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Idioms

Link of the Day

Michelangelo Buonarroti was born on March 6th 1475. He was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer. His skill and versatility in all of his undertakings make him an excellent example of a "Renaissance Man." You can learn more about Michelangelo here.

6/28 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.

When you are working on an Identifying Sentence Errors question, read the sentence and focus on anything that stands out and sounds wrong or strange. Then determine whether that part of the sentence actually has an error. Always double-check the other sections of the sentence to verify that they are correct as they are written.
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

As you are reading this sentence carefully, (A) should stand out. (A) is an idiomatic error. The correct way to word the sentence is "Between 1508 and 1512 . . .  ." Even if you have already spotted an error, it's important to double check the remaining sections to make sure that they are error free. (B) might seem a little out of place at first, but if you notice that it is part of a phrase between 2 commas (it is a phrase that is not essential to the meaning of the sentence), then it makes grammatical sense. (C) and (D) are also error-free. Since you have already identified an error, (E) cannot be the correct answer.

The correct answer choice is (A)

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

Want more help with grammar? Visit myknowsys.com

Modifiers

Link of the Day

American artist Willem de Kooning was born in 1904 in the Netherlands. He was famous for blending elements of Cubism, Surrealism, and Expressionism. Although his paintings often seem to express anger and strong emotion, he is considered to have been one of the most technically skilled artists of the New York School. Learn more about de Kooning here and see some of his paintings here.

 

6/19 Improving Sentences

Part or all of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the other alternatives, select choice A.

 

When you are working on an "Improving Sentences" problem, it is always a good idea to carefully read the sentence as it is and look for an error. If possible, always try to predict a way to fix the sentence. Even though your prediction may not match the correct answer (there are often several different ways to fix an error), it will help you to identify the key grammatical principles that are being tested.

 

Combining both figurative and abstract elements in his paintings, such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Deibenkorn were greatly influenced by American artist Willem de Kooning, a key figure in the post-war Abstract Expressionist movement.


 

You probably notice that as the sentence stands, it's a little difficult to read. Take a moment to carefully reread the sentence and analyze what it is actually saying. You should now notice that the sentence is trying to tell you that a painter named "Willem de Kooning" is famous for "Combining both figurative and abstract elements in his paintings." Since he was a "key figure in the post-war Abstract Expressionist movement", he influenced other painters ("Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn"). Right now, however, that isn't clear. The modifier "combining both figurative and abstract elements in his paintings," is followed by "such painters as Franze Kline . . ." Notice that as it stands, the sentence appears to be saying that it was "such painters as Franze Kline . . ." who combined figurative and abstract elements. Remember that, as a rule, modifiers should be placed as close as possible to the thing that they modify. In other words, you can predict that the correct answer will look more like this. "Combining both figurative and . . . , Willem de Kooning greatly influenced . . . " Now look at the answer choices:

 

(A) such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn were greatly influenced by American artist Willem de Kooning, a key figure in the post war Abstract Expressionist movement

(B) a key figure in the post-war Abstract Expresionist movement who greatly influenced such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn was American artist Willem de Kooning

(C) American artist Willem de Kooning became a key figure in the post-war Abstract Expressionist movement and greatly influenced such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn

(D) Willem de Kooning, an American artist who became a key figure in the post-war Abstract Expressionist movement and greatly influenced such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn

(E) and a key figure in the post-war Abstract Expressionist movement, Willem de Kooning greatly influenced such painters as Franze Kline and Richard Diebenkorn as an American artist

 

As always, you do not need to read or evaluate (A) because it is identical to the original sentence. (B) still has the same problem: the modifier is placed too far away from the thing that it modifies. (C) matches our prediction well. Now the modifier is followed immediately by "American artist Willem de Kooning." (D) also has the modified element in the correct location. However, if you read it carefully, you will notice that if you substitute (D) into the sentence, you do not have a complete sentence. (E) again has the modifier placed too far away from the thing it modifies. 

 

The correct answer choice is (C)

 

On sat.collegeboard.com 66% of the responses were correct.

