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Verb Tense

Link of the Day: 

The Milleau Viaduct is one of the longest bridges in France. It is also one of the most beautiful. This website is the official home for the Milleau Viaduct and has details about how, when, and why it was constructed.

3/24 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 no error, select choice E. 

First read through the sentence to see if anything "sounds" wrong. That is your prediction for this type of problem. Sometimes, the part that seems wrong is not underlined; in that case, your prediction is the part that you could change to make the sentence sound right. If nothing sounds wrong, your prediction is E. Check all four underlined parts against the rules of English grammar, starting with your prediction, and you will find the correct answer.

Once the suspension bridge replaced the cantilever, the United States becomes the world leader in this new type of long-span bridgebuilding. No error



B should sound wrong because it contains a verb tense problem. The word "once" indicates that the events of this sentence happened in the past, so the present tense verb "becomes" is incorrect. It should be "became." Regardless of how confident you are of your answer, check the other choices to be sure.

A: "Once" is a subordinating conjunction. Normally, "The suspension bridge replaced the cantilever" could be a stand-alone sentence. It is an independent clause. However, attaching the conjunction "once" makes it a subordinate or dependent clause. "Once" is used correctly here and is not a problem.

B: Since B is your prediction, you will have already considered what is right or wrong with it.

C: "In this new type" is the whole prepositional phrase. "In" is the preposition, "this" and "new" are modifiers of the word "type," the object of the preposition. The whole phrase is a modifier of the word "leader," so there is no error here.

D: "Type" is the object of the preposition "in," and "of" introduces a new prepositional phrase. The second phrase ends with "bridgebuilding," a gerund, and modifies the word "type." There is no error here.

The answer is B.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 83% of responses were correct.


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