Rules for Spotting Errors (Re-post)

Question on ‘spotting the Errors’ can be answered on the basis of candidate’s knowledge of grammar especially parts of speech. The important rules of parts of speech can be mentioned categorically in the following manner.

1. Certain nouns always take a singular verb.

Scenery, advice, information, machinery, stationery, furniture, abuse, fuel, gram, issue, bedding, repair, news, poetry, business, economics, physics, mathematics, classics, ethics, innings. Examples: (a) The scenery of Shimla is enchanting. (b) She has given advice.

2. Some nouns are used as plural nouns and always take a plural verb.
Cattle, gentry, peasantry, artillery, people, clergy, company, police. Examples: (a) The people are watching us. (b) The police are in the house.

3. Some nouns are used in a plural form and take a plural verb.
Trousers, scissors, spectacles, shorts, measles, goods, premises, thanks, tidings, annals, chattels, etc. Examples: (a) Where are my spectacles? (b) Trousers are also available at cheaper prices.

4. Certain nouns that indicate length, measure, money, weight or number, if they are preceded by a numeral, they remain unchanged in form.
Foot, metre, pair, score, dozen, year, hundred, thousand, million. Examples: (a) It is a two-year post-graduation diploma course. (b) I have bought twelve dozen of apples.

5. Collective nouns like jury, public, team, committee, government, orchestra, company, etc. are used both as singular and plural depending on the meaning. When these words indicate a unit, the verb is singular, otherwise the verb will be plural.
Examples: (a) The public were furious over the issue. (b) The orchestra has not started yet.

6. Certain nouns have one meaning in the singular and another in the plural:
advice = counsel, advices = information, authority = command, authorities = persons in good = wise, goods = property iron = metal, irons = fetters, chains, force = strength, forces = army, content = satisfaction, contents = things contained, physic = medicine, physics = physical sciences, respect = regards, respects = compliments work = job, works = compositions, factories, quarter = one-fourth, quarters = houses. Examples: (a) I have the authority to correct it. (b) The authorities will be arriving tomorrow.

7. While using ‘everybody’, ‘anyone’, ‘anybody', and ‘each’ the pronoun is used according to the content.
Examples: (a) Anyone can do this work if he tries with all the effort (b) Each of the five men in the car has carried his laptop.

8. The pronoun ‘one’ must be followed by ‘one’s’.
Example: (a) One must complete one’s task within the deadline.

9. When two or more singular nouns are joined together by ‘either or’; ‘neither nor’; and ‘or’, the pronoun should be singular.
Examples: (a) Either Sita or Geeta will attend the function. (b) Neither Mohan nor Krishna has done his task.

10. When a singular and a plural noun are joined by ‘or’, ‘nor’, the pronoun should be plural.
Example: (a) Either the manager or his sub-ordinates failed in completing their assignment.

11. Use of ‘whose’ and ‘which’: ‘Whose’ is used for living persons and ‘which’ for lifeless objects.
Examples: (a) Whose artwork is this? (b) Which fictional character do you like the most?

12. Use of ‘each other’ and ‘one another’ : ‘Each other’ is used when there are two subjects or objects and ‘one another’ when there are more than two.
Examples: (a) Those five boys, who are playing football, hate one another. (b) Sneha and Smita are the best friends; they always stand for each other.

13. Use of pronoun for collective nouns:
Examples: (a) The jury is going to give its verdict tomorrow. (b) The group are divided in their opinion about the reason of corruption in India.

14. Use of ‘some’ and ‘any’ : 'Some' is used in affirmative sentences to express quantity or degree. 'Any' is used in negative or interrogative sentences.
Examples: (a) I shall buy some apples. (b) I shall not buy any apples. (c) Have you bought any apples?

15. Use of 'few', 'a few', and 'the few' : The use of 'few', 'a few', and 'the few' should be used with care. They denote 'number'.
'Few' means 'not many'. It is the opposite of many. A 'few' is positive and means 'some at least'. It is the opposite of none. 'The few' means 'whatever there is'. Examples: (a) Few men are perfect in their works. (b) A few boys are present in the class. (c) I have already seen the few movies that I have in my laptop.

