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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 no error, select choice E.

It is important to read for what sounds wrong, but the most important thing to remember in Identifying Sentences questions is to check each answer choice against the Big 8. If it breaks the rules of grammar, it's your answer!

The credit for making Franz Kafka internationally famous as a writer belongs to his friend, novelist Max Brod, which despite Kafka’s dying wishes, edited Kafka’s unpublished manuscripts and then had them publishedNo error


Choice A starts the prepositional/gerund phrase "for making Franz Kafka internationally famous as a writer." "Making" in this sentence is a gerund, which means it looks like a verb but acts like a noun, so it and the rest of the phrase act as the object of the preposition "for." It is slightly awkward, but it is grammatically correct.

Choice B is the phrase "as a writer," which modifies the adjective "famous." It follows the rules for modifiers.

Choice C is the relative pronoun "which." Every pronoun must have an antecedent, and the antecedent for "which" is "Max Brod." If that seems strange, it's because "which" should not be used for people. Replace "which" with "who" and see how the sentence reads:

The credit for making Franz Kafka internationally famous as a writer belongs to his friend, novelist Max Brod, who despite Kafka's dying wishes edited Kafka's unpublished manuscripts and then had them published.

It's still a long, complicated sentence that I couldn't diagram if I tried, but it is grammatically correct.

Choice D is the verb phrase "had them published." The past tense is correct here because Brod obviously had Kafka's writings published many years ago.

The answer is C.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 66% of responses to this question were correct.


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