Words, phrases and sentences are the roots of any language. An error in their use leaves an expression with no meaning. It would be difficult to understand such sentences. Hence, knowing the roots of the language is crucial to understand the written text and their expression perfectly.
Generally in competitive exams these types of questions have sentences divided into four parts marked as (a) (b) (c) and (d), also the fifth option (e), refers to ‘No error’. The candidates are required to find out the part of the sentence containing the error.
The errors may be relating to the usage of- article, preposition, tense of the sentence, verb, noun, pronoun, adverb, adjective, conjunction, subject-verb agreement and so on. Sometimes the error may also include unwanted use of some words.
We must understand and bear in mind that there is no ‘shortcut’ to answering these questions. We must have a good command over rules of grammar and their application. Study the rules well and then practice these questions. The more you practice the more confidence you get. Do practice the exercises again and again to see a significant improvement in your score.
So some let us study the rules to solve ‘Spotting the error’ questions and also practice them in the links provided….
Rules for spotting errors related to Pronouns
When the subject becomes the receiver of the action, then the verb becomes reflexive. In case a verb is being used reflexively we use reflexive pronouns.
- We enjoyed ourselves during the tour.
- He apply himself to the job.
- Here, ‘enjoy’ and ‘apply’ are the reflexive verbs and therefore we have used pronoun ‘ourselves’ and ‘herself’ here.
List of reflexive and non reflexive verbs
Reflexive verbs: Acquit, Absent, Avail, Amuse, Avenge, Apply, Adapt, Adjust, Enjoy, Exert, Overreach, Pride, Resign, Revenge.
Non reflexive verbs: Keep, Stop, Turn, Hide, Rest, Move, Qualify, Bathe.
Reflexive pronouns can’t be used as the subject of a sentence.
- I cried myself to sleep last night.
- I whistled to myself to calm down.
- He and you reached that place.
- She cannot teach herself.
If there is a complement in the sentence then the verb ‘to be’ is followed by the subjective case pronoun.
- Brandon is a gifted athlete.
- It was he who caught the winning touchdown Friday night.
- It was we who are dancing.
Verbs and prepositions are followed by the objective case of pronoun.
- Let them play.
- Between you and me, he is intelligent.
- I am teaching you and he.
- He wanted her to drive the car.
When all the three pronouns are used altogether in singular number, then we observe following order.
 = [2nd person, 3rd person, 1st person]
- You, jack and I will go for a movie.
- You, Sam and we go for a tour.
- You, Tina and we are to perform.
When all the three pronouns are used altogether in plural number or if there is confession unpleasant act to be mentioned then we observe following order.
 = [1st person, 2nd person, 3rd person]
- I and you will go for a movie.
- You and he are the toppers.
Possessive case of pronoun will be used according to the first subject if the two subjects are joined by the followings.
As well as, Together with, Along with, Like and not, in addition to, Rather than, Except, No less than, nothing but, More than one.
- Rani as well as her husband has returned to her village.
- My sister along with her friends is doing her part of duty.
Possessive case of pronoun is used according to the nearest subject if two subjects are joined by the following
Either – or, Neither – nor, not only – but also, none-but.
- Neither the lecturer nor the students were in their uniform.
- Not only she but also his brothers are responsible for their damage.
Possessive case will be third person singular if the following pronouns are used as subject.
Each, Every, Either, Neither, Anyone, Many a, More than one
- Anyone can donate his organs to me.
- Each boy is supposed to drive the bike.
When a pronoun is used for more than one noun or pronouns of different persons then the possessive case is in the form of first person plural (our) and second person plural (your).
- You and she completed your assignment.
- Only you and I have brought our projects.
Pronouns Either, Neither, Each other are used for two persons or things. Pronouns anyone, none, one another are used for more than two persons or things.
- People love one another unconditionally.
- The two sisters fight each other.
- Anyone from the team is to be appointed as a leader.
- Either of the two men is a dancer.
Subject of a question tag is always a pronoun agreed to the number, gender and person.
- They were not studying, were they?
- she is dancing, isn’t she?
- He has not eaten, has he?
If the subject of the sentence contains ‘Both’ then it will be followed by ‘And’. Also, negatives are avoided with ‘Both’.
- Both the girls are not working, [wrong]
- Neither of the girls is working. [correct]
- Both Jack and Tom are singers.
We generally use [who, whom and whose] for person and [which] for things. [That] is used persons and things. But, if we refer to choice between two or among more than two ‘which’ will be used.
- Of the two teams which is the best team?
- Which is your best dress in this shop?
Noun is used only after possessive it is not used after possessive pronouns.
- Ours is a populous restaurant.
- This bike is yours.
- That house is hers.
‘But’ can be used as a relative pronoun.
- There is nothing but shops.
- There is no women but lies.
- There is a trouser but fixed rate.
‘Same’ can’t be used as a pronoun.
- He bought a mobile and using the same. [wrong]
- He bought a mobile and using it. [correct]
- She bought a dress and wearing the same. [wrong]
- She bought a dress and wearing it. [correct]
‘What’ is used without an antecedent and it refers to things only.
- It is unbelievable what he said.
- He is riding a bike through the park.
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