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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.

The drought had a much more profound economic impact on farmers than the people who complained about the skyrocketing prices of fresh produce in grocery stores.

A.  the people who complained
B.  on the people who complained
C.  the people who were complaining
D.  it did on people who are complaining
E.  on complaints from the people

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 rule tested here is comparisons.  One important thing to note about comparisons is that they must be parallel.  So in this sentence, if the drought has an impact “ON farmers,” it must also have an impact “ON the people” who complain about increasing prices.   Thus, you should automatically eliminate all answers that do not say “on the people.”  That leaves only B and D for us to consider.  (Note: E begins with “on,” but we are comparing farmers with people, not complaints.)  

B.  This choice fixes the problem in the original sentence.  The drought has an effect “ON farmers” and “ON the people.”  Keep this choice and check the other.

D.  This choice starts out fine.  The “drought had a stronger impact on farmers than … it did on the people.”  However, the verb tense is now wrong.  “Are complaining” should be “complained” because this action happened in the past.  Eliminate this choice.
 
The correct answer is B.
This is a medium-level problem.

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