16. Use of ‘less' and 'fewer': 'Less' denotes quantity and 'fewer' denotes number.
Examples: (a) No fewer than twenty girls went for the picnic last weekend. (b) There are no less than six liters of water in that pitcher.

17. Use of little, a little, the little: 'Little' means 'hardly any'.
Examples: (a) There is little hope of his coming back. (b) A little knowledge is good for nothing. (c) The little milk that is left in the container may be used for making tea.

18. Use of elder, older:
'Older' refers to persons as well as things and is followed by 'than'. Examples: (a) Sita is five year older that Gita. (b) Sita is the elder sister of Gita.

19. Use of ‘than’: Generally 'than' is used in the comparative degree, but with words like superior, inferior, senior, junior, prior, prefer 'to' is used.
Examples: (a) Mita is senior to Mohini. (b) After having dinner, I prefer walking to sleeping.

20. In some cases, the comparison must be given proper attention.
Examples: (a) The climate of Mumbai is better than the climate of Delhi. Or (a) The climate of Mumbai is better that that of Delhi. (b) The summer in Delhi is hotter than that of Mumbai.

21. Use of ‘Many a’ : ‘Many a’ is always followed by the singular verb.
Example: (a) Many a man was dressed in blue.

22. Verb while joining two subjects : When 'as well as', 'along with', 'together with', 'no less than', 'in addition to', and 'not' and 'with' join two subjects, the verb should be according to the first subject.
Examples: (a) Ram, as well as his five friends, has gone for the picnic. (b) The teacher, along with the students, is also going for the picnic.

23. While joining two subjects using 'either or', 'neither nor', the verb agrees with the subject that is near.
Examples: (a) Either Reena or I am supposed to do that task.

(b) Neither he nor his friends are going.
24. While joining singular nouns using 'and' point out the same thing or person, the verb will be singular.
Examples: (a) Bread and butter is good to take in breakfast. (b) The Principle and the Vice-chancellor is on leave today.

25. 'No sooner' should be followed by 'than'.
Example: (a) No sooner had the singer entered the stage than the audience started to applause.

26. 'Lest' is followed by 'Should'.
Example: (a) Study hard lest you should not score well in board exams.

27. 'Such' is followed by 'as'.
Examples: (a) He is such a singer as everybody must listen to him. (b) The taste of the cake was such good that I ate it up all.

28. 'not' is never used with 'unless'.
Example: (a) Unless you study hard, you will not score well.

29. 'not' should never be used with ‘until’.
Example: (a) Keep reading until I say stop.

30. 'Since' indicates a point of time whereas 'for' stands for the length of time.
Examples: (a) I have been working with this company for two months. (b) I have been working with this company since 2010.

31. 'As if' is used to convey the sense of pretension. When 'as if' is used in this sense, 'were' is used in all cases, even with third person singular.
Example: (a) He talks as if he knew everything.

32. If two actions in a sentence are shown happening in the past, one after the other; the tense of the action happening first should be in past perfect and that of the second should be in past indefinite.
Example: (a) The train had left before I reached the railway station.

33. Two actions in the past, one depending on the other, should have the following sequence:
Examples: (a) If you had studied hard, you would have passed in the exam. Or (a) Had you studied hard, you would have passed in the exam.
(b) If you had practiced regularly, you would have won the singing competition.

34. If, in a sentence, two actions are indicated and both are to take place in future, the sequence of tenses will be as given in examples:.
Examples: (a) If I cry, he will get angry on me. (b) If it rains, I shall not go for the picnic.

35. 'a' is used before a consonant.
Examples: (a) Here is a University, which offers courses in Communication Management (b) A European couple lives in my neighborhood.

36. Words like 'hour', 'honest', 'heir', etc. take 'an' before them as they begin with a vowel sound.
Example: (a) I have been watching television for an hour.

37. Note the following points to remember regarding the omission of a/an/the:
Examples: 1. Man is a social animal. 2. Gold is a precious metal. 3. Delhi is the heart of India 4. Curiosity is the mother of invention. 5. Hindi is my mother tongue. 6. I am a Christian; I go to church every Sunday. 7. My aunt is arriving today. 8. He is elected vice-chancellor of the university.

