SAT Writing: Improving Sentences

Improving Sentences

Select the choice that results in the best sentence – the sentence that follows the requirements of standard written English and communicates effectively.

Conner intended to pick up the milk on the way home, however, he forgot to stop by the store.

A.      home, however,

B.      home, however;

C.      home; however

D.      home; however,

E.       home however,


The Knowsys Method

Read the entire sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then focus on the underlined part.  Evaluate it by checking it against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you find an error, use that error to quickly eliminate any answer choices that do not fix the problem you found.

The grammar rule that is tested here is sentence structure!  When there are two commas in the underlined part, you want to be sure to check the punctuation of the sentence.  This sentence is actually two complete sentences that are stuck together with a comma.  This type of error is called a comma splice.  The easiest way to fix this error is to put a semicolon between the two sentences.  The first complete sentence ends after “home,” so you should put a semicolon there.  Mark this error and look down at your answer choices.

A.  The first choice is always the same as the original!  You found an error in the original sentence, so you can eliminate this answer choice.

B.  This contrast word should not come at the end of the first main clause because there is no contrast within the first part of the sentence.  The contrast is between his intention and his action (forgetting to stop), which you do not yet know about.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  This answer choice is incorrect because you need a comma after a transitional expression such as “however.”  Eliminate this choice.

D.  This answer choice matches your prediction.  Keep it and quickly check the last choice.

E.  This answer choice does not fix the comma splice that you found.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (D).


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