SAT Writing : Identifying Subordinate Conjunction Errors

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Vincent van Gogh sold only a few paintings during his lifetime, but yet he is considered one of the greatest painters of all timeNo error

Possible Answers:

sold

of all time

No error

but yet

greatest

Correct answer:

but yet

Explanation:

This sentence contains a redundancy error. The conjunctions "but" and "yet" are synonyms; they mean the same thing, so only one or the other is necessary to convey the intended meaning of the sentence.

The answer choice "sold" is correct because it contains the simple past tense, which is correct for events that happened in the past and don't continue into the present.

The answer choice "greatest" is correct because it uses the superlative form (the "-est" form) of the adjective great, which is appropriate for comparisons involving more than two items.

The answer choice "of all time" is a perfectly correct use of an idiomatic expression.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Once I learned how to swim, I would never go in the water for fear of drowning. No error

Possible Answers:

I would never

Once

swim,

for fear of

No error

Correct answer:

Once

Explanation:

“Once” is the incorrect subordinate conjunction; it should be replaced by “until,” which is the only logical conjunction for the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Whether or nor they were in love, John decided he needed to break up with his long-distance girlfriend; the time apart was just too difficult. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

Whether or nor

love,

break up

girlfriend;

Correct answer:

Whether or nor

Explanation:

The proper form of the subordinating conjunction is “whether or not,” not “whether or nor.”

Example Question #3 : Identifying Subordinate Conjunction Errors

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

Anna is an amazing lawyer, but however she has many personal issues that often get in the way of her professional work. No error

Possible Answers:

has many

often get

but however

No error

of her

Correct answer:

but however

Explanation:

The sentence features a redundancy error—since "but" comes first in the sentence, there is no need to include the synonym "however."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Until my friends went ice skating, I would always stay at home for fear of falling down on the ice. No error

Possible Answers:

on the ice

would always

Until

for fear of

No error

Correct answer:

Until

Explanation:

The sentences uses the incorrect subordinate conjunction "Until"—"When" or "Whenever" would be better choices for the correct subordinate conjunction.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Whether and not the citizens agreed with the final decisions, the politicians felt that it was their responsibility to set laws that were fair for everyone. No error

Possible Answers:

it

the final decisions

Whether and not

No error

for everyone

Correct answer:

Whether and not

Explanation:

The form of the subordinating conjunction used here is incorrect—it should be "Whether or not" instead of "Whether and not."

Example Question #5 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Bob, an insurance agent, wishes he had the kind of job that allowed him to travel, whenever he wanted. No error

Possible Answers:

wanted.

kind of

travel,

an insurance agent,

No error

Correct answer:

travel,

Explanation:

Since “whenever” is a subordinating conjunction linking a dependent and independent clause, no comma is needed before it. Commas are required before coordinating conjunctions, but not subordinating conjunctions.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

Provided by she was paid overtime, Kara agreed to clean the golf course before she left for the day. No error

Possible Answers:

before

overtime

No error

to clean

Provided by

Correct answer:

Provided by

Explanation:

This question is checking for understanding of the subordinate conjunction "provided that." If it helps, "provided that" can be thought of as equivalent to "on the condition that." The only error in the sentence is that "provided by" is used instead of "provided that." "Provided by" has a different use (as a regular verb) and is not a subordinate conjunction. 

An example of "provided by" used correctly: "Her cell phone service was provided by her local cell phone company."

An example of "provided that" used correctly: "Provided that she was paid overtime, Kara agreed to clean the golf course before she left for the day."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

 When whenever we had enough to eat when I was younger, my whole family was completely overjoyedNo error

Possible Answers:

completely overjoyed

No error

When whenever

I was younger,

whole family

Correct answer:

When whenever

Explanation:

In the sentence above, the words "when" and "whenever" are being used to cause the second portion of the sentence to be a subordinate clause: they are subordinate conjunctions. They also mean roughly the same thing, so using both is redundant. One of the conjunctions should remain in the sentence, and the other should be deleted. The best way to correct the sentence above is:

"When we had enough to eat when I was younger, my whole family was completely overjoyed."

OR

"Whenever we had enough to eat when I was younger, my whole family was completely overjoyed."

Example Question #8 : Identifying Subordinate 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.

There's an old saying, "great men are rarely good men," but yet many of my favorite heroes from history were exceedingly kind. No error

Possible Answers:

 "great men are rarely good men,"

No error

but yet

of my

were exceedingly kind.

Correct answer:

but yet

Explanation:

In the sentence above, the words "but" and "yet" are being as subordinate conjunctions. They also mean roughly the same thing. Only one of them is necessary, and the other should be deleted. The best way to correct the sentence above is:

There's an old saying, "great men are rarely good men," yet many of my favorite heroes from history were exceedingly kind.

OR

There's an old saying, "great men are rarely good men," but many of my favorite heroes from history were exceedingly kind.

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