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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.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 4.29.30 PM.jpg

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

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.

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.24.26 AM.jpg

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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