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CDS General English Spotting The Errors Verb Study Material

CDS General English Spotting The Errors Verb Study Material

CDS General English Spotting The Errors Verb Study Material : The written Paper of CDS consist Three Exam in which General English is also included. This theory and Practice Sets covers the complete syllabus of entrance examination as prescribed by UPSC, and guides the aspirants about how to get through it. So, in this we are given you a General English Chapterwise theory and Practice set for Practice.

CDS General English Sectionwise theory and Solved Sets for Practice
CDS General English Sectionwise theory and Solved Sets for Practice

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Verb with sectionwise topic and Practice set with answer


A verb is a word (such as jump, think, happen or exist) that is usually one of the main parts of a sentence and that expresses an action, an occurrence, or a state of being.

Classification of Verbs

Verbs can be classified as following

  1. Main Verbs

Main verbs have meanings related to actions, events and states.  Most verbs in English are main verbs. e.g. go, show, exist, etc.

Main verbs can be divided into two categories; transitive and intransitive which are as follow

(i)Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb is a verb that can take a direct object.

e.g. She played the piano.

Transitive verb   direct object

(ii) Intransitive Verbs

An Intransitive Verbs has two characteristics. First, it is an action verb expressing a double activity like arrive, go, lie, sneeze, sit, die, etc. Second, unlike a transitive verb, it will not have a direct onject receiving the action.

Intransitive verbs have the pattern N+V (Noun+ Verb).

The clause is complete without anything else.

e.g. – John smiled.

– Nothing happened.

Here, ‘smiled’ and ‘happened’ are intransitive verbs.

Linking Verbs

Some main verbs are called Linking Verbs. These verbs are not followed by objects. Instead they are followed by phrases which give extra information about the subject. Linking verbs include appear, feel, look, seem sound, smell, taste, become, etc.

e.g. – A face appeared at the window.

In this sentence, ‘appeared’ is the linking verb and ‘at the window’ is the phrase.

  1. Auxiliary Verbs

    Auxiliary verbs can be divided into two categories; primary and modal auxiliary verbs, which are as follow

(i) Primary Auxiliary Verbs

Primary Auxiliary verbs can further be divided as following

  1. Verbs ‘to be’: is, am, are, was, were, will be, shall be
  2. Verbs ‘to have’: have, has, had

iii. Verbs ‘to do’: do, does, did

(ii) Modal Auxiliary Verbs

Modal auxiliary verb denote the mood/mode of the subject. They are can, could, may, might, should, used to, need, dare, etc.

Tenses of General English with sectionwise and per according to theory and Practice Sets

There are three basic tenses: Present Past and Future.

These can further be divided into the following segments

  1. Simple The action is mentioned simply. Nothing is said about whether the action is complete or not.
  2. Continuous The action is incomplete or is going on at the time of speaking.
  3. Perfect The action is finished or complete with respect to a certain point of time.
  4. Perfect Continuous The action is going on continuously over a long period of time and is yet to be finished.

Simple Present

(He, She, It, Single name – V1 + s, es)

(They, you, I, Plurals – V1)

To express a habitual action.

e.g. – He goes for a walk in the morning.

  • It rains in winter in Tamil Nadu.
  • He often gets late for dinner.

To express universal truths.

e.g. – The sun rises in the East.

  • Two and two make four.

In exclamatory sentences beginning with ‘her’ and ‘there’, to express what is actually taking place in the present.

e.g. – Here he comes!

  • There goes the train!

To indicate a future event that is part of a plan or an arrangement.

e.g. PM comes to the town next month.

  • The Indian team goes to England this month.

To introduce quotations.

e.g. – Gita says, ‘’Give your best and do not worry for the results’’.

Pope says, ‘’A little knowledge is a dangerous thing’’.

Present Continuous

(Is/ Am/ Are + V1+ ing)

  • To express an action going on at the time of speaking.

e.g. – I am studying in the class.

  • To express a temporary action which may not be actually happening at the time of speaking.

e.g. – I am preparing for the competition.

I am working on a project.

  • It also represents future action or a definite arrangement in the near future.

e.g. – I am going to Mumbai tomorrow.

