How to Solve Questions on Spotting Error

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 25th, 2023

The English Language section of the SBI PO 2015 exam and IBPS PO V Main consists of questions such as reading comprehension, cloze test, para -jumbles, spotting the error and fill in the blanks.

Here is a short study-guide to help you crack questions on “spotting the error“, along with a set of practice questions in the end.

How to Solve Spotting Error Questions

1. In order to solve questions on spotting errors, the first step you should take is to read the complete sentence carefully. In most of the cases, you will be able to detect the error in the first go itself.

While reading the entire sentence, you must carefully check the subject-verb agreement.

2. The next step is to carefully check all spellings. Many a times, an error can be spotted in spellings.

3. If you can still not detect the error or you are still unsure of the correct answer, then you must read each individual part of the sentence and closely examine which part consists of an error.


You can also download free SBI PO mock test for practice.


List of Common Errors

Following is the list of common errors that can be seen in “spotting the error” questions in SBI PO exam

1.  words beginning with ‘h’ like, honour, honest, heir etc. are considered to be silent. Hence the vowel following it takes ‘an’, instead of ‘a’ for the article. Hence, the correct usage is “an hour”, “an heir”, “an honour” etc.

2. In case of using prepositions, you need to keep in mind the following definitions –

between (to be used for only two)

3.  Always check for subject-verb agreement – if a subject is singular, then its verb should also be singular. On similar grounds, if a subject is plural, then its verb should also be plural. Furthermore,  if you write in the present tense, both the noun and the verb take plural forms in opposite ways. For instance, the noun adds an “s” to its singular form, on the other hand, the verb removes the “s” from its singular form.

4. Check for errors in use of conjunctions – remember that a sentence only uses one conjunction at a time. For instance, use of both “as” and “so” in the same sentence is incorrect.

5. Distinction between “much” and “many” – the word “much” is used before uncountable nouns, while the word “many” is used before countable nouns.

Here, uncountable nouns are substances which can not be further broker down into smaller elements. For example, “litres of milk” (here the word “milk” can not be further broken down into smaller units). On the other hand, countable nouns are substances which can be broken down into smaller elements. For instance, “two dogs” (here the existence of the word “two” makes the verb countable.

NOTE: it is also important that you work on your vocabulary, to maximize your marks in the English Language section.

6. Distinction between “whose” and “which” – the word “whose” is used to address living entities and the word “which” is used  for lifeless objects.  For instance, the sentence, “which book is lying there?” is incorrect and the sentence “whose book is lying there?” is correct.

7. The pronoun “one” as a subject should use “one’s” because it does not indicate towards a specific gender – male or female.

8. The combination of words “One of”  always takes a plural noun after it. For instance, the sentence, “it is one of the saddest day” is incorrect and the sentence, “it is one of the saddest days” is correct.

9. Collective nouns like public, committee, team, audience, government,  etc. can be used both as singular and plural depending on their meaning. When these words refer to a unit, the verb is singular, otherwise it is plural.

10. There are certain nouns that refer to length, measure, money or a number. When they are preceded by a numeral, they remain unchanged in form. These nouns are – Foot, metre, pair , score, dozen, head , year, hundred, thousand, million etc.

Questions for Practice (SBI PO 2015 English Language Section)

Directions: Read each sentence to find out whether there is any grammatical error or idiomatic 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 (5). (Ignore errors of punctuation, if any.)

1. The area was plunged into, (1) / darkness mid a wave of (2) / cheering and shouting (3) / slogans like ‘Save and Earth’. (4) No error (5)

2. The poll contestants approached the commission (1) / complaining that the hoardings (2) / violated the code of conduct (3)/ and influenced the public perception. (4) No error (5)

3. The country has (1) / adequate laws but problems arise (2) / when these are not (3) / implemented in letter and spirit. (4) No error (5)

4. The management feels that (1) / the employees of the organization are (2) / non – productive, and do not want (3) / to work hard (4)/ No error (5)

5. As far the issue of land encroachment (1) / in villages is concerned, people will (2) / have to make a start from their villages by (3) / sensitizing and educating the villagers about the issue. (4) No error (5)


Answers :

1 (2) ; 2 (5) ; 3(5) ; 4 (3) ; 5(1)




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