Blog

Idioms

Link of the Day

Today’s link is actually two links.  Read this article and then this article.  Both articles are about the same event, but they have very different interpretations of that event.  Why do they differ so much?  What does this tell you about finding news on the internet?  Even if you think that you have found a good news source, double check the accuracy of the report. 

Next think about these articles in terms of a current event.  How could you use the information surrounding the fact that a man just won $338 million to support a position on an SAT essay? What conclusions could you draw about the themes of money, fame, power, motivation, success, planning, chance, and even information?

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error, but be sure to look at all of the answer choices.

Between 1508 to 1512, Michelangelo, working on a scaffold 60 feet above the floor, painted the vaulted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome with hundreds of giant figures that represented his vision of the world’s creation. No error

(A)  The underlined word “to” connects two different times.  This is actually a conflation of two different idioms.  You can say “from 1508 to 1512,” but there is no “from” in this sentence.  Instead, you have the word “between.”  The correct idiom is “between x and y,” so you must change the “to” into an “and.”  Make this change and quickly look at the rest of the answer choices.

(B)  Whenever you see an “-ing” ending, check to make sure it is necessary.  Here, the “-ing” ending lets you know that this is not the main verb.  The main verb is “painted.”  The entire part of the sentence that reads “working on a scaffold 60 feet above the floor” is set off by commas and simply describes Michelangelo’s position while painting.  The preposition “on” is the correct preposition because Michelangelo is actually on top of the scaffold.  There is no error here.

(C)   This underlined portion is idiomatically correct.  You can use the word “with” to say “I paint with a brush” and mean that you are using the brush, but you can also use the word “with” to indicate what you have painted.  Both uses are correct.  Michelangelo has painted “hundreds of giant figures.”  The preposition “of” is also idiomatically correct.  There is no error here.

(D)  When you see the word “that,” check to make sure that the word “which” is not needed.  The word “which” must have a comma before it, and there is no comma here.  The word “represented” is also correct.  It is in past tense to match the tense of “painted.”  Although you could change the tense of “represented” and still be technically correct, you are looking for errors, not ways to revise the sentence.  There is no error here.

(E)  This answer choice cannot be correct because you have already identified an error.

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 55% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Idioms

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself once, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Mark any error you find.

Today, also representing nations and other political entities, flags are used to represent youth groups, athletic competitions, and international bodies. No error

(A)  This part of the sentence should sound odd to you.  It is normal to hear about one thing and also another thing; something must be introduced before you can add to it with the word “also.”  When you want to point out that there are at least two things involved before listing either of them, use the phrase “in addition to.”  Mark this improper idiom and quickly check the other answer choices.

(B)  The conjunction “and” links two things.  The word “other” reminds readers that although nations are political entities, there are political entities that are not nations.  Without “other” the words “political entities” would sound redundant.  There is no error here.

(C)  This part of the sentence is passive, but flags cannot use themselves; they must be used by others.  The subject of the sentence comes right after the introductory phrase so there is no modifying error.  The noun “flags” and the verb “are” agree because both are plural.  There is no error here. 

(D)  It is idiomatically correct when talking about the purpose of something to say that the item is “used to do something.”  Here the correct preposition “to” is used, and the flag is used to represent certain groups.  There is no error here.

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 72% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Verb Form

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the whole sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules, identifying and marking any error.

In order to prepare for the speech he was given to all of the parents and teachers at the school, George practiced speaking in front of a group of his friendsNo error

(A)  When you use the word “prepare,” you prepare to do something (verb) or you prepare for something (noun).  The words following the preposition “for” are “the speech,” a noun, so this portion of the sentence is idiomatically correct.  There is no error here.

(B)  If you did not read the whole sentence, this portion of the sentence may look fine.  However, you don’t usually need to prepare for something that is given to you.  If you are preparing something, you will probably be the one giving something.  Instead of “was given,” you need the words “was to give” or “will give.”  Mark this verb form error and quickly check the remaining choices.

(C)  The words “in front of” constitute an idiomatically correct phrase to explain the location of something or, in this case, someone.  There is no error here.

