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Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains, select choice E. 

Identifying Sentence Errors problems are simple in concept. All you have to do is find the part that is wrong and mark it--the challenge lies in identifying which part of the sentence contains an error. 

Dance often involving movement being taken to an extreme, with, for example, the arms being flung or stretched out, the head lifted back, and the body arched or twisted. No error



First, read the sentence to see if anything sounds wrong. The word "being" should stand out to you; in general, you should avoid "being" because it implies an ongoing action, which usually does not make sense in written passages. However, its usage is not always wrong, and it is not the problem in this sentence. Check each answer choice against the rules of English grammar.

A.  "Often involving" looks like a verb, so check for subject-verb agreement and correct verb tense. What is the subject of the sentence? Clearly, it is "dance." What does "dance" do? "Dance involving" doesn't make sense, so there is a problem with subject-verb agreement. "Involving" is a participle (a verb acting as an adjective), so the sentence does not have a verb. A looks like the correct answer, but be sure to double-check the other options.

B. "Being taken" is another participle that describes what kind of movement the dancer makes. Although you should usually avoid "being," it is not incorrect here.

C. "For example" is a prepositional phrase. It has a preposition, "for," and an object, "example," and it follows all the rules for prepositional phrases. 

D. "Or stretched out" connects with "the arms being flung" and with "the head lifted back, and the body arched or twisted." Choice D tests your knowledge of parallel structure. The parallel structure here is 1) "The arms being flung or stretched," 2) "the head lifted back," 3) "and the body arched or twisted." Each one has two main parts: a noun (arms, head, body) and a participle (flung, lifted, arched). Since they all follow the parallel format, this part of the sentence is correct as is. 

The answer is A. 


On sat.collegeboard.org, 58% of responses were correct. 



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