SAT Writing : Avoiding Ambiguity and Redundancy in a Sentence Fragment

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #13 : Rewriting A Sentence Fragment

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal. 5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 6 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

they believed that the discipline’s

cryptozoologists believed which the discipline’s

they believe that the discipline’s (no change)

they believe which the discipline’s

cryptozoologists believe that the discipline’s

Correct answer:

cryptozoologists believe that the discipline’s


The problem with this phrase is the unclear pronoun referent “they.” To avoid potential misunderstanding, replace the pronoun with the noun to which it refers. The verb choice does not need to be changed, and “that” is the correct word to follow “believe” here.

Example Question #14 : Rewriting A Sentence Fragment

1 What is to be done about the problem of shoplifting. 2 Small security devices hidden in the tags of expensive clothing, clearly posted signs vocalizing the penalties for shoplifting, and “spider tags” or wired alarm clips all measures that store owners can take. 3 However many can be removed turgidly with magnets, scissors, or other means.

4 Other solutions including using attentive employees, clear and wide aisles, security guards, and security cameras. 5 With self-checkouts, an additional degree of honesty comes into play. 6 Though, it might be more fruition to examine the motives for shoplifting, as more lugubrious social policies could prevent people from needing to shoplift in the first place.

In Sentence 4, how should “security guards” be changed?

Possible Answers:

security guards (no change)

secure guards

store guards

savage guards

safe guards

Correct answer:

store guards


To avoid repeating “security” twice in one sentence, come up with a reasonable word to put in its place. Since repeating the word is redundant, no change is not correct. Of the provided options, only "store guards" makes contextual and grammatical sense. 

Example Question #15 : Rewriting A Sentence Fragment

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 is the best alternative to the underlined phrase, "yelled in a loud voice"?

Possible Answers:

yelled in a loud manner


yelled loudly

yelled, in a loud voice


Correct answer:



The word "yelled" implies that the boy was doing so loudly. Therefore, the addition of "in a loud voice" is redundant. The same is true of saying "yelled in a loud manner" and "yelled loudly." The phrase can just be left as "yelled."

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