(D)  When you see a pronoun, check to make sure it has one antecedent and that it matches the antecedent.  The antecedent for “his” is “George,” and the possessive pronoun is correct because the people are his friends rather than our friends.  The word “friends” must be plural because you cannot have a group without more than one friend.  There is no error here.

(E)  This choice cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 82% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Structure

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big Eight Grammar Rules.  Select an answer after you have reviewed all of your choices.

Most of the world’s sharks, living in temperate and tropical regions, though the Greenland shark lives in the cold Arctic waters, and the huge basking shark is at home in the seas around AntarcticaNo error

(A)  Use the word “most” when you are comparing more than two things.  There are definitely more than two sharks in the world, so the word “most” is correct.

(B)  The word “sharks” is your subject.  You know that it must be plural.  Turn your focus to the word “living.”  Whenever you see an “-ing” ending, check to make sure that this form of the verb is necessary.  The word “living” is necessary if you want to use the phrase between the two commas as a way of modifying or describing the word sharks.  However, if “living” is part of a modifying phrase, then where is the verb that shows what the sharks are doing?  There is no main verb.  This sentence is a fragment.  In order to fix the fragment, you must eliminate both the underlined comma and “living” and simply use “sharks live.”

(C)  The word “though” sets up a contrast, just like the word “but.”  There is a contrast in this sentence between where most sharks live and where two particular sharks live.  The word “though” is correct.

(D)  The preposition “around” is idiomatically correct to describe the waters surrounding Antarctica.  The word “Antartctica” is a proper noun, and it is capitalized.  There is no error here.

(E)  This answer cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 69% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject Verb Agreement

Link of the Day

If you have been following the news about the meteor that hit Russia, here are some more details about the event.  This article will help you make human connections through your current event by showing how people reacted to a sudden event.  Some searched for explanations, some volunteered for clean-up, and some strove to profit from the event.  Motivation is a reoccurring theme in SAT essay prompts, and these responses could be used to support a variety of opinions about human nature and activities.

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error that you find, but be sure to look at all the choices before selecting your answer.

Besides conserving forest resources, recycling produces fewer pollutants than does the conventional pulping and bleaching processes that are normally used to create paper. No error

(A)  Any time you see a verb with an “–ing” ending, check to make sure that the word is in the proper form.  Here you have an introductory phrase followed by a comma.  The “ing” format helps to indicate that this phrase is supplemental, that it modifies the coming independent clause.  There is no error here.

(B)  The word “than” indicates a comparison.  You already know that the sentence will contain a comparison because of the word “fewer.”  Now check the verb “does.”  Normally a verb comes after the subject, so you might be tempted to link “recycling” and “does.”  However, this portion of the comparison is actually focused on “the conventional pulping and bleaching processes” and what they do to create paper.  Notice that “processes” is plural, so you need the word “do” instead of the word “does.”  This is inverted subject-verb error and is often tested on the SAT. Mark this error and quickly check the other choices.

(C)  The words “that” and “which” both provide additional information, but the word “which” must be preceded by a comma.  There is no comma before the underlined portion, so “that” is correct.  There is no error here.

(D)  Processes are used to do something.  No other form of “create” will work in this underlined portion.  There is no error here.

(E)  This cannot be the answer because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 73% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Parallelism

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error that you find, but be sure to quickly check the remaining answer choices before selecting your answer.

Used in place of buttons, hooks and eyes, or laces, the zipper consists of two rows of plastic or metal teeth and bound to the edges of two strips of fabric. No error

(A) The phrase “in place of” just means “instead of.” It is idiomatically correct, so there is no error here.

(B) Buttons, hooks and eyes (which is basically a "combo set"), and laces are all ways to attach two pieces of fabric.  Usually, only one of these different things will be used on a garment at a time; I have never seen a coat that closed with a couple buttons, then a hook, and then laces.  For this reason the “or” is correct.  The zipper replaces whichever one of these things is used on the garment in question.  There is no error here.

