Link of the Day

Is the world changing for the better?  There are a variety of ways that you could approach this previous SAT essay question, but take a look at this article before you answer it.  It seems that people are living longer but not healthier.  Look for themes in this article that might show up in other SAT questions.  Some obvious themes are the contrast between young and old, the difference between generations, health, individual ability, dependency, and self-perception.  If any of these topics come up in your SAT essay prompt, this would make a great current event example to substantiate your thesis.  Make sure you note the facts from this article if you chose to use it as one of your five prepared current events.

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 entire original sentence, listening for errors.  Evaluate the underlined portion using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.

The wide variety of spices and condiments used in sausage making including salt and, it depends on the ethnic or regional origin of the recipe, coriander, nutmeg, cloves, garlic, vinegar, mace, pepper, chili peppers, or pistachio nuts.

This sentence has two problems that your Knowsys book tells you to always avoid.  Any time you see an “-ing” underlined on the SAT, check to make sure that it belongs there.  You will never need two “-ing” ending words in a row unless you are looking at a list.  Check back to make sure you know the subject connected to the verb “including.” The subject of the sentence is “variety.”  You would not say “The variety including salt,” you would say “The variety includes salt.”  Mark this error.

Then notice the word “it.”  The word “it” must have an antecedent so that it is not a random and unassociated pronoun.  "The wide variety" is the only thing that could be the antecedent for "it," but if you substitute in “the wide variety” where “it” is, the sentence becomes difficult to understand as it jumps from an observation into a list.  The unnecessary pronoun “it” is causing this difficulty, so mark this error and look down at your answer choices.  Only one will solve both of these problems.  The other choices all contain specific errors.

(A) including salt and, it depends
(B) include salt, depending
(C) includes salt, and it depends
(D) includes salt and, depending
(E) including salt and, depending

(A) This answer matches the original sentence and can be eliminated without a second glance.

(B) This choice has a subject and verb agreement error.  “The wide variety” is singular so it requires a singular verb.  You would not say “the variety include;” you would say “the variety includes.”  Eliminate this choice.

(C) Including the word “it” causes problems with the sentence structure of this sentence because “it depends on the ethnic or regional origin of the recipe” is an independent clause.  Notice that there is a comma that comes after the preceding “and.”  You cannot have an independent clause inserted as an aside that is set off from the rest of the sentence by only commas.  Eliminate this choice.

(D) This answer gets rid of both of the problems that you initially identified.

(E)  This answer choice still has the awkward “-ing” phrasing.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (D).

On, 55% of the responses were correct.

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