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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.  Anytime you see the pronoun "I" after a preposition (between), think:  preposition + me.  The correct answer will never be "preposition + I" since prepositions require objective case pronouns.  "I" is a subject pronoun since it can be the subject of the sentence.  "Me" is the objective case pronoun.  Quickly check the other choices before marking A.  

B. Anytime you see a verb underlined, check to make sure that it agrees with its subject.  In this case, the subject is "differences" and the verb is "are."  This agrees.  One of the common tricks on the SAT is to separate the subject "differences" from the verb "are" by an intervening prepositional phrase that might confuse you about the actual subject of the sentence.  Always remember that prepositional phrases NEVER control the verb.  Choice B is correct.  Eliminate this choice.

C. The semi-colon is underlined.  Verify that this is the correct sentence structure.  A semi-colon is used to introduce an explanatory statement, in this case the description of the personality differences.  Choice C is correct.  Eliminate it.

D. Here, the issue is also sentence structure.  Should this be a comma or something else?  The comma is correct because it separates two independent and equal clauses (just as "and" does).  This choice is not an error.  Eliminate this choice. 

E.  We found the error in A.   

The correct answer is A.

Level = Medium

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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. "Neither" must always be paired with "nor."  This choice is not an error, so eliminate it.  

B. Anytime you see a verb underlined, check to make sure that it agrees with its subject.  Nouns used with either/or or neither/not are called "compound pairs."  In compound pairs, the subject always agrees with the second subject in the pair.  The verb "know" agrees with "I," so this is not an error.  Eliminate this choice.

C. When you see "which" underlined, you should ask yourself whether it should be "that" instead.  The word "which" must always be preceded by a comma, and since the comma in this sentence cannot be eliminated, "which" must be correct. Eliminate this choice.

D. This choice tests parallelism.  Both verbs ("making" and "giving") must match with each other.  They do match, so this choice is not an error.  Eliminate this choice. 

E.  There is no error in the sentence, so E is correct. 

The correct answer is E.

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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. The phrase "straining to reach" is idiomatically correct.  If this phrase looks strange to you, add it to your idioms list and read it over until it sounds right to you.  Eliminate this choice.

B. Whenever you see a reflexive pronoun (myself, yourself, herself, himself, themselves, ourselves) underlined, check to see whether that reflexive pronoun refers back to an antecedent that is already stated in the sentence.  In this case, "herself" clearly refers back to "the woman," so this usage is correct.  Eliminate this choice.

C. This choice may look right at first glance, but "was" should be "were."  If you are writing about something that you wish were true or that could be true but is not true, you should use "were."  For instance, you would say, "If I were a bird, I would fly away."  You are not a bird, have never been, and will never be, so the correct word is "were."  This choice is an error, but you should check choice D just to be sure. 

D. "Taller" is the comparative form of the adjective "tall."  The comparative form is used when you are comparing two things ("Of the two dogs, this one is cuter").  The superlative form is used when you are comparing three things ("Out of all these dogs, this one is the cutest").  The sentence is comparing two things: the way the woman is and the way she wishes she could be.  This choice is not an error. 

E.  We found an error in choice C, so E cannot be correct.

The correct answer is C.

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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(s) against the Big 8 grammar concepts.

A.  When you see a verb underlined, check to see whether it agrees with its subject and whether it is in the correct tense.  The verb "began" agrees with "competition," and it matches up with the past tense in the sentence.  This is not the error.

B.  There are many pronoun rules that are tested on the SAT, but only one applies to "I."  When you see "I" underlined in an SAT grammar question, check to see whether that pronoun should be in the objective case or subjective case.  If the pronoun follows a preposition (about, between, by, down, etc.), that pronoun should be objective (me, you, us, him/her, them).  If the pronoun follows a "being" verb like am, is, are was, etc., that pronoun should be subjective (I, you, we, he/she, they).  In this case, the pronoun follows the preposition "between," so it should be in objective case ("between my brother and me").  We have found an error, but let's review the rest of the choices to be sure.

C.  Check to make sure that this verb agrees with its subject and the tense of the sentence.  The verb "suggested" agrees with the noun "mother," and it matches up with the past tense of the sentence.  This is not an error.

