Writing: 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 whole sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then evaluate the underlined portion in terms of the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Focus on the most glaring error that you find to quickly eliminate wrong answer choices.

The reason the film’s stream-of-consciousness imagery is so successful is because of its capture of the sensorial experience of childhood.

If you are just looking at the underlined portion of this sentence, you will notice that the word “of” is repeated.  That is a problem; however, there is a bigger problem.  Look at the phrase “is because.”  These two words are listed in your Knowsys book--they should never be next to each other.  They are redundant; you only need one or the other.  The word “is” is not underlined, so you know that you must delete the word “because.”  From here your goal is to select the most concise and clear wording to replace the rest of the underlined portion.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) because of its capture
(B) capturing of
(C) because of capturing
(D) that it captures
(E) for its capturing

(A) This choice matches the original sentence, so you can eliminate it without spending time reading it.

(B) This choice is not clearly worded because it lacks the pronoun “it” from the original phrase.  The Knowsys handbook also tells you to avoid introducing words that end in “-ing” unless they are needed for parallelism.

(C) This answer does not change the phrase “is because” that you identified as an error.

(D) This answer choice produces a sentence that is clear and concise.  Think about how natural it sounds to say “The reason is that,” and you will understand why this choice is idiomatically correct.

(E) This answer choice changes the meaning of the sentence when it inserts the word “for.”  It also introduces an unnecessary “-ing.”

The correct answer is (D).

On, 57% of the responses were correct.

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