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Prepositions

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Thomas Edison is best known for inventing the light bulb, but he also invented several other devices that are common (in updated forms) today. He invented an early type of camera for recording motion pictures, and he also developed the phonograph, a device for recording and replaying sound that was the 1880 version of the iPod. 

4/5 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.

Always read the sentence first to see if anything sounds wrong. Make a prediction, and check that prediction against the requirements of standard written English. Check the other answers to be sure you have the right answer, then select the correct answer choice.
Except for the phonograph, the performances of great musicians and the voices of famous people would have been lost to historyNo error



Read the sentence to see if anything sounds strange. A probably seems somewhat "off" because it does not use the preposition "except" in the way we normally use it, to indicate exclusion from a group. Here, "except" is used incorrectly to refer to something that prevented something else from happening. Check the other answers to be sure that A is correct.

B: "of great musicians" is a prepositional phrase modifying the noun "performances." It is placed next to the word it modifies, it begins with a preposition, and it ends with a noun. It is used correctly.

C: "would have been" is part of the main verb phrase of this sentence. The helping verb "have" indicates the past perfect tense, which usually means that the verb phrase refers to something farther back in time than something else in the sentence. Here, it refers to the sounds of the past that were preserved by phonograph recordings. It is used correctly.

D. "to history" is a prepositional phrase modifying the verb "lost." It is used correctly.

The answer is A.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 56% of responses were correct.


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