SAT Writing : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

In a prolonged effort to curb abuses, the governments reduce the amount in bonuses for arrests.

Possible Answers:

the governments reduce

the governments reduction

the governments to reduce

the governments reduces

the governments reduced

Correct answer:

the governments reduced

Explanation:

The opening clause of the sentence notes a "prolonged effort," which indicates the government action has taken place over a long time period. The proper verb will either be in the past tense or show a long amount of time. "The governments reduced" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #10 : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

Celebrations begun in the school after it was announced they had won the championship.

Possible Answers:

began the school

begun by the school

begin the school

begun in the school

began in the school

Correct answer:

began in the school

Explanation:

The underlined section of the sentence contains both a verb and a preposition, but the only issue lies in the present tense verb. The use of time in the sentence, "after they found out," indicates the celebrations took place in the past. "Began in the school," is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #82 : Verb Tense Errors

Something strange occurs every night of the trip, which spooked the entire family.

Possible Answers:

Somethings strange occurs every night of the trip,

Something strange occurs every nights of the trip,

Something strange occurring every night of the trip,

Something strange occurred every night of the trip,

Something strange occurs every night of the trip,

Correct answer:

Something strange occurred every night of the trip,

Explanation:

The sentence contains two complete thoughts, separated by the conjunction "which." This means the two verbs in each phrase need to have the same tense. As "spooked" is in the past tense, "Something strange occurred every night of the trip," is the correct answer.

Example Question #1844 : Sat Writing

Politics has gains such a nasty tone in recent years that it has turned off many voters.

Possible Answers:

has gains a nasty tone

has gains such nasty tone

has gains such a nasty tone

gains such a nasty tone

has gained such a nasty tone

Correct answer:

has gained such a nasty tone

Explanation:

The underlined phrase needs to be parallel to the later verb usage of "has turned off" later in the sentence. The underlined phrase then needs to similarly be in the past perfect tense. "Has gained such a nasty tone" is the correct answer.

Example Question #1845 : Sat Writing

All of the people know the costs of done business with the corrupt shopkeeper.

Possible Answers:

done business

business doing

does business

doing business

do business

Correct answer:

doing business

Explanation:

The underlined phrase does not appropriately parallel the earlier verb use of "know" in the sentence. Thus, the correct answer choice needs to make the verb form into a present tense verb. "Doing business" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #61 : Correcting Verb Errors

By the time Bobby and Elvis sat in their seats, the opposing team scored four touchdowns.

Possible Answers:

the four touchdowns were scored by the opposing team

the opposing team were scoring four touchdowns

the scoring of four touchdowns by the opposing team happened

the opposing team scored four touchdowns

the opposing team had scored four touchdowns

Correct answer:

the opposing team had scored four touchdowns

Explanation:

This sentence contains two different past tense verbs: sat and scored. One verb was completed before the other (scored before sat); therefore, scored needs to be put in the past perfect tense: had scored.

Example Question #2 : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

Less than five people attend the event that took place six months ago.

Possible Answers:

attends

attended

attend

attendance

attending

Correct answer:

attended

Explanation:

The underlined word in the sentence is in the incorrect tense for the sentence, best indicated by the fact the event "took place six months ago;" therefore, the sentence needs a past tense verb, so "attended" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #3 : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

Musicians frequently discuss the ability to play without thinking, let the music flow right out of them.

Possible Answers:

letting so that music flows right out of them.

letting the music flow right out of them.

let music flow out of them.

lets music flow right out of them.

let the music flow right out of them.

Correct answer:

letting the music flow right out of them.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is a dependent clause, a complete thought that cannot stand alone, but is reliant on the other part of the sentence. A dependent clause cannot have an active verb form, as it has no connection to the previous portion of the sentence. "Letting the music flow right out of them" is the answer choice that best solves this issue.

Example Question #64 : Correcting Verb Errors

Unbeknownst to her colleagues, she was suffered from a serious illness.

Possible Answers:

she had been suffered from

she suffering from

she was suffering from

she being suffering from

she was suffered from

Correct answer:

she was suffering from

Explanation:

The use of the past tense verb "suffered" is incorrect in this construction. Being paired with "was," the verb needs to become a gerund, a verb from that can function as a noun. "She was suffering from" is the only answer choice that correctly uses the gerund form.

Example Question #4 : Correcting Verb Tense Errors

The old path worn out, to the point that no vegetation would grow on it.

Possible Answers:

worn around

worn out

wearing out

was worn out

worn through

Correct answer:

was worn out

Explanation:

The use of the verb phrase "worn out" is incorrect, as the past tense verb "worn" coupled with the preposition "out" is actually used as an adverb to describe the path. The sentence can be made correct by adding a form of the verb "to be," and "was worn out" is the only answer choice that does this.

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