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Sentence Structure

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 quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big Eight Grammar Rules.  Select an answer after you have reviewed all of your choices.

Most of the world’s sharks, living in temperate and tropical regions, though the Greenland shark lives in the cold Arctic waters, and the huge basking shark is at home in the seas around AntarcticaNo error

(A)  Use the word “most” when you are comparing more than two things.  There are definitely more than two sharks in the world, so the word “most” is correct.

(B)  The word “sharks” is your subject.  You know that it must be plural.  Turn your focus to the word “living.”  Whenever you see an “-ing” ending, check to make sure that this form of the verb is necessary.  The word “living” is necessary if you want to use the phrase between the two commas as a way of modifying or describing the word sharks.  However, if “living” is part of a modifying phrase, then where is the verb that shows what the sharks are doing?  There is no main verb.  This sentence is a fragment.  In order to fix the fragment, you must eliminate both the underlined comma and “living” and simply use “sharks live.”

(C)  The word “though” sets up a contrast, just like the word “but.”  There is a contrast in this sentence between where most sharks live and where two particular sharks live.  The word “though” is correct.

(D)  The preposition “around” is idiomatically correct to describe the waters surrounding Antarctica.  The word “Antartctica” is a proper noun, and it is capitalized.  There is no error here.

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

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 69% of the responses were correct.

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