SAT Writing : Correcting Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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 members of the jury could not make up its minds to render a verdict.

Possible Answers:

there

their

they're

his or her

its

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

By itself, "jury" is treated as a singular, collective noun. If you only had the word "jury," the correct corresponding prounoun would be "its"; however, given that the antecedent is not only "jury," but "members of the jury," the correct pronoun is plural: "their."

Example Question #22 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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.

I asked if my partner and me could get an extension on our term paper.

Possible Answers:

me

she

it

he

I

Correct answer:

I

Explanation:

If the subject of a sentence is the speaker (e.g. the subject of the sentence is the pronoun "I"), there are two potential pronouns to use after that. The first is "I" a second time, and the second is "me." To determine which is correct, delete everything else from the sentence except for the part of the sentence where the second pronoun operates. In the case above, "me could get an extension on my paper" is clearly incorrect, and "me" should be replaced by "I."

Example Question #23 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

Everyone must do their part, or the project will never be finished on time.

Possible Answers:

theirs

there

his or her

their

they're

Correct answer:

his or her

Explanation:

"Everyone" is treated as a singular noun, therefore the proper prounoun to use with it is "his or her."

Example Question #24 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

No mother should have to bury their child.

Possible Answers:

they're

their

her

his

there

Correct answer:

her

Explanation:

"Mother" is a singular noun, therefore the proper prounoun to use with it is "her."

Example Question #25 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

The students really looked up to they're teacher, he was one of the best.

Possible Answers:

they're

their

our

his or her

there

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

The proper possessive pronoun for the antecedent the students is "their."

Example Question #26 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

After the fight, the boys didn't want to be held responsible for there actions.

Possible Answers:

their

they're

our

there

boys's

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

The proper possessive pronoun for the antecedent "the boys" is "their."

Example Question #27 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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 crowd was electric, their volume magnified by the many microphones' booming of their voices.

Possible Answers:

their volume magnified by the many microphones boom

its volume magnified by the many microphones' booming of their voices

their volume is magnified by the microphones booming of their voices

their volume was magnified by the many microphones' booming of their voices

their volume magnified by the many microphones booming of their voices

Correct answer:

its volume magnified by the many microphones' booming of their voices

Explanation:

The "crowd," despite containing many people, is a singular, unified entity. Thus, pronouns that refer to it should be singular--hence "its," not "their."

Example Question #28 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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.

No parent should have to bury their child; the loss of a young loved one is very often too much to bear. 

Possible Answers:

No parent should have to bury their child:

No parent should have to bury they're child;

No parent should have to bury their child;

No parent should have to bury his or her child;

No parent should have to bury there child;

Correct answer:

No parent should have to bury his or her child;

Explanation:

There is an antecedent/pronoun agreement error in the sentence above. The antecedent "No parent" does not match up correctly with "their." Since "no parent" concerns individual parents a plural pronoun is inappropriate in this situation. The best way to correct the error is: "No parent should have to bury his or her child;"

Note that a semicolon correctly separates two independent clauses in the example sentence.

Example Question #29 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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.

Each person should know their place, especially when addressing a monarch as important as Frederick.

Possible Answers:

Each person should know their place:

Each person should know his or her place,

Each person should know their place,

Everyones should know their place,

One should know their place,

Correct answer:

Each person should know his or her place,

Explanation:

There is an antecedent/pronoun agreement error in the sentence above. The antecedent "each person" does not match up correctly with "their." "Their" is a plural possessive pronoun, and should only be used to connote possession for unified groups, not large groups that are individualized. The best way to correct the error is: "Everyone should know his or her place,"

Example Question #30 : Correcting Pronoun Antecedent 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.

Angel did his best to put out the blaze, but even a great firefighter like her couldn't keep the house from collapsing. 

Possible Answers:

Angel did her best to put out the blaze:

Angel did his best to put out the blaze;

Angel did her best to put out the blaze,

Angel did her best to put out the blaze;

Angel did his best to put out the blaze,

Correct answer:

Angel did her best to put out the blaze,

Explanation:

There is an antecedent/pronoun agreement error in the sentence above. The antecedent "Angel" does not match up correctly with "his," as Angel is clearly feminine based on the second (not underlined and therefore unchangeable) clause of the sentence. The best way to correct the error is: "Angel did her best to put out the blaze,"

Note that it is incorrect for a semicolon to precede a coordinating conjunction (like "but").

As a general tip, it is important to consider underlined portions in the full context of the sentence, as the unchangeable parts of the sentence will contain the parts of the sentence structure that are correct.

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