SAT Writing : Correcting Grammatical Errors in a Full Sentence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Grammatical Errors In A Full Sentence

[1] Modern ice hockey was developed in Canada during the 19th century. [2] Two students from McGill University came up with the first rules. [3] A couple of years later, the sport made its way to the United States. [4] The game became a part of the Olympics in 1924.

[5] I first learned about hockey during the sixth grade. [6] When I watched my first game on the television. [7] After that first game, I begged my parents to let me play. [8] They agreed, I started playing on my first team later that year.

[9] For the first year, I was not very good. [10] I could barely skate! [11] However, after hours and years of practicing, I finally made it on to my high school varsity team. [12] Ice hockey was first played in the United States by universities. [13] Now, as I start applying to colleges, I hope to be able to play for my college. [14] I want to continue playing to achieve my dream of playing for the United States Olympic team.

Which of the following is the best revision to Sentence 8, which is reproduced below?

"They agreed, I started playing on my first team later that year."

Possible Answers:

They agreed; I started playing on my first team later that year.

They agreed, but I started playing on my first team later that year.

They agreed, I started playing on my very first team later that year.

They agreeing to my playing on a team later that year.

They agreed. I started playing on my first team in the latter half of that year.

Correct answer:

They agreed; I started playing on my first team later that year.

Explanation:

Sentence 8 is a run-on suffering from a comma splice. This is a type of error in which two independent clauses (clauses that can stand by themselves as complete sentences) are combined using a comma. Two independent clauses can be combined into a compound sentence by using a comma followed by a conjunction to connect them or by using a semicolon to connect them. The correct answer fixes the run-on sentence by using a semicolon to connect the two independent clauses without introducing any new errors.

Example Question #205 : Sat Writing

[1] American architecture has many distinctive styles and signature elements. [2] While perhaps newer than its counterparts, Southwestern architecture draws on Spanish and Native American influences that are hundreds or thousands of years old. [3] These influences can be seen in the use of native building materials such as adobe and pine timber, both easily found in the Southwest, and in the use of a central plaza or veranda. [4] Traditional building elements include walls with rounded corners, exposed timber beams, flat roofs, and a simple, uncluttered aesthetic. [5] Some houses are built around a central courtyard; while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

[6] Pueblo Revival buildings are dignified by their vigas, which are roof beams that extend beyond the outer edge of walls. [7] Recessed windows and doorways with arched tops are also very common in this style of architecture. [8] Some famous examples of Pueblo Revival buildings include the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Painted Desert Inn, and various edifices at the University of New Mexico in Santa Fe.

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Possible Answers:

Some houses are built around a central courtyard. While others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Some houses are built around a central courtyard—while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Some houses are built around a central courtyard, while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Some houses are built around a central courtyard; while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Some houses are built around a central courtyard while others, open onto a patio, flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Correct answer:

Some houses are built around a central courtyard, while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork. 

Explanation:

Sentence 5 incorrectly uses a semicolon to separate two clauses that should instead be set off by a comma. The correct version of the sentence is: “Some houses are built around a central courtyard, while others open onto a patio flanked by ornate grillwork.”

Example Question #1 : Correcting Grammatical Errors In A Full Sentence

[1] The contemporary feminist movement had its origins more than two thousand years ago. [2] Because many people don’t realize it, some of the first feminists were men. [3] Early feminists such as Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were most concerned in achieving education and legal recognition such as property and voting rights. [4] Other early feminists avidly rejected society’s narrow domestic vision for women. [5] These feminists ranged from Jane Austen to George Eliot.

[6] Still other feminists were concerned with obtaining equal educational and employment opportunities for women. [7] In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger, in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft. [8] During the twentieth century, issues such as reproductive rights, pay equality, and protection against sexual harassment would arise. [9] Recently, men’s rights activists have been opposing the work of contemporary feminists, claiming that the movement seeks to divest men of power and oppress them for the benefit of women. [10] Thanks largely to the efforts of these courageous early feminists, women today enjoy more equal rights than at any other time in Western history.

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Possible Answers:

In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger; in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.

In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale Clara Barton and Margaret Sanger, in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.

In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger; in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger, in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.

In the field of medicine—there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger—in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Correct answer:

In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger; in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.

Explanation:

Sentence 7 contains two independent clauses incorrectly separated by a comma. This is known as a "comma splice." Correctly punctuated, the sentence would read: “In the field of medicine, there was Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, and Margaret Sanger; in the field of education there was Virginia Woolf and Mary Wollstonecraft.”

Example Question #207 : Sat Writing

1 Although vegetarianism is sometimes considered a recent phenomenon, the practice actually has roots in both ancient India and ancient Greece. 2 In Greece, being vegetarian was a way to abstain from eating ‘beings with souls,’ and vegetarianism was primarily practiced by small religious sects or certain philosophical thinkers. 3 Ancient Indian vegetarianism may have been more widespread, as it was mandatory for many Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. 4 Buddhist scholars argue whether Gautama Buddha ever ate meat. 5 Obviously, vegetarianism is a constantly evolution practice that has changed considerably over the past several thousand years.

6 During the Middle Ages, vegetarianism remained largely outside the cultural milieu in Europe. 7 Certain aseptic religious sects may have avoided eating meat, but the practice didn’t truly gain ground in Western Europe until the Age of Enlightenment. 8 During and before that time, many people still argued that animals existed only for the benefit of humankind. 9 They were opposed by other people who thought that that was an anthropocentric viewpoint.

10 Over time, vegetarianism gradually gained diction with influential thinkers and by the twentieth century, organizations such as the International Vegetarian Union, the North American Vegetarian Society, and the Animal Aid were appearing. 11 What new form will vegetarianism take in the future?