D.  When you see a pronoun like who, whom, whoever, or whomever underlined, check to see whether the pronoun should be in objective case (whom, whomever) or subjective case (who, whoever).  Use objective case after a preposition, and use subjective case before a verb.  A good rule of thumb is to use "who" when you can substitute "he" and "whom" when you can substitute "him."  In this choice, we need to take that rule one step further because the pronoun applies to more than one person.  Split up the statement into two parts, like so:  "Give twenty dollars to him.  He collected the most seashells."  After you have done that, follow this rule: him + he = whoever; him + him = whomever.  In this case, whoever is correct.  This is not an error.

E.  We already found an error, so E is not correct.

The correct answer is B.

This is a medium level problem.

For more information about who/whom, click here.

For more information about whoever/whomever, click here.

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SAT Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

Identifying Sentence Errors

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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(s) against the Big 8 grammar concepts.    

A.  At first glance, this portion of the sentence looks fine.  Once you read past the comma, however, a problem becomes apparent.  The verb of the sentence must be “was established” because this part of the sentence is not underlined and therefore cannot be changed.   As the sentence stands, it is a run-on because the two verbs, “is” and “was established,” are not separated with a coordinating conjunction like “and” or “but.”  Given the placement of the underlined portions, the only way to fix this problem is to delete “is” and add a comma in its place.  Then the sentence will read “Head Start, a program that offers services to pre-school-aged children in low-income families in the United States, was established …”  Re-worked in that way, the sentence would not be a run-on anymore.  Even though we found an error in choice A, we should still review the rest of the choices just in case.  

B.  The phrase “offer to” is idiomatically correct and is part of the Knowsys idioms lists.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  To say that the children in the sentence are “from low-income families” is idiomatically correct (as opposed to “of low-income families” or “out of low-income families” or something of the like, which would be incorrect).  Eliminate this choice.  

D.  The phrase “established by” is idiomatically correct.  Programs are “established by” people or organizations; programs are not “established of” or “established about” people or organizations.  Eliminate this choice.  

E.  We found an error in choice A, so E cannot be correct.

The correct answer is A.

This is a hard level problem.

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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 portions against the Big 8 grammar concepts.

A.  Whenever you see a preposition underlined, determine whether its usage is idiomatic.  The phrase “anywhere from x to y,” as in “the cost may be anywhere from $5 to $20” or “children grow anywhere from a couple of centimeters to a few inches a year,” is a common idiomatic expression.  Choice A is not the error in the sentence.

B.  This choice constitutes the second part of the idiomatic expression “anywhere from x to y.”  Choice B is not the error in the sentence.  

C.  Once you hit this part of the sentence, you will probably sense that something sounds wrong.  What did Rockwell spend weeks or months doing?  Painting.  There should be no “and” before “painting” because Rockwell spent time painting, he did not spend time and paint.  This is most likely the error in the sentence, but check the remaining choice to be sure.

D.  If you see an adverb underlined on an SAT grammar question, be sure that it clearly modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb.  The adverb “meticulously” modifies “painting” because it tells you how Rockwell painted.  Choice D does not contain an error.  

E.  Since you found an error, E cannot be the answer.

The correct answer is C.

This is a medium level problem.

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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 portions against the Big 8 grammar concepts.

A.  When you see a verb underlined, check to see whether it agrees with its subject.  In this case, the verb “gave” agrees with its subject, “orientation.”  Eliminate this choice.

B.  The phrase “chance + to + verb” is idiomatically correct.  You would say “I had the chance to win a prize,” not “I had the chance winning a prize,” or “I had the chance win a prize.”  Eliminate this choice.  

C.  You might notice once you reach this point in the sentence that a list has begun.  The freshmen have the chance “to tour” campus, and they also have the chance “to learn” about school rules.  Verbs in a list should be parallel, as these two are.  This is not the error, so eliminate this choice.  

D.  The first two items in the list are “to tour” and “to learn,” so the last item should be “to meet,” not “they met.”  This choice is not parallel, so it must be the error in the sentence.

E.  The sentence includes an error, so E cannot be correct.  

The correct answer is D.

This is a medium level problem.

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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 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(s) against the Big 8 grammar concepts.

This problem is difficult because the original sentence is complex, but if you focus on the underlined portions, it is not that difficult to spot the error.  

A.  Chances are, nothing strikes you as incorrect about this choice.  Places are often referred to as “the town of (name)” or “the city of (name).”  This underlined portion sounds fine because it is idiomatically correct; that is, this expression is always said in this way.  Eliminate this choice.

B.  “Once known as” is an idiomatically correct expression.  If this expression sounds wrong to you, add it to your idiom flashcards and review it until it sounds right.  Eliminate this choice.   

