Error Spotting forms an important part of the English Language section of many banking and competitive exams like- SSC, SEBI Grade A, RBI Grade B, RBI Assistant, SBI PO and many others.
Rule 1- Certain nouns being singular, represent plurality and hence, take a plural verb in a sentence.
Nouns like- police, people, cattle, etc. are singular nouns but they represent plurality.
Let’s look at an example-
People has left. (Incorrect)
People have left. (Correct)
Rule 2- Some nouns take the plural verb due to their plural form.
Plural nouns like scissors, trousers, clothes,spectacles, etc will take the plural verb due to their plural form.
The spectacles is missing. (Incorrect)
The spectacles are missing. (Correct)
Rule 3- When the pronoun ‘one’ is used, it has to be maintained throughout the whole sentence.
One must help his siblings. (Incorrect)
One must help one’s siblings. (Correct)
Rule 4- The word ‘whose’ is used for living things and ‘which’ is used for non-living things.
Let’s understand with an example-
Which phone is kept on charging? (Incorrect)
Whose phone is kept on charging? (Correct)
Rule 5- ‘Fewer’ is used to indicate number, whereas ‘Less’ is used to represent quantity.
No less than 30 dogs were living in the shelter. (Incorrect)
No fewer than 30 dogs were living in the shelter. (Correct)
Rule 6- Sentences are opposite to question tags. In other words, if the question tag is positive, the sentence will be negative and vice versa.
It’s a bit early, is it? (Incorrect)
It’s a bit early, isn’t it? (Correct)
Rule 7- The relative pronoun ‘that’ is used after adjectives in the superlative degree instead of ‘who’ or ‘which’.
These are the best which he could get. (Incorrect)
These are the best that he could get. (Correct)
Rule 8- In a sentence, ‘though’ is always followed by ‘yet’ and not by ‘but’.
Though he is rich but he is kind. (Incorrect)
Though he is rich, yet he is kind. (Correct)
Rule 9- ‘Not’ is never used with ‘unless’ since ‘unless’ expresses a condition that is always used in the negative sense.
Unless you do not pay the fine, you will not be excused. (Incorrect)
Unless you pay the fine, you will not be excused. (Correct)
Rule 10- ‘While’ denotes a time duration of doing something and ‘When’ denotes a general sense.
When learning how to box, the technique is of utmost importance. (Incorrect)
While learning how to box, the technique is of utmost importance. (Correct)
Read each sentence to find out whether there is any grammatical error in it. The error, if any, will be in one part of the sentence. The letter of that part is the answer. If there is no error, the answer is 'D'. (Ignore the errors of punctuation, if any).
Q1) The burglar (A) was taken (B) to the near (C) police station. (D)
Answer: Option C
In the above sentence, the superlative degree of the adjective ‘near’ i.e. nearest should be used.
So, the correct sentence would be- The burglar was taken to the nearest police station.
Q2) The teacher thought (A) the children would (B) be happy by (C) clearing away their toys. (D)
Answer: Option D
Here, the term ‘clearing up their toys’ should be used instead of ‘clearing away their toys’ in the context of the above sentence.
‘Clearing away’ means to take something away and ‘clearing up’ means to make something brighter.
Correct sentence would be- The teacher thought the children would be happy by clearing up their toys.
Q3) We discussed about the problem so thoroughly (A) on the eve of the examination (B) that I found it very easy to work it out. (C)
Answer: Option A
The correct statement should be- We discussed the problem so thoroughly on the eve of the examination that I found it very easy to work it out.
Q4) An Indian ship (A) laden with merchandise (B) got drowned in the Pacific Ocean. (C)
Answer: Option C
The correct statement is- An Indian ship laden with merchandise sank in the Pacific Ocean.
Q5) If I had known (A) this yesterday (B) I will have helped him. (C)
Answer: Option C
The correct statement is- If I had known this yesterday I would have helped him.
Error Spotting is a fairly easy and scoring topic. All that is required to master this topic is to understand and learn the important rules of error spotting and practice questions on them. To successfully and accurately answer the error spotting questions, candidates must develop a strong knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary. You can expect around 4 to 5 questions in competitive exams.