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Verb Tense

Link of the Day

You can learn a lot about the priorities of others by looking at where they spend their money.  The same is true of nations.  Look at this article about UK aid to third world nations.  Is the aid a good thing?  Think about this question as someone who must share the planet with others, then think about this question from the perspective of someone on a tight budget.  This current event touches some tough issues regarding morality and responsibility.  Think about the broad themes involved and note the details that would help you use this as an excellent example on an SAT essay.

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 original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Evaluate the underlined portion of the sentence using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Remember that your goal is to create a clear and precise sentence.

The most famous case of scientific suppression remains that of Galileo, who in 1633 was forced by the Roman Catholic Church to disavow his finding that the Earth revolves around the Sun.

When you read this sentence the first time, do you see any errors?  There are many things that you can change about this sentence, but there are no errors.  The meaning of the sentence  is clear.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) remains that of Galileo, who in 1633 was forced by the Roman Catholic Church to disavow
(B) remained that of Galileo, who in 1633 was forced by the Roman Catholic Church to disavow
(C) remaining that of Galileo, forced by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633 to disavow
(D) will remain that of Galileo, who is forced by the Roman Catholic Church in 1633 to disavow
(E) has remained that of Galileo, who in 1633 is forced by the Roman Catholic Church to disavow

(A)  You did not find any errors in the original sentence, so keep this as an option.

(B)  Changing the tense of the present tense verb “remains” changes the meaning of the sentence.  Right now this is the most famous case of its kind, so using the past tense “remained” is not appropriate.  Eliminate this answer.

(C)  The Knowsys rule is to avoid unnecessary “–ing” verb endings.  You already know that the verb “remains” works in this sentence, so do not be tempted to add “–ing.”  Additionally, this answer choice creates problems with the sentence structure.  Eliminate it.

(D)   How do you know that something will always remain the most famous case of its kind?  You don’t know.  The future tense is not appropriate in this sentence, so you can eliminate this choice.

(E)  This time look at the part of the sentence that says “who in 1633 is forced.”  The forcing clearly happened in the past, so this portion of the sentence should read “was forced.”  Note: this logic can also eliminate choice (D).

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 57% of the responses were correct.

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