SAT Writing : Correcting Single-Word Grammatical Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

Although a work of fiction, Mariama Bâ's 1979 novel, So Long a Letter is also, in a sense, a manifesto of the female African experience, one that has all too often been consigned to a footnote in history books. Within the overarching colonial narrative of African marginalization, black women have been marginalized farther. In their respective accounts, Jomo Kenyatta and Franz Fanon put their own words in the mouths of female subjects: in more objective histories, women are hardly spoken of at all. By taking a comparative approach, however, the history of African women in the colonial and post-colonial eras can be patched together into something comprehensible. With Bâ’s voice as a guide, a more complex narrative comes out of the darkness of historical silence and bias to revealing significant degrees of female agency and expression.

Replace the bolded and 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:

have revealed

start revealing

having been revealed

reveal

revealing

Correct answer:

reveal

Explanation:

The phrase “to revealing” is grammatically incorrect because it lacks a helping verb. “Having been revealed” and “have revealed” both complicate the tense of the sentence, while “start revealing” changes the meaning of the sentence. The most simple and correct response is “reveal.”

Example Question #2 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

[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.

In Sentence 6, what is a better word to replace the underlined word “dignified”?

Possible Answers:

distinguished

diversified

distended

disenfranchised

No change is recommended.

Correct answer:

distinguished

Explanation:

While it’s possible they might be dignified examples of architecture, Pueblo Revival buildings are "distinguished," or set apart, by their vigas.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

[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.

Which word needs to replace the underlined word “Because” in Sentence 2?

Possible Answers:

Thus

Yet

Whereas

Although

Since

Correct answer:

Although

Explanation:

The relationship between the two clauses in Sentence 2 is one of contrast, and “Although” is the best option that indicates that relationship within the grammatical parameters of the sentence.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

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 sentence contains a word that is used incorrectly?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 7

Sentence 8

Sentence 4

Sentence 6

Sentence 5

Correct answer:

Sentence 7

Explanation:

Sentence 7 refers to “aseptic” monks, but the correct word would be “ascetic.” The former word means germ-free, while the latter word refers to a simple, austere lifestyle often embraced by monastic orders.

Example Question #5 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

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?

In Sentence 5, which word should replace “evolution”?

Possible Answers:

evolved

evolve

evolving

evoluting

evolution (no change)

Correct answer:

evolving

Explanation:

Based on the structure of the sentence, the original word “evolution” should be replaced by a participle, since it comes immediately after an adverb (“constantly”) and immediately before a noun (“practice”). A participle is a form of a verb that modifies a noun, playing a similar role to an adjective. The participle should also indicate that the evolution is continually happening and did not just occur in the past. Therefore, the correct verb form of “evolution” is “evolving."

Example Question #5 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

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 word would best replace “tepid” in Sentence 7?

Possible Answers:

Integrity

Intractable

Introspective

Introverted

Intrepid

Correct answer:

Intrepid

Explanation:

“Tepid” means lukewarm, which doesn’t make sense in this sentence. “Intrepid,” which means fearless or adventurous, is a much better fit. "Integrity" is the quality of having strong morals. "Introspective" refers to the quality of drawing one's energy from internal thinking and solitude, rather than social interaction. "Intractable" is an adjective used to describe a person or thing that is hard to control, move, or reason with, depending on the context.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

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.

What word should replace “surrogate” in Sentence 3?

Possible Answers:

serene

serendipitous

surrejoinder

surfeit

surreptitious

Correct answer:

surreptitious

Explanation:

Here, a word is needed that implies sneakiness and stealth, and “surreptitious” means secretive, sneaky, or stealthy. "Serendipitous" refers to something happy and coincidental. "Serene" is used to describe people, places, or situations that are calm and peaceful in nature. "Surfeit" refers to an excess of an item or resource. "Surrejoinder" is a legal term, referring to a plaintiff's response to a defendant.

Example Question #6 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

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.

What word should replace “eminent” in Sentence 3?

Possible Answers:

omnipotent

immanent

ominous

eminent (no change)

imminent

Correct answer:

imminent

Explanation:

“Eminent” means prominent or successful, which does not work in this context. “Imminent” means impending or about to happen, and that is the word that best fits the sense of the sentence. "Immanent" refers to something that is inherent or fundamental to the operation of a system. "Ominous" is roughly synonymous with "foreboding." "Omnipotent" means all-knowing, or all-powerful, and is often used in reference to deities.

Example Question #7 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

[1] Voltaire was an eighteenth-century's French Enlightenment philosopher. [2] According to Voltaire, an enlightened person is a rational individual who thinks independently, tolerates others, rejects superstition, and embraces science and reason. [3] Voltaire was a strong monarchist who rejected democracy and wanted a ruler who used his or her power to allow free intellectual activity. [4] Many enlightenment philosophers gave their own definitions of what an enlightened person was and did.

[5] Voltaire very much admired the English monarchy, leading him to publish Letters on the English, and he wanted the French monarchy to closely resemble the enlightened English monarchy. [6] He did not think that democracy was a plausible form of government because he simply did not have enough trust in the common people and believed that an enlightened despot would be a safer option. [7] Ironically, just as Luther’s ideas were twisted and exaggerated to inspire peasant revolts, some of Voltaire’s anti-democratic ideas ended up inspiring the French and American Revolutions.

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:

eighteen centuries'

eighteenth's century

eighteen-century's

eighteenth-century

eighteenth century's

Correct answer:

eighteenth-century

Explanation:

The correct answer is "eighteenth-century." There is no grammatical reason for the possessive case to be used in this sentence. Instead, "eighteenth-century" can be used as an adjective describing Voltaire. The hyphen is necessary because the two words are functioning as an adjective together.

Example Question #8 : Correcting Single Word Grammatical Errors

1 Although many people have heard of the seven wonders of the world, most don’t know who made the original list. 2 Both Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, and Callimachus, a scholar at the famous Library of Alexandria, composed early lists of the seven wonders. 3 Although, an extract copy of these lists has not survived.

4 Still, historians know that the original seven wonders were. 5 They included Colossus of Rhodes, the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, and the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus. 6 Only the Great Pyramid still exists today. 7 Ruins or evidence of five of the other wonders have been found, but the Hanging Gardens have never been located by archaeologists.

8 What do these seven wonders have in common? 9 Since ancient times, scholars have made their own lists of seven wonders of the world. 10 Some of these wonders include Stonehenge, the Great Wall of China, the Hagia Sophia, Macchu Pichu, and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

In Sentence 3, what word should replace “extract”?

Possible Answers:

extracorporeal

extorted

extract (no replacement)

extant

external

Correct answer:

extant

Explanation:

The word “extant” means still in existence, complete, and not destroyed, and it is the only option provided that makes sense in the context of the sentence.

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