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SAT Writing: Improving Sentences

Improving Sentences

Select the choice that results in the best sentence – the sentence that follows the requirements of standard written English and communicates effectively.

John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, who was assassinated in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas.

A.  John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, who was assassinated
B.  The 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, who was assassinated
C.  The 35th president of the United States who was assassinated, John F. Kennedy,
D.  John F. Kennedy was assassinated, being the 35th president of the United States
D.  John F. Kennedy, the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated

Knowsys Method

Read the sentence carefully, listening for errors. If you do not find the error immediately, then check the underlined portion against the Big 8 grammar concepts.


This question tests your understanding of sentence structure.  What do you notice when you read the original sentence?  It is a sentence fragment that lacks a verb.  Why isn’t “was assassinated” the verb in the original sentence, you ask?  The verb “was assassinated” is part of a relative clause, so it cannot function as the main verb in the sentence. Find the answer choice that creates a sentence with a complete subject and verb.

A.  Choice A is always the same as the original sentence.  You found an error in the original sentence, so you can eliminate choice A without even reading it.  

B.  This choice merely rearranges the first two parts of the sentence.  The sentence created by choice B still lacks a complete subject and verb.  Eliminate it.

C. The sentence created by choice C sounds awkward and lacks a complete subject and verb.  Eliminate this choice.  

D.  Always avoid answer choices that include the word “being.”  This choice makes it sound like Kennedy was temporarily taking on the role of  president, which does not make sense.  Eliminate this choice.

E. By process of elimination, E must be right, but you should read the choice just to be sure.  Choice E contains a complete subject and verb  (John F. Kennedy was assassinated).  This is the correct answer.  


The correct answer is E.
This is a medium level question.

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