Study Notes of Error Detection for English Language

How to solve Error Detection Questions?

SBI, NABARD, RRB, IBPS, SSC and other competitive exams are all around the corner and soon likely to happen. Candidates are well prepared for the sections like GA, Quant and Reasoning but the phobia of cracking sectional cutoff in Verbal/English section letting them hard to reach the pinnacle. Most of the grammatical portions like Reading comprehension, Cloze test, Sentence Rearrangement and Error Detection are totally based on aptitude and of course don’t need any rocket science. ERROR DETECTION in such a case can be a great scoring opportunity for the Govt. Exams which covers a major portion in many banking recruitment exams. The best part about Error Detection is that it doesn’t require any of the lengthy formulas. One can easily go through the basics and master the art of spotting the errors. Here are some basic points that you should know about Error Detection…..


  • Types of Error Detection Questions

The pattern of currently conducting exams is dynamic. A single form of question can be framed in as many forms without altering the basic concept. Therefore, to score good one must have to stay in touch with the latest pattern questions. Look at the following examples below…..

In the question given below, a sentence is divided into five parts, out of which certain parts are highlighted which may or may not be grammatically correct. Choose the grammatically correct part out of the highlighted parts of the sentence as your answer. If all the highlighted parts are grammatically correct but the parts which are not highlighted contain some grammatical errors, choose the option stating, “None of these” as your choice. If all the given parts of the sentence are grammatically correct and provide the contextual meaning to the sentence, choose option (e) i.e. “No error” as your answer.
Q. The Parsis have become an integral part (A)/of Indian society after 12 centuries in the country (B)/and the Tibetans may well followed suit unless (C)/China collapses under its own authority weight and (D)/the escapees can return to its motherland. (E)
(a) (B) 
(b) (C)
(c) (D)
(d) (E)
(e) No error

Ans. (a)
Sol. Only the part (B) of the highlighted parts is grammatically correct. There are grammatical errors in all three parts (C), (D) and (E). In the part (C), the verb “followed” should be replaced by “follow” as the sentence is in the Present tense. In the part (D), the noun “authority” should be replaced by the adjective “authoritarian” to give the contextual sense to the sentence. In the last part, the determiner “its” should be replaced by “their” as the noun it is referring is plural [escapees].

The following question consists of a sentence, whose certain parts are highlighted in bold. The highlighted portions are grammatically correct. Each sentence is followed by the three expressions which may or may not contain grammatical errors. Choose the most appropriate alternative among the five options which states the incorrect part(s) of the sentence. If the given sentence is grammatically correct and contextually meaningful, choose option (e) i.e., “No error” as your answer.
Q. It is hard when you work in a city far away from family and friends, and home excursions is always much awaited.
(I)It is hard when you work
(II)in a city far away from
(III)and home excursions is always
(a)Only (I)
(b)Only (III)
(c)Both (I) and (II)
(d)Both (II) and (III)
(e)No error

Ans. (b)
Sol. There is a grammatical error in the third part of the sentence; there is an issue of subject-verb agreement. The verb “is” should be replaced by its plural “are” to make the sentence grammatically correct as the subject of the verb is plural [home excursions]. The other two parts are grammatically feasible. Hence option (b) is the correct choice.


In each of the following questions, a sentence is written in four different ways conveying the same meaning and following the correct grammar structure. Choose the sentence among the four options which is grammatically incorrect or carrying a grammatical/idiomatic error in it as the answer. If there is no error in any of the sentences, choose (e), i.e. “All are correct” as the answer.
Q. (a) Do not mistake Fire and Fury for a moral exercise.
(b)Fire and Fury should not be mistaken for a moral exercise.
(c)One should not mistake Fire and Fury for a moral exercise.
(d)Fire and Fury ought not to be mistaken in a moral exercise. 
(e)All are correct

Ans. (d)
Sol. All the sentences, except (d), are grammatically correct sentences and they follow the similar meaning. However, in the sentence (d), there is a grammatical error. There is an error of preposition in the sentence; the preposition “in” should be replaced by “for” as in the case of other three sentences to make it grammatically viable. The preposition “for” in this case refers “comparing one thing with others of the same type”. If the preposition “in” is used here, it would alter the exact meaning of the sentence. Hence option (d) is the correct choice.


  Now consider the following points:
  • Don’t give specific pauses to the slashes. When you read the sentence with continuity, you often find the errors simply by doing so. While taking your test of error detection, this thing should be kept in mind that you have limited time in which you have to spot the errors. So pausing at the slashes or giving specific time to that breaks will hinder your proficiency.
  • While spotting the errors, you shouldn’t forget that examiner is testing your aptitude. In such case, to apply conventional methods would be quite unhealthy. Try to use elimination method. By doing so, one can easily find out the answers to their questions even if they don’t have that much deep knowledge of grammar.
  • Always Remember, the questions given to you are the questions of Error Detection, not the Error Correction, hence, don’t waste too much time on finding the reason of error. You just need to find out the part of the sentence which contains error and move further. 
  • Sometimes there are the errors of spell check which come seldom in the exams. Just because we have the habit of finding grammatical errors only, we often develop tendency to ignore errors related to spell check which rarely but do come in exams. Try to figure out those errors too. This will definitely save your time.

         These are the fundamentals that should always be cognitive in order to score good…..
  Now look at the points related to the grammatical portion, and for which you should have basic knowledge of English……
1. Be a watchdog to Subject-verb Agreement: It is observed that almost 90% questions are framed from the subject-verb agreement. So this portion should be thoroughly gone through by the aspirants as this includes questions related to tenses, prepositions, verbs, nouns, and almost each and every part of grammar which we prepare for verbal. Thus, the rules and formulas of verbal should be learnt by-heart to make it as easy as possible.
2. Don’t Forget: Don’t forget to detect correct form of verb used in the given sentence. Many questions are framed from this section. Verbs similar to spell or pronounce or which don’t exist but often given in a way to puzzle, are generally kept in order to create confusion. Thus, this section should not be ignored in order to avoid confusion. For example:
Then his eyes overflown with tears, and he fell on his knees before the king.    ( ×)
Then his eyes overflowed with tears, and he fell on his knees before the king. (√)
3. Check for conjunctions: The correct use of conjunction should always be checked as the two conjunctions can’t be used in a same sentence unless and until correct format is applied. For example: as….as; so….that….these are the correct combinations but as….so is incorrect.
4. Never remain aside from vocabulary: It is mandatory to work on vocabulary to maximize your score as many words come in the exams that may hinder your understanding. So it is obvious that to crack this section, one must have a good vocabulary.   
5. A close watch to Collective Nouns: Collective nouns shouldn’t be overlooked as this is one of the major sections of a sentence which contains errors. Singular and Plural forms should be kept in mind considering it to be one of the most important parts that defines the type of noun.
6. Syntax Errors: This might be the trickiest aspect to understand and/or convey. If grammar is the basic structure, syntax is the nuanced juxtaposition of words and phrases. For Example:
"Not all birds are eagles," is different from, "All birds are not eagles." (The latter's not quite true, is it?)

If you are still unable to detect the errors, then you must examine each part precisely and then remember the basics to determine the errors.



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