PSAT Writing : Correcting Verb Voice Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Correcting Verb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Under the old regime, liberties curtailed greatly.

Possible Answers:

The old regime had liberties curtailing a great amount.

The old regime greatly curtailed liberties.

The old regime's liberties were greatly curtailed.

Under the old regime, liberties being curtailed greatly.

Under the old regime, liberties curtailed greatly.

Correct answer:

The old regime greatly curtailed liberties.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence contains a flaw in word order. To have the sentence make sense, the government, and not liberties, must be doing the curtailing. The only answer choice that correctly indicates that "the old regime" is the thing doing the curtailing without introducing errors into the sentence is "The old regime greatly curtailed liberties."

Example Question #12 : Correcting Verb Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

He is hindered by his deformities; he cannot speak to Josephine face-to-face, because he is ashamed of his appearance.  

Possible Answers:

His deformities hindering him

His deformities hindered him

His deformities hinder him

Hindering him were his deformities

He is hindered by his deformities

Correct answer:

His deformities hinder him

Explanation:

The phrase "his deformities hinder him" uses active voice, which is preferable over passive voice. The phrase "his deformities hindering him" makes a dependent clause, which is incorrect before a semicolon. The phrase "his deformities hindered him" is in the past tense, while the rest of the excerpt is in the present tense.

Example Question #503 : Improving Sentences

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

Horses were domesticating by humans thousands of years ago.

Possible Answers:

were domesticated

were domesticating

domesticating

domestication

domesticated taking place

Correct answer:

were domesticated

Explanation:

The sentence describes what humans did to horses in the past, a fact that needs to be reflected in the verb's tense and transitivity. The correct answer must indicate that the domesticating being discussed took place in the past and was done by humans to horses, leading to "were domesticated" as the only possible answer choice.

Example Question #504 : Improving Sentences

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

As the suit was finished quickly, that it still needed alterations did not surprise Henry.

Possible Answers:

it still needed alterations, which did not surprise Henry.

Henry was not surprised that it still needed alterations.

because it still needed alterations, which surprised Henry.

it was not surprising to Henry that it still needed alterations.

that it still needed more alterations did not surprise Henry.

Correct answer:

Henry was not surprised that it still needed alterations.

Explanation:

Avoid the passive voice of the original ("it still needed alterations") and choose the simplest answer which preserves the meaning of the original sentence.

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