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Idioms

Link of the Day

It is now the month of November!  On the 1st of November in the year 1512, the Sistine Chapel ceiling was opened to the public.  Read an article about this amazing work of art here, and see the whole ceiling here.  This would make an excellent historical example for your SAT essay.  Think about the broad themes of creativity and planning in connection to this historical example.  What other themes connect to this work of art?

11/1 Identifying Sentence Errors:  Idioms

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 entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then consider each underlined portion of the sentence, asking yourself whether it complies with the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you find an error, mark it.  Then quickly check the other choices.
Most ships move through the Suez Canal with their own power, but large ships must be assisted by a tugboat. No error

(A)  The word “move” is a verb.  Check to make sure that it agrees with the subject of the sentence.  It does.

(B)  Think about the word “with” in context.  “With” generally means “accompanied by,” or “in the same direction as.”  Is that the meaning that you need in this sentence?  No!  This is an improper idiom.  The power is actually moving the ship.  You need a word that will express that relationship.  Try inserting the word “under” or “by” into the sentence to make it idiomatically correct.

(C)  Check that the pronoun has one and only one antecedent and that it agrees in number with that antecedent.  “Their” refers to multiple “ships,” so it is correct.  Each ship also has its own level of power, so the addition of the word “own” makes sense.

(D)  The phrase “must be” adds important information to this sentence.  You could change it to another word such as “are,” but that would change the meaning of the sentence and is completely unnecessary because there is no error in this underlined portion.

The correct answer is (B).


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

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!