SAT Writing : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect Usage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #551 : Usage 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 police searched for weeks for a mugger that fit the given description.

Possible Answers:

The police, searching for weeks for a mugger, which fit the given description.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger, one that fit the given description.

A mugger that fit the given description was searched for for weeks by the police.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger who fit the given description.

The police searched for weeks for a mugger that fit the given description.

Correct answer:

The police searched for weeks for a mugger who fit the given description.

Explanation:

The error in the original sentence is that the word "that" cannot modify people. "Who" must be used to refer to the mugger. 

Example Question #61 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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.

The teacher had to repeat many questions to her students, which were very sleepy that day.

Possible Answers:

that

they

who

which

what

Correct answer:

who

Explanation:

Because the word being chosen is referring to a group of people ("students"), you need to use "who."

Example Question #2071 : Correcting Grammatical 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 ability to distinguish faces is one that certain people lack, but itself is a skill that can be developed.

Possible Answers:

but itself is skillful

but itself are skills

but its is a skill

but it is a skill

but itself is a skill

Correct answer:

but it is a skill

Explanation:

The use of "itself" in the sentence is incorrect. "Itself" is a referential pronoun, and as the word is used as the subject in a complete though, there is nothing to refer to therefore, the correct answer is "bit it is a skill."

Example Question #61 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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.

Like the best apples at the grocery store, them at the farmer's market are bright red.

Possible Answers:

theirs

them

those

that

ones

Correct answer:

those

Explanation:

Here, simply match your subject, "apples," with the correct pronoun. Because the subject is plural, the pronoun must be plural as well. We also need a demonstrative pronoun in this instance, because we are specifically indicating the best apples at the farmer's market as opposed to the best apples at the grocery store. So, the correct answer is "those."

Example Question #62 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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 not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate; he will just try to ruffle your feathers.

Possible Answers:

One must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;

One must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate,

They must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;

He must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;

You must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;

Correct answer:

You must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;

Explanation:

The pronoun in the portion of the sentence above that is not underlined is "your," and to avoid any inconsistency errors, this construction should be used throughout the sentence. The best way to correct the underlined portion of the sentence above is, "You must not pay too much attention to Donald Trump during the debate;"

Example Question #63 : Correcting Pronoun Errors: Incorrect 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.

You should always try when playing games with friends, but one should not go so far as to cheat.

Possible Answers:

One should always try when playing games with friends,

You should always try when playing games with friends,

You should always try when playing games with friends:

You guys should always try when playing games with friends,

They should always try when playing games with friends,

Correct answer:

One should always try when playing games with friends,

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, "One should always try when playing games with friends,"

Example Question #361 : Improving Sentences

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.

Robert always doted on herself, bringing her flowers and asking her out more than a dozen times over two weeks.

Possible Answers:

on herself

on her,

on she,

to her,

in herself,

Correct answer:

on her,

Explanation:

The reflexive pronoun "herself" is incorrect in this sentence because there is no previous reference to a third-person female pronoun. Reflexive pronouns ("herself," "myself," "yourself," etc.) are generally used when the subject of the sentence is the same as its object. Here, Robert is the subject and the person he dotes on is the object. "Herself" should be altered to the third-person objective pronoun "her," and since one dotes on someone rather than to them, "on her," is the correct answer.

Example Question #65 : 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.

When you are done with your work, please show it to myself.

Possible Answers:

itself.

I.

me.

myself.

we.

Correct answer:

me.

Explanation:

The sentence presented uses a reflexive pronoun, "myself," that does not refer back to anything previously mentioned. The proper form would be the standard pronoun "me," which is the correct answer.

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