SAT Writing : Identifying Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #91 : Identifying Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

After Professor Clarke told Daisy and Margaret that she could turn in another paper for extra credit, they worked hard through the night to complete the assignment. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

she

they

After

to complete

Correct answer:

she

Explanation:

Since Professor Clarke is speaking to both Daisy and Margaret, the pronoun "she" is used incorrectly here—whom is "she" referring to? "She" should be changed to "they" to reflect that both women are being spoken to by Professor Clarke.

Example Question #22 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Paul and Tom had a great time working together; he make a good team. No error

Possible Answers:

he

Paul and Tom

No error

together

great 

Correct answer:

he

Explanation:

Because Paul and Tom are a unified unit, they become a group of more than one. As such, the plural pronoun "they" should be used to refer to them, meaning that "he" in the sentence is incorrect.

The correct version of this sentence would read: "Paul and Tom had a great time working together; they make a good team."

Example Question #21 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Neither Paula nor Mark, had a good time at the party: they were both bored out of their minds. No error

Possible Answers:

their

they

No error

good

Neither Paula nor Mark

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

Although there is a "nor" separating Paula and Mark, they are still being treated as a single, plural unit in the second clause. Therefore, the sentence is correct as written. "They" and "their" correspond to the plural antecedent group of "Paula and Mark."

Example Question #24 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

The House of Representatives rarely seems to be able to fulfill their duty these days. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

duty

seems

rarely

their

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

In this example, "The House of Representatives" acts as a collective, singular noun. Therefore, the correct corresponding pronoun is "its", not "their". A common confusion occurs between "its" and "it's". Its is used to indicate the noun being discussed is in possession of something, while "it's" is a contraction of "it is."

The correct version of this sentence would read: "The House of Representatives rarely seems to be able to fulfill its duty these days."

Example Question #25 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

You must not treat your brother so abominably, because he's the only family you have. No error

Possible Answers:

he's

your

abominably

No error

must

Correct answer:

No error

Explanation:

There is no error in the sentence as written. Note that the pronoun "your" corresponds to "you," which is proper and correct. "He's", in this instance, functions as a contraction of "he is." The two clauses are correctly connected with the coordinating conjunction "because."

Example Question #1141 : Sat Writing

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

I think it is time for you and I to go your separate ways. No error

Possible Answers:

ways

you and I

No error

your

think

Correct answer:

your

Explanation:

"You and I" is a collective plural; a first person set of nouns acting as a single entity. Therefore, the correct pronoun to use in conjunction with "you and I" is "our."

The correct version of this sentence would read: "I think it is time for you and I to go our separate ways."

Example Question #21 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

A person is entitled to their opinion, but that doesn't mean that rudeness should be tolerated. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

A person

should

but

their

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

Similarly to "everyone," the noun "person" is singular. Therefore, one must use "his" or "her" as its corresponding pronoun, in lieu of "their", which is plural. Also, the use of "a" prior to a noun will signal a singular noun. A coordinating conjunction, "but", is correctly used with a comma to connect the two clauses of the sentence.

Example Question #28 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.  

I hate dealing with mosquitoes; them really ruin summer for me. No error

Possible Answers:

I

me

No error

ruin

them

Correct answer:

them

Explanation:

"Them" is incorrect in this sentence. In the second clause "mosquitoes" are the subject. As such, the correct word to use is "they."

The correct version of this sentence would read: "I hate dealing with mosquitoes; they really ruin summer for me."

Example Question #23 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined portion of the sentence below that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Those that take action into his or her own hands often find that life works out in their favor. No error

Possible Answers:

his or her

hands

often

No error

there

Correct answer:

his or her

Explanation:

The word "those" is the antecedent of the pronoun used in the first part of the sentence. The best pronoun to correspond with this antecedent in this case is "their," (plural) rather than "his or her." (singular)

The correct version of this sentence would read: "Those that take action into their own hands, often find that life works out in their favor."

Example Question #30 : Identifying Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Lucius Sulla was a particularly effective general; he was very good at making soldiers listen to them. No error

Possible Answers:

was

particularly

them

No error

he

Correct answer:

them

Explanation:

In this sentence, it is obvious that the author's intent is to convey the fact that Sulla was good at making soldiers listen to him. As such, the final "them" of the sentence as written should be replaced with the pronoun "him", which corresponds correctly with Lucius Sulla (who is one, singular person).

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