C.  “In an effort to + verb” is not on the Knowsys list of frequently tested idioms, but it is a common idiomatic expression.  If you are not familiar with this expression, add it to your idioms flashcards.  Eliminate this choice.  

D.  This choice includes a pronoun, so you should ask yourself, “does this pronoun refer back to a clear antecedent?”  In this case, the antecedent for “their” is unclear.  Who are the people to whom this word refers?  This is the error in the sentence.

E.  You have found an error, which means that E cannot be correct.

The correct answer is D.
This is a hard level problem.

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SAT Writing: Identifying Sentence Errors

Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the choice that results in the best sentence – the sentence that follows the requirements of standard written English and communicates effectively.

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Knowsys Method

Read the sentence carefully, listening for errors. If you do not “hear” the error immediately, then quickly check each of the underlined portions against the Big 8 grammar concepts.

A. This choice contains a prepositional phrase, which is a type of modifier.  According to Knowsys rules, when you see a modifier you should ask yourself:  “is the modifier clear, effective, and logical?”  This modifier clearly refers to the “skyscraper,” and it makes logical sense.  Eliminate this choice.  

B. The concept tested in this choice is idioms.  When you see a prepositional idiom underlined ask yourself, “is the expression or word choice correct?”  It is idiomatically correct to say that something is located “across the street from” something else.  Eliminate this choice.  

C.   This choice contains an adverb.  Knowsys rules stipulate that you should know what adverbs look like and how they function.  Many adverbs end in “ly,” and they modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs.  This adverb is used correctly because it modifies the adverbial prepositional phrase “beside [the public square].”  Eliminate this choice.  

D.  Whenever you see a verb underlined, ask yourself whether it agrees with the subject of the sentence.  The subject in this sentence is a simple compound subject (two or more words linked with “and”).  The two parts of the subject are “the modern skyscraper” and “the massive glass aquarium.”  Simple compound subjects take a plural verb, so the singular verb “was” is incorrect.  Mark this error.  

E. You have already found an error, so E cannot be your choice.

The correct answer is (D).
This is a hard level question.

 

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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 an error.  If there is no error, select E. 

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Knowsys Method

Read the sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then quickly check the underlined portions against the Big 8 grammar concepts.  Mark the error when you find it, and quickly check any remaining choices.

What makes this question difficult is that the original sentence is complex and hard to understand.  Before you consider any errors, read through this sentence a couple of times to get a feel for how it is structured.  Once you have gotten past the convoluted nature of the sentence itself, the error should be easy to spot.  

A.  This underlined portion contains a verb, “has been raising.”  Always check to make sure verbs are in the correct tense and that they agree with the subject.  This particular verb is singular, so it agrees with the subject “the Miller Group.”  The verb is in the present perfect tense, which works because the action began in the past and continues into the present.  Eliminate this choice.

B.  It is idiomatically correct to say that something has been happening “since” some year in the past.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  There is nothing wrong with this choice at first glance.  “Annually” is an adverb that tells you when the organization donates money to schools.  It is not until you read to the end of the sentence that you realize what is wrong with choice C.  “Each year” means the same thing as “annually,” so “annually” is redundant and should be eliminated.  Keep this choice and quickly check the remaining options.

D.  It is idiomatically correct to say that money is donated “to” a group.  Eliminate this choice.  

E. You have already found an error, so E cannot be your choice.

The correct answer is (C).

This is a hard level question.

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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 an error.  If there is no error, select E.

The Knowsys Method

Read the entire sentence carefully, listening for errors.  Then quickly check each underlined part against the Big 8 Grammar Rules. 

The grammar rule that is tested here is parallelism.  Start by looking at the first underlined portion of the sentence.

A.  The phrase "performers in the" may raise a red flag for you.  "Performers in (group)" is much more common than "performers of (group)," and there is nothing grammatically wrong with this phrase.  There is no error here. 

B. Check this verb to see whether it agrees with the noun of the sentence.  The noun (performers) is plural, and the verb (have) is plural as well.  There is no error here.

C. Any time you see the word "being" underlined in an Identifying Sentence Errors question, you have probably found the error.  Does this phrase match up with the other item in this list?  No.  "Immortal words" is an adjective plus a noun, and "being a skilled actor" is a verb plus a noun.  "Being a skilled actor" should be changed to "skilled acting" to create the proper parallel structure.  This is an error!

D.  "To create" is grammatically correct.  Two things can come together to create something else.  There is no error here. 

E.  You know this cannot be the answer because you already marked an error.

 

The correct answer is (D).

This is a medium level question. 

 

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