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Idioms

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 once, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Mark any error you find.

Today, also representing nations and other political entities, flags are used to represent youth groups, athletic competitions, and international bodies. No error

(A)  This part of the sentence should sound odd to you.  It is normal to hear about one thing and also another thing; something must be introduced before you can add to it with the word “also.”  When you want to point out that there are at least two things involved before listing either of them, use the phrase “in addition to.”  Mark this improper idiom and quickly check the other answer choices.

(B)  The conjunction “and” links two things.  The word “other” reminds readers that although nations are political entities, there are political entities that are not nations.  Without “other” the words “political entities” would sound redundant.  There is no error here.

(C)  This part of the sentence is passive, but flags cannot use themselves; they must be used by others.  The subject of the sentence comes right after the introductory phrase so there is no modifying error.  The noun “flags” and the verb “are” agree because both are plural.  There is no error here. 

(D)  It is idiomatically correct when talking about the purpose of something to say that the item is “used to do something.”  Here the correct preposition “to” is used, and the flag is used to represent certain groups.  There is no error here.

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 72% of the responses were correct.

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