SAT Writing : Increasing the Effectiveness of a Single Word

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Although vegetarianism is sometimes considered a recent phenomenon, the practice actually has roots in both ancient India and ancient Greece. 2 In Greece, being vegetarian was a way to abstain from eating ‘beings with souls,’ and vegetarianism was primarily practiced by small religious sects or certain philosophical thinkers. 3 Ancient Indian vegetarianism may have been more widespread, as it was mandatory for many Hindus, Jains, and Buddhists. 4 Buddhist scholars argue whether Gautama Buddha ever ate meat. 5 Obviously, vegetarianism is a constantly evolution practice that has changed considerably over the past several thousand years.

6 During the Middle Ages, vegetarianism remained largely outside the cultural milieu in Europe. 7 Certain aseptic religious sects may have avoided eating meat, but the practice didn’t truly gain ground in Western Europe until the Age of Enlightenment. 8 During and before that time, many people still argued that animals existed only for the benefit of humankind. 9 They were opposed by other people who thought that that was an anthropocentric viewpoint.

10 Over time, vegetarianism gradually gained diction with influential thinkers and by the twentieth century, organizations such as the International Vegetarian Union, the North American Vegetarian Society, and the Animal Aid were appearing. 11 What new form will vegetarianism take in the future?

In Sentence 10, what word should replace the underlined word?

Possible Answers:

traction

fraction

action

diction (no change)

friction

Correct answer:

traction

Explanation:

The correct idiom is “to gain traction.” "Diction" refers to an author or speaker's choice of words or phrases, or the way a speaker enunciates those words. "Friction" is the physical force which leads to "  traction." 

Example Question #2 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

What word should replace the underlined word “because" in Sentence 4

Possible Answers:

Although

Yet

Because (no replacement)

However

Nevertheless

Correct answer:

Although

Explanation:

The relationship between the two clauses in Sentence 4 is one of contrast, not cause and effect, so “Because” is incorrect. The only word that can correctly indicate contrast within the given grammatical structure of the sentence is “Although.”

Example Question #2 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

What word should replace the underlined word “admonished" in Sentence 2?

Possible Answers:

admeasured

administered

admiralty

admonished (no replacement)

adjoined

Correct answer:

administered

Explanation:

“Admonished” means warned, disapproved, criticized, or urged, and none of those meanings make sense in this context. The most sensible word would be “administered,” which means managed the operation of.

Example Question #3 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Many painters have strong sediments about whether oil or acrylic paints produce the best results. 2 On the one hand, oil paints take longer to dry and are therefore more conductive to slow painstaking work and careful blending. 3 While, they also require the use of more toxic chemicals such as turpentine and mineral spirits. 4 Professional artists are often meritorious about the materials they use. 5 Acrylic paints are now favored by more and more artists, not only because they are odorless and nontoxic and also because their colors are not effervescent, they don’t fade when exposed to light. 6 However, many of the worlds’ great masterpieces were created with oil paints. 7 With some artists understandably feel nasturtium when they see oils being replaced by cheaper, more popular acrylics.

In Sentence 2, what word should replace “conductive”?

Possible Answers:

conditional

concomitant

conducive

conductive (no change)

concordant

Correct answer:

conducive

Explanation:

While “conductive” may sound right, it refers to carrying or conducting electricity (e.g. metal conducts electricity well), and that doesn’t make sense in context. “Conducive,” which means making something likely or possible, does fit: Oil paints’ slow drying time makes careful painting likely and possible.

Example Question #4 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Many painters have strong sediments about whether oil or acrylic paints produce the best results. 2 On the one hand, oil paints take longer to dry and are therefore more conductive to slow painstaking work and careful blending. 3 While, they also require the use of more toxic chemicals such as turpentine and mineral spirits. 4 Professional artists are often meritorious about the materials they use. 5 Acrylic paints are now favored by more and more artists, not only because they are odorless and nontoxic and also because their colors are not effervescent, they don’t fade when exposed to light. 6 However, many of the worlds’ great masterpieces were created with oil paints. 7 With some artists understandably feel nasturtium when they see oils being replaced by cheaper, more popular acrylics.

In Sentence 7, what word should replace “nasturtium”?

Possible Answers:

nestle

neurosis

nasturtium (no change)

neuralgia

nostalgia

Correct answer:

nostalgia

Explanation:

A nasturtium is a flowering plant. The word we want is “nostalgia”: a sentimental longing for or reminiscing about past eras.

Example Question #3 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 The Moluccas is a chain, or archetype, of islands belonging to Indonesia. 2 Historically, these islands were known as the Spice Islands for their abundance of nutmeg, cloves, mace, and pepper, this profundity of spices eventually drew colonial attention. 3 Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and pepper were particularly popular during the medieval times. 4 In the 1600s, the Spice Wars arose as a result of competing Portuguese and Dutch interest’s in the Spice Islands. 5 The bloody conflict ended in the deaths of many native Moluccans as well as European traders, wherefore both Portugal and the Netherlands gained and lost territories ranging from Africa and South America. 6 For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.7 It is located just west of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, and its more than 1,000 islands are home to more than 2 million people today.

