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Sentence Correction: Pronoun Questions - It

The Queensway Tunnel was built in the 1930s, but by the early 1960s, it was becoming clear that it was carrying much more traffic than had ever been envisaged when it was first opened.

Very good!

This answer choice uses both functions of the word it: first, as a subject replacement; second, as a pronoun referring to a previously mentioned noun (the tunnel).

This answer choice is grammatically incorrect. The plural pronoun they does not agree in number  with the singular noun Tunnel to which it refers.

What helps us identify this question as a Pronoun question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

Every pronoun in the underlined part of the sentence or after it

This answer choice replaces the original it with they. The original it functions as a subject replacement, not as a pronoun, a function unique to it, and therefore cannot be replaced by any pronoun. Also, they can refer to a plural noun, so using it implies that they means the 1930s or 1960s: the 1930s/1960s were becoming clear. This not only twists the original meaning but also creates an illogical sentence.

What helps us identify this question as a Pronoun question as well as identify the mistake is the following Stop Sign:

Every pronoun in the underlined part of the sentence or after it

While this answer choice is grammatically correct, the omission of the phrase it was becoming clear that results in some meaning loss.

While this answer choice is grammatically correct, it changes the meaning of the original sentence.

it was becoming clear that it was
it was becoming clear that they were
they were becoming clear that it was
it was
it was clearly