He is coming tonight.

  • When the reference is to a particular obstinate habit, the present continuous is used instead of present simple. An adverb, like always, constantly, etc, is also used.

e.g. – It is no use scolding him, he always does/ is always doing what is forbidden.

  • The following verbs are normally used in the present simple instead of present continuous
  1. Verbs of Appearance Look, appear, seem.
  2. Verbs of Perception See, hear, smell, taste, notice, recognize, etc.
  3. Verbs of Possession Belong to, consist of, contain, own, etc.
  4. Verbs of Thinking Agree, believe, consider, forget, imagine, know, mind, remember, etc.

Present Perfect (Has/ Have + V3)

  • It is used to indicate completed activities in the immediate past. It is a mixture of present and past. It always implies a strong connection of past with the present.

e.g. – He has just gone out.

  • The most important points is that it is used with the past actions whose time is not given and not definite.

e.g. – He came here.

  • He has come here.
  • He came here yesterday.
  • It is used with the adverbs like ever, just, recently, already, yet, so far, of late, lately, by the time, for, etc.

e.g. – He has already finished the work.

  • Recently, he has started working on a new project.
  • I have just seen that film.
  • It is the best book that I have ever read.
  • I have known him for twenty years.
  • He has started coming late lately.
  • He hasn’t paid the bill so far.
  • It can never be used with the words the words like last, ago, yesterday, before, back, formerly, fixed time, etc.

e.g. – He has come here yesterday.

  • He came here yesterday.
  • India has won last year.
  • India won last year.

Present Perfect Continuous

(Have been/Has been + V1 + ing)

  • To express an action which began at sometime in the past and is still continuing.

e.g. – He is playing since 8 o’ clock. (False)

  • He has been playing since 8 o’ clock. (True)
  • They have been writing since morning. (True)

Simple Past (V2)

  • To indicate an action completed in the past at a definite time.

e.g. – I did this.(False)

  • I have done this. (True)
  • I did this yesterday. (True)
  • Denoted by last, ago, yesterday, back, before, formerly, any fixed time, etc.

e.g. – We heard a terrifying news last night.

  • They celebrated the occasion two days ago.
  • He inherited his father’s business after his father’s demise.
  • The train didn’t arrive on time yesterday.
  • She didn’t go there in the morning.
  • To indicate past habits, indicated generally by the words like often, seldom, never, normally, generally, always, frequently, rarely, daily, used to, etc.

e.g. – As a kid, I often went to school on foot.

  • My friend frequently visited his hometown in the past.
  • I seldom wrote a cheque even when there was balance in my account.
  • Whenever I called on him he pretended to be ill.
  • He always carried a stick when he went for a walk.
  • After ‘it is time’.

e.g. – It is time Indian cricket team starts/ started winning test matches.

NOTE to Solve and understand the given solved Practice Set and Theory

The conjunction since denotes present time dating back to some event. It is therefore. Followed by a Simple Past Tense and preceded by some form of Present Perfect Tense.

e.g. Many things have happened since I have left the school.(False)

Many things have happened since I left the school. (True)

Past Continuous

(Was/ Were +V1 +ing)

  • To denote an action going on at some time in the past.

e.g. – When I went to his house, he was playing.

I was studying yesterday.

  • For persistent habits in the past.

e.g.- He was always mooching around.

Past Perfect

(Had +V3)

  • To describe an action completed before a certain moment in the past.

e.g. – I met him in New Delhi in 2000. I had seen him last five years before.

  • It had rained yesterday.
  • My friend had come to visit me.
  • My friend came to visit me yesterday.
  • Past perfect should be used only when we wish to say that one action got completed before the other started. It should never be used at all in any other sense.

e.g. – I went to Mumbai.

  • I had gone to Mumbai.
    • Ravi had walked two miles by lunch time.
    • I had gone to Mumbai when he came to meet me.

Past Perfect Continuous

(Had been + V1 + ing)

  • To express an action that began before a certain point of time in the past and continued upto that time.

e.g. – He had been studying for two hours when his girlfriend came.

