SAT Writing : Separating, Combining, or Moving Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #157 : Improving Paragraphs

1 The job is similar to a music editor, who creates and merges songs, background music, and other sound effects to create a particular atmosphere. 2 While most Americans today are cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter. 3 Few know much about the role of film editor. 4 This job involves mostly post-production work, with the editor choosing that parts of the raw footage to move, combine, or separate. 5 Without the film editor, there would only be a bewitching jumble of disordered chaotic images. 6 Sometimes more than ten times as much film is shot than is used in the final cut of the movie. 7 Film editors, also have the ability to impose experimental approaches, discontinuity, or emotional manipulation as he sees fit. 8 Film editing truly is a critical and undervalued art. 

How should Sentences 2 and 3 be combined?

Possible Answers:

Most Americans today being cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter, few are knowing much about the role of film editor.

Most Americans today are cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter, few know much about the role of film editor.

While most Americans today are cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter, few know much about the role of film editor.

While most Americans today are cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter; few know much about the role of film editor.

While most Americans today being cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter: Few know much about the role of film editor.

Correct answer:

While most Americans today are cognizant of film jobs such as director, producer, actor, and even screenwriter, few know much about the role of film editor.

Explanation:

Here, we have a simple solution: combine the dependent clause (Sentence 2) with the independent clause (Sentence 3) using a single comma.

Example Question #158 : Improving Paragraphs

1 They will look hideous, but in some part of the world gooseneck barnacles are trendy delicacies. 2 They are harvested mainly in northern Spain and Portugal, where they are known as, percebes, and in California. 3 Barnacles can be cooked in a variety of ways including in boiling water and hot ash. 4 It is remarkable for its rubbery texture, ugly black color, and claw like shape. 5 Barnacles are also difficult to collect, living on cliff sides and rocks in tumid coastal zones. 6 They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter. 7 They are sometimes even eaten raw! 8 In medieval times people actually believed that gooseneck barnacles gave birth to a species of black goose, henceforth the name.

How should Sentences 6 and 7 be combined?

Possible Answers:

They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, melted butter, and even raw.

They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter, and sometimes even eaten raw!

They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter;  sometimes even being eaten raw!

They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter, and they are sometimes even eaten raw.

They are commonly served – with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter – sometimes even eaten raw!

Correct answer:

They are commonly served with lemon, garlic aioli, parsley, and melted butter, and they are sometimes even eaten raw.

Explanation:

Since both Sentences 6 and 7 are short independent clauses discussing the same subject, it makes sense to join them with a comma and a coordinating conjunction. The exclamation point is unnecessary, especially after the sentences are joined.

Example Question #159 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Biographies exist in various specialized forms. 2 A hagiography is a biography that discusses a saint or other church leader. 3 Many hagiographies focus on a saint’s miracles, martyrdom, and divine connection. 4 They were especially common in the Middle Ages, often appearing as part of a larger collection or calendar of saints.

5 Historians today value these accounts not because the hagiographer is often too worshipful to be critical but also they include good insight into local history. 6 For example, the bestselling Golden Legend was a 13th century compensation of saint stories from more than a hundred different sources. 7 England, Ireland, and the Byzantine Empire were all fertile ground for medieval hagiographies and as such much is known about carnelian life there. 8 These hagiographies also changed focus over the years; shifting from heroic tales of holy warriors and sanctimonious moralistic lessons designed to instruct churchgoers. 9 And gradually fading in popularity.

How should Sentences 8 and 9 be combined?

Possible Answers:

They should not be combined.

… designed to instruct churchgoers, and gradually fading in popularity.

… designed to instruct churchgoers; while gradually fading in popularity.

… designed to instruct churchgoers before gradually fading in popularity.

… designed to instruct churchgoers; gradually fading in popularity.

Correct answer:

… designed to instruct churchgoers before gradually fading in popularity.

Explanation:

Because Sentence 9 is a fragment, it must be combined with Sentence 8. When the conjunction is changed, no punctuation is necessary to separate the main part of Sentence 8 from that of Sentence 9.

Example Question #160 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Biographies exist in various specialized forms. 2 A hagiography is a biography that discusses a saint or other church leader. 3 Many hagiographies focus on a saint’s miracles, martyrdom, and divine connection. 4 They were especially common in the Middle Ages, often appearing as part of a larger collection or calendar of saints. 5 Historians today value these accounts not because the hagiographer is often too worshipful to be critical but also they include good insight into local history. 6 For example, the bestselling Golden Legend was a 13th century compensation of saint stories from more than a hundred different sources. 7 England, Ireland, and the Byzantine Empire were all fertile ground for medieval hagiographies and as such much is known about carnelian life there. 8 These hagiographies also changed focus over the years; shifting from heroic tales of holy warriors and sanctimonious moralistic lessons designed to instruct churchgoers. 9 And gradually fading in popularity.

