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.


Jayden proudly informed his parents that his grades were better than his siblings.

A.   that his grades were better than his siblings

B.   of his grades being better than his siblings

C.   of his grades being better than his siblings grades

D.  that his grades were better than his siblings' grades

E.  his grades were better then his siblings


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 comparisons.  Think carefully about what this sentence is actually comparing.  Jayden is comparing his grades to his siblings!  He is saying that his grades are somehow better than they are as people!  How would one even compare grades and people?  Logically, what this sentence should be doing is comparing Jayden's grades to his siblings' grades.  Mark this error and look down at your answer choices.  

A.  This choice always matches the original sentence.  Eliminate it. 

B.   The preposition "of" is not idiomatically correct in this context.  Your Knowsys handbook also tells you to avoid the word "being."  Eliminate this choice.

C.  This choice has all the problems of the previous choice, plus it lack the correct punctuation to indicate possession: the second grades belong to Jayden's siblings.  Eliminate it.

D.  This answer choice compares one person's grades to grades that other people made.  The apostrophe after the "s" correctly indicates possession, as well as the fact that Jayden has more than one sibling.  Keep this answer choice and quickly check the last one.

E.  This answer choice confused the word "then" with the word "than."  The word "then" is used in sequences (like the word "next"), and the word "than" is used in comparisons. 


The correct answer is (D). 

This is a medium level question. 


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