  • Tendulkar had been playing for eleven years when his toe got injured.
  • If there is Past tense in the Principal clause, it must be followed by a Past tense in the Dependent clause. In an Indirect narration, the Simple Past in the Dependent clause is changed to Past Perfect, if the Principal clause is in the Past tense.

e.g. – He told me that he intended to start a business. (False)

  • He told me that he had intended to start a business. (True)
  • He hinted that he tried to save him. (False)
  • He hinted that he had tried to save him. (True)
  • The exception to the above rule is if some universal, habitual or generally recognized fact is mentioned in the Dependent clause, the Present tense must be retained in all conditions.

e.g. – He told me that the Earth moves round the Sun.

  • His illness convinced me that all men are mortal.

Simple Future

(Shall/ Will + V1)

  • To express an action that is still to take place.

e.g. – I shall go for the preparation when I shall receive the call letter. (False)

  • I shall go for the preparation when I receive the call letter. (True)

Future Continuous

(Shall be/ Will be + V1 + ing)

  • To express an action as going on at some time in the future.

e.g. – I shall be earning when I shall be 21. (False)

  • I shall be earning when I am 21. (True)

Future Perfect

(Shall have / Will have +V3)

  • To indicate the completion of an action by a certain future time.

e.g. – We shall have completed our syllables by next month.

  • I shall have done this work by tomorrow.

Future Perfect Continuous

(Will have been / shall have been + V1 + ing)

  • To indicate an action which is in progress over a period of time and will be in progress at a certain time in future.

e.g. – Tendulkar will have been playing for India for 20 years when he completes the age of  35.

  • Time will have been clocking for ages in the coming moments.

Subject-Verb Agreement

  • If two subjects together express one idea, one being added to the other for the sake of emphasis or clarification, the verb is singular. No plurality is left to exist in such a case.
    • g. – Slow and steady wins the race.
    • Bread and butter is essential for one’s existence.
  • When the plural noun denotes some specific quantity, distance, time or amount considered as a whole, the verb is generally singular.
    • g. – Six miles is not a long distance for me.
    • Ten lakh is equivalent to a million.
  • Two or more singular subjects connected by ‘either-or’, ‘neither-nor’, take a verb in singular (third person singular verb).
    • g. – Either Vivek or Vimal is absent today.
    • He asked me if either of the applicants was suitable.
    • Either you or I shall /will go to the party.
  • When the subjects joined by ‘or’ or ‘nor’ are of different numbers, the verb must be plural and the plural subject must be placed next to the verb.
    • g. – Either Amit or his parents are coming to the party.
  • Any noun qualified by ‘each’ or ‘every’ is followed by a singular by ‘and’, the verb must still be singular.
    • g. – Each one of these boys has the potential to get selected.
    • Every man and woman was filled with joy.
    • Every day and each hour teachers us something.
  • Verb is according to the first subject when they are connected with ‘and not’, with ‘as well as’, in addition to, ‘along with’, ‘besides’, ‘like’, ‘together’, etc.
    • g. – Rahul and not his friend was absent.
    • Amit, like his friends, is always late.
    • He as well as you is a good boy.
  • When two nouns or pronouns are joined by ‘not only…. But also’, the verb agrees with the second noun or pronoun.
    • g. – Not only the officer but also the soldiers were awarded.
  • If the subjects ‘The number of’, the singular verb is used and the noun is plural.
    • g. – The number of one-dayers played these days has/have led to the deterioration of the game.
  • A ‘great many’ is always followed by plural verb and a plural noun.
    • g. – A great many students have passed this year.
    • A great many fish are there in the pond.
  • ‘Many a’ is always followed by a singular verb and a singular noun.
    • g. – Many a soldier has got medal this year.
    • Many a student has passed this year with flying colours.
  • A singular or a plural verb is used with words as pains, a lot of, means, variety, plenty, rest, wages, according to the sense in which they are used.
    • g. – A large number of girls were absent on account of bad weather.
    • The number of admissions has gradually fallen off.
    • A variety of books on the subject are available.
  • A verb should agree with its subject and not with the complement. But in the case of sentence beginning with ‘The’, the verb is according to the predicate/complement.
    • g. – Our only guide was the stare.
    • The stars were our only guide.
  • In a compound sentence, both auxiliary verbs and principal verbs should be mentioned separately if they differ in number, form or voice. In such cases, one verb cannot act for both the clauses.
    • g. – He has not and will not marry in near future.
    • He has not married and will nor marry in near future.
    • She is intelligent but her sisters dull.
    • She is intelligent but her sisters are dull.
  • Use of ‘shall’ and ‘will’.
  • To express simple future action ‘shall’ is used in the first person, and ‘will’ in the second and third person.
    • g. – I shall come.
    • You will come.
    • He will come.
  • Shall is used in the second and third persons to express Command, Promise, Threat, Determination.
  • Will is used in the first person to express Willingness, Promise, Threat, Determination.
    • g. – You shall not steal. (Command)
    • You shall have a holiday tomorrow. (Promise)
    • You shall be punished for this. (Threat)
    • You shall do it for your country. (Determination)
    • I will send you my book. (Willingness).
    • I will try to do better next time. (Promise).
    • I will punish you if you do that again. (Threat).
    • I will succeed or die in this attempt. (Determination)
  • In asking questions ‘shall’ is used in the first person and ‘will’ in the third person. In the second person, ‘shall’ and ‘will’ are used according to the answer expected.
    • g. – Shall we go?
    • We shall go.
    • Will he come tomorrow?
    • He will come tomorrow?
    • Will you do this for me?
    • I will do it for you.