In Sentence 5, what word should replace “wherefore”?

Possible Answers:

wherefore (no change)

and

nor

or

because

Correct answer:

and

Explanation:

“Wherefore” is an antiquated word that means why, so it doesn’t make sense as a conjunction here. “Because,” “or,” and “nor” also don’t fit the context of the sentence. A simple “and” is sufficient to link these two independent clauses, since the second clause is just adding additional information to the first clause.

Example Question #7 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Glass; a material most people take for granted, is an essential constitute of modern life. 2 Most glass throughout history have been made of silicon dioxide; which is found in sand. 3 Typically glass is made by melting down and refining raw materials in processes that remove bubbles, improve strength, and augur durability. 4 This process can be tailored to create the desired end product, be that stained glass windows for a church and glass fibers for thermal insulation. 5 Because glass blowing can be used to create fanciful shapes and delicate figurines, most glass today is made more quickly and cheaply in factories. 6 These factories can produce everything. 7 From windshields and sterile medical equipment.

In Sentence 2, which word needs to be replaced?

Possible Answers:

have

silicon

which 

Most

throughout

Correct answer:

have

Explanation:

Since “glass” is a singular noun, the correct conjugation is “has been” and not “have been.”

Example Question #4 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Today, different methods are adopted to strive off these threats to biological diversity. 2 By now, the occurrence of invasive species is a common place problem. 3 It occurs when a non native species of plant or animal is introduced into a new environment. 4 Invasive species cause problems, such as kudzu, Asian carp, and zebra mussels. 5 Habitats can be destroyed and human economies can be damaged by the invidious effects of species that are inoculated or even charming pets in other ecosystems. 6 For example, rabbits in Australia. 7 They were introduced in the 1780s by British penal colony ships and became widespread after an 1859 outbreak, destroying millions of dollars worth of crops. 8 Pheromone traps can lure in insect pests and genetic modification can cause invasive carp to produce only male offspring, limiting their reproduction. 9 Given our widespread global commerce and travel, however, it may be impossible to foresight all damage done by species that end up somewhere they don’t belong.

Which underlined word or phrase needs to be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

common place

Given our

lure in

that end up

effects

Correct answer:

common place

Explanation:

When used as an adjective, “commonplace” is always one word, never two. You would only say “common place” if “common” was the adjective and “place” was the noun being modified, i.e. “A coffee shop is a common place for a first date.”

Example Question #7 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 While many people feel strongly about the genetic modification of foods. 2 Most do not understand the full nature of genetically modified (GM) plants and animals. 3 For example, did you even know that GM was the abbreviation for genetically modified? 4 Genetic modification is defined as the artificial manipulation of a specie’s DNA usually for the purpose of improving crop yield, resistance to disease, or nutritive value. 5 And did you know it has been going on for millennia, because ancient farmers were selectively breeding foods to provide better flavor, produce smaller seeds, or withstand drought and flooding?

6 Today, however, having more sophisticated tools allow scientists to transfer genes from one organism with another, this purposely provokes better pest resistance and other desirable characteristics. 7 Opponents of genetic modification argue that the DNA modifications are unstable, undesirable, and unhealthy for the environment. 8 Additionally, some are also arguing that consuming GM foods is unsafe for humans, despite much scientific evidence to the contrary.

Which sentence contains a verb conjugation error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 4

Sentence 8

There are no verb conjugation errors in this passage.

Sentence 2

Sentence 6

Correct answer:

Sentence 6

Explanation:

Don’t allow the seemingly plural noun in Sentence 6 to fool you. Here, we have a singular item “having more sophisticated tools,” so the verb conjugation should be “allows” and not “allow.”

Example Question #8 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 While many people feel strongly about the genetic modification of foods. 2 Most do not understand the full nature of genetically modified (GM) plants and animals. 3 For example, did you even know that GM was the abbreviation for genetically modified? 4 Genetic modification is defined as the artificial manipulation of a specie’s DNA usually for the purpose of improving crop yield, resistance to disease, or nutritive value. 5 And did you know it has been going on for millennia, because ancient farmers were selectively breeding foods to provide better flavor, produce smaller seeds, or withstand drought and flooding?

6 Today, however, having more sophisticated tools allow scientists to transfer genes from one organism with another, this purposely provokes better pest resistance and other desirable characteristics. 7 Opponents of genetic modification argue that the DNA modifications are unstable, undesirable, and unhealthy for the environment. 8 Additionally, some are also arguing that consuming GM foods is unsafe for humans, despite much scientific evidence to the contrary.

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “provokes”?

Possible Answers:

provosts

promotes

provokes (no change)

provenders

providences

Correct answer:

promotes

Explanation:

To provoke something is to cause something, usually a violent or angry reaction. Based on the context of the sentence, we’re looking for a word that means to help make happen, and “promote” is a slightly better fit than “provoke.” (A "provost" is a university official, "provender" is food or victuals, and "providence" is divine guidance or good fortune.)

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