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SAT Writing: Style

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is an Improving Sentences question.

Start by reading the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  This sentence compares the number of people in Wales who speak English to the number of people who speak Welsh.

Focus on the underlined portion of the sentence: "was what was spoken."   The first thing that you should notice about this portion of the sentence is that the word "was" is repeated twice in three words.  That is awfully repetitive.  Try taking out the first phrase that begins with the word "was" so that you only have "was spoken."  This makes sense  and it is much more concise than the original sentence.  (You can try taking out the second phrase "was spoken," but "English was what by" doesn't make any sense.)  Look down at your answer choices.

(A)  This answer choice matches the repetitive original.  Eliminate it.

(B)  This choice puts an unnecessary pronoun (it) right after the word that it is replacing (English).  You would have to read this choice as "English English is what was spoken by almost all people."  Eliminate it. 

(C)  This choice changes the meaning of the sentence.  The survey was about the languages that were spoken at that specific moment in the past, not what "was to be spoken" at some future time.  Eliminate this choice.

 (D)  The words "has been" indicate an ongoing process in history.  However, as noted above, the survey was about a specific moment in time.  It was not meant to measure how long people had been speaking English, but how many people spoke it at the time of the survey.  Eliminate this choice.

(E)  This choice matches your prediction exactly!  The words "was spoken" are the only essential words in the underlined portion. 

The correct answer is (E). 

On sat.collegeboard.org, 80% of the responses were correct. 

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question of the day is a Reading question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

To get help preparing for the SAT, PSAT, or ACT exam, check out the Knowsys College Readiness Program.

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