SAT Writing : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3 4

Example Question #14 : Verb Mood 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.

Victory is the ultimate goal of any general, but too precise a focus can clouds a leader's judgement.

Possible Answers:

can clouds a leader's judgement.

can clouds leader's judgement.

can clouds a leader's judgements.

can cloud a leaders judgement.

can cloud a leader's judgement.

Correct answer:

can cloud a leader's judgement.

Explanation:

The phrase underlined in the sentence uses the modal verb "can," which conditions what might happen in the future. The verb form "clouds" is incorrect as the verb after "can" still needs to feature the singular form necessary with the subject "focus." "Can cloud a leader's judgement" is the best choice among the answer.

Example Question #15 : Verb Mood 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.

He said he wouldn’t have jumped into the murky lake if someone else hasn’t jumped before him.

Possible Answers:

if someone else were not to have jumped before him.

if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.

if someone else would not to have jumped before him.

if someone else hasn’t jumped before him.

if someone else was not to have jumped before him.

Correct answer:

if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.

Explanation:

This sentence will try to trick you into using the subjunctive mood, but remember that the subjunctive is only used to describe hypothetical situations and dreams. Because the character actually did jump into the murky lake, the correct mood is simply the past indicative: “He said he wouldn’t have jumped into the murky lake if someone else hadn’t jumped before him.”

Example Question #16 : Verb Mood 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

The cheese was given to the child by the parent, who then complained that it was too smelly to eat. 

Possible Answers:

To the child the cheese was given by the parent

The cheese by the parent was given to the child

The cheese was given to the child by the parent

The child gave by the parent the cheese

The parent gave the child the cheese

Correct answer:

The parent gave the child the cheese

Explanation:

The correct answer choice ("The cheese was given to the child by the parent") uses the active voice instead of the passive voice and makes the most grammatical sense in the sentence. Sometimes the passive voice is necessary, but when it is not necessary, it should be avoided.

Example Question #1 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

In order to correcting John's essay, the professor needed to examine a very obscure theory on paleontology. 

Possible Answers:

In order to corrected John's essay

In order to correct John's essay

In order to John's essay correct

In order to John's essay correcting

In order to correcting John's essay

Correct answer:

In order to correct John's essay

Explanation:

The phrase "to correcting" is grammatically incorrect in standard written English, and needs to be "to correct" in the underlined phrase. 

Example Question #2 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

It's interesting to think of how my life would have changed had I choose to go to that college instead of the one I attended. 

Possible Answers:

had I choosing to go 

had I choosed to go 

had I chosed to go 

had I choose to go 

had I chosen to go 

Correct answer:

had I chosen to go 

Explanation:

The sentence indicates that the phrase "had I choose to go" should be in the past subjunctive mood, as it refers to an alternate present that would have stemmed from a hypothetical past choice. Therefore, the correct phrasing replaces "choose" with "chosen"—"had I chosen to go."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

We tell Rachel all the time that her choices today can impacts how she feels tomorrow. 

Possible Answers:

could impacts how she feels tomorrow.

can impacting how she feels tomorrow.

can impacted how she feels tomorrow.

can impacts how she feels tomorrow.

can impact how she feels tomorrow.

Correct answer:

can impact how she feels tomorrow.

Explanation:

In the underlined phrase, the modal verb "can" needs to be followed by a form of "impact" that properly reflects the plural noun "choices." Therefore, we need to replace the singular verb form "impacts" with "impact" to correctly refer to "choices."

Example Question #4 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 order to upgrading his computer, Tom had to delete many of his old downloaded movies to make space on his hard drive. 

Possible Answers:

In order to upgrade his computer

In order to upgrading his computer

In order to be upgraded his computer

In order to upgraded his computer

In order to upgrades his computer

Correct answer:

In order to upgrade his computer

Explanation:

The phrase "In order to upgrading" is incorrect in standard written English—"upgrading" needs to be replaced with the present verb form "upgrade."

Example Question #5 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 middle of the drought, she looked out the window and thought, “Even if I were to lavish all my attention on the plants in the garden, they would still be killed by this heat.”

Possible Answers:

were to

was to

am to

do

will

Correct answer:

were to

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as it is. Here, the statement in quotation marks is a counterfactual statement. This means that it talks about something that isn't actually the case in reality. The narrator is thinking about what might happen if she lavished care on her plants, but in reality, she is not lavishing care on her plants. Counterfactual statements use the verbs in the subjunctive. “Were” is the subjunctive form of the English verb “to be” (or “am,” in this sentence).

Example Question #6 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

If humans could fly, they will need gigantic wings and huge chest muscles to control those wings.

Possible Answers:

would need

will need

may need

were needing

needed

Correct answer:

would need

Explanation:

This sentence expresses a counterfactual statement, so it needs verbs in the subjunctive mood. “Could” can be thought of as a past subjunctive form of the verb “can,” so there is no problem with the first part of the sentence; however, the verb in the second part of the sentence, “will need,” is in the indicative mood, not the subjunctive. To correct this, we have to change “will need” to its past subjunctive form, “would need.”

Example Question #7 : Correcting Verb Mood 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.

According to the email that my boss sent, it is absolutely necessary that we all are on time to work.

Possible Answers:

are

were

being

will be

be

Correct answer:

be

Explanation:

In English, the subjunctive mood of verbs is often used after certain expressions like “it is necessary that” or “it is important that.” The subjunctive is used to talk about wishes, desires, or thoughts about things that aren't actually the case. In this sentence, the expression “it is necessary that” introduces a phrase that must use the subjunctive, because it expresses something that the boss desires. So, we have to change the verb “are,” which is in the indicative mood, to its subjunctive form, “be.”

← Previous 1 3 4
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: