Golden English Rules in Error Spotting-Frequently asked in SSC Exams


1. Two conjunctions should not be used in the same sentence.
Ex: Although she was tired, but she still went onworking. (Incorrect)
Although she was tired, she still went on working. (Correct)

2. ‘Both’ should be followed by ‘and’. It should be used in positive sense. In negative sense,
‘neither . . . nor’ should be used in place of ‘both’.
Ex: Both Ravi as well as Raja were present there.(Incorrect)
Both Ravi and Raja were present there.(Correct)

3. ‘Either . . . or’, ‘neither . . . nor’, ‘both . . .and’, ‘not only . . . but also’ should be followed by the same parts of speech.
Ex: He not only lost his ticket, but also his luggage. (Incorrect)
He lost only his ticket but also his luggage.(Correct)

4. ‘Neither’ should be followed by ‘nor’, ‘either’ should be followed by ‘or’. Both these should not be confused.
Ex: He washed neither his hands or his face.(Incorrect)
He washed neither his hands nor his face.(Correct)

5. ‘No sooner’ should be followed by ‘than’, not by ‘but’ or ‘then’.
Ex: No sooner do I finish this book then I shall begin another. (Incorrect)
No sooner do I finish this book than I shall begin another. (Correct)

6. ‘Hardly’ and ‘scarcely’ should be followed by ‘when’ or ‘before’, but not by ‘than’ or ‘that’.
Ex: Hardly did I reach the station, than the train left it. (Incorrect)
Hardly did I reach the station when the train left it. (Correct)

7. ‘That’ should not be used before a sentence in direct speech and before interrogative adverbs and pronouns in the indirect speech.
Ex: He said that, “I shall go there”. (Incorrect)
He said, “I shall go there”. (Correct)

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8. ‘Too’ means more than required and it is used with unpleasant adjective. So, we cannot use too glad, too happy, too pleasant, too healthy.
Ex: I am too glad to meet you. (Incorrect)
I am very glad to meet you. (Correct)

9. A sentence which is based on ‘too . . . to’ format, we cannot replace with ‘so . . . that’. If we replace with ‘so . . . that’, ‘too’ must be replaced with ‘cannot’.
Ex: He is too weak so that he cannot walk.(Incorrect)
He is too weak to walk / He is too weak that he cannot walk. (Correct)

10. ‘Much too’ is followed by unpleasant adjective, where as too much is followed by noun.
Ex: His failure is too much painful for me. (Incorrect)
His failure is much too painful for me. (Correct)

11. The sentence which starts with seldom, never, hardly, rarely or scarcely takes an inverse structure i. e. , ’ verb+subject’ structure. Inversion is also used in a sentence which starts with here, there, away, out, up, indoor, outdoor and main verb or auxiliary verb is used before the subject.
Ex: Seldom I had seen such a beautiful thing. (Incorrect)
Seldom had I seen such a beautiful thing. (Correct)
Away Sita went. (Incorrect)
Away went Sita. (Correct)

12. Two negatives cancel each other. Hence two negatives should not be used in the same Sentence unless we make an affirmation.
Ex: I have not got none. (Incorrect)
I have not got any. (Correct)

13. ‘Hardly’ is an adverb which means rarely and ‘hard’ is an adjective which means tough.
Ex: She has eaten hard anything today. (Incorrect)
She has eaten hardly anything today. (Correct)

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14. ‘Much’ is used before past participles and adjectives or adverbs of comparative degree. ‘Very’ is used before the present participles and adjectives and adverbs of positive degree.
Ex: The news is very surprising. (Incorrect)
The news is very surprising. (Correct)

15. ‘Quite’ and ‘all’ are not used together.
Ex: He is quite all right. (Incorrect)
He is quite right. / He is all right. (Correct)

16. When a sentence starts with ‘more than one’, the noun and the verb it follow should be in singular form.
Ex: More than one employee were fired. (Incorrect)
More than one employee was fired. (Correct)

17. If two singular nouns refer to the same person or thing, the verb must be in singular.
Ex: The Secretary and Principal are coming. (Incorrect)
The Secretary and Principal is coming. (Correct)

18. If the singular subjects are preceded by ‘each’ or ‘every’, the verb is usually singular.
Anybody, anyone, everybody, everyone, somebody, someone, nobody, no one, something, nothing, everything, anything and each are identified as singular number.
Ex: Every boy and girl were ready. (Incorrect)
Every boy and girl was ready. (Correct)

19. When a sentence starts with ‘a number of’, the noun and the verb it follows should be in plural form.
Ex: A number of boys is in the library. (Incorrect)
A number of boys are in the library. (Correct)

20. When a sentence starts with ‘the number of’, the noun it follows should be in plural form and the verb should be in singular form.
Ex: The number of girls in the playground are less. (Incorrect)
The number of girls in the playground is less. (Correct)
21. When the subjects joined by ‘or/nor’ are of different persons the verb agrees in person with the nearest subject.
Ex: Either he or I is mistaken. (Incorrect)
Either he or I am mistaken. (Correct)

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22. A collective noun takes a singular verb when the collection is thought of as a whole.
Ex: The Council have chosen the President. (Incorrect)
The Council has chosen the President. (Correct)

23. When the noun is countable we use verb according to the noun (singular/plural) but when the noun is uncountable, we always use singular noun.
Ex: A plenty of sugar were bought from the market. (Incorrect)
A plenty of sugar was bought from the market. (Correct)

24. Words joined to a singular subject by with, together with, in addition to, as well as, etc. , do not affect the number of the verb.
Ex: The Chief, with all his men, were massacred. (Incorrect)
The Chief, with all his men, was massacred. (Correct)

25. When the subject of the verb is a relative pronoun care should be taken to see that the verb agrees in number and person with the antecedent of the relative.
Ex: I, who is your friend, will guard your interests. (Incorrect)
I, who am your friend, will guard your interests. (Correct)


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