Link of the Day

Did you watch the State of the Union Address?  If you missed President Obama’s speech, here is a text version.  This could be one of your current events, but it is a long speech, so it might be better to look up a couple of the issues that the President wants to bring before the country.  One of the things the President mentions is preschool.  Read this article and think about how many different themes are mentioned.  Then check the list of previously released essay topics (online or in your Knowsys book on page 229) and imagine how you could use this issue as an excellent example for any of these topics.  It directly relates to many of the SAT questions!

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Mark any error you find, but be sure to check all of the answer choices.

Formerly called manacles or shackles, handcuffs consist of two metal rings joined by a short chain; once fastened shut, it requires a key to open. No error

(A) Formerly is an adverb modifying the word “called.”  It is in the correct format with an “–ly” on the end and is as close as possible to the word it modifies.  If you want to be sure that it is correct, substitute a synonym such as “previously” and read the sentence.  The meaning is clear and precise, so there is no error here.

(B) When a verb is underlined make sure that it is in the correct tense and that it matches the subject in number.  Handcuffs still exist, so it is correct to shift from past to present tense in this sentence.  The word “handcuffs” is plural, so the verb “consist” is correct.  You would not say “handcuffs consists.”  The preposition “of” is also idiomatically correct after “consist;” check the frequently-tested idioms list on page 172 of your Knowsys book to confirm this. 

(C) This might be a tempting answer because it has an “–ed” ending.  The tense of a sentence supposed to be as consistent as possible, right?  Think about it this way: if a pair of handcuffs exists now, it was made in the past.  You also cannot change it to any other form, such as “joining,” without changing the meaning of the sentence.  There is no problem with the phrase “joined by.”

(D) When a pronoun like the word “it” is underlined, you must identify its antecedent.  The “it” is supposed to take the place of the noun “handcuffs,” but there is a problem.  “Handcuffs” is plural while “it” is singular.  You need the word “they” instead of the word “it.”  Mark this error.

(E) This answer choice is not correct because you already marked an error.

On, 54% of the responses were correct.

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