 

For more help with grammar, visit www.myknowsys.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Participles

Link of the Day

Frida Kahlo is famous for her self-portraits and for her ability to blend surrealism with elements of her traditional Mexican culture. This site has a short biography and images of all her works. Look through them and consider how they make you feel. Some are sad, some simple, some downright creepy. Pick a few favorites and memorize the details around them--the date they were composed, the subject matter, the color scheme, and Kahlo's situation when she created the paintings--and you can use them as Excellent Examples that will really make your essay stand out. 

4/20 Improving Sentences

Part or all of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A.

Always take the time to read carefully and make a prediction before looking at the answer choices. You should also avoid looking at choice A since it is the same as the original sentence.

Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo drew inspiration from her Mexican heritage, where she incorporated native and religious symbols into her work.

The word "where" does not fit in this sentence because heritage is not a location. Obviously, Kahlo incorporated symbols of her heritage into her work, so some form of the word "incorporated" is still needed in the sentence. You might want to use "incorporated" as your prediction, but check the sentence:

Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo drew inspiration from her Mexican heritage, incorporated native and religious symbols into her work.

The word "incorporated" alone does not work. It is a verb, but the sentence does not provide a subject. What you need is something that looks like a verb, but doesn't act like one. For example, the participle "incorporating." Now that you have a prediction, look at the answer choices.



A) where she incorporated

B) in which she incorporated

C) incorporated

D) incorporating

E) therefore, she incorporated

Eliminate A and C immediately, since you have already ruled them out. D matches your prediction, but there is always a chance that your prediction was not the best possible version of the sentence, so check B and E.

B) "in which she incorporated" is very similar to the original "where she incorporated" because "in which" still indicates that she is somehow incorporating things inside of her heritage. That does not make sense! Eliminate B.

E) "therefore, she incorporated" makes sense, but the punctuation is wrong. "She incorporated" begins a sentence that could stand on its own, and the sentence up to the word "heritage" could similarly stand on its own. Between two complete sentences, you can never have just a comma. You could have a period, a semicolon, or a comma and a conjunction, but since "therefore" is not a conjunction, eliminate E.

The answer is D.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 60% of responses were correct.


For more help with grammar, visit www.myknowsys.com!

Sentence Completions

Before I start on today's SAT question, I want to take a moment to start a new tradition. The SAT Question of the Day helps to prepare you for multiple choice questions and, to some extent, the grid-ins, but it does not prepare you for the essay. I will attempt to post a link here each day to give you some background on the question of the day and to provide some examples you can memorize to use in your essay.

Link of the Day: 

http://www.diegorivera.com/
Click on "Gallery" or "Murals" to see some of Diego Rivera's artwork.

3/20 Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted into the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

The instructions for the Sentence Completions sections on the real SAT are longer, but they don't actually say anything more than this. Memorize these instructions, and you can save time on the SAT by not reading their directions! In addition, always remember to use the Knowsys Method and predict every answer.

Despite their ------ proportions, the murals of Diego Rivera give his Mexican compatriots the sense that their history is ------ and human in scale, not remote and larger than life. 

The final phrase, "not remote and larger than life," suggests that the second blank will have a word meaning either "small" or "close." Take a look at the answer choices to narrow down your options.

A) monumental... accessible

B) focused... prolonged

C) vast... ancient

D) realistic... extraneous

E) narrow... overwhelming. 

Only accessible means "close." Look at the first blank to double-check. Murals are large, so you could use "large" as your prediction in the first blank. Fortunately, "large" is exactly what monumental means. The answer is A.

Despite their monumental proportions, the murals of Diego Rivera give his Mexican compatriots the sense that their history is accessible and human in scale, not remote and larger than life.

Words tested in this SC:
monumental: large, grand, and imposing
accessible: easy to approach, reach, enter, or use
focused: concentrated
prolonged: lengthy in duration, extended
vast: very large or wide
ancient: of or in a time long past
realistic: expressed or represented as accurate
extraneous: not essential; extra
narrow: slim, slender; restrictive "a narrow interpretation"
overwhelming: overpowering, staggering; very great or intense.


On sat.collegeboard.org, 64% of responses were correct.


Need to build your SAT Vocab?  Visit www.myknowsys.com to check out the Knowsys Vocabulary Builder Program.