How should Sentences 1 and 2 be combined?

Possible Answers:

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, including a biography of a saint or other church leader.

Biographies, or hagiographies, exist in various specialized forms, including that of a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, one such form being a hagiography, or a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and one such form is a hagiography, which discusses a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and a hagiography is a biography discussing a saint or other church leader.

Correct answer:

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and one such form is a hagiography, which discusses a saint or other church leader.

Explanation:

A bit of rewriting is necessary to avoid redundancy and grammatical errors. Since hagiography is identified as a form of biography, making "biographies" the main subject of the first clause, and discussing hagiographies in a separate but connected second clause makes the most logical and grammtical sense.

Example Question #41 : Combining Sentences

1 Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s. 2 It was a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.3 It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound. 4 And often its lyrics were also political. 5 Some of the most famous punk rock bands came from England and the United States and including the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones.

6 Punk bands tending to convince a liberal, anti-establishment, sensibility,and they were proponents of individualism, freedom, and nonconformity.7 (Later in the 1990s “riot grrrl” bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney used their punk music to draw attention on feminist concerns.)8 Now you can find, punk bands in cities all around the world.9 By the 1980s, the public was beginning to accept punk music, slowly becoming mainstream.

How should Sentences 1 and 2 be combined?

Possible Answers:

Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s; it was a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.

Punk rock, which was a musical movement arising out of antiauthoritarian garage bands, developing in the mid-1970s.

Punk rock, a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands, developed in the mid-1970s.

Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s, which was a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.

Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s, it was also a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.

Correct answer:

Punk rock, a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands, developed in the mid-1970s.

Explanation:

The least redundant option is to make Sentence 2 into a modifier/dependent clause for “Punk rock” in Sentence 1. A key aspect of the question when you are asked to combine two sentences is to find and select the least redundant (or otherwise wordy) sentence that still replicates the meaning of the original two sentences.

Example Question #42 : Combining Sentences

1 Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s. 2 It was a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.3 It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound. 4 And often its lyrics were also political. 5 Some of the most famous punk rock bands came from England and the United States and including the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones.

6 Punk bands tending to convince a liberal, anti-establishment, sensibility,and they were proponents of individualism, freedom, and nonconformity.7 (Later in the 1990s “riot grrrl” bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney used their punk music to draw attention on feminist concerns.)8 Now you can find, punk bands in cities all around the world.9 By the 1980s, the public was beginning to accept punk music, slowly becoming mainstream. 

How should Sentences 3 and 4 be combined?

Possible Answers:

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound, often its lyrics being political.

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound; often its lyrics were also political.

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound. And often its lyrics were also political. (no change)

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary (and often political) lyrics, and a raw loud sound.

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, a raw loud sound, and also political lyrics.

Correct answer:

It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary (and often political) lyrics, and a raw loud sound.

Explanation:

The most direct, concise combination involves changing Sentence 4 into a parenthetical element in Sentence 3. Note that the original sentence features a sentence fragment, and that the option including a semicolon makes inappropriate use of that punctuation.

Example Question #43 : Combining Sentences

1 Since its inception in the 19th century, photography has played various and complex roles. 2 Crude pinhole cameras first appeared in antiquity. 3 Silver salts, the colloidon process, and daguerreotypes were all developed during the 1800s as photography took form and it’s technology evolved.

4 By the 1900s, photography was often considered an equal of, or at least analgesic to, painting and other visual art forms. 5 In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, experiences, and possessions, such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip. 6 For example, on social media sites.

7 Photography can capture such minuet, intimate details that some aboriginal peoples famously believed cameras could steal the subject’s soul. 8 Perhaps this is why paparazzi are so victimized by others in their profession: Their intrusiveness may reveal more about the subject than he or she would like. 9 Celebrity photographers including Annie Liebovitz, who often favors a black and white composition, who also works for a famous magazine, attempt to portray the essence of famous people through a single photographic portrait. 10 Photography serves to document war atrocities, famine, or other human rights issues. 11 For example, Nick Ut’s famous picture of Vietnamese children being burned by napalm helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, while Dorothea Lange’s photographs of migrant workers during the Great Depression influenced public policy regarding the treatment of these workers. 12 In the end, photography can be journalistic or artistic, significant or intrusive or ephemeral.

What is the best way to combine Sentences 1 and 2?

Possible Answers:

Since its popularization in the 19th century, photography has played various and complex roles, although crude pinhole cameras first appeared in antiquity.

Being popularized in the 19th century, photography has played various and complex roles since crude pinhole cameras first appearing in antiquity.

With crude pinhole cameras first appearing in antiquity, photography has played various and complex roles since its popularization in the 19th century.

While crude pinhole cameras first appeared in antiquity, since its popularization in the 19th century, photography played various and complex roles.

Since its popularization in the 19th century, photography was playing various and complex roles, including when crude pinhole cameras first appeared in antiquity.

