GMAT Practice Questions Pronouns

Pronouns

Sentence correction questions in GMAT verbal content tests you on pronouns. A pronoun is used in lieu of a noun. When you refer to yourself, you use ‘I’. ‘You’ is a pronoun for the person you are referring to. Myself, himself, yourself are examples of reflexive pronouns. Yours, mine, ours, hers are possessive pronouns.

The rules with pronouns are quite straightforward. Only if you have a noun in the first place, can you have a pronoun following it. When you see a pronoun, ask yourself, ‘Hey, which noun does this refer to?’ If you have a clear cut answer to this, the sentence is probably right. Else, it needs to be changed.

Old Mac Donald had a farm. On that farm, HE had a dog. ‘He’ refers to Old Mac Donald.

A singular noun has to be referred by a singular pronoun.
Arun came home. HE was tired.
My daughters are unwell. THEY are down with fever.

A pronoun mismatch is an oft repeated GMAT SC question that needs attention. in fact, most pronoun related SC questions are of the pronoun mismatch category. A simple check on whether the noun and pronoun match each other can help you tackle these questions. Keep your eyes peeled for any pronoun that appears in the sentence. And make sure every pronoun-noun relationship is accounted for.

People also have issues with reflexive pronouns. Remember that you can use reflexive pronouns only if you have used the personal pronoun in the first place.

I nearly killed myself.
He could not have written that himself.

Here, we see that the reflexive pronouns ‘myself’ and ‘himself’ are used only after ‘I’ and ‘he’ have appeared.

Look at this sentence:

The board of directors decided to stick to the strategy decided upon by the new CEO because they believed in him.

Here, ‘Board of Directors’ is a collective noun. And the right pronoun to be used to denote to it is ‘it’. ‘They’ refers to the directors. So, it is a clear case of pronoun mismatch. The sentence needs to be rephrased thus:

The board of directors decided to stick to the strategy decided upon by the new CEO because it believed in him.

Or, you can rephrase it like this:

The board of directors decided to stick to the strategy decided upon by the new CEO because the directors believed in him.

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