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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.

A.  Alina's ability to organize her thoughts improved dramatically

B.   Alina's organizational thoughts dramatically improved

C.   Alina organized her thoughts and dramatically improved

D.   Alina dramatically improved her ability to organize her thoughts

E.   Alina gained an ability of organizing her thoughts dramatically

The Knowsys Method

Read the entire sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then focus on the underlined part.  Evaluate it by checking it against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you find an error, use that error to quickly eliminate any answer choices that do not fix the problem you found.

The grammar rule that is tested here is modifiers.  Read the sentence carefully, and you will notice something odd about it.  Does the sentence sound as if only Alina's ability attended the workshop?  All of Alina must have attended the workshop!  The introductory phrase needs to be followed by the subject of that phrase.  After the comma you need the word "Alina," not "Alina's ability."  Mark this error and look down at your answer choices.

A.  This choice matches the original sentence, in which you found an error.  Eliminate it. 

B.  This answer choice does not fix the error you found.  Now it sounds like only Alina's thoughts attended the workshop.  Eliminate it. 

C.  This answer choice fixes the error that you found, but it changes the meaning of the sentence.  Now Alina has accomplished two things at the workshop instead of just one.  Also, the wording in this choice is vague.  What did Alina dramatically improve?    Eliminate it.

D.  This choice sounds awkward, but read it.  It fixes the error that you found, and none of the words are misplaced.  Keep this choice and quickly check the last.  

E.  Remember the Knowsys rule to avoid words ending in "-ing" unless this structure is necessary for the sentence.  One has an ability "to" do something, not "of doing" something.   Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (D).

This is a medium level question.

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