SAT Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

Identifying Sentence Errors

Read the sentence and select the portion of the sentence that contains an error if there is an error.  If there is no error, select E. 



The Knowsys Method

Read the entire sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined part against the Big 8 Grammar Rules. 

The grammar rule that is tested here is pronouns.  You might also think about this sentence in terms of subject and and verb agreement, but there is a special Knowsys rule for dealing with ambiguous indefinite pronouns!

A.  "Those" might sound strange to you, and you might want to put the word "people" in its place, but it is perfectly acceptable to refer to certain people who attended as "those in attendance."  Remember, with this question type you are looking for an error, not a way to improve the sentence.  There is no error here.

B.  The word "but" is used to imply a contrast.  Is there a contrast in this sentence?  Yes!  You could describe the contrast in several different ways, but there is a contrast between what the police hoped to find and what they did find, or between their thorough activity and the lack of results that it produced.  There is no error here.

C.  This part of the sentence is idiomatically correct.  You would say "none of the phones" or "none of the students" rather than using any other preposition.  There is no error here.

D.  This one is a little tricky.  You have a verb underlined, and it is in past tense like the rest of the sentence, but how do you know whether it should be plural or singular?  Do your remember the 4 ambiguous indefinite pronouns?  They are: all, any, none, and some.  These words may be singular or plural based on the nouns or pronouns that they are used with.  Normally you wouldn't look at a word in a prepositional phrase to determine the plurality of a verb, but because of that ambiguous indefinite pronoun you must look at the words "of the missing jewels."  The word "jewels" is plural, so the word "none" is plural, and you must have a verb that matches.  You would not say "jewels was," you would say "jewels were."  Mark this error.

E.  This choice cannot be correct because you have already marked an error.


The correct answer is (D).   

This is a medium level question. 


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