Error Spotting – Rules and Tips to Solve Spotting Errors (English, Study Material, Exam Preparation, Question, Answer)

Error Spotting

Sentences, words and phrases are the basic elements of any language. Errors in sentences leave a poor impression on the readers. It becomes difficult to understand the exact meaning of these sentences and they also change the meaning of the sentence. So, Error Spotting is a systematic way of identifying and rectifying these errors. It is commonly used while proofreading and editing written documents. 

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Rules and Tips to Solve Error Spotting

  1. Read the sentence carefully. This is the foremost step in the process. Read it as many times as you can.
  2. Most of the time, there are spelling mistakes in any part of the sentence.
  3. Check for the correct usage of helping verbs as per the subject in a sentence, for eg., Helping Verb Subject
    • is / has / does / was – all singular nouns & he / she / it
    • am / do / was – I
    • are / have / were – all plural nouns & you / we / they
  4. Check for the correct usage of main verbs in a sentence, for eg.,
    • do / does / did + 1st form of the main verb
    • has / have / had + 3rd form of the main verb
    • will / shall / would / should + 1st form of the main verb
    • will be / shall be / would be / should be + ‘ing’ form of the main verb
  5. Always check if the sentence is framed in active / passive voice OR direct / indirect speech.
  6. Check for the correct usage of all the tenses in a sentence, for eg., indefinite tense, continuous tense, perfect tense, perfect continuous tense.
  7. In the case of perfect continuous tense, always remember that “for” is used for denoting a period of time or duration (i.e., 2 months, 2 years etc.) while “since” is used for denoting the point of time (i.e., 1959, yesterday, tonight etc.).
  8. Check for the correct usage of the following:
    • there (used as an adverb to denote the position) while their (denotes a pronoun)
    • who / whoever (used as a subject) while whom / whomever (used as an object)
    • whose (used to identify who owns what)
    • then (denotes time and is mostly used with ‘if’) while than (denotes comparison).
  9. Check for the correct usage of articles in a sentence, for eg.,
    • INDEFINITE ARTICLES: “a” – used with all consonants sound (eg., a kite) & “an” – used with all vowel sounds (eg., an MBA, an umbrella)
    • DEFINITE ARTICLE: “the” – used when you are talking about something specific, historic places, planets, names of some continents / countries / oceans / rivers, etc. (like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Amazon, the Indian Ocean etc.
  10. Check for the correct usage of proper nouns and if they are written in CAPITAL letters, for eg., Neeta Arora, the Great Wall of China etc.
  11. Check for the correct usage of noun / pronoun / adjectives and adverbs in a sentence. Also, check if proper conjunctions and prepositions have been used.
  12. Always remember that generally, if one part of a sentence is in the past tense, the other half should also be in the past tense.

Practice Questions : For Error Spotting

Question 1: The inflation rate (a)/ is currently high in India (b)/ NO ERROR (c).
Answer 1: (a) Inflation is the correct spelling.

Question 2: She was my class teacher (a)/ and she didn’t went (b)/ to the school yesterday (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 2: Only the 1st form of the main verb is used with ‘did’, it should be go instead of went.

Question 3: Seema is not smarter (a)/ then my brother (b)/ when it comes (c)/ to playing chess (d)/ NO ERROR (e).
Answer 3: To show comparisons, we use than.

Question 4: It has been (a)/ proved multiple times (b)/ that Riya is a honest girl (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 4: (c) An should be used because ‘h’ is silent while pronouncing honest and it gives a vowel sound of ‘o’.

Question 5: The inspector asked Rahul (a)/ to report to the police station (b)/ as soon as he comes from office (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 5: (c) Came should be used because the first half of the sentence is in the past tense.

Question 6: My mother was reading (a)/ times of india newspaper and (b)/ she found a really scary news (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 6: (b) The Times of India because it is a proper noun and ‘the’ is always used with its name.

Question 7: Whose did you (a)/ bump into at there (b)/ party yesterday (c)/ NO ERROR (d)?
Answer 7: (a) Whom because it is being used as an object, (b); their used as a possessive adjective and not to denote a place/position.

Question 8: I could not reach there (a)/ because it had been (b)/ raining for last night (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 8: (c) Since is used to denote the point of time.

Question 9: Although she is facing hardships (a)/ in her life rather (b)/ she never deviates (c)/ from the path of truthfulness (d)/ NO ERROR (e).
Answer 9: (b) Yet is used with the conjunctions – ‘although’ or ‘though’.

Question 10: Seeing Aditya involved upon (a)/ the murder case, his friends (b)/ are turning hostile (c)/ NO ERROR (d).
Answer 10: (a) In is the correct preposition and not ‘upon’, (c); had turned as the event is in past tense.