(C) Check to make sure that the word “consists” matches the subject.  You would not say “the zipper consist of,” so “consists” is the right form of the verb.  If you check your Knowsys idioms chart, you will also notice that “of” is the idiomatically correct preposition to follow “consists.”  There is no error here.

(D)  Something strange happens to the meaning of the sentence at this point.  You cannot say “the zipper consists of one thing and bound another thing.” That would not be parallel structure.  You could say “the zipper consists of one thing and binds another thing.”  However, you cannot use the phrase “binds to” (you would need “binds it to”), and the “to” is not a part of the sentence that you can change.  Look at the meaning of the sentence.  The zipper is not what is bound to the edges of the fabric; instead, it is the metal teeth.  You could eliminate the word “and” to fix the problem, or you could change the underlined portion to read “that are.”

(E)  This answer cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Pronouns

Link of the Day

Did you watch the State of the Union Address?  If you missed President Obama’s speech, here is a text version.  This could be one of your current events, but it is a long speech, so it might be better to look up a couple of the issues that the President wants to bring before the country.  One of the things the President mentions is preschool.  Read this article and think about how many different themes are mentioned.  Then check the list of previously released essay topics (online or in your Knowsys book on page 229) and imagine how you could use this issue as an excellent example for any of these topics.  It directly relates to many of the SAT questions!

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Mark any error you find, but be sure to check all of the answer choices.

Formerly called manacles or shackles, handcuffs consist of two metal rings joined by a short chain; once fastened shut, it requires a key to open. No error

(A) Formerly is an adverb modifying the word “called.”  It is in the correct format with an “–ly” on the end and is as close as possible to the word it modifies.  If you want to be sure that it is correct, substitute a synonym such as “previously” and read the sentence.  The meaning is clear and precise, so there is no error here.

(B) When a verb is underlined make sure that it is in the correct tense and that it matches the subject in number.  Handcuffs still exist, so it is correct to shift from past to present tense in this sentence.  The word “handcuffs” is plural, so the verb “consist” is correct.  You would not say “handcuffs consists.”  The preposition “of” is also idiomatically correct after “consist;” check the frequently-tested idioms list on page 172 of your Knowsys book to confirm this. 

(C) This might be a tempting answer because it has an “–ed” ending.  The tense of a sentence supposed to be as consistent as possible, right?  Think about it this way: if a pair of handcuffs exists now, it was made in the past.  You also cannot change it to any other form, such as “joining,” without changing the meaning of the sentence.  There is no problem with the phrase “joined by.”

(D) When a pronoun like the word “it” is underlined, you must identify its antecedent.  The “it” is supposed to take the place of the noun “handcuffs,” but there is a problem.  “Handcuffs” is plural while “it” is singular.  You need the word “they” instead of the word “it.”  Mark this error.

(E) This answer choice is not correct because you already marked an error.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 54% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Pronouns

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify any error that you find, mark it, and quickly check the other choices before selecting an answer.

Among the most widespread of marine animals, starfish and sea urchins inhabit all seas except that of the polar regions. No error

(A) The word “among” is used if there are more than two people or things involved.  In this sentence, starfish and sea urchins are among the most widespread of marine animals.  There are far more than two different kinds of marine animals, so there is no error here.

(B) The word “most” is used when more than two things are being compared.  In this sentence, starfish and sea urchins are being compared to all other marine animals, so there are more than two things being compared.  The word “of” is also the idiomatically correct preposition to use to introduce the group out of which the starfish and sea urchins are the most widespread.

(C) Whenever a verb is underlined, check to make sure that it matches the subject.  The subject of this sentence is “starfish and sea urchins.”  Does the subject match the verb in number?  You would never say “starfish and sea urchins inhabits all seas” so there is no error here.

(D) It is perfectly fine to make an exception to a statement.  However, you still need to check the pronoun that follows the word “except.”  What word is the antecedent of “that?”  The word “that” is taking the place of “seas.”  “Seas” is a plural word, but “that” is singular.  Instead of “that,” the plural pronoun “those” should be used.  Mark this error.

(E) This answer cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 53% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Parallelism

Writing : Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check the underlined portions of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Mark any error that you find.

