Subject Verb Agreement

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Listening to audiobooks can be a great way to multitask while you are doing something else (such as mowing the lawn or sitting in the bus on the way to school). If you are interested in listening to some audiobooks (which, by the way, is a great way to improve your vocabulary and find some "excellent examples" for your essay) you can download a huge variety of different audio books here for free. 

6/7 Improving Sentences

Part or all of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A.  

On Improving Sentences questions, always remember to read the sentence and make a prediction about what changes would correct any errors you find. This prediction will help you eliminate wrong answers and quickly zero in on the correct choice.

Listening to good storybooks sharpen children’s awareness and appreciation for the sounds of spoken language

Since the first underlined word you see is a verb, you should start off by identifying the subject and the verb in this sentence. In this case, the subject is "listening." The verb is "sharpen." If you have trouble seeing that "listening" is the verb, try thinking about what is performing the action. What is it that is "sharpenen[s]?" It must be the "listening" that is performing the action so the subject of the sentence is "listening.At this point you should notice that the verb sounds wrong. You wouldn't say "listening sharpen", you would say "listening sharpens." The test makers are trying to trick you by separating the subject and the verb . You may look at it and think that "storybooks sharpen" sounds correct. The problem is that it is not the "storybooks" that "sharpen children's awareness . . . " It is "Listening" that "sharpens children's awareness . . . " Now that you have a prediction, it's time to take a look at the answer choices below.

(A) sharpen children’s awareness
(B) sharpens children’s awareness of
(C) are what sharpens the awareness of children
(D) sharpens the awareness of children
(E) is to sharpen children’s awareness

As you can see, answer choice (B) matches your prediction exactly. Note that "children" is possessive because it is the "children's awareness and appreciation" that is sharpened by listening. (A) is clearly wrong because it is simply what was originally in the underlined portion. (C) is incorrect because "listening are what sharpens . . ." is clearly not grammatically correct (once again, the problem is subject-verb agreement). (D) is incorrect because of the parallel structure in the non-underlined portion of the sentence. (D) would read "Listening . . . sharpens the awareness of children and appreciation for sounds of spoken language." (E) is incorrect because it changes the meaning of the sentence (even if answer choice (A) is incorrect, the implied meaning of the sentence is still correct and must be preserved in the correct answer choice).

The correct answer choice is (B).

On 57% of the responses were correct.

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