Link of the Day

Many SAT essay questions ask about decision making.  Should decisions be based on feelings?  On facts alone?  How do you decide what is relevant in decision making?  Take a look at this article about a wolf that has found its way to California.  Taking care of the planet by preserving a diverse array of species is important.  Keeping humans and their cattle safe is also important.  What is your opinion about this current event?  What themes do you see in this story that are likely to appear on an SAT essay question?

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 original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then evaluate the underlined portion of the sentence using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Focus on the first error that you find to quickly eliminate wrong answer choices.

Chilean novelist and short-story writer María Luisa Bombal wrote innovative and influential stories featuring heroines which create fantasy worlds in order to escape from unfulfilling love relationships and restricted social roles.

As you read this sentence, you should realize that the stories are not escaping from unfulfilling love relationships and unrestricted social roles; the heroines are creating fantasy worlds to escape.  Heroines are people.  To refer to people, always use “who” or “whom,” never “that” or “which.”  Replace the word “which,” with the word “who” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) heroines which create
(B) heroines, they create
(C) heroines, they created
(D) heroines who create
(E) heroines that were creating

(A) This answer matches the original sentence, so you can eliminate it.

(B) This answer creates a comma splice.  There are two complete sentences on either side of the comma that should be separated with a period.  Eliminate this choice.

(C) This answer creates a comma splice and is also in the wrong tense.  When speaking about literature, use the present tense.  You don’t have to match the tense used when speaking about the author.  Eliminate this choice.

(D) This answer matches the correction that you made.  Keep it and check the last choice.

(E) Never use the word “that” to refer to people.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (D).

On, 73% of the responses were correct.

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