How to prepare Error Spotting for SSC CGL

    Lokesh Gupta Lokesh Gupta
    Exam Prep Master

    Error Spotting in SSC CGL plays a very important role in English Comprehension Section. English Comprehension comes for 50 marks in Tier 1 consisting of 25 questions and for 200 marks in Tier 2 which contains 200 Questions.

    • Error Spotting consists of 3- 5 questions in Tier 1 i.e. total of  6- 10 marks. Tier 1 questions are of easy- moderate difficulty level.
    • In Tier 2, the topic consists of 10- 20 Questions (10- 20 marks) and questions are of a higher difficulty level as compared to the Tier 1 and much practice is required to answer these questions.
    • It requires an awareness of the basic rules of grammar – speech, genders, infinitive, participles, subject- verb accord, form of tenses, use of articles and exceptional usages.
    • In Error spotting, candidates are given a statement and they have to find an error in it and No error option is also provided in the options.

    It is generally difficult to clear the sectional cut off for English. Error Spotting is one of the major topics in English language test which can affect your marks if you have no knowledge about the format of the questions as well as general errors in the paper. Therefore, we are here to give you General Tips for Spotting Errors in English.

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    Some common Errors in Error spotting Questions with Solution

    1) Common Grammatical Errors: Candidate must have a proper idea about all the Grammar rules  and should keep in mind all such things because the statement sometime seems perfect but contains errors in it. So to avoid all common errors students should have a proper grip over grammar and grammatical rules.
    Example of Grammatical error:
    He looked upon me eye to eye for few moment before he spoke
    a) before her spoke
    b) no error
    c) eye to eye for a few moment
    d) He looked upon me
    Error is in ( D)  Looked upon me is grammatically  incorrect and should be changed to look at me. To look upon someone means to consider someone for something for something

    2) Errors in Verbs: Proper knowledge about the verbs and their right usage is a must. A verb is one of the main parts of a sentence or question in English. In fact, you can’t have a sentence or a question without a verb! That’s how important these “action” parts of speech are. The verb signals an action, an occurrence, or a state of being. Whether mental, physical, or mechanical, verbs always express activity.
    Example of Verb error:
    I forbid you not to go there again
    a) there again
    b) not to go
    c) no error
    d) forbid you
    The sentence should be changed to ‘ I forbid you from going there again’
    the sentence requireparticiple from verb not to+ infinitive form

    2) Errors in Prepositions:  Preposition seems easy but are actually very confusing and tricky questions in the examination increases that confusion. Prepositions – in, up, to, on, with etc. plays a very important role and learning about the function of all the prepositions is very important.
    Example of Preposition error:

    Until you are in habit of putting off things you cannot ensure yourself of a good future
    a) you cannot ensure yourself of a good future
    b) the habit of putting off things
    c) until you are in
    d)  no error

    The use of preposition ‘of’ after yourself is incorrect. The sentence doesn’t require a preposition.

    • The first rule is that certain propositions must be used to make the relationships between words in a sentence clear. Most prepositions are interchangeable but only to a certain extent.
    • The second rule for using prepositions is that these words must be followed by nouns.

    3) Error in an Article (Adjective): Placing the correct article in the correct place is very crucial.  Students in SSC CGL English Comprehension must know about the proper usage of articles i.e. where it is required where it is not because many questions in the examination revolves around Article errors i.e. A, an, the.
    Example of an Article error:

    Do you think you could lend me a good pair of gloves to wear for the wedding
    a) Do you think you can lend me
    b) no error
    c)good pair of gloves
    d) to wear to the wedding
    sentence requires an article before ‘good pair ‘ hence error is in c
    Remember that adjectives can modify as well as describe other words, and you’ll find it much easier to identify different types of adjectives when you see them
    Errors in Tenses: Most common error in Error spotting covers the tenses area only. For spotting the errors in such questions, Students should know about the Present tense, Past Tense and Future tense and relation of other figure of speech with it.
    Example of Tense error:
    As per the invitation card Rahim marries with Sayra on 13th December, Monday
    a) No error
    b) on 13th December Monday
    c) As per the invitation card
    d) Rahim marries with Sayra
    Marries is in the Present tense and does not require with.

    Important tips for Error Spotting

    These tips will help you to know the common errors in Error Spotting and how to avoid such errors by some basic knowledge of English Grammar and it’s rules.

    • The first thing that you should do is to check the verb (Auxiliary verb) then the form of verb (past, simple or present) used according to the noun and also look at the Subject- Verb agreement carefully.
    • Adverbs should not be confused for adjectives. An adjective describes the characteristic of the subject while an adverb describes the action of the verb.
    • We have 8-9 parts of speech in English grammar. For eg.  noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, preposition, conjunction, interjection and articles. To solve spot the error u should study parts of speech well and deep. Each part of speech has different rules. 
    • So two things are enough for spotting an error i.e Rulesof Tenses+ rules of parts of speech.
    • 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.
    • Distinction between "much" and "many" - the word "much" is used before uncountable nouns, while the word "many" is used before countable nouns
    • In order to solve questions on spotting errors, you should take into concentration 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.
    • Also carefully check all spellings. Many a times, an error can be spotted in spellings.
    • 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.

    Challenges Faced by students

    • Tricky Statements and options: Statements seem correct but contains error most of the time which confuses the student and options confuses them even more. Like many and much usage or the use of few and some. Candidates ignore such minor grammatical rules which creates problem during the examination. Candidates are advised to practice as must as they can.
    • Figure of Speech: English language seems easy but contains so many rules and figure of speeches which sometime creates problem for the students so go through each topic (verbs, adjective, tenses etc)  separately and also go through all the previous year SSC CGL questions.

    Exceptions: There are a lot of exceptions in English Comprehension therefore even after knowing all the rules, some exceptions lead to marks deduction. So candidates must be very careful and should read the questions properly

    Previous years SSC CGL Error Spotting Questions

    While preparing for the Entrance Examinations, one must practice previous year question papers because most of the time questions are same or follows the same pattern. Few questions from SSC CGL previous year question papers with correct answers:

    1) A bird in the tree is worth two in the bush
    a) no error
    b) two in the bush
    c) is worth
    d) a bird in the tree

    2) Just outside my house are a playground for boys and girls
    a) for boys and girls
    b) are a playground
    c) no error
    d) just outside my house

    3) He can be a basketball player since he is tall like a mule
    a) no error
    b) he can be
    c) tall like a mule
    d) a basketball player since

    4) Who do you think I met?
    a) Who
    b) I met?
    c) No error
    d) do you think

    General Tips for Error Spotting

    • Improve Vocabulary- Read everything that you get your hands on. But don't just read it, understand it properly. See the sentence formation, understand the proper usage of words and find meanings of unknown words. Read newspapers, Textbooks, watch Hollywood movies etc.
    • Time Management: Candidates should divide their time between all the sections while preparing for the examination and also during the examination because improper management of time can affect your performance.
    • Practice: Practice questions from Error Spotting because it will allow you to solve all the questions correctly and through practicing you will save your time during the exam if you will have pre- knowledge of how to solve the questions.

    Negative Marking: Section deducts the marks for every wrong attempt so candidates should not attempt questions if they are not fully sure.

    Important Books for English Comprehension

    • If you already have some IBPS Manual/ some English grammar book (R.S. Agarwal, A.P.Bhardwaj) etc. use it.
    • If you don’t have any book, I suggest you go for objective general English by SP Bakshi (Arihant Publication).



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