SAT Writing : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Neither the teachers or the students were told that the famous actor and actress would be visiting the school until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell which group was the more excited one when everyone found out. No error

Possible Answers:

the famous actor and actress would be visiting

No error

the more excited one

Neither the teachers or the students were

until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell

Correct answer:

Neither the teachers or the students were

Explanation:

When using the word "neither" to introduce one of two things in a negative fashion, one needs to introduce the other thing using the word "nor," not "or." So, the correct answer is, "Neither the teachers nor the students were told that the famous actor and actress would be visiting the school until the day before the visit; it was hard to tell which group was the more excited one when everyone found out."

Example Question #3 : Identifying Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Neither the aliens who were invading or the people who were being invaded really understood what was happeningNo error

Possible Answers:

who

were being

what was happening

or

No error

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with coordinators. If “neither” is used, it triggers the use of “nor.” The corrected sentence reads: Neither the aliens who were invading nor the people who were being invaded really understood what was happening.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Neither the dog or the cat could climb the trees outside the house, for the trees were too tallNo error

Possible Answers:

no error

too tall

were

outside the house

or

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The proper conjunction here would be "nor," as it agrees with "neither."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Choosing between the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting or the marble cake with chocolate ganache was an agonizing decision. No error

Possible Answers:

or

No error

agonizing

was

Choosing

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

This sentence does not follow conventions regarding the use of phrase “between X and Y.” The conjunction “and,” not “or,” should always be used when setting up a sentence using "between" to describe a choice or a comparison. The corrected sentence reads, "Choosing between the carrot cake with cream cheese frosting and the marble cake with chocolate ganache was an agonizing decision."

Example Question #2 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Because it is not a holiday, neither the church or the bank is closed early. No error

Possible Answers:

holiday

Because

is

or

No error

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

"Neither" always takes "nor," never "or." It may be tempting to choose "is." Neither may use plural or singular verbs, depending on the plural or singular quality of the subjects it refers to.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

When Daisy had to choose between singing in glee club or pursuing her black belt in jiujitsu, she made a chart that listed the pros and cons of each activity. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

When

that listed

had to choose

or

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

When setting up a comparison using the word "between," we must always use the convention "between A and B," where A and B are the things we are comparing. Therefore, the word "or" should be replaced with "and" in this sentence.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Daniel eventually realized that neither money or fame made him as happy as he was when he was married to Diane. No error

Possible Answers:

was married

neither money or fame

as happy as he was

eventually realized

No error

Correct answer:

neither money or fame

Explanation:

The sentence features a correlative conjunction error: when the word "neither" is used to introduce one of two nouns in a negative manner, one must always use the word "nor" to introduce the second noun.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

While planning our summer vacation trip, we had a hard time choosing between going to Barcelona or going to Costa Rica; both seemed like great destinations. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

or

While

choosing

seemed

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The error in this sentence is the incorrect structure of the comparison "between (Option 1) and (Option 2)." The conjunction "and" should always be used in this type of comparison, and in this sentence the writer has incorrectly used the conjunction "or."

Example Question #6 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Neither Timothy or Jocelyn had any doubt that they would get a perfect score on the SAT, since they had been studying almost nonstop for months. No error

Possible Answers:

had been

No error

or

Neither

any

Correct answer:

or

Explanation:

The error in this sentence is the use of the conjunction "or." The writer should have used the conjunction "nor," as this is the conjunction that must be paired with "neither" when using the formulation "neither X nor Y."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Correlative Conjunction Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

You can either tell him the truth and try to hide your mistake, but you should consider the consequences carefully; if you make the wrong decision, you may lose a friend. No error

Possible Answers:

either tell him the truth and try to hide

No error

mistake,

decision,

carefully;

Correct answer:

either tell him the truth and try to hide

Explanation:

The correlative conjunction “either” must be paired with “or,” not “and.” The sentence is punctuated correctly, with commas separating dependent clauses from independent clauses and a semicolon separating the two independent clauses.

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