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Sentence Structure

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The SAT essay question is essentially a broad question about the state of humanity.  That is why you can research a few examples from history, literature, and current events and have details prepared for your test before you are given an essay prompt.  Read this current event about how scientists have connected the brains of two rats.  Write down important details from the article.  Then answer this SAT essay question using the details and facts you wrote: Is there always another explanation or point of view?  If you feel comfortable using this example to support an idea on that topic, try this topic as well:  Is creativity needed more than ever in the world today?  The more detail you remember from a current event, the more likely it is that you will be able to relate that current event to your test question.

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 sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Next, evaluate the underlined portion of the sentence using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Focus on the first error that you find to quickly eliminate any answer choices that do not fix that error.
  
The finest quality raw silk comes from the commonly domesticated silkworm, Bombyx moriit feeds on the leaves of the mulberry tree.

This sentence is a comma splice; it has two complete sentences that are incorrectly joined by a comma.  You will need your answer choice to fix this problem.

(A) it feeds
(B) feeding
(C) they feed
(D) which feeds
(E) having fed

(A)  Eliminate the first choice because it matches the original sentence.

(B)  The simple subject of the first part of the sentence is “silk.”  The silkworm cannot be the subject of the sentence because it is part of a prepositional phrase (from the commonly domesticated silkworm).  It doesn’t make sense to say that the silk is feeding.  Eliminate this answer choice.

(C)  This choice does not fix the sentence structure problem, and it introduces a new problem.  The word “silkworm” is singular, but the pronoun “they” is plural.  Eliminate this choice.

(D)  The underlined portion of the sentence comes after a comma.  If you want to add additional information after a comma, you need the word “which” rather than the word “that.”  This choice fixes the original problem with the sentence by turning the last portion of it into an appropriate modifying phrase.  Keep this choice and quickly check the remaining answer choice.

(E)  Whenever you see an “ing” ending, check to make sure that this is the correct form of the verb.  When the word “having” comes before a verb, it indicates that this action comes prior to another action.  For example: Having finished my homework early, I went out to eat with my friends.  In your original sentence, there is no other verb that could be attributed to the silkworm, so this choice is unnecessarily wordy.  Eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 75% of the responses were correct.

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