38. Uses of 'the' :
Examples: 1. The earth rotates from east to west. 2. He is the best cricket player in his class. 3. The Taj Mahal, The Hindustan Times, The Geeta, The Pacific Ocean 4. The great Ashoka. 5. The rich should help poors. 6. I love to play the piano. 7. The lion is the king of animals 8. The faster we walk, the sooner we reach.

39. While joining two singular nouns by 'and' are preceded by 'each' or 'every' the pronoun used for them must be singular.
Example: a) Each man and each boy should bring his luggage.

40. If a pronoun comes after a preposition it should be used in the objective case.
Example: a) Between you and me neither of us is responsible for that mess.

41. A pronoun takes an objective case after 'let'.
Example: a) Let me think over it.

42. When Pronouns joined by 'and' remain in the same case.
Examples: a) He and she are husband and wife. b) She and I are roommates.

43. Relative pronoun 'that' is used in preference to 'who' or 'which' after adjectives in the superlative degree.
Examples: a) This is the best that I can do for you. b) The finest man that I have ever met with is you.

44. When two qualities of a person are compared using 'more' or 'less' before the adjective, then the adjective following them takes positive degree.
Example: a) Shikha is more beautiful than intelligent.

45. When two or more adjectives are used to show the qualities of the same man, all the adjectives must be in the same degree.
Examples: a) Sita is more beautiful and wiser than Geeta. b) Rahul is the wisest and the funniest boy of the class.

46. 'Very' is used with adjectives in the positive degree and with present participles.
Examples: a) She is a very intelligent girl. b) It is a very interesting movie.

47. ‘as’: To show equality' as' is used before and after the adjective.
Example: a) Sita is as beautiful as Geeta.

48. Certain adjectives do not admit of comparison and thus they always remain in the positive degree:
'Absolute', 'chief', 'circular', 'complete', 'entire', 'extreme', 'excellent', 'impossible', 'perfect', 'right', 'round', 'unique', 'universal', 'whole', etc. Example:
a) This is the perfect cake I have ever made.

49. Please note that a verb must agree with its subject and not with the complement.
Example: a) The only well-wisher I have is my two childhood friends.

50. When the plural subject denotes a definite amount or quantity taken as a whole, the verb is singular.
Examples: a) Fifty miles is a good distance. b) Three-fourths of the movies was boring.

51. The plural 'heaps' and 'lots' used for a great amount and take a singular verb unless a plural noun with 'of' is added.
Examples: a) There is lots of food. b) There are lots of foods to consume.

52. Use of ‘each’ and ‘every’ : When 'each' or 'every' two singular subjects, even if connected by 'and', take a singular verb.
Example: a) Each boy and every girl was accommodated in the lodge.

53. The following verbs are always followed by an infinitive:
'decide', 'plan', 'expect', 'fail', 'hope', 'learn', 'promise', 'refuse', 'want', 'agree', 'consent', 'love', etc. Example: a) I plan to settle in New York.

54. The following verbs and phrases must be followed by a gerund :
'enjoy', 'admit', 'appreciate', 'regret', 'avoid', 'help', 'consider', 'stop', 'looking forward to', 'accustomed to', 'is used to', 'do not mind', etc. Examples: a) I am looking forward to watching your artwork in my home. b) He is used to talking fast.

55. After certain verbs ('bid', 'let', 'make', 'need', 'see', 'hear') we use the infinitive without 'to'.
Examples: a) Let me handle this. b) Make him go there.

56. Use of 'had better', 'had rather', 'would rather', 'sooner than' and 'rather than': See the following example for the use of above-
Example: a) You had better ask me before going to picnic.

57. 'no other' should be followed by ‘than’.
Examples: a) That night, I saw no other girl than Riya. b) Ram has no other option than stay at home.

58. Using 'know', 'how', or 'when' as an infinitive : See the example below.
Example: a) I know when to speak.

59. ‘elected as president’ is wrong ‘elected president’ is correct. See the example below for using the verbs like 'appointed', 'elected', 'considered', 'called'.
Examples: a) He was elected Secretary of our society. b) I regard Sneha as my best friend

60. While expressing quality of the subject, an adjective is used with the verb.
Example: a) The bouquet smelt sweet.

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