SAT Writing : Revising Word Choice, Style, and Tone

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Revising Word Choice, Style, And Tone

Are you trying to stick to a budget? Using coupons for purchases, also known as “couponing” is a great way to save money on groceries. Coupons are a little piece of paper that can give you a discount on what you buy. You will be amazed at the great bargains and amazing savings you can get!

It’s easy to get started. When you open up your daily newspaper, one might find a glossy insert full of coupons. Some of the coupons will be for things you don’t buy, some will be for things you buy all the time. Go through the coupons and chop out the ones you can use.

The key to successful couponing is getting multiple copies of coupon circulars. Ask your friends, your neighbors, and family if they have any extras. Some coupon users even go through the recycling at their office to find more coupons! Have you ever heard of such a thing in your life! Completely devoted, these circulars help coupon users to get even more savings.

Couponing might sound like hard work, but for many people, it’s also a hobby. Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, but also it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping. 

How should the underlined section be corrected?

Possible Answers:

hack

break

NO CHANGE

cut

gouge

Correct answer:

cut

Explanation:

This question asks you to correct a word choice error. The use of the word “chop” is awkward in context, and it is a stronger word than necessary to describe an act most likely being done with household scissors. The best choice to replace “chop” is “cut,” which better describes the act of clipping out coupons in the home.

Example Question #2 : Revising Word Choice, Style, And Tone

There once was a shepherd boy whom sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. He was hot and exhausted fanning himself, rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down. On top of that, he had never been so bored before. To amuse himself, he decided to play a joke. He put his hands around his mouth and yelled in a loud voice, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is chasing the sheep!”

They came running. They asked the boy, “What’s going on? Did you yell ‘A wolf is chasing the sheep?’”

The boy laughed. “It was just a joke, everyone.”

The people fumed, but they all returned to their homes.

The next day, the boy bored again decided to amuse himself again. He bellowed, “Wolf! Wolf!” Again, the townspeople came running. Once they arrived and witnessed the laughing boy, they realized they’d been tricked a second time. Nonetheless, they returned home and irritated resolved to never fall for the trick again for third time.

The next day, the boy was watching his sheep. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wolf appeared from behind the bushes. With its teeth bared, the boy cowered as the wolf approached the sheep. Terrified, he called, “Help! A wolf! A wolf is here!” The people ignored his cries. “That mischievous boy,” they all said to one another. “He must think he can fool us again.” But not one of them came running.

No one was there to witness as the wolf ate every last sheep on the hillside, as the boy helplessly cowered behind a bush. As the boy hid, he shook his head. “I shall never fib again,” he resolved to himself.

Which of the following would NOT be an acceptable alternative for the underlined word, "bellowed"?

Possible Answers:

clamored

sniveled

blared

vociferated

announced

Correct answer:

sniveled

Explanation:

The definition of "bellow" is to utter in a loud deep voice. This is an almost direct opposite to the definition of the word "snivel," which is to weep or cry with sniffling. Therefore, it would not make an adequate replacement for the word; however, the definitions for the other words would be logical replacements in the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Revising Word Choice, Style, And Tone

The Moluccas is a chain, or archetype, of islands belonging to Indonesia. 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. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and pepper were particularly popular during the medieval times. In the 1600s, the Spice Wars arose as a result of competing Portuguese and Dutch interest’s in the Spice Islands. 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. For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements. 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.

What should replace the underlined word “wherefore”?

Possible Answers:

or

NO CHANGE

and

because

nor

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.

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