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.

A number of people have said that they will attend the game.

A.      have said

B.      have said,

C.      has said

D.      has said,

E.       are going to say


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 subject and verb agreement.  In the underlined part of the sentence, there is a verb.  Always check to make sure that underlined verbs match the subject of the sentence.  Look at the words that precede the underlined part: “A number of.”  Remember from your Knowsys handbook that “a number of” is plural while “the number of” requires a singular verb.  You have a plural verb, so there is no error here.  Now check the portion of the sentence that comes after the underlined part.  It begins with the word “that.”  Remember that there is no comma before “that;” a comma comes before “which.”  There is no error here.  Look down at your answer choices.

A.  You found no error in the sentence, so keep this choice and quickly check the others.

B.  This answer choice includes an unnecessary comma.  Eliminate it. 

C.  This answer choice changes the verb to a singular verb, which is incorrect with “a number of.”  Eliminate this choice.

D.  This answer choice makes the same error as the one above, and it also includes an unnecessary comma.  Eliminate it.

E.  This answer choice changes the meaning of the original sentence.  It indicates that people will commit in the future, but the original sentence says that people already committed.  It also uses the "ing" form that should be avoided when possible.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (A).

This is a medium level question.


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