Unreal Past/ Subjunctive Mood

A wish, desire, purpose, supposition contrary to fact or condition is expressed in subjunctive mood.

In subjunctive mood, ‘were’ and ‘had’ are used as the case may be. The sentence basically goes in the past tense.

e.g. – I wish I had a car.

  • I wish I had not met him.

There are three types of conditional clauses. Each kind contains a different pair of tenses. Here are these

  1. Present likely condition
  2. g. – I shall go for the preparation when I get the call letter.
    1. You will pass if you work hard.
  3. Present unlikely condition
    1. g. – If I had a house, I would not have rented yours.
    2. If I were there, I would not have let them go.
  4. Past condition
    1. g. – If he had studied, he would have got the call letter last year itself.
    2. If she had brought money, she could have bought the jewellery.
  5. After, ‘as if/ as though’.

e.g. – He behaves as if he were the owner of this place.

  • He came in looking as though he had seen a ghost.

The Infinitive (To + V1)

Rules of Infinitive

  • In negative sentences, ‘dare not’ and ‘need not’ are used without to.
    • g. – You dare not to leave India. (False)
    • You dare not leave India. (True)
    • How dare you fail in the exam? (True)
  • Prepositions ‘but’ and ‘except’ take the infinitive without to.
    • g. – He did nothing but cry.
    • There is no alternative except this offer.
  • Expressions like would rather, had rather, rather than, had better, as soon as, etc are followed by infinitive without to.
    • g. – I would rather to go for picnic. (False)
    • I would rather go for picnic. (True)
  • The infinitive without to is used after Auxiliary verbs such as shall, will, can, may, did, should; but ought is as exception.
    • g. – I should go.
    • I ought to go.
  • The to of one infinitive can be made to do duty for to of another infinitive in the sentence, provided that the verbs in the two infinitives are synonymous. If two separate ideas are better expressed by two infinitives, to of the latter infinitive should be omitted.
    • g. – He helped me to progress and prosper.
    • It lies in my power to succeed or to fail.
  • Do not forget to use the preposition whenever the infinitive ‘to’ is made to qualify a noun.

e.g.  I have no pen to write. (False)

  • I have no pen to write with. (True)

The Gerund (V1 + ing)

A verb which does the action of a noun.

e.g. – Running tap the action of a noun.

  • Smoking isn’t a good habit.

Rules of Gerund

  • The following words are followed by gerund

Avoid, dislike, enjoy, help (in the sense of avoid), mind, prevent, risk, stop, etc.

e.g. – I cannot help looking at you.

