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From the SAT:

Psychologists advise that before making any major changes in their lives, people should focus on their goals.

This is the right answer but another choice seems plausible to me but I don't know why it is wrong

Here is the other choice:

Psychologists advise that before making any major changes in their life, a person needs to focus on their goals.

Can someone explain to me why the second sentence is wrong? Thanks!

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    I think the pronouns are a red herring. The issue is with advise in conjunction with should as opposed to need - I suspect. – Araucaria Dec 3 '15 at 2:02
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Despite the thoughtful comment made by Araucaria, considering the source is the SAT, I believe it is simply a matter of faulty pronoun-antecedent agreement: "their lives," "people" and "their goals" are all correctly plural; while "their life" (who is/are "they"?), "a person" (singular) and "their goals" (back to the plural again) represents a hodge-podge of mismatched words. A singular antecedent calls for a singular pronoun. To say, "Psychologists advise that before making any major changes in his or her life, a person needs to focus on his or her goals" is awkward and inelegant, and it is easily fixed by switching to the plural.

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