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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.  

Read the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Evaluate the underlined portion using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.   When you find an error, focus on what you need to fix that error so that you can quickly eliminate answer choices that do not address the error.

Modern discus throwers use much the same technique of ancient Greece.

This sentence should sound strange to you the first time you read it.  “Modern discus throwers” are being compared to “ancient Greece.”  You cannot compare people to a location!  Cover up the end of the sentence and fill in the blank.  You might predict the words “as the people of ancient Greece once used.”  In order to make the comparison more clear, you used the word “as.”  A quick note on using the words “like” and “as” to compare: “as” is used when the following phrase includes a verb, while “like” is used when the following phrase only has nouns or pronouns.  Parallelism dictates that the last phrase of this particular comparison must include a verb because the first part of the comparison includes the verb “use.”  Look down at your options to see which ones begin with “as.”
(A) of ancient Greece
(B) of ancient Greeks
(C) as ancient Greeks did
(D) as they did in ancient Greece
(E) like ancient Greeks

There are two choices that begin with “as.”  (C) looks very similar to your prediction.  It includes the word “as” and the verb “did.”  (D) introduces a new problem: all pronouns need an antecedent and there is no antecedent for the word “they.”  You should be able to select your answer choice now.

Just for practice, here are the problems with the other choices:  (A) is the same as the original sentence.  (B) is a distraction if you read the sentence too quickly and did not realize that there is a comparison.  The key words “much the same” let you know that this is a comparison.  The sentence “Modern discus throwers use the technique of ancient Greeks” would be correct, but you cannot change part of the sentence that is not underlined.  (E)  lacks parallelism because there is no verb and you know it will be incorrect because it uses the word “like.”

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 45% of the responses were correct.

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