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 archaeologists were astounded at the amount of gold coins that they found in the cache.

A.      amount of gold coins that they found

B.      amount of gold coins they found

C.      large amount of gold coins which they found

D.      number of gold coins that they found

E.       large number of gold coins which they found


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 idioms.  The very first word that is underlined is the word "amount."  Your Knowsys workbook talks about words that are classified as "count" and "non-count" words.  The word "amount" is used when you cannot count something; for example, you cannot really count the amount of effort you put into something.  The word "amount" is a "non-count" word.  However, you can count gold coins.  The "count" counterpart of the word "amount" is "number."  For example, I put a number of hours into the project.  You can count hours, just as you can count coins.  Change the word "amount" to "number" and look down at your answer choices.

A, B, and C can all be quickly eliminated because they do not fix the error of the misused word "amount."

D.  This answer choice does fix the error that you found.  Keep it and quickly check the remaining answer choice. 

E.  The word "large" actually improves the sentence because it helps explain why the archaeologists were so astounded.  However, this answer choice makes another change to the original sentence.   In the original sentence, the word "that" was correct because there was no comma before it.  The word "which" requires a comma before it.  Eliminate this choice.


The correct answer is (D).

This is a medium level question.


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