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Verb Form

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 whole sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules, identifying and marking any error.

In order to prepare for the speech he was given to all of the parents and teachers at the school, George practiced speaking in front of a group of his friendsNo error

(A)  When you use the word “prepare,” you prepare to do something (verb) or you prepare for something (noun).  The words following the preposition “for” are “the speech,” a noun, so this portion of the sentence is idiomatically correct.  There is no error here.

(B)  If you did not read the whole sentence, this portion of the sentence may look fine.  However, you don’t usually need to prepare for something that is given to you.  If you are preparing something, you will probably be the one giving something.  Instead of “was given,” you need the words “was to give” or “will give.”  Mark this verb form error and quickly check the remaining choices.

(C)  The words “in front of” constitute an idiomatically correct phrase to explain the location of something or, in this case, someone.  There is no error here.

(D)  When you see a pronoun, check to make sure it has one antecedent and that it matches the antecedent.  The antecedent for “his” is “George,” and the possessive pronoun is correct because the people are his friends rather than our friends.  The word “friends” must be plural because you cannot have a group without more than one friend.  There is no error here.

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

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 82% of the responses were correct.

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