14 Sep

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Questions based on sentence error spotting are an essential part of English language section of all aptitude exams. Around 5 to 10 questions are always there from this area, regardless of whether it is an IBPS exam or an SSC exam. However, most candidates don’t feel all that confident while attempting these questions. The reason behind it is clearly a major lack in understanding of English grammar.

Relevance of Grammar

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Grammar is the structural code required to learn any language.In case of sentence error spotting, it becomes all the more significant.Cracking sentenceerror questions requires soundknowledge of grammatical concepts. Moreover, you must be able to apply these concepts and spot that part of the sentence which is erroneous. To help you do it, the experts from the centre for Best Bank PO Coaching in Delhi have compiled a list of the most frequent grammatical errors which are asked in the exam.

 Top Ten Grammatical Errors

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(I) Use of Articles

Example: I don’t usually prefer putting up at (a) hotels, but last winter we spent a (b) few weeks at a wonderful hotel by sea. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “The sea” has to be used in place of “sea”. “The” is used before things which are unique and of their own kind. Examples of such things are “the sun”, “the earth”, “the sea” etc.

Example: The ambassador has put (a) a completely different gloss on recent (b) happenings in Middle East. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. It should be “the Middle East” instead of “Middle East”. “The” must be used before the names of regions on the globe.

(II) Singular Nouns vs. Plural Nouns

Example: The mesmerizing (a) surrounding of this place (b) make me breathless. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect. “Surrounding” should be replaced with “surroundings”. Surroundings, environs, particulars, belongings etc. are plural nouns. These nouns can’t be used in a singular form.

Example: Since no porter was present (a) at the platform, Reena had to carry (b) all the luggages herself. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “Luggages” should be replaced with “luggage”. Luggage, baggage, furniture, information, scenery, poetry, news etc. are uncountablenouns. Therefore, they can’t be used in the plural form.

 (III) Subject – Verb Agreement

Example: The speed of reforms has gone down considerably (a) in many states because the choice of either (b) of the extreme options inevitably generate discontent among the people.(c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “choice” is a singular subject. A singular subject takes a singular verb. When “generate” gets replaced with “generates”, the subject and the verb will agree with each other.It is so because “generate” is a plural verb, whereas “generates” is singular.

Example: Sarthak is one of those (a) hotheaded boys who is always (b) ready to pick up a fight. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect.The subject “boys” does not agree with the verb “is”. “Boys” is plural, whereas “is” happens to be singular. So “is” must be replaced with “are”.

(IV) Pronoun Usage

Example: My father doesn’t approve of me (a) dancing because he feels I will (b) not be successful at it. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (a) is incorrect. “My” should be used in place of “me”. If a pronoun appears before a gerund, then it must be in possessive case. “Dancing” is a gerund and it must be preceded by “my”, which is the possessive case and not “me”, which happens to be the objective case.

Example: Who have they invited (a) for the scholarly discussion on (b) Hindu philosophy this evening? (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (a) is incorrect. “Who” should be replaced with “whom”. “Who”is the subjective case, whereas “whom” is the objective case. “They” is the subject in the sentence.Since the person being invited happens to be the object, the objective case (whom) should be used in part (a).

(V) Adjectives & Adverbs

Example: A potential buyer of the building (a) was lost as she was asked to pay a (b) considerable higher interest rate than she could afford. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. To describe the adjective “higher”, an adverb is required. Hence, “considerably” which is an adverb should be used in place of “considerable” which is an adjective.

Example: I have finally decided to take part (a) in the two-miles race that is going (b) to be conducted tomorrow morning. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect.It should be “two-mile” (the singular form) instead of “two-miles” (the plural form).Out here, “two-mile” is an adjective that describes the noun“race”.

 (VI) Choiceof Prepositions

Example: These days music albums generally comprise of (a) seven or eight different songs that (b) have hardly anything common among them. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (a) is incorrect. “Of” should not be used after “comprise”. “Comprise”in itself means to consist of or to be made up of.That is why using “of”after “comprise” is redundant and grammatically incorrect.

Example: The new version of Sigma tablet which (a) has been launched by Lenovo is superior (b) than an average 14-inch laptop. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “Superior” should be followed by the preposition “to”and not ‘than”. “To”, not “than” must be used after superior, inferior, anterior and posterior.

(VII) Correlative Conjunctions

Example: The kingdoms of Indian subcontinent (a) were repeatedly attacked by foreign invaders(b) of Mongol descent between 1701 to 1851.(c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “And” should be used in place of “to” because “between-and” are correlative conjunctions. The connectors that form a pair of words are referred to as correlative conjunctions.

Example: Scarcely had the old woman (a) entered the hall,then she heard (b) a young boy scream aloud.(c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect. “Scarcely” should be followed by “when” because “scarcely when” are also correlative conjunctions. Using “then” in place of “when”in such a context is a grammatical error.

(VIII)Tense Consistency

Example: As the coach was doubting (a) the captain’s leadership ability, he decided to keep(b) a close vigil on the team’s overall performance.(c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (a) is incorrect.Simple past tense should be used in place of past continuous tense. Verbs of perception such as see, smell, doubt, hear etc. must not be used in the continuous form because they are stative verbs. So, part (a) should read “as the coach doubted”, not “as the coach was doubting”.

Example: If you will pay attention to (a) what’s going on in your surroundings, (b) the entire family will get benefited from it. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (a) is incorrect.“If you will pay attention to” must be replaced with “if you pay attention to”. In case of type-1 conditional (the future real conditional)sentences, if clause must be in the simple present tense. In such sentences, the main clause is in the simple future tense.

(IX)Phrasal Verbs

Example: The young college graduates got (a) carried off by the appeal to their patriotism (b) and decided to enlist themselves in the navy. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect.“Carried away”, which means to generate great emotion and enthusiasm, should replace “carried off”.

Example: I apologize to everyone and take (a) off the statement that I made at (b) the academic conference last week. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect. “Off” should be replaced with “back”. The phrasal verb “take back” should be used; it means to withdraw or to draw back.

(X)Common Confusables

Example: Objectionable visuals from many Oscar-winning (a) films have to be censured before (b) they are released in India. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (b) is incorrect.In the given context, “censor”, which means to delete or edit something, should be used instead of “censure”, which means to criticize and to show disapproval.

Example: When my cousin was ill, (a) I used to visit her at the (b) nursing home every alternative day. (c) No error (d)

Explanation: Part (c) is incorrect. “Alternate day” should be used asit means every other or every second day. The use of “alternative” will be incorrect as it refers to one of two or more than two options.

The above mentioned points will be useful in your exam preparation, irrespective of whether you have enrolled yourself at a centre for SSC Coaching in South Delhi or not. However, learning finer aspects of sentence correction requires consistent practice on exam relevant content provided by a top institute for Bank Clerk Coaching.That’s why it is suggested that you arrange for such content in order to draw maximum benefit from this guidance.


Through the medium of this article you have become familiar with the type of sentence error questions that are most commonly seen in Bank PO & SSC CGL exams.To get expert help from Vidya Guru faculty members, you can write to vidyagurudelhi@gmail.com.

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