PSAT Writing : Identifying Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #231 : 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.

One might try to adopt a baby lion, but you should be prepared for it to become quite ferocious when it grows up. No error

Possible Answers:

it

you

might try

No error

when

Correct answer:

you

Explanation:

In this sentence, the pronouns do not stay consistent. It starts about speaking generally about “one,” then switches to a second-person “you.” The corrected sentence reads, "One might try to adopt a baby lion, but one should be prepared for it to become quite ferocious when it grows up."

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.

Although you might think that teaching your parrot to curse is a fun idea, one quickly learns that parrots do not know to clean up their language around distinguished company. No error

Possible Answers:

their

No error

Although

one

is

Correct answer:

one

Explanation:

This sentence switches between using the second-person pronoun (“you”) and the more general “one.” It’s better to keep these consistent. The corrected sentence reads, "Although you might think that teaching your parrot to curse is a fun idea, you will quickly learn that parrots do not know to clean up their language around distinguished company."

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’s basic human need for love and acceptance will never overcome your preference to work independentlyNo error

Possible Answers:

independently

One's

will never overcome

No error

need for

Correct answer:

One's

Explanation:

This sentence switches between a general pronoun “one’s” and the second person pronoun “your.” These should remain consistent. The corrected sentence reads: "Your basic human need for love and acceptance will never overcome one’s preference to work independently."

Example Question #21 : 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.

When one's eyes grow heavy with sleep, it's important for you to find a pillow quickly.

Possible Answers:

grow heavy

you

No error

quickly

it's

Correct answer:

you

Explanation:

"You" does not agree with "one's." When using "one" as a pronoun to speak about an assumed general person, remember not to lapse into using the pronoun "you."

Example Question #92 : 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 must understand that even if it seems like your life will never be affected, an alien abduction could happen to anyoneNo error

Possible Answers:

must understand

will never be

No error

your

could happen to anyone

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

This sentence uses “one” and “you” interchangeably. These should stay consistent. The corrected sentence reads, "One must understand that even if it seems like one’s life will never be affected, an alien abduction could happen to anyone."

Example Question #21 : 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.

When deciding what kind of car to buy, you must consider many different aspects of various vehicles, including milage, size, cost, and many other important details which might affect one's decision. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

of various vehicles

many other

When

you

Correct answer:

you

Explanation:

"One" should be used in place of "you" in this sentence. When a setence is referring to a person nonspecifically in reference to an action, "one" should be used because "you" is a more direct pronoun used for talking directly to someone. Plus, "one" is used later in the sentence, and it is not correct to switch to using "one" in place of "you" (or vice-versa) in mid-sentence. So, "you" contains the error.

Example Question #291 : 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.

Although you have the highest grade in the class, one should still study for the final exam. No error

Possible Answers:

for the final exam

one

have

No error

should

Correct answer:

one

Explanation:

The pronouns in a sentence must agree. If you use "you" to refer to one person, you cannot use "one" to refer to the same person in the same sentence.

Example Question #96 : 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.

Billy the cat used to be a tiny kitten that his owners could hold in one hand, but he had grown huge and rotund as it matured, and now his owners were barely able to pick him up at all. No error

Possible Answers:

but

as it matured

that his owners could hold in one hand

he had grown huge and rotund

No error

Correct answer:

as it matured

Explanation:

This sentence's error occurs in the phrase "as it matured." Since Billy the cat is referred to as "he" in the rest of the sentence, it doesn't make sense to suddenly refer to him as "it" in this phrase. Changing "it" to "he" would correct the sentence's error.

Example Question #71 : 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 couches, carpets, and wallpaper in her house are each an alarming shade of pink; one often feels as if one has walked into a palace made of cotton candy when you step in the door. No error

Possible Answers:

each an alarming shade of pink

The couches, carpets, and wallpaper in her house

are

often feels

when you step in the door

Correct answer:

when you step in the door

Explanation:

The error in this sentence has to do with using both "one" and "you" as pronouns in a single sentence. Once you being using one of these pronouns in a sentence, you should stick with it and not switch to using the other one in mid-sentence. This sentence's latter half begins with "one" and uses the phrase "as if one has walked," but near the end, it switches to using "you" when it says "when you step in the door." To correct this sentence's error, "when you step in the door" should be changed to "when one steps in the door."

Example Question #72 : 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 often finds that one can’t study when people are talking near you, especially if those people are giggling or yelling. No error

Possible Answers:

especially if

are

can't

you

No error

Correct answer:

you

Explanation:

You can't switch between "one" and "you." The sentence begins with "one" and has to keep using it for the remainder of the statement.

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