From its modest beginnings as a series of brief vignettes to its establishment as the longest-running prime-time animated series on television, The Simpsons transformed the way both the audiences and television programmers view the animated sitcom. No error

(A) The word “as” can be used to introduce how something once was or how something once was thought to be.  That is the way this sentence uses “as,” so there is no error here.

(B) Start by checking that the correct “its” is used.  “Its” is possessive and matches the previous “its” that is not underlined, so it must be correct.  Notice that the sentence uses the idiomatic phrase “from x to y.”  Whenever you see this format, you should check to make sure that the words that replace the variables x and y are parallel.  “Its modest beginnings as…” matches the format of “its establishment as…,” so there is no error here.

(C) Whenever a verb is underlined, check to make sure that it matches the subject and that it is in the correct tense.  The show transformed (past tense) the way people view (present tense) the show.  The change in tense is okay here because the change had to take place in the past in order for you to see an effect of the change in the present.  There is no error here.

(D) When you see the word “both,” you should immediately look for the idiomatic format “both x and y.”  An “and” follows this “both,” but the x and y are not parallel.  Only one has an article: “the.”  “The audiences” does not match “television programmers” in format.  Eliminate the extra article, "the."

(E) This answer cannot be correct because you already marked an error.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 47% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject Verb Agreement

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Quickly check the underlined portions of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify and mark any error you find, but look at all of the choices before selecting your answer.

An abundant supply of milk from dairy farms nearby make the Bern region of Switzerland a leading producer of condensed milk and milk chocolate. No error

(A)  The word “an” is the correct article to use when the following word begins with a vowel.  There is no error here.

(B) The word “from” is the idiomatically correct preposition to explain the origin of something.  There is no error here.

(C) This is the first verb in the sentence.  Whenever a verb is underlined, check to make sure that it matches the subject.  Remember, the subject of the sentence cannot be part of a prepositional phrase such as “of milk” or “from dairy farms nearby.”  That leaves only one noun: “supply.”  Would you say “an abundant supply make?”  No!  “An abundant supply makes” is correct.  Mark this error and quickly check the remaining answer choices.

(D)  Check the article first.  “A” is correct because the sentence is talking about one specific place as a producer.  The word “leading” is a modifier that tells you that this place doesn’t just produce things, it produces them well and is among the best places to do so.  The modifier “leading” is as close as possible to the word it modifies, “producer,” so there is no error here.

(E) This choice cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 57% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject Verb Agreement

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Always read the entire sentence to yourself so that you understand its structure and meaning.  Listen for errors as you read the sentence, and then evaluate each underlined portion using the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  Identify any error that you find and mark it, but be sure to quickly check all of your choices.

Aside from Shakespeare, perhaps no writer in English have engaged the public’s imagination more thoroughly than Charles Dickens.  No error

(A)  This is an idiomatic phrase that means the same thing as “apart from” or “except for.”  The word “from” is the correct preposition to follow “aside.”  There is no error here.

(B)  The word “perhaps” adds a degree of uncertainty to the sentence.  Of course you could eliminate it, but that would change the meaning of the sentence.  There is no error here.

(C)  When you have a verb underlined, always check that it matches the subject.  Here the subject is separated from the verb by the prepositional phrase “in English.”  Ignore that phrase.  Would you say “no writer have engaged?”  No!  You must use the singular verb “has” instead of the plural verb “have” because “writer” is singular.  Mark this error and move on.

(D)  The word “more” is used when only two things or people are being compared.  Here a nonexistent, hypothetical writer (singular) is compared to Charles Dickens, so “more” is correct.  The word “thoroughly” is a modifier.  It ends in “-ly,” as adverbs should, and is placed as close as possible to the word it modifies.  The word “than” is used for comparisons; the word “then” is related to time and used for sequences.  There is no error here.

(E)  This cannot be the correct answer because you have already identified an error.

