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Idioms

Writing: 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 entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then evaluate the underlined portion of the sentence using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Focus on the first error that you find to quickly eliminate wrong answer choices.

Being that she has a gift for comic timing, Esmeralda is a natural when it comes to storytelling.

The Knowsys handbook advises you to avoid the word “being” because it implies an ongoing action, which generally doesn't make sense in written sentences.  In order to improve this sentence, you will need to replace the “being that” with an idiomatically correct expression.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) Being that she has a gift for comic timing
(B) In having a gift for comic timing
(C) With her gift for comic timing
(D) Although she has a gift for comic timing
(E) Comically timed

(A) You can eliminate this choice without reading it because it matches the original sentence.

(B) The words “in having” do not improve the original sentence.  The Knowsys handbook advises you to avoid answer choices that add words that end in “–ing,” unless those words are necessary for parallelism.  There is no parallel verb with an “-ing” in this sentence, so you can eliminate this choice.

(C) This is an idiomatically correct and concise way to express the idea that Esmeralda has been gifted with comic timing.  The word “with” lets you know that this gift is something that she possesses now.  Keep this answer choice.

(D) This answer choice includes an “although.”  This incorrectly expresses the relationship between the two sentence parts.  There is no contrast between these two ideas; they are logically linked with one as the function of the other.  Eliminate this choice.

(E) This answer choice is too short to convey all of the meaning of the original sentence, and it is awkward to describe a person as “comically timed.”  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 66% of the responses were correct.

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