PSAT Writing : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

If you plan to study physics in college, one should focus on taking science and math courses in high school. No error

Possible Answers:

one

and

taking

No error

to study

Correct answer:

one

Explanation:

When using "you" or "one" as the subject of a sentence, you need to be consistent. Because the first half of this sentence uses "you" as the subject, the second half must also use "you"—not "one."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

If you want to eat at a new restaurant on a Saturday night, one must make reservations as soon as possible to avoid a lengthy wait. No error

Possible Answers:

one

No error

want

lengthy

on

Correct answer:

one

Explanation:

Sentences must consistently use either "you" or "one" as the subject, and because this sentence identifies "you" as the subject in the first clause, the second clause must also use "you" (not "one").

Example Question #11 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

One should always guard your valuables when traveling in a crowded placeNo error

Possible Answers:

when traveling

No error

your

a crowded place

always

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

This sentence uses both "you" and "one" to give general advice. These should be kept consistent. The corrected sentence reads, "One should always guard one's valuables when traveling in a crowded place."

Example Question #281 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

When one is in the library, lower your voice so as not to disturb others. No error

Possible Answers:

one

No error

in the library

When

to disturb others.

Correct answer:

one

Explanation:

The words "one and "you" are both acceptable pronouns, but they should not be used as pronouns in the same sentence because the third-person pronoun "you" does not agree with "one."

Example Question #11 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

One should never underestimate the worth of double-checking your work. No error

Possible Answers:

the worth

your

never

No error

double-checking

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

This sentence uses both "one" and "you" as pronouns. These should be kept consistent—that is, if a sentence uses one of these pronouns, it should not suddenly start using the other afterwards. Changing "your" to "one's" corrects the sentence's error. The corrected sentence reads, "One should never underestimate the worth of double-checking one's work."

Example Question #51 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Although learning to balance on your head may be challenging at first, the sense of accomplishment one feels after finally mastering the skill is worth all of the effort. No error

Possible Answers:

challenging

No error

Although learning

one feels

is

Correct answer:

one feels

Explanation:

This sentence switches between using the second-person pronoun “your” and the general pronoun “one.” These should stay consistent; if you begin by using one of these words as a pronoun in a sentence, you shouldn't suddenly switch to using the other. The corrected sentence reads: "Although learning to balance on your head may be challenging at first, the sense of accomplishment you feel after finally mastering the skill is worth all of the effort."

Example Question #52 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The research study supported the theory that one’s taste expectations are based off of your prior experience with foods of various colors and textures. No error

Possible Answers:

various

No error

your

research study

are based

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

This sentence first introduces the possessive pronoun "one's" in "one's taste expectations," but later, it switches to using the possessive pronoun "your" in "your prior experience with foods of various colors and textures." If you begin using one of these pronouns in a sentence, you should be consistent and only use that pronoun in that grammatical situation for the rest of the sentence; switching from one to the other mid-sentence is grammatically incorrect. To correct the sentence, you could either change "one's" to "your" or "your" to "one's"—either swap would result in a consistent use of one of the pronouns. One version of the corrected sentence would read, "The research study supported the theory that one’s taste expectations are based off of one’s prior experience with foods of various colors and textures."

Example Question #11 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

One should never allow your work responsibilities to be taken over by another person. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

another

should never

your

to be taken over

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

In this sentence, the pronouns do not stay consistent. It starts out with the subject “one” and changes to the possessive “your,” but these should refer to the same thing. The corrected sentence reads, "One should never allow one’s work responsibilities to be taken over by another person."

Example Question #61 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

One cannot see the conditions in a sweatshop and truthfully say you think they are acceptable work conditions for any human being. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

truthfully

any

they

One

Correct answer:

One

Explanation:

The subject of the sentence is not consistent throughout the sentence.  At the beginning of the sentence, it refers to "one" but later changes to "you."  As changing the word "you" that is used later in the sentence is not an option, "one" is the incorrect word in this sentence. The sentence should read, "You cannot see the conditions in a sweatshop and truthfully say you think they are acceptable work conditions for any human being."

Example Question #11 : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Riding your bicycle to work can help reduce one's carbon dioxide footprint. No error

Possible Answers:

Riding

one's

can help reduce

one's

to work

Correct answer:

one's

Explanation:

This sentence cannot decide who it's addressing; it uses both "your" and "one's." These should be kept consistent. The corrected sentence reads, "Riding your bicycle to work can help reduce your carbon dioxide footprint."

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