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 81% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject Verb Agreement

Link of the Day

Are you confused as to why you have to read things by old dead guys in school?  Here is an article that lets you know how reading quality literature can directly benefit you, even if you do not want to be a writer.  This research will work as a current event example for the SAT if your topic involves the mind or feelings, but it should also motivate you to prepare five literary examples before you take the SAT!

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself and then ask, “Are there any problems?”  Quickly check each of the underlined portions against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  When you think you have found an error, mark it and move on.  Make sure that you identify a grammatical error and not just another way to say the same thing.

Although the number of books written in African languages are growing, many African writers find a larger audience for works written in Portuguese or English. No error

(A) Does it make sense to talk about the number of books “written” in a particular language?  Yes!  Also, the word “in” is the idiomatically correct preposition to introduce what language a book is written “in.”  There is no error here.

(B) When you see a verb, check to see whether it agrees with the subject.  The subject is not “languages.”  The subject is “the number of books.”  The word “books” is plural, which is meant to distract you, from realizing that this particular construction is meant to be singular.  You would never say “the number are growing;” you would say “the number is growing.”  Remember, if you have a construction that talks about “a number” of things, you will always need a plural verb.  If you are talking about “the number of things,” you will always need a singular verb.  The article is important!  Mark this error and quickly look over the other answer choices.

(C) Check to make sure verb agrees with its subject: "writers find."  It does.  This verb is also in present tense, which makes sense in context. There is no error here.

(D)  Idiomatically, the preposition “for” works in this context.  The word “works” can also be used as a noun when you are talking about the works that someone has started or finished.  There is no error here.

(E) This cannot be the correct answer because you already found and marked an error.

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 43% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Idioms

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you find an error, mark it, but be sure to check all of the choices.

Long been isolated from the outside world and perched high in the Tibetan Himalayas, Lhasa is the capital of Tibet, an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. No error

(A) If the phrase “long been” sounds odd to you, you are on the right track.  The word “been” is unnecessary because it is followed by the alternative and better verb “isolated.”  Eliminate it.  Note: the word "been" requires some variation of the phrase "have been."  Mark this error and quickly check the other answer choices.

(B)  The preposition “from” is idiomatically correct to explain what something is isolated from or set apart from.  There is no error here.

(C)  It is idiomatically correct to use the phrase “high in the mountains,” so there is no error here.

(D) The correct article, "an," is used before a word beginning with a vowel.  That word is also singular (a single region).  The modifier “autonomous” is placed as close as possible to the word it modifies, “region.”  There is no error here.

(E) This cannot be the correct answer because you have already marked an error. 

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 73% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Idioms

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the whole sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each underlined portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  When you think you have identified an error, mark it and quickly check the other answer choices.

Except for the phonograph, the performances of great musicians and the voices of famous people would have been lost to historyNo error

(A) Did the sentence sound strange to you when you read it?  Paraphrase it in your mind.  The sentence should convey the meaning that if there was no phonograph, we would not know how past musicians sounded.  However, there is an inappropriate word choice.  In order for the meaning of this sentence to be clear, the words “except for” must be replaced with the word “without.”  Mark this error and quickly check the other underlined portions.

(B) The preposition “of” is idiomatically correct following the word “performances.”  In addition, the modifier “great” is placed close to the word it modifies, “musicians.”  There is no error here.

(C) Many students incorrectly write “would of been” when the idiomatically correct phrase is “would have been.”  This sentence does not include that error.  There is no error here.

(D)  The words “lost to history” clearly and concisely convey the idea that these sounds would only have occurred in the past if the phonograph did not allow us to continue to hear them in the present.  There is no error here.

(E) This choice cannot be correct because you already identified an error.

The correct answer is (A).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 53% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Pronouns

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then turn your focus to each underlined portion, using the Big 8 Grammar Rules to quickly check for errors.  If you think you have identified an error, mark it and quickly check the remaining choices.

Scientists researching artificial intelligence have turned its attention to the biology of the human brain and its billions of neurons to get inspiration for the next generation of computers. No error.

