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.

The words of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. still influencing people even though half a century has passed since his "I Have a Dream" speech.

A. still influencing people even though

B.  still influencing people even after

C. is still influencing people even after

D.  still influences people even though

E.  still influence people even though


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.  The original sentence is a fragment because there is no main verb (See how that "-ing" format causes problems?).  Start by identifying the subject of the sentence.  Remember that the subject cannot be part of a prepositional phrase, such as "of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr."  The subject must be "words."  You need a verb that will describe what the words do.  Predict that the words "still influence people."  Then look down at your answer choices.

A.  This choice retains the error of the original sentence fragment.  Eliminate this choice. 

B.  The change to this sentence does not address the problem that you found.  Eliminate this choice. 

C.  The verb doesn't match the subject; you would never say "the words is influencing people."  You must say "the words are influencing people."  Eliminate this choice.

D.  The verb in this choice also doesn't match the subject; you would never say "the words influences people."  Eliminate this choice.

E.  This verb finally matches the subject!   Words influence people.


The correct answer is (E). 

This is a medium level question. 


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