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Subject Verb Agreement

Writing: 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. 

Always read the entire sentence to yourself so that you understand its structure and meaning.  Listen for errors as you read the sentence, and then evaluate each underlined portion using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify any error that you find and mark it, but be sure to quickly check all of your choices.

Aside from Shakespeare, perhaps no writer in English have engaged the public’s imagination more thoroughly than Charles Dickens.  No error

(A)  This is an idiomatic phrase that means the same thing as “apart from” or “except for.”  The word “from” is the correct preposition to follow “aside.”  There is no error here.

(B)  The word “perhaps” adds a degree of uncertainty to the sentence.  Of course you could eliminate it, but that would change the meaning of the sentence.  There is no error here.

(C)  When you have a verb underlined, always check that it matches the subject.  Here the subject is separated from the verb by the prepositional phrase “in English.”  Ignore that phrase.  Would you say “no writer have engaged?”  No!  You must use the singular verb “has” instead of the plural verb “have” because “writer” is singular.  Mark this error and move on.

(D)  The word “more” is used when only two things or people are being compared.  Here a nonexistent, hypothetical writer (singular) is compared to Charles Dickens, so “more” is correct.  The word “thoroughly” is a modifier.  It ends in “-ly,” as adverbs should, and is placed as close as possible to the word it modifies.  The word “than” is used for comparisons; the word “then” is related to time and used for sequences.  There is no error here.

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

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 81% of the responses were correct.

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