Find the Error 19
(Extract adapted from an article in a national newspaper)
What kind of mistake do you see? (Choose one:)
- doesn't make sense
- singular / plural
Answer: singular / plural
The incorrect word here is 'its'. This word is used with a singular subject (just
one person or one thing) to tell us that someone or something belongs to it.
For example, 'The cat finished its dinner' (the 'dinner' belongs to 'The cat').
However, because the subject of the sentence is 'dresses' (plural) the
possessive word needs to reflect this, so we would use 'their' instead of 'its'.
It should read: 'Since the dresses are meant to be classic and elegant, their
designers have spent …' If the writer had written: 'Since the dress …'
(singular) we would then need to talk about 'its designers …', using singular possessive
determiner 'its': 'Since the dress is meant to be classic and
elegant, its designers have spent …'
Click here to download this page as a free .PDF worksheet