SAT Writing : Correcting Ambiguity and Redundancy Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

That which was the point which was most contentious was strenuously avoided during the debates.

Possible Answers:

The most contentious point

That which was most contentious

The point that was most contentious

That was the point which was most contentious

That which was the point which was most contentious

Correct answer:

The most contentious point

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is confusing, awkward, and overly wordy, meaning it can be simplified. In being simplified, though, the sentence needs to remain grammatically correct and retain its intended meaning. "The most contentious point" is the answer choice that does the best job of simplifying the sentence while retaining its intended meaning.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

Before the passage of the bill, hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

Possible Answers:

hardly no one could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

almost no one could have foreseen the economic reforms that currently characterize the modern financial system.

hardly anyone has foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

Correct answer:

hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system.

Explanation:

The original text contains a redundancy error. We don't need "currently" and "modern" because each implies the other, so any answer choices containing both of these words are incorrect.

The only other answer choices that get rid of the word "currently" are "hardly anyone could have foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system" and "hardly anyone has foreseen the economic reforms that characterize the modern financial system." Of those answer choices, however, only the one containing "could have