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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.

Sophia agreed to climb to the top of the tower for an attempt at overcoming her fear of heights.

A.  for an attempt at overcoming her fear of heights

B.  for an attempt to overcome her fear of heights

C.  in order to attempt to overcome her fear of heights

D.  as an attempt at overcoming her fear of heights

E.  in an attempt to overcome her fear of heights

 

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 idioms.  Perhaps the easiest problem to see is "at overcoming."  Your Knowsys handbook warns you about unnecessary "-ing" words.  In this sentence the words "at overcoming" seem awkward and unnatural.  Normally, a person would want "to overcome" a fear.  Replace "at overcoming" with "to overcome."  Then look down at your answer choices.

 Immediately eliminate A and D because they do not fix the error that you found in the original sentence.  Then examine B, C, and E.

B.  The word "for" is not used idiomatically.  You might climb a tower for a a specific purpose or for a particular reason, but it is not the right word to introduce an  attempt to do do something.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  This choice is very wordy.  The "in order to" is better than the original "for," but then you end up having the word "to" twice in a repetitive construction.  Eliminate this choice.

E.  This choice is more concise and less repetitive than choice C.  The words "in an attempt" include an idiomatically correct preposition.  This is your answer.

 

The correct answer is (E). 

This is a medium level question.

 

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