How to Spot Errors in the English Language?

How to Spot Errors in the English Language
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How to Spot Errors in the English Language?

The English Language section in most competitive exams like the SSC exams, carry a significant weightage of marks and is therefore considered to be one of the most important sections. There are various topics involved in this section out of which “spotting errors” is one. In order to clear this section successfully, you need to study and practice solving all these topics.

Spotting errors in the English language can be sometimes tricky to even those who are fluent in the language. This may happen for various reasons like the time pressure or mixing of some common spellings. This might happen more than you think but it is not hard to avoid such mistakes and master the “spotting error” topic.

Some Tips to Spot Errors in the English Language

In the spotting errors topic, the candidates are given a sentence which they need to read and then rectify. The errors are usually grammatical errors involving nouns, adjectives, adverbs, parts of speech, tenses, etc.

  1. Tips for spotting noun errors
    Noun is used to identify a person, place, animal or thing. Nouns can be singular or plural, based on which the verb used for describing them differs. To spot an error in the noun, you first need to identify if the noun is singular or plural.

Example 1,
Bottles is placed on the table. (Incorrect)
Bottles are placed on the table. (Correct)
Here, the noun “bottles” should take a plural verb because of its plural form.

Example 2,
People is gathered in the theatre. (Incorrect)
People are gathered in the theatre. (Correct)

Here, the noun “people” appears to be singular but takes plural form and hence should take a plural verb. Other examples of such nouns are clergy, police, cattle, etc.
  1. Tips for spotting Pronoun errors
    The pronoun is the word which is used in place of the noun in case of possession. The following examples will be helpful in spotting errors in the pronouns.

Example 1,
One must help his parents. (Incorrect)
One must help one’s parents. (Correct)

Here, the pronoun “one” is used. Whenever the pronoun “one” is used, it should be maintained throughout the sentence.

Example 2,
All students must inform his parents. (Incorrect)
All students must inform their parents. (Correct)

Here, the point to note is that a pronoun should always be compatible with its antecedent noun.

  1. Tips for Spotting Adjective Errors
    An adjective is a word which is used to describe a noun. We will see some examples to spot adjective errors in a sentence.

Example 1,
Ramesh’s work is superior than Suresh’s work. (Incorrect)
Ramesh’s work is superior to Suresh’s work. (Correct)

Here, the adjective used is “superior”. Whenever adjectives like superior, interior, prior are used, the suffix used must be “to”.

Example 2,
Less than twenty people were present. (Incorrect)
Fewer than twenty people were present. (Correct)
The amount of water was fewer than milk. (Incorrect)
The amount of water was less than milk. (Correct)

Here, the adjectives “fewer” and “less” are used. It is important to note that, “fewer” is used to denote numbers while “less” is used to denote quantity.

  1. Tips for spotting adverb errors
    An adverb is used to describe a verb. The following examples will help in spotting adverb errors.

Example 1,
There is a little hope that the rain will clear. (Incorrect)
There is little hope that the rain will clear. (Correct)

The adverb, “little” is often used to denote a negative meaning.

Example 2,
Little excitement is needed. (Incorrect)
A little excitement is needed. (Correct)

The adverb, “a little” is often used to denote a positive meaning.

Example 3,
A little milk in the bottle can be used. (Incorrect)
The little milk in the bottle can be used. (Correct)

The adverb, “the little” is used to denote something which is not much but it’s all that there is.

By using the above tips you can practice and master the “spotting error” topic of the English language section.

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