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SAT Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

Identifying Sentence Errors

Read the sentence and select the portion of the sentence that contains an error.  If there is no error, select E.

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Knowsys Method

Read the sentence carefully, listening for errors. If you do not find the error immediately, then check the underlined portion against the Big 8. 

A. Chances are, the phrase "almost all of the board members" does not strike you as incorrect.  "Almost" is an adverb, and it modifies "all," which in this case is functioning as an adjective.  This is not the error, so eliminate this choice.

B. Whenever you see a verb underlined, check to make sure that it agrees with its subject and with the tense of the sentence.  The verb "agreed" agrees with the subject "board members," and it is in past tense like the rest of the sentence.  This is not an error, so eliminate this choice.

C. Here's another verb, so check to make sure that it agrees with its subject and with the tense of the sentence. The verb "was" agrees with the noun "John Smith," and it is in past tense like the rest of the sentence.  This is not an error, so you can eliminate this choice.

D.  The clause "John Smith was the more qualified" probably sounds strange to you, but it is grammatically correct!  When you are comparing two items, people, etc., the correct word is "more."  When you are comparing three items, people, etc., the correct word is "most."  If you rearrange the sentence, the use of "more" might sound a little more natural.  "Almost all of the board members agreed that John Smith was the more qualified of the two job candidates they had interviewed."  This is not an error, so eliminate this choice.

E.  We did not find an error, so the answer must be E, no error.

The correct answer is E.

This is a hard level problem

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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 drought had a much more profound economic impact on farmers than the people who complained about the skyrocketing prices of fresh produce in grocery stores.

A.  the people who complained
B.  on the people who complained
C.  the people who were complaining
D.  it did on people who are complaining
E.  on complaints from the people

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 rule tested here is comparisons.  One important thing to note about comparisons is that they must be parallel.  So in this sentence, if the drought has an impact “ON farmers,” it must also have an impact “ON the people” who complain about increasing prices.   Thus, you should automatically eliminate all answers that do not say “on the people.”  That leaves only B and D for us to consider.  (Note: E begins with “on,” but we are comparing farmers with people, not complaints.)  

B.  This choice fixes the problem in the original sentence.  The drought has an effect “ON farmers” and “ON the people.”  Keep this choice and check the other.

D.  This choice starts out fine.  The “drought had a stronger impact on farmers than … it did on the people.”  However, the verb tense is now wrong.  “Are complaining” should be “complained” because this action happened in the past.  Eliminate this choice.
 
The correct answer is B.
This is a medium-level problem.

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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 Honeycrisp apple, developed by horticultural scientists at the University of Minnesota, is often described as one of the sweetest apple varieties as well as one of the most crisp of them.

A.  one of the sweetest apple varieties as well as one of the most crisp of them 

B.   not only one of the sweetest apple varieties, but also more crisp than others

C.   one of the sweetest and most crisp apple varieties

D.   at once one of the sweetest and also most crisp apple varieties

E.   one of the sweetest and it is also one of the most crisp apple varieties

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 comparisons.  Read the sentence carefully.  It sounds fine until you get to "as well as," and then the rest of the sentence sounds awkward and repetitive.  Note this problem and then look through the answer choices.

A.  This choice matches the original sentence, in which you found an error.  Eliminate it. 

B.  This answer choice changes the meaning of the end of the sentence.  In the original sentence, Honeycrisp apples are one of the most crisp apple varieties, but in this choice, they are only more crisp than others.  Eliminate this choice. 

C.  This answer choice fixes the problem that you found by eliminating the unnecessary wordiness at the end of the sentence. The two parts of the comparison, "sweetest" and "most crisp," are also appropriately parallel.  Keep this choice and check the last two. 

D.  This choice cuts down on the wordiness of the original sentence, but it still includes unnecessary words ("at once," "also").  Eliminate it. 

E.  This answer introduces a new subject and verb that are not necessary.  Eliminate it. 

The correct answer is (C).

This is an easy level question.

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