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.


There are two things that I despise about school: listening to boring lectures, and I have to do homework.

A.  listening to boring lectures, and I have to do homework

B.  listening to boring lectures and having to do homework

C.  to listen to boring lectures, and I have to do homework

D.   to listen to boring lectures and to do homework

E.  I am listening to boring lectures, and I am doing homework


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 parallelism.  The two things this person dislikes must be in parallel format.  The first thing, "listening," has an "ing" ending, but the second thing, "I have to do homework" does not.  Mark this error and look down at your answer choices.

A.  The first choice matches the original sentence and does not fix the error that you found. Eliminate it.

B.  The second choice fixes the error that you found.  Additionally, it eliminates the noun "I" from the second thing listed.  Since the first thing had no noun attached to it, this change also helps to make the two things parallel.   Keep this choice.

C.  This choice fixes the error that you found by using the word "to" with both things.  Notice that it is still not as good a choice as the previous one because the "I" remains attached to only one of the choices.  Eliminate it.

D.  This choice is concise and perfectly parallel.  Read it with the rest of the sentence.  It should sound awkward to you because the verbs are not in the correct format to be considered "things."  Eliminate this choice.

E.  This choice does not make sense.  This person seems to be listening to multiple lectures and doing homework at this very moment.  Instead, this person should be simply reflecting that he doesn't like these activities.  Eliminate this choice.


The correct answer is (B).

This is a medium level question.


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