SAT Writing : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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 the marlin launched itself violently at the boat, its bill plunged through the space between David and I.

Possible Answers:

its bill plunged through the space between I and David.

its bill plunged through the space between David and I.

its bill plunging through the space between David and me.

its bill plunged through the space between David and me.

it's bill plunged through the space between David and I.

Correct answer:

its bill plunged through the space between David and me.

Explanation:

The first person pronoun is the object of the preposition "between" and therefore must be the object pronoun "me" and not the subject pronoun "I."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

When you work hard and put forth your best effort, one can expect positive results. 

Possible Answers:

one can expect

we can expect

they can expect

you can expect

he or she can expect

Correct answer:

you can expect

Explanation:

Since the pronoun "you" is used to describe the subject in beginning of the sentence, the pronoun "one" must be changed to "you" to maintain grammatical consistency. Therefore, the correct answer is "you can expect." Once a pronoun has been used to describe the subject that pronoun must remain consistent throughout the sentence.

Example Question #11 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, you should first do research on how to properly care for it.

Possible Answers:

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, one should first do research on how to properly care for it.

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, we should first do research on how to properly care for it.

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, you should first do research on how to properly care for it.

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, he should first do research on how to properly care for it.

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, you first should do research on how to properly care for it.

Correct answer:

If one is going to purchase a pet, no matter how small, one should first do research on how to properly care for it.

Explanation:

Because the pronoun in the first part of the sentence is "one," it needs to be "one" later on to maintain consistent use. Any subject pronoun would be suitable in these slots; what matters is that it is the same pronoun in both, to maintain consistency.

Example Question #14 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

In order to lower your mile time, one must be following a strict schedule of training and not eating unhealthy foods.

Possible Answers:

you must both have strict training in addition to unhealthy foods being avoided.

one must be following a strict schedule of training and not eating unhealthy foods.

you must follow a strict training schedule and avoid unhealthy foods.

one must train strictly and not eat unhealthy foods.

one must follow a strict training schedule and avoid unhealthy foods.

Correct answer:

you must follow a strict training schedule and avoid unhealthy foods.

Explanation:

The correct answer choice in this case will keep the pronouns consistent by keeping them in the second person (as "your" is used in the unchangeable part of the sentence). The best choice is the one which makes this change while remaining accurate and concise: "you must follow a strict training schedule and avoid unhealthy foods."

Example Question #15 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

One's notebook should always be orderly because you never know when the teacher will decide to grade it. 

Possible Answers:

because, you never know

because one never knows 

because one never know

because you never know

because we never know

Correct answer:

because one never knows 

Explanation:

The pronoun "you" is a second-person pronoun, which is incorrect because the sentence describes "one," which is a third-person pronoun. 

Example Question #12 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

One must treat elders with utmost deference and respect, as your elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure your future.

Possible Answers:

as your elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure one's future.

as one's elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure one's future.

as one's elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure your future.

as your elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure your future.

as your elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure your Future.

Correct answer:

as one's elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure one's future.

Explanation:

The pronoun in the portion of the sentence above that is not underlined is "one," and to avoid any inconsistency errors, this pronoun should be used throughout the sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "as one's elders have gone through unimaginable hardship to ensure one's future."

Example Question #17 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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 need you to take the hammer out of the bag in order to repair it.

Possible Answers:

in order to make repairs to it.

in order to repair him.

in order to repair it.

in order to repair the bag.

in order to repair her.

Correct answer:

in order to repair the bag.

Explanation:

Whenever you have multiple antecedents in a sentence, you must be extremely clear with pronoun usage in order to avoid any ambiguity. In the sentence above, "it" could refer to either "the hammer" or "the bag." The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "in order to repair the bag." It's also, perhaps, a good idea to appropriately store your tools, rather than carrying them around in handbags.

Example Question #18 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

If you want to go far in life, one must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

Possible Answers:

one must be willing to seizes each and every opportune moment.

you must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

some must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

one must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

one must are willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

Correct answer:

you must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment.

Explanation:

The pronoun in the portion of the sentence above that is not underlined is "you," and to avoid any inconsistency errors, this pronoun should be used throughout the sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "you must be willing to seize each and every opportune moment."

Example Question #19 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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.

When a man loves his wife, she has a duty to defend her at all costs.

Possible Answers:

she has a duty to defend her At All Costs.

she has a duty to defend her at all costs.

he has a duty to defend him at all costs.

he has a duty to defend her at all costs.

she has a duty to defends her at all costs.

Correct answer:

he has a duty to defend her at all costs.

Explanation:

The pronoun in the portion of the sentence above that is not underlined is "his," which refers back to the antecedent "man." To avoid inconsistency/pronoun-antecedent errors, male pronouns should be used throughout the sentence. This also reflects the content, and intent, of the sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "he has a duty to defend her at all costs."

Example Question #13 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Inconsistent Usage

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 sent those boys down to the store to do their shopping; in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, he came back empty handed.

Possible Answers:

in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, he came back empty handed.

In spite of my perfectly clear instructions, she came back empty handed. 

in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, they came back empty handed. 

in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, he or she came back empty handed. 

in spite of my perfectly clear instructions: he came back empty handed. 

Correct answer:

in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, they came back empty handed. 

Explanation:

The pronoun in the portion of the sentence above that is not underlined is "their," and to avoid any inconsistency errors/pronoun antecedent errors, plural pronouns should be used throughout the sentence. After the first sentence, many boys did not become one boy. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is: "in spite of my perfectly clear instructions, they came back empty handed."

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