Which of the following sentences contains a comma error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 6

Sentence 10

Sentence 2

Sentence 4

Sentence 8

Correct answer:

Sentence 10

Explanation:

Sentence 10 contains two independent clauses (“Over time, vegetarianism gradually gained diction with influential thinkers” and “by the twentieth century, organizations such as the International Vegetarian Union, the North American Vegetarian Society, and the Animal Aid were appearing”) that are joined by a conjunction (“and”). All sentences that contain two independent clauses separated by a conjunction must also have a comma before the conjunction, so the current version of Sentence 10 is incorrect.

Example Question #208 : Sat Writing

1 French high-wire artist Philippe Petit has a long history of daredevil and breathtaking performances. 2 Although none are so well known as his 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in New York City. 3 Petit made more than two hundred trips to the Twin Towers in surrogate preparation for the eminent walk. 4 Supposedly, he spent more than six years practicing on a low wire at a property in upstate New York and laying his plans. 5 He first read an article about the Twin Towers in his dentist’s office while they were still being built.

6 On August 7, 1974 Philippe Petit made the walk. 7 With the help of his tepid friends, he snuck into the buildings, strung a cable more than a quarter mile above the ground, and began the walk. 8 The buildings were still under construction. 9 The performance lasted for more than half an hour and included Petit walking, running, and even lying down on the rope. 10 Whereas Petit was arrested when he returned to the ground, the judge only sentenced him to perform for city children in Central Park. 11 After the Twin Tower walk, Petit continues to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

Which of these sentences contains a comma error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 7

Sentence 8

Sentence 10

Sentence 9

Sentence 6

Correct answer:

Sentence 6

Explanation:

Commas are needed both before and after a year number when it appears in the middle of a sentence with a month and day immediately preceding it. Sentence 6 should read “On August 7, 1974, Philippe Petit made the walk.”

Example Question #3 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

1 French high-wire artist Philippe Petit has a long history of daredevil and breathtaking performances. 2 Although none are so well known as his 1974 tightrope walk between the Twin Towers in New York City. 3 Petit made more than two hundred trips to the Twin Towers in surrogate preparation for the eminent walk. 4 Supposedly, he spent more than six years practicing on a low wire at a property in upstate New York and laying his plans. 5 He first read an article about the Twin Towers in his dentist’s office while they were still being built.

6 On August 7, 1974 Philippe Petit made the walk. 7 With the help of his tepid friends, he snuck into the buildings, strung a cable more than a quarter mile above the ground, and began the walk. 8 The buildings were still under construction. 9 The performance lasted for more than half an hour and included Petit walking, running, and even lying down on the rope. 10 Whereas Petit was arrested when he returned to the ground, the judge only sentenced him to perform for city children in Central Park. 11 After the Twin Tower walk, Petit continues to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

Which of the following is the best re-writing of Sentence 11?

Possible Answers:

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit continuing to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit will continue to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit would go on to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit, was in continuance of giving lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit, who continued to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

Correct answer:

After the Twin Tower walk, Petit would go on to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.

Explanation:

There is only one option here that uses the correct verb tense (future conditional) to describe past events that happened subsequent to other past events mentioned in the same sentence: “After the Twin Tower walk, Petit would go on to give lectures, write books, and perform everywhere from the Eiffel Tower to Niagara Falls.”

Example Question #4 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

In Sentence 9, which punctuation mark is used incorrectly?

Possible Answers:

apostrophe

comma

semicolon

period

ellipsis

Correct answer:

semicolon

Explanation:

Here, the semicolon is incorrectly introducing a list. Colons are the correct punctuation mark to introduce a list, and semicolons should generally only be used to separate two independent clauses in the same sentence.

Example Question #5 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

Which of these sentences contains a comma error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 8

Sentence 7

Sentence 1

Sentence 9

Sentence 6

Correct answer:

Sentence 6

Explanation:

Introductory clauses should be separated from main clauses with a comma. In Sentence 6, therefore, the phrase “As could be expected” needs a comma after it.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Grammatical Errors In A Full Sentence

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

Which of these sentences contains a grammatical error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 3

Sentence 2

Sentence 4

Sentence 5

Sentence 1

Correct answer:

Sentence 2

Explanation:

Sentence 2 should use “which” instead of “that.” “Which” is generally a better choice for dependent clauses that provide non-imperative information, such as “which is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University.”

Example Question #7 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

1 Wedding customs range between families and social classes, but also between countries. 2 Since the dawn of time, human couples have been entering into long-term romantic commitments with each other. 3 In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife; while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts. 4 Certain celebratory traditions, such as eating special food and reciting some sort of vows or prayers, are so widely practiced today that they seem almost unilateral.

5 Recently, the very definition of marriage has shifted to include same-sex couples, both in popular culture and in certain nations’ and American states’ laws. 6 Dancing is an important part of many marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and festive wedding music can be found across a wide variety of cultures. 7 The presence of family members is also common to weddings in nearly every nation, although fathers do not always “give away” brides; sometimes mothers, grandparents, or even siblings play this role instead.

How should Sentence 3 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

In Ethiopia, for example: one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife. While in Finland: engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts.

In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends would spray perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife while in Finland, engaged women would be going door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts.

In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife, and whereas Finland has engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts.

In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife; while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts. (no change)

In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife, while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts.

Correct answer:

In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife, while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts.

Explanation:

The original version of Sentence 3 is incorrect because it uses a semicolon instead of a comma. Semicolons are generally only used to separate two independent clauses appearing in the same sentence, while a comma used when two independent clauses are linked with a conjunction in the same sentence. Because “In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife” is an independent clause and “while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts” is an independent clause that begins with a conjunction, a comma and not a semicolon is therefore the correct punctuation mark after “wife.”

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