Sentence Structure

Link of the Day

Woody Guthrie is the subject of today’s SAT question, and he is also a fascinating folk musician who would make an excellent historical example for your SAT essay.  Singers and songwriters influence culture in profound ways.  Guthrie's message was about love.  He wrote, "I hate... songs that run you down or songs that poke fun of you on account of your bad luck or your hard traveling.  I am out to fight those kinds of songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood."  You can find out more about Guthrie and the songs he wrote here.   

Today also marks the 11th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.  Take a moment out of your busy day to remember the victims and their families.  You can read more about the 11th anniversary here.

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.  

Read the sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then evaluate the underlined portion of the sentence using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.

Woody Guthrie wrote and adapted more than a thousand songs, many of them are about the struggles of workers and the poor in the United States.

Notice that the underlined portion of the sentence comes directly after a comma.  This is a good indication that you should check sentence structure.  When you read the sentence, does it seem as if it includes two separate thoughts?  This sentence is a comma splice; the comma should be a period.  Which underlined word could you replace in the original sentence to create a grammatically correct sentence?  If you immediately see a way to fix the problem, make a note of it.  You are now ready to look down at the answer choices.

(A) many of them are
(B) many of which are
(C) many are
(D) which are, many of them,
(E) and many of them that are

You do not need to read (A) because it matches the original sentence and you found an error in the original.  (B) fixes the comma splice by changing the second independent clause into a relative clause that modifies “songs.” (C) fails to remedy the comma splice.  (D) and (E) are needlessly complex and introduce new errors into the sentence.

The correct answer is (B).

On, 66% of the responses were correct.

For more help with the writing section of the SAT, visit!