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.

Crossing the street, a car nearly hit me.

A.      a car nearly hit me

B.      a car came near to hitting me

C.      I nearly hit a car

D.      I was nearly hit by a car

E.       I was so near to being hit by a car

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 modifiers.  Notice that the first part of the sentence, the part before the comma, does not include a subject.  Who is doing the crossing?  When you have an introductory phrase followed by a comma, the very next independent noun must be the subject of that phrase.  It doesn't make sense for the car to cross the street (the car must remain on the street), so you need the subject "I" right after the comma.  Mark this error and look down at your answer choices.

A.  You found an error in the original sentence, so eliminate the first choice because it matches the original sentence.

B.  This choice is wordier than the original sentence without fixing the error that you found.  Eliminate it. 

C.  This answer choice starts with an "I," but it changes the meaning of the sentence.  The original sentence emphasizes that the car is doing the hitting, not the person.  Eliminate this choice.

D.  This answer choice matches your prediction because it starts with an "I" and maintains the original meaning of the sentence.  Keep it and quickly check the last choice.

E.  This answer choice is unnecessarily wordy, and it includes the word "being," which your Knowsys book tells you to avoid.  Eliminate this choice. 


The correct answer is (D).

This is a medium level question.


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