Blog

Idioms

Happy Valentine's Day!

Improving Sentences

Part of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A. 

Remember to cover the answers, read the sentence, and predict the best answer. 

A Raisin in the Sun won for its author Lorraine Hansberry the distinction of being the first African American to receive the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award.

Normally, the word "being" is a red flag. Since it implies on-going action, it often doesn't make sense in a piece of writing. Omitting the word or replacing it with "to be" usually results in a better sentence. Here, however, “being” cannot be deleted, and the substitution of “to be” sounds odd: 

A Raisin in the Sun won for its author Lorraine Hansberry the distinction to be the first African American to receive the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award.

What to do now? Look at the answer choices.


(A) of being the first African American to receive
(B) to be the first African American receiving
(C) of the first African American to receive
(D) that she had been the first African American to receive
(E) that she was to be the first African American having received

E and D make no sense; the phrase "the distinction that she was/had been" is not idiomatic. C omits the word "being," a course you already ruled out, and B replaces it with "to be." All that remains is A, which preserves the idiomatic phrase "distinction of being."

A Raisin in the Sun won for its author Lorraine Hansberry the distinction of being the first African American to receive the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award.

A is the correct answer. 




57% of those who attempted this question at sat.collegeboard.org got it right.

Want more help with grammar? Visit myknowsys.com!