(A)  When an underlined portion of the sentence contains a word ending in “-ing,” always check to make sure that the “-ing” is necessary.  In this case, the words “researching artificial intelligence” are meant to describe which scientists the sentence concerns.  “Researching” is not the main verb in the sentence, and the “-ing” helps to show that.  There is no error here.

(B)  When a pronoun is underlined, make sure that you know what it refers to.  In this sentence, “its” seems to refer to the artificial intelligence, but that does not make sense.  It is the scientists who are paying attention to the brain and looking for inspiration.  Scientists are people, so the word “its” is an incorrect possessive pronoun.  The correct pronoun would be “their.”  Mark this error and quickly check your other options.

(C)  Here the possessive pronoun “its” refers to the human brain, so the antecedent matches the pronoun.  The word “of” is also the correct preposition to idiomatically express that there are “billions of” something.  There is no error.

(D)  The word “next” modifies “generation” and lets you know which generation the sentence is concerned about.  The modifying word is placed as close as possible to the word that it modifies, so there is no error here.

(E)  This cannot be the answer because you have already identified an error. 

The correct answer is (B).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 72% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject Verb Agreement

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each of the underlined portions against the Big 8 Grammar Rules. 

The Sundance Film Festival, which is located in Park City, Utah, and was founded by actor and director Robert Redford, have introduced audiences to some of the most acclaimed and popular independent films of the last thirty years. No error.

(A)  This underlined portion tests whether you know the difference between “which” and “that.”  The word “which” must come after a comma because the following information is not essential to the sentence.  The word “that” needs no comma because the following information is vital to the sentence.  This sentence requires the word “which.”  Also, notice that the festival is singular so the verb “is” is correct.  There is no error here.

(B)   Whenever you see a tense change, make sure that it is necessary.  This sentence changes from “is located” to “was founded.”  It does not make sense to say “is founded” because a festival can only be founded once; it is not an ongoing process but an event that happened in the past.  The change is correct.  There is no error here.

(C)  This underlined portion says “have introduced.”  Whenever you have a verb separated from its subject, be especially careful to make sure that the subject and verb match.  You already noted that the film festival is singular, so would it make sense to write, “the festival have introduced?”  No.  You need the word “has.”  Mark this error and quickly look at your other choices.

(D)  The word “most” modifies the word “acclaimed” and is placed as close as possible to the word it modifies.  Notice that the word “most” is appropriate rather than the word “more” because this sentence is comparing all of the films of the last thirty years.  One thing is “more acclaimed” than another if you are comparing only two things.  There is no error here.

(E)  This cannot be the answer because you already found an error.

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 67% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Subject-Verb Agreement

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then go back and quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.

Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño, who spent much of his life in Mexico and Spain, first achieved international recognition with his novel The Savage Detectives, a story of writers in early 1970s Mexico City who embark on a road trip into the Sonora Desert in search of a vanished poet. No error.

(A) The subject of this sentence is a person, so you must use “who” rather than “that” to describe him.  There is no confusion about who the “who” refers to.  The verb “spent” is also in past tense, which is the correct tense for writing about a person’s past.  There is no error here.

(B) This underlined portion comes after a relative clause, the part of the sentence between two commas.  Ignore that clause and make sure that the sentence still flows naturally.  Now the sentence reads:  Roberto Bolano first achieved international recognition with his novel.  The word “first” modifies “achieved” and is placed as close to it as possible.  The word “achieved” is in past tense because this accomplishment must have occurred in the past in order for it to be written about in this sentence.  There is no error here.

(C) This underlined portion tests your knowledge of idioms.  When a storBottom of Formy is about something, it is correct to say “a story about” or “a story of.”  The two options are interchangeable.  There is no error here.

(D)  The words “in search of” convey the same meaning as the words “to search for” without repeating the “to” from “into.”  There is no error here.

(E)  Having examined each underlined portion of the sentence, you can be sure that this answer is the right choice.  Remember, you are looking for errors, not possible ways to change or revise the sentence.  This sentence has no error.

The correct answer is (E).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 52% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Idioms

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Read the entire sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined portion against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.

The jury awarded first prize in the architectural competition to a firm known not only for itsinnovative design and also for its environmentally friendly building practices. No error.

