer:

the boys was making trouble

Explanation:

The verb in the sentence, "were," is a plural verb, but the subject of the sentence is "one," a singular noun. Any subject and verb must be in agreement, so the verb has to be changed to the singular form, because "one" is not underlined in the sentence. Therefore, the correct answer choice is "the boys was making trouble."

Example Question #16 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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 argument over the scandal and the authority of the governor have intensified greatly.

Possible Answers:

the authority of the governor has

the governor's authority have

the authority of the governor have

what the authority of the governor is has

whether the governor has authority has

Correct answer:

the authority of the governor has

Explanation:

Because the subject of the sentence is the singular noun argument, the verb have is conjugated incorrectly. The sentence also has a list which requires parallel phrasing. The only choice that corrects both problems is "the authority of the governor has".

Example Question #17 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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.

All of the pack is involved in any nighttime hunt, and every wolf shares in the benefits of the prey.

Possible Answers:

The pack all is

All of the pack is

All of the pack are

The pack are

All the pack is

Correct answer:

All of the pack are

Explanation:

The underlined portion has a very simple error, as "all" is a plural noun, and needs a plural form as the subject of the sentence. "The pack" is singular, but is not the subject of the sentence as it is written. The correct answer is "All of the pack are."

Example Question #18 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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.

Everyone in the villages know that the boy was in trouble from the moment he came home.

Possible Answers:

knows which

know that

know of that

knows that

know which

Correct answer:

knows that

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence "Everyone" is a singular noun, but the verb "know" is plural. A subject and verb have to match in tense, so the verb needs to be in the singular form. The correct answer is "knows that."

Example Question #51 : Subject Verb Agreement Errors

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam are too much for me to remember.

Possible Answers:

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam are too much for me to remember.

The number of physics principles on tomorrows’ exam are too much for me to remember.

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam is too much for me to remember.

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam are too much of me to remember.

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam are much too much for me to remember.

Correct answer:

The number of physics principles on tomorrow’s exam is too much for me to remember.

Explanation:

Here, there is a subject-verb agreement problem. The subject is “number”, which is singular. The verb “are” does not match up with “number” because it is plural. We need to say “number…is”.

Example Question #52 : Agreement 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.

Some of the soldiers is still missing years after the war is over.

Possible Answers:

Some of the soldiers are still missing

Some of the soldier missing

Some of the soldiers is still missing

Some soldiers miss

Some soldiers is still missing

Correct answer:

Some of the soldiers are still missing

Explanation:

The use of the phrase "Some of the" always indicates a plural, even when referring to small slice of a larger group. The verb tense for "is" then needs to be changed into a plural form. "Some of the soldiers are still missing," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #21 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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.

When does the restaurant closes after dinner?

Possible Answers:

should close

will close

close

closes

closing

Correct answer:

close

Explanation:

Becuase the subject, "restaurant," is singluar, the verb must be be singular as well. The verb and the subject in a sentence must always agree with each other.

Example Question #961 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

 

After watching their home team hit the game-winning home run, the group of hometown fans were ecstatic.

Possible Answers:

the group of hometown fans were ecstatic

the hometown fans in the group was ecstatic

the group of hometown fans became ecstatic

the group of hometown fans was ecstatic

the group was ecstatic with hometown fans

Correct answer:

the group of hometown fans was ecstatic

Explanation:

The term "group" is a singular subject; therefore, the verb must be "was," as opposed to "were."

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