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Idioms

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. 

Read the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check the underlined portions of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error that you find and quickly check the other choices.

In the interior of the Arctic islands during the melting season, even small streams must be crossed with great care because near-zero water temperatures and the typically rocky and unstable nature of stream beds. No error

(A)  Before the word “care,” it is idiomatically correct to use the word “with.”  Think of the phrase “handle with care.”  There is no error in this underlined portion.

(B)  The word “because” may seem right at first.  The word “because” indicates that there is a reason for the previous statement.  Why should you cross with care?  Cross with care because the waters are cold and the stream beds are unstable.  However, if you read until the end of the sentence, you will find that there is no verb after the word because.  That should sound odd to you; you should feel as if you need to add the phrase “are there” or “are dangerous” to the end of the sentence.  Think of other words that you could use to express reasons why you must cross with care.  The phrase “due to” may come to mind.  Replace “because” with “due to,” and you have found the correct idiom.

(C)  The word “typically” modifies the word “rocky.”  It lets you know that the streams in the Arctic are usually, but not always rocky, so it includes essential information.  The modifier is placed as close as possible to the word it modifies, so there is no error in this underlined portion.

(D)  What kind of bed is unstable as the ice melts?  You are not concerned with the beds in your home, only stream beds.  There is no error in this underlined portion.

(E)  This answer cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 53% of the responses were correct.

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