(A) When a verb is underlined, check to make sure that it matches the subject of the sentence.   The phrase “jury awarded” has no error.

(B) Someone or something can be “known for” a specific trait or traits.  A “for” follows the underlined “known,” so there is no error here.

(C) Check any pronoun to make sure that it matches its antecedent.  “It” refers to the “firm” stated in the sentence.  Now check to make sure that you need “its” rather than “it’s.”  “It’s” means “it is,” which does not make sense in context.  The possessive “its” is needed here, so there is no error.

(D) The “and” links two things, but it does not express the full meaning that is necessary for this sentence.  Anytime you have the phrase “not only” it must be followed by the word “but.”  This fact is listed on your Knowsys Frequently-Tested Idioms chart.  For example, I will order not only this but also that.  Mark this error.

(E) This answer choice cannot be correct because you already marked an error.

The correct answer is (D).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 75% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Parallelism

Link of the Day

Pina Bausch is the subject of today’s SAT question.  If you enjoy dance or other forms of performance, you may want to consider using Pina Bausch as one of your historical figures for your SAT essay.  She would relate to any questions about creativity, originality, planning, highly accomplished people, and reasons for change.  Check out some information about this choreographer here.

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E. 

Always read the entire sentence to yourself so that you can check the meaning and structure of the sentence as a whole.  Listen for errors as you read it.  Then, quickly check each of the underlined portions of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules. 

The German choreographer Pina Bausch created dances that incorporated everyday human gestures and alternating between highly stylized, precise movements and more flowing, expressive ones. No error.

(A) When a verb is underlined, always check to make sure that it agrees with its subject.  This one does.  You could use “Pina Bausch created dances” as a complete sentence.  There is no error here.

(B) When do you use the word “that” and when do you use the word “which?”  Use the word “that” when the following words are vital to the meaning of the sentence.  The word “which” must have a comma before it, but there is no comma in this portion of the sentence, so the word “that” is correct.  Also, the word “incorporated” is past tense, matching the previous word, “created.”  There is no error here.

(C) This word follows a conjunction, “and,” so check the sentence for parallelism.  Pina Bausch’s dances incorporated one thing and alternating between two others.  Does that make sense?  No.  The word “alternating” must be changed to “alternated” in order to be parallel with the word “incorporated.”  Mark this error and quickly check the remaining choices.

(D) When you see a modifier that makes a comparison, such as the word “more,” make sure that the correct number of things are being compared.  In this case there are two things involved, precise movements and more flowing movements, so you need the word more rather than the word most.  The modifier more is also placed as close as possible to the word it modifies, “flowing,” just as it should be.  There is no error here.

(E) This cannot be the answer because you already marked an error.

The correct answer is (C).


On sat.collegeboard.org, 69% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Pronouns

Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E.

Read the whole sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  Then check each portion of the sentence against the Big 8 Grammar Rules.  If you think that you have found an error, mark it and quickly check the remaining underlined portions of the sentence.

Most states have various levels of football competition in their high schools so that schools with similar numbers of students compete only against themNo error

(A)  Check for subject and verb agreement.  The word “states” is plural, so you need the word “have” and not the word “has.”  There is no error here.

(B)  The word “their” is actually a possessive pronoun.  Where is the antecedent; what does it refer back to?  It refers to the states, and it is plural just like the word “states.”  If you tried to insert the word “its” in here, you would be introducing an error because “its” is singular.  There is no error here.

(C)  The word “similar” modifies the word “numbers.”  The modifier is placed as close as possible to the word it is modifying, so there is no error here.

(D)  Once again, you have a pronoun.  What does the word “them” refer back to?  By now it could refer to a number of nouns, “states,” “high schools” or “schools.”  Pronouns should only refer to one antecedent.  More than one antecedent will make the sentence impossible to interpret.  The word “them” must be changed to “one another” or “each other.” Mark this error.

(E)  This answer choice cannot be correct because you already identified an error.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 57% of the responses were correct.

For more help with SAT writing, visit www.myknowsys.com!