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.

Every time the door to his cage is opened, the bird tries escaping.

A.  the bird tries escaping

B.   the bird tried escaping

C.  the bird tries to escape

D.   so the bird tries escaping

E.   then the bird tries escaping


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.  You know that you should check any word that ends in "-ing" to make sure that it is in the correct format.  When you see the word try, you should also think of the formula "try to + verb."  In this sentence, it is idiomatically correct to say "the bird tries to escape."  Mark this error and look at your answer choices.

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

B.  This answer choice changes tense awkwardly.  Eliminate it.

C.  This choice fixes the error that you found!  Quickly check the remaining choices.

D.  The word "so" is unnecessary and incorrect.  Eliminate this answer choice.

E.  The word "then" is unnecessary because the situation and its opportunity has already been explained.  This choice also does not fix the error that you found.  Eliminate it.


The correct answer is (C). 

This is a medium level question.


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