SAT Writing : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

She found herself unable to following his long and wordy directions, so she asked another person at the gas station after he left. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

to following

so she asked

found herself

after he left

Correct answer:

to following

Explanation:

The writer uses the incorrect verb form "to following" in this sentence and needs to change it to "to follow," which is the proper way to form the infinitive (a verbal noun).

Example Question #2 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

I don't know how Jim was able to ran that fast, but since he'd always been running faster than most of us kids, I wasn't too surprised. No error

Possible Answers:

us kids

how

No error

been running

to ran

Correct answer:

to ran

Explanation:

The writer uses the incorrect verb form "to ran" in the above sentence and would need to change it to "to run" in order to make the sentence fully grammatically correct.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

Pamela knew that Keith was capable of manage the Smith family's wedding, so she left him in charge of catering the event. No error

Possible Answers:

of manage

family's

of catering

in

No error

Correct answer:

of manage

Explanation:

The sentence above uses the incorrect verb form "of manage." We would need to replace it with "of managing" in order to make the sentence correct.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

Daisy and I contacted the jeweler because we had heard she would be able to finding us a great engagement ring. No error

Possible Answers:

to finding

contacted

would be

had heard

No error

Correct answer:

to finding

Explanation:

The sentence contains a verb voice error in "to finding." We would need to change the verb to the grammatically correct form "to find" in order to improve the sentence.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Verb Errors

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

The letter from the scholarship committee said that he had selected to be one of the recipients of the prestigious $10,000 scholarship because of his excellent grades and volunteer work. No error

Possible Answers:

one of the recipients of

No error

from the scholarship committee

because of his excellent grades and volunteer work

had selected

Correct answer:

had selected

Explanation:

We say that someone “is selected” by a committee to be the recipient of an award. This is in the passive voice. This sentence instead uses the active voice to describe the student who has been selected for the scholarship. To correct this, we need to change “had selected,” which is active, to “had been selected,” which is passive.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

It took Donna many weeks to perfect her pirouette, but when she finally mastered it, she wouldn't stop being shown off in front of us. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

It took

being shown off

to perfect

wouldn't stop

Correct answer:

being shown off

Explanation:

This sentence wants to say that when Donna learned how to do her pirouette, she kept showing off her pirouette to other people. The way the sentence is currently worded, it sounds like Donna is being shown off by another person. “Being shown off” is in the passive voice, but it should be changed to the active voice. So, “being shown off” should be changed to “showing off,” because Donna is the one doing the showing off, not being shown off by someone else.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

Sheela and Shreya contacted him because they had heard he selled the best cakes in town. No error

Possible Answers:

selled

because

heard

No error

contacted

Correct answer:

selled

Explanation:

The word "selled" is an incorrect formulation of the verb "sell." Since the cakes are bing sold on an ongoing basis the correct way to conjugate the sentence would be to replace "selled" with "sells."

Example Question #7 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

Please choose the part of the sentence that needs to be corrected. Some sentences may have no error at all. 

The judges were amazed that Joe had been able to sang so beautifully. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

were

had

amazed

sang

Correct answer:

sang

Explanation:

Because "the judges were amazed that Joe had been able to sing" the correct conjugation of the verb uses the present, rather than the past participle.

Example Question #8 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

That organization recommends that each person exercises for at least thirty minutes a day at least three days a weekNo error

Possible Answers:

at least thirty

No error

recommends

at least three days a week

exercises

Correct answer:

exercises

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility (including recommendations and commands) rather than truth. In the sentence above, because the word the organization being discussed is making a recommendation, we know that subjunctive should be used. The correct subjunctive construction of the sentence above is "That organization recommends that each person exercise for at least thirty minutes a day, at least three days a week."

Example Question #9 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

New imaging techniques, which use improved technology in the detecting of deadly cancers, may allow doctors to save more lives. No error

Possible Answers:

in the detecting

may allow 

which use

no error

to save 

Correct answer:

in the detecting

Explanation:

When we want to show the purpose of the sentence’s subject (in this case, the purpose of improved imaging technology), we must use the infinitive form of the verb—detect. The sentence would read correctly as, “New imaging techniques, which use improved technology to detect deadly cancers, may allow doctors to save more lives.”

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