Correct answer:

With crude pinhole cameras first appearing in antiquity, photography has played various and complex roles since its popularization in the 19th century.

Explanation:

Logically, we can infer that the author is trying to say that photography began much earlier than the 19th century, but that it only really began to develop during the 19th century. The best way to preserve this idea while using correct punctuation and grammar is “With crude pinhole cameras first appearing in antiquity, photography has played various and complex roles since its popularization in the 19th century.”

Example Question #44 : Combining Sentences

1 Since its inception in the 19th century, photography has played various and complex roles. 2 Crude pinhole cameras first appeared in antiquity. 3 Silver salts, the colloidon process, and daguerreotypes were all developed during the 1800s as photography took form and it’s technology evolved.

4 By the 1900s, photography was often considered an equal of, or at least analgesic to, painting and other visual art forms. 5 In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, experiences, and possessions, such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip. 6 For example, on social media sites.

7 Photography can capture such minuet, intimate details that some aboriginal peoples famously believed cameras could steal the subject’s soul. 8 Perhaps this is why paparazzi are so victimized by others in their profession: Their intrusiveness may reveal more about the subject than he or she would like. 9 Celebrity photographers including Annie Liebovitz, who often favors a black and white composition, who also works for a famous magazine, attempt to portray the essence of famous people through a single photographic portrait. 10 Photography serves to document war atrocities, famine, or other human rights issues. 11 For example, Nick Ut’s famous picture of Vietnamese children being burned by napalm helped turn American public opinion against the Vietnam War, while Dorothea Lange’s photographs of migrant workers during the Great Depression influenced public policy regarding the treatment of these workers. 12 In the end, photography can be journalistic or artistic, significant or intrusive or ephemeral.

What is the best way to combine Sentences 5 and 6?

Possible Answers:

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, possessions, and experiences – such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip – on social media sites.

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, experiences, and possessions, such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip; for example, on social media sites.

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, such as on social media sites, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, posessions, and experiences, such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip.

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, experiences, and possessions (for example, on social media sites), such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip.

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, experiences, and possessions, such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip. For example, on social media sites. (no change)

Correct answer:

In much the same way that portrait painters used to memorialize their subjects in gilded frames and oil paints, photography now serves to document people’s daily lives, possessions, and experiences – such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip – on social media sites.

Explanation:

The best choice to write this admittedly long sentence is to use em dashes to set off one of the dependent clauses (“such as what someone has eaten for dinner or seen on a road trip”) from the rest of the sentence. Commas would also be grammatically acceptable, but em dashes make the sentence much easier to follow for the reader. All the other choices combine the sentences in an awkward or ungrammatical way. 

Example Question #45 : Combining Sentences

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 can the underlined two sentences best be combined?

Possible Answers:

Coupons are a little piece of paper that can give you a discount on what you buy; and you will be amazed at the great bargains and amazing savings you can get!

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!

There is no grammatically correct way to combine these sentences as they are written

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!

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!

Correct answer:

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!

Explanation:

These two sentences are correctly formed independent clauses. The only correct sentence combination provided uses a semicolon, in place of a period, to connect the two clauses. No other punctuation is required. A comma paired with a coordinating conjunction would also correctly combine these sentences.

Example Question #46 : Combining Sentences

You may not know Gerard Manley Hopkins was a famous English poet. Hopkins led a complicated life as a Jesuit priest, converting to Roman Catholicism in 1866. Born in 1844 the poet was excellent at sketching from an early age and attended the University of Oxford from 1863 to 1867, where he met poets Christina Rossetti, Robert Bridges, and others. According to his personal diaries, Hopkins frequently struggled to repress homoerotic urges, adopting an ascetic lifestyle, many believing that this contributed to his writing. His work itself is characterized by an escarpmentof conventional poetic meter, the use of sprung rhythm, frequent vivid imagery, and a careful and creative use of language. Sprung rhythm is a particular poetic rhythm that is intended to mimic natural speech and is distinguished by its irregular patterns although it is distinct from free verse.

Hopkins died when he was only in his forties, but his contributions to poetry – particularly his experimentation and his use of sprung rhythm – continue to obscure today.

How should the first two sentences of this passage be combined?

Possible Answers:

Biographies, or hagiographies, exist in various specialized forms, including that of a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, including a biography of a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and one such form is a hagiography, which discusses a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and a hagiography is a biography discussing a saint or other church leader.

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, one such form being a hagiography, or a saint or other church leader.

Correct answer:

Biographies exist in various specialized forms, and one such form is a hagiography, which discusses a saint or other church leader.

Explanation:

A bit of rewriting is necessary to avoid redundancy and grammatical errors. Since hagiography is identified as a form of biography, making "biographies" the main subject of the first clause, and discussing hagiographies in a separate but connected second clause makes the most logical and grammtical sense.

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