SAT Writing : Correcting Preposition Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #6 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

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.

The girls were always challenging their father's rules for every opportunity.

Possible Answers:

their father's rules for every opportunity.

their father's rules in every opportunity.

their father's rules on every opportunity.

their father's rules at every opportunity.

their father's rules onto every opportunity.

Correct answer:

their father's rules at every opportunity.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "for" in the sentence is odd, and does not properly reflect what the girls are doing. The preposition should be changed to indicate that they challenged during certain moments. The preposition that best shows this is "at," making the correct answer choice "their father's rules at every opportunity."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Other Usage Errors

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.

While I really enjoy studying the French language, I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Possible Answers:

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese as well.

I would also like to try learning some Portuguese.

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

I would also like to try and learn some Portuguese as well.

Correct answer:

I would also like to try to learn some Portuguese.

Explanation:

Only the preposition “to” can follow the verb “to try.” It isn’t necessary to include the “as well” because “also” means the same thing; the original phrasing is redundant. 

Example Question #1 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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.

She would frequently compare her mother with the most loving of saints.

Possible Answers:

with saints that are the most loving.

with the most loving of saints.

to most loving of saints.

with most loving of saints.

to the most loving of saints.

Correct answer:

to the most loving of saints.

Explanation:

The grammatical error in the underlined portion is the use of the word "with." Comparisons are not done "with" something else, but "to" something else. The correct answer choice is "to the most loving of saints."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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.

The amount of people living in the area was still a matter of much debate in researchers.

Possible Answers:

among researchers.

around research.

in researchers.

around researchers.

among research.

Correct answer:

among researchers.

Explanation:

The underlined elements of the sentence have an issue with the usage of the preposition before researchers. The debate happens from one researcher to the next, and the correct preposition would indicate this. "Among researchers" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #2 : Word Usage Errors

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.

Questions are rarely asked by students in an imposing teacher.

Possible Answers:

by an imposing teacher.

through an imposing teacher.

to an imposing teacher.

in a teacher imposing.

in an imposing teacher.

Correct answer:

to an imposing teacher.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence has an odd use of the preposition "in." The questions are actually being asked by students, directed at the teacher, and the preposition needs to reflect this; therefore, "to an imposing teacher" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Other Usage Errors

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.

In the past, corporations had very few restrictions on what they had to pay from employee's wages.

Possible Answers:

to pay from employees' wages.

for pay from employees' wages.

to pay on employees' wages.

to pay for employees' wages.

to pay from employees' wage.

Correct answer:

to pay for employees' wages.

Explanation:

The use of the preposition "from" in the sentence is very odd. The correct preposition needs to indicate the the "wages" are something the "corporations" give to the "employees." The answer choice that best reflexts this is "to pay for employees' wages."

Example Question #11 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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.

To some people, the idea of Mardi Gras in New Orleans is synonymous for rowdy behavior, noisiness, and disorder.

Possible Answers:

to

about

with

of

in meaning for

Correct answer:

with

Explanation:

According to the idiomatic usage of prepositions, "synonymous" is typically followed by the preposition "with," not "for." All other variations are grammatically incorrect. 

Example Question #12 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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.

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, something that drove her whole family crazy.

Possible Answers:

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children with her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children for her own, 

The mother was endlessly in comparison with her friends’ children and her own, 

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children against her own, 

Correct answer:

The mother was endlessly comparing her friends’ children with her own, 

Explanation:

“With” and “to” are the only possible prepositions for the verb “compare.” “Compare with” is used for objects of essentially the same type (for example, comparing one family’s children with another family’s), while “compare to” is used for objects of essentially different types (for example, comparing a mother to a raging forest fire).

Example Question #7 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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.

The night grew so cold that all the campers were shivering although a raging fire.

Possible Answers:

despite a raging fire.

although a raging fire.

through a raging fire.

even though a raging fire.

from a raging fire.

Correct answer:

despite a raging fire.

Explanation:

The use of "although" in the last part of the sentence is confusing and awkward. A different preposition can more clearly indicate the fact the campers "were shivering" while a fire was "raging," which should warm them. The best answer choice to do this is "despite a raging fire."

Example Question #2 : Correcting Preposition Errors

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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

That author's most recent novel is based on the Civil War in Spain, but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Possible Answers:

but on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

but on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions. 

but, on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Correct answer:

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

Explanation:

The fragment “on a deeper level” must have a comma before and after it because it interrupts the second clause of the sentence. Also, the word “protest” must be paired with the preposition “against.” 

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