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Idioms

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.

When you are working on an "Improving Sentences" problem, always carefully read the sentence as it is and look for an error. If possible, predict a way to fix the sentence. Even though your prediction may not match the correct answer (there are often several different ways to fix an error), it will help you to identify the key grammatical principles that the question tests.

Mahpiua Luta, better known for being Red Cloud, was chief of the Oglala Sioux during the 1860s.

First, examine the sentence, check for errors, and predict how you might correct the sentence. In this sentence, the underlined section is very short, including only two words. The word "being" should send up a red flag in your mind because it is usually unnecessary. Your prediction, then, should eliminate the word "being." "For" cannot stand alone here, so you need to think of a different word to replace it.

Mahpiua Luta, better known as Red Cloud, was chief of the Oglala Sioux during the 1860s. 

Now all you need to do is look in the answer choices for one that matches your prediction.

A) for being

B) that he was

C) as being

D) to be

E) as

Notice that the correct answer is the very last one. The test makers are trying to hide the answer and get you to doubt yourself. Checking each of these answers against the original sentence would have been much more time-consuming and worrying than generating a prediction and checking that against the answer choices.

The correct answer is E.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 78% of  responses were correct.


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