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How to Solve Sentence Correction Questions (Pronoun based concept)

Sentence Correction question needs one to have clarity on English Grammar concepts. Read the article to get an understanding of Pronouns and their usage in MBA Entrance Exam questions specially CAT.

Apr 5, 2013 17:12 IST

While speaking we tend to jumble up a few phrases/ words as the meaning of what we want to say gets conveyed. This also happens because many of us replay our thoughts in our native language which we translate to English. The spoken way becomes the most accepted way but what is colloquially accepted may not be accepted in formal/written English. When dealing with sentence correction type of questions, one needs to typically keep in mind a few basic rules of English Grammar and most common places of errors.

Pronouns are used to replace the nouns in a sentence to avoid repetition. Eg: Ram is boy. He is 4 yrs old. He goes to a playschool. He is the pronoun used to replace Ram.

Pronouns are of 3 kinds:

  • Subjective - The Subject is typically the doer of an action. The Subjective pronoun is used to replace the noun in the subject of a sentence.  
  • Objective – An object is the receiver of the action or an object on which the action is being done. The objective pronoun is used to replace the noun in the object of the sentence.
  • Possessive - The possessive case is used to reflect the possession or belonging of a noun.

 Eg: Smita threw a stone.  

In this sentence the doer of the action is Smita, hence Smita is the subject.  The action of “throwing” is being done on the stone. Hence stone is the object in the sentence.  

This is Smita’s bag.

The bag belongs to Smita, therefore the apostrophe s indicates possession i.e. the possessive case of the noun Smita.

The pronouns to use in place of Subject/Object/Possession are classified in the below table:

 Persons  Subjective  Objective  Possessive
 1st Singular
 Me   My/Mine 
 1st Plural  We  Us  Our/Ours
 2nd Singular/Plural  You  You  Your/Yours
 3rd Male  He   Him  His
 3rd Female  She   Her  Her/Hers
 3rd Neutral  It  It  Its
 3rd Plural  They   Them  Their/theirs

 Keeping these in mind let us look at the common errors:

  • Error of subjective and objective cases

When making comparisons, then both comparisons will be of similar degree.

Eg: Smita is prettier than I. colloquially ‘Me’ sounds better, but here we compare ‘Smita’ who is in the subjective case; with’ I’.

  • A noun which comes after a preposition is also said to be in the Objective Case.

Eg: Let me go to the market. [‘Let’ is a preposition hence it will be followed by ‘me’ and not ‘I’.]

 Pronoun antecedent: A pronoun generally refers to the noun stated earlier in the sentence i.e. its antecedent. Therefore the pronoun must agree with the noun according to the noun being singular/plural. The pronoun antecedent should always be well defined in a sentence. If not; it shows an ambiguity and should be ignored.

 Eg: Rita and Neeta went to the market, but she did not buy anything. The usage of ‘she’ in the second clause is ambiguous and needs to be avoided.

 Rita and Neeta went to the market, but they did not buy anything. Correct usage

 Error with Gerund: A gerund is a verb having an ‘ing’ form and being used as a noun. Whenever a pronoun precedes a gerund it must take a possessive case.

 Eg: My reading at odd hours, irks my mother. [‘reading’ in this sentence is not acting as a verb. It is not an action of reading, but the practice of reading that irks mother. Hence, the possessive case ‘my’ will be used with it.

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