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If you are preparing for SSC CGL 2020 exam which notification was released recently, this article is just for you. Questions are often asked in the English Comprehension section in which you need to assess the given sentence and find out the grammatical error (if it has any). These questions are pretty easy if you have a hang of the basic grammatical structure and have done enough practice beforehand. This is one topic where there is no set rule to answer the questions correctly. You need to be on your toes to examine the given sentence carefully and check whether it meets all the grammatical rules. Generally, error detection questions asked in SSC CGL exams are easy and after you have done enough practice, you can easily answer these questions. To have a better understanding, let’s have a look at the questions asked in the previous year.

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SSC CGL 2020 English Comprehension- Fill in the Blanks Tips with Examples

Example 1

In the sentence identify the segment which contains the grammatical error.

One of the boys from our school have been selected for National Badminton Championship. 

1. for National Badminton Championship

2. have been selected

3. from our school

4. One of the boys

In the above example, the subject is singular which should be accompanied by a singular verb and the corrected sentence is ‘One of the boys from our school has been selected for National Badminton Championship.’ Staying updated with the rules of subject-verb agreement will help you to a great extent in answering error detection questions. Let’s now have a look at another example:

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Example 2

 In the sentence identify the segment which contains the grammatical error.

I can swim very fast when I was only five. 

1. I can swim

2. when I was

3. only five

4. very fast

Here, the second part of the sentence clearly states that the sentence is in the past tense. Hence, the correct sentence is ‘I could swim very fast when I was only five.’

To help you with your preparation & practice, we have enlisted all the important rules by revising which you can answer a majority of the error detection questions correctly. As you practice more error detection questions, check the detailed solution to see how these rules apply to them.

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Important Rules of Error Detection

1. Errors related to Noun & Verb

A noun can be singular or plural and thereby the verb should also be singular or plural. Identifying if the noun is singular or plural and then if the verb which is corresponding to it should help you in answering the question correctly. A singular noun should have a singular verb and vice versa. Some plural nouns appear to be singular and can be misleading for eg. analysis, phsyics etc. Similarly, some singular nouns appear to be plural as well eg. team, people etc.

2. Errors related to Pronoun

This topic is frequently checked in the exam. Here also, the pronoun should be in accordance with the verb. Let’s have a look at some examples:

Each student must submit their homework. (Incorrect)

‘Each’ is singular so instead of ‘their’, ‘he’ should be used.

Each student must submit his homework. (Correct)

One must hear his seniors’ advice. (Incorrect)

Here instead of ‘his’, ‘one’s’ should be used.

One must hear one’s seniors’ advice. (Correct).

Also, notice the difference between who, whom, whomever and whoever. Who and whoever are nouns whereas whom and whomever are objects.

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3. Errors related to Adjective

Be very particular about what words are used after adjectives. Comparative adjectives like superior, quicker etc. should be followed by ‘to’. Also, remember to understand the difference between adjectives and adverbs and don’t use adverbs in the place of adjectives.

4. Errors related to Adverb

Fewer should be used when discussing countable things, while less is used for singular mass nouns. For example, you can have fewer ingredients, rupees, people etc., but less salt, money, honesty, or love. 

Jack was told to eat less cookies. (Incorrect)

Since cookies are countable, ‘fewer’ should be used instead of ‘less’.

Jack was told to eat fewer cookies. (Correct)

Could you give Cookie Monster fewer milk next time? (Incorrect)

Milk is not countable, hence ‘less’ should be used.

Could you give Shyam less milk next time? (Correct)

There are differences in the meanings of ‘little’, ‘a little’ and ‘the little’.

Little is used with uncountable nouns. It connotes a negative meaning and generally means hardly any.

Usage: I have little money in my pocket.

A little means some.

Usage: We just had a little walk as we’re already tired. 

‘The little’ is nothing but something specific which is little.

Usage: The little money in my pocket is not enough to buy the sweets.

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5. Other Miscellaneous Types of Errors

As you must be aware that ‘an’ precedes vowels and ‘a’ precedes consonants. However, there are some words which start with ‘h’ but are still considered as vowels as the ‘h’ alphabet is silent. Some of these words are honest, heir, hour etc. These words must be prefixed with ‘an’ instead of ‘a’.

The bus which I boarded was a hour late. (Incorrect)

The bus which I boarded was an hour late. (Correct)

Aspirants are often confused with the usage of ‘since’ and ‘for’. Remember, ‘for’ is used with a period of time. ‘Since’ is used to refer to a specific point in time.

I have been walking since five hours. (Incorrect)

I have been walking for five hours. (Correct)

We have lived here since 20 years. (Incorrect)

We have lived here for 20 years. (Correct)

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SSC CGL 2020 General Awareness Preparation Tips

Important Error Detection Tips

  • Solve previous years papers to get an idea of what kinds of questions are asked.
  • Solve mock tests as well to practice more on error spotting questions. Check the detailed solution as well.
  • When you come across an error detection question, read the sentence very carefully. Check if all the above-stated rules are followed properly.
  • Keep reading the editorials of a good English newspaper.
  • Try to understand the message the sentence is trying to convey and then try to find out the error.

We hope that the above article will be helpful in your preparation. Remember: it’s only with practice that you can ace error spotting questions and secure their marks in the SSC CGL exam. Keep solving mock tests to come across different types of error spotting questions, be familiar with them and gain these precious marks in the exam.

Wishing you good luck with your preparation!

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