SAT Writing : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #53 : Correcting Pronoun Errors

In the sentence below, select the phrasing of the underlined portion that produces the best sentence.

The physics conference, an annual gathering of elite minds, was the highlight of the year for forty world-class professors and myself.

Possible Answers:

for forty world-class professors and myself.

for forty world-class professors, including myself.

both for me as well as forty world-class professors.

for forty world-class professors as well as for myself.

for forty world-class professors and me.

Correct answer:

for forty world-class professors and me.

Explanation:

Never use "myself" as a simple subject (for "I") or object (for "me")—it should only be used in very particular circumstances. Use "myself" (and other pronouns ending in "self") only reflexively (where the subject and object are the same person, as in "I see myself") or to add emphasis ("I myself was there!").

Example Question #54 : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Everybody knows someone who has hated themself.

Possible Answers:

someone who having hated themselves.

people who hate themself.

people having hated themselves.

people who have hated themselves.

someone who hates themself.

Correct answer:

people who have hated themselves.

Explanation:

The problem with the underlined portion is the conflation of "someone" and "themself." This confusingly places a plural, "them," into a singular form to match it with "someone." To clean up this awkward phrasing, the best choice among the answers is "people who have hated themselves."

Example Question #55 : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Suddenly, the hikers saw the mountain lion on the trail ahead of there path.

Possible Answers:

on the trail up ahead of there path.

in the trail ahead of there path.

on the trail ahead there path.

on the trail ahead of there path.

on the trail ahead of their path.

Correct answer:

on the trail ahead of their path.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence needs one change to one word. "There," indicating a location, should be changed to "their," the third person plural possessive. Thus, "on the trail up ahead of their path" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #56 : Correcting Pronoun Errors

When you are done with the book, please bring it to myself.

Possible Answers:

to I.

unto myself.

to me.

to myself.

for myself.

Correct answer:

to me.

Explanation:

The use of "myself" in the sentence is incorrect, as "myself" is a referential pronoun, but has nothing in the sentence to refer to earlier in the sentence; therefore, "to me" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #57 : Correcting Pronoun Errors

Fine tuning the book took a great deal of time due to it's massive length.

Possible Answers:

due to its massive length.

due to it is massive length.

because of it's massive length. 

due to it's massive length.

due to it's massive longevity.

Correct answer:

due to its massive length.

Explanation:

The use of the word "it's" is incorrect in the sentence, as "it's" is only the contraction of "it is." The possessive form is always "its," making the correct answer "due to its massive length."

Example Question #58 : Correcting Pronoun 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 issue was first brought to myself well over five years ago.

Possible Answers:

The issue was first brought to my own self well over five years ago.

The issue being first brought to myself well over five years ago.

The issue was first bringing to myself well over five years ago.

The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago.

The issue was first brought to myself well over five years ago.

Correct answer:

The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago.

Explanation:

The use of the pronoun "myself" in the sentence is wrong, as it is the only use of a first person pronoun, and needs a previous usage to refer to; therefore, the word needs to be changed to the simple first person pronoun, "me," which makes "The issue was first brought to me well over five years ago," the correct answer choice.

Example Question #59 : Correcting Pronoun 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.

For no apparent reason, the boy harbors a great deal of anger toward myself.

Possible Answers:

a great deal of anger to myself.

a great deal of anger toward me.

a great deal of anger toward myself.

a great deal of anger for myself.

a great deal of angry toward myself.

Correct answer:

a great deal of anger toward me.

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun in this sentence is incorrect, as there is no previous use of the first person pronoun to which it can refer. The word "myself" needs to changed to the simple first person objective pronoun, "me." Therefore, the correct answer choice is "a great deal of anger toward me."

Example Question #60 : Correcting Pronoun 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.

Many people do not trust them to watch their own weight.

Possible Answers:

them to watch their own weight.

themself to watch their selves own weight.

them to watch weight.

themselves to watch their own weight.

themselves to watch their selves own weight.

Correct answer:

themselves to watch their own weight.

Explanation:

The use of "them" is imprecise, as it is unclear who exactly "them" is referring to in the sentence. To clear up this confusion, the use of "themselves" is the best way to indicate this usage refers to the subject of the sentence. "Themselves to watch their own weight" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #61 : Correcting Pronoun 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 issue was brought to myself as soon as he was aware of the problem.

Possible Answers:

The issue was bringing to myself

The issue was brought to me

The issue was brought on myself

The issue brought to myself

The issue was brought to myself

Correct answer:

The issue was brought to me

Explanation:

The use of the reflexive pronoun "myself" is incorrect when it has no previous first person pronoun to refer to. "Myself" must be replaced by the simple first person objective pronoun "me." As the only answer choice to make this change, "The issue was brought to me" is the correct answer.

Example Question #91 : Correcting Pronoun 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 boys all arrived together to make sure they had a numerical advantage on they're side.

Possible Answers:

on there side.

on they're side.

on their side.

in they're side.

unto there side.

Correct answer:

on their side.

Explanation:

The key grammatical issue in the sentence is that two homonyms are confused, creating a mispelling in "they're." "They're" is actually the contraction for "they are," while the sentence needs the third person plural possesive form. "On their side" is the correct answer choice.

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