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Pronouns

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. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify any error that you find, mark it, and quickly check the other choices before selecting an answer.

Among the most widespread of marine animals, starfish and sea urchins inhabit all seas except that of the polar regions. No error

(A) The word “among” is used if there are more than two people or things involved.  In this sentence, starfish and sea urchins are among the most widespread of marine animals.  There are far more than two different kinds of marine animals, so there is no error here.

(B) The word “most” is used when more than two things are being compared.  In this sentence, starfish and sea urchins are being compared to all other marine animals, so there are more than two things being compared.  The word “of” is also the idiomatically correct preposition to use to introduce the group out of which the starfish and sea urchins are the most widespread.

(C) Whenever a verb is underlined, check to make sure that it matches the subject.  The subject of this sentence is “starfish and sea urchins.”  Does the subject match the verb in number?  You would never say “starfish and sea urchins inhabits all seas” so there is no error here.

(D) It is perfectly fine to make an exception to a statement.  However, you still need to check the pronoun that follows the word “except.”  What word is the antecedent of “that?”  The word “that” is taking the place of “seas.”  “Seas” is a plural word, but “that” is singular.  Instead of “that,” the plural pronoun “those” should be used.  Mark this error.

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

The correct answer is (D).


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

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