  • I do not mind going there.
  • The following phrases are followed by a gerund

Accustomed to, fed-up with, habitual to, addicted to, is no good, is used to, looking forward to,                tired of, is worth, with a view to, owing to, object, given to, taken to, etc.

e.g. – I am accustomed to talking for hours.

  • I am fed up with his useless accusing.
  • A gerund and not an infinitive is used after such verbs and participles as are followed by their appropriate prepositions.

e.g. – desirous of              disqualify from

refrain from                        prevent from

debar from                         desist from

restrain from                     prohibit from

dissuade from                   abstain from

intent on                             bent on

keen on                               aim at

confident of                       insist on

persist in                             succeed in

fond of                                successful in

justified in                          hesitate in

a hope of                            fortunate in

  • The noun or pronoun governing a gerund must be in the possessive case.

e.g. – Please excuse me being late. (False)

  • Please excuse my being late. (True)
  • I remember him winning the race. (False)
  • I remember him winning the race.(True)
  • I like my friend coming on time. (False)
  • I like my friend’s coming on time. (True)

“SPOTTING THE ERRORS” Solved Practice Set for CDS Pathfinder and according to above given theory



Directions (Q. Nos. 1-30) Which part of the given sentences has an error? In case, there is no error, choose option (d).

  1. Each of these players (a)/ have been warned (b)/ not to repeat the silly mistake. (c)/ No error (d)
  2. Lime and soda (a)/ is (b)/ a digestive drink. (c)/ No error (d)
  3. The mother as well as her children (a)/ were brought (b)/ to the police station for interrogation. (c)/ No error (d)
  4. His benevolence and kindness (a)/ are (b)/ admired by his friends. (c)/ No error (d)
  5. She never has and never will (a)/ are (b)/ admired by his friends. (c)/ No error (d)
  6. Intelligence, as well as knowledge of the subject (a)/ are required to grasp (b)/ the meaning of the book. (c)/ No error (d)
  7. Every word and every line (a)/ in the poems of Wordsworth (b)/ sings the blessings of nature. (c)/No error (d)
  8. So honestly he worked (a)/ in the was rewarded (b)/ by the chairman of the company. (c)/ No error (d)
  9. Four miles (a)/ are not a long distance (b)/for a young person like you. (c)/ No error. (d)
  10. No sooner he was brought (a)/ here than he began (b)/ to feel uneasy. (c)/ No error (d)
  11. Never I have come across (a)/ a man (b)/ who is foolish to such an extent. (c)/ No error (d)
  12. In old age none of the relatives (a)/ are prepared to come (b)/ to the help of the old and the sick. (c)/ No error (d)
  13. It were the students (a)/ who wanted the teacher (b)/ to declare holiday. (c)/ No error (d)
  14. So fast did he drive the motor car (a)/ that even the best driver (b)/ could not overtake him. (c)/ No error (d)
  15. Everyone of the new nursing homes (a)/ coming up in the urban areas (b)/ need a lot of improvement. (c)/ No error (d)
  16. He, like the other members (a)/ of his family, were left shelterless (b)/ as a result of flood in the town. (c)/ No error (d)
  17. Two thirds of the majority (a)/ are needed to pass (b)/ the resolution for the impeachment of the President. (c)/ No error (d)
  18. During freedom struggle (a)/ many a patriot (b)/ were filled with patriotism. (c)/ No error (d)
  19. There are a dozen (a)/ of Geography books lying in the shelf of my personal library (b)/and you can use them whenever you like. (c)/ No error (d)
  20. The number of amendments of our Constitution (a)/ have been very large (b)/ during the last fifty years of independence. (c)/ No error (d)
  21. When the dentist came in (a)/ my tooth was stopped aching (b)/ out of fear that I might loose my tooth. (c)/ No error (d)
  22. One of his many (a)/ good traits that came to my mind (b)/ was his modesty. (c)/ No error (d)
  23. I would like you (a)/ when he found that (n)/ you are not there. (c)/ No error (d)
  24. The teacher was angry (a)/when he found that (b)/ you are not there. (c)/ No error (d)
  25. People have a right to criticize (a)/ but at the same time each of them (b)/ have to remember his duty also (c)/ No error (d)
  26. The period of twenty-five years (a)/ have passed (b)/ and still he is without a job. (c)/ No error (d)
  27. No one in this world (a)/ can be able to work (b)/ continuously for 10 hours. (c)/ No error (d)
  28. The chief idea of every traveller (a)/ is to see as many objects of interest (b)/ as he possibly could. (c)/ No error (d)
  29. I could not (a)/ catch the train (b)/ as I was late. (c)/ No error (d)
  30. A great many tourists (a)/ has visited India (b)/ last year. (c)/ No error (d)


  1. (b) The phrase ‘Each of’ takes a singular verb. So, ‘have’ would be replaced by ‘has’.
  2. (d) There is no error in the sentence.
  3. (b) The phrase ‘as well as’ takes the verb s per the noun before it. As ‘mother’ is singular, ‘were’ would be changed to ‘was’.
  4. (b) As per the rule, if two subjects together express one idea, one being added to the other for the sake of emphasis sentence would be replaced by ‘is’.
  5. (a) The verb ‘allowed’ will be added after ‘has’ to make the sentence grammatically correct. This is because as per the rule that in a compound sentence both auxiliary verbs and principal verbs should be mentioned separately if they differ in number, form or voice.
  6. (b) The phrase ‘as well as’ takes a singular verb. Hence, we would replace ‘are’ in the given sentence by ‘is’ to make it grammatically correct.
  7. (d) The sentence is correct.
  8. (a) The sentence should start with ‘So honestly did he work ….’ To make it grammatically correct.
  9. (b) In the sentence ‘four miles’ is some specific distance considered as a whole. Hence, a singular verb ‘is’ would be used instead of ‘are’.
  10. (a) The correct usage of ‘No sooner’ in the sentence will be ‘No sooner was he brought ….’.
  11. (a) ‘Never I have’ in the given sentence should be replaced by ‘Never have I’ to make it grammatically correct.
  12. (b) As per the rule, ‘none of’ takes a singular verb. Hence, we would replace ‘are’ by ‘is’ in the given sentence.
  13. (a) As the students demanded the same thing i.e., declaring a holiday. So, the students would be taken as a singular entity. Therefore, ‘were’ in the sentence would be replaced by ‘was’.
  14. (d) The sentence is correct.
  15. (c) ‘Everyone of’ uses a singular verb. Hence, the verb ‘need’ in the given sentence should be replaced by ‘needs’.
  16. (b) When using ‘like’, the verb in the sentence should agree with the subject of the sentence i.e. ‘He’. Hence, ‘were’ in the given sentence would be replaced by ‘was’.
  17. (b) In the given ‘majority’ means a collection of people who have the same point of view (vote). Therefore, it will be considered as a single entity. Hence, It will take a singular verb. So, ‘are’ in the given sentence will be replaced by ‘is’ verb. So, ‘are’ in the given sentence will be replaced by ‘is’.
  18. (c) ‘Many a’ takes a singular verb. So, ‘were’ would be replaced by ‘was’.
  19. (a) ‘Is’ would be used in place of ‘are’ as the sentence refers to one dozen (‘a dozen’).
  20. (b) As the ‘Constitution’ is a single book, ‘have’ would be replaced by ‘has’.
  21. (b) ‘Was’ needs to be replaced by ‘had’ to convey the right meaning of the sentence.
  22. (c) ‘Was’ should be replaced by ‘is’ as the sentence is in present tense.
  23. (c) We need to remove ‘will’ from the sentence.’
  24. (c) As the sentence is in past tense, we need to replace ‘are’ by ‘were’.
  25. (c) ‘Each of’ uses a singular verb. So, we should replace ‘have’ by ‘has’ to make the sentence correct.
  26. (b) ’25 years’ in the sentence is taken as a whole. So, we would use ‘has’ in place of ‘have’.
  27. (b) ‘Can’ needs to be replaced by ‘would’ to make the sentence meaningful.
  28. (b) ‘Could’ needs to be replaced by ‘can’.
  29. (d) No error
  30. (b) ‘A great many’ takes a plural verb. So, we would replace ‘has’ by ‘have’.






















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