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The first ten thousand patents ever issued by the United States, from 1790 to 1836, were destroyed in a fire at the patent office on December 15th, 1836. Ironically, the patents were in temporary storage while a new, more fireproof building was erected in which to preserve them, and the temporary location was right next door to a fire station. Find out more here

4/2 Improving Sentences

Part or all 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.

Always remember to read the sentence and make a prediction first, then look at the answer choices to see which is closest to your prediction. 

The first 10,000 patents, known to be the X-patents, were burned in a fire in 1836.

"Known to be" is a common construction, but check whether it fits this sentence. "Known to be" is often used to describe a function, condition, or role, but not another name. For example, "the product was known to be contaminated." "He was known to be a member of the terrorist cell." On the other hand, "known as" is used to refer to alternate names or aliases. "AKA" stands for "also known as," and is used to list alternate nomenclature used by one person or entity. Take a look at the answer choices.

A) to be

B) to have been

C) as

D) as they were

E) as being

A, B, D, and E all include verbs. C is the only option that simply compares one thing to another, and moreover it matches your prediction. The answer is C. 


On sat.collegeboard.org, 74% of answers were correct. 


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