SAT Writing - Key Tips On Pronouns

SAT Writing - Key Tips On Pronouns

Just like friends pronouns also disagree on SAT. It seems like you don’t believe it.

Read this sentence below, it also happens to be one of the new SAT standard question:

By that moment, you have come to know these men intimately. You understand exactly how he has arrived at such a moment of communion and exactly where they’re headed.

Could you find any error within the given sentence? I presume, yes!

Since we have been talking about more than one person involved in some kind of communion, we cannot use a singular subject “he” to refer back to “these men”.

It may look absolutely obvious that any person with sound knowledge of English will be able to crack pronoun disagreement question but I suggest, let us look at the various possible mistakes that occur during the SAT test.

It is better to know the meaning of few terms before we begin to spot errors with our Sherlock Holmes’s magnifying glasses:

Pronoun - Pronouns are often used to refer to a noun that has already been mentioned.

Wonder how awful it becomes when your mom keeps calling your name.

Rohan do your homework. Rohan bring milk from the market.

And then you begin to wonder why you were named Rohan.

In fact, this would be simpler and pleasant to hear:

 Rohan, do your homework and then bring milk from the market.

Pronouns serve exactly the same purpose. They function as noun phrases and refer either to the participants in the communication/discourse or something/someone mentioned elsewhere in the communication.

How the questions based on this part of English grammar get tricky on tests is interesting to understand.

For example, a sentence “Everyone should write their own test” may seem correct when it is read the first time. However, if we break down it into parts and check what is the pronoun “their” referring to in the sentence, we realize that it refers to “everyone”. While “everyone” also referred to as the antecedent is third person and singular, the pronoun “their” is third person and plural – which means a disagreement. This kind of disagreement is also called as “Pronoun-Antecedent Disagreement- Person”.

Sometimes the disagreement is in “number”.

For example, the sentence “When the team does not agree with their boss’s decision, the team should not take the decision seriously”.

Here again, the antecedent “team” is actually singular while the pronoun “their” is plural – which again means a disagreement in number.

Spot the error:
Enrico Caruso sang opera in Italy before traveling to the United States, then he gave his first performance at the Metropolitan Opera in November 1903.

Try to spot the error on your own! Do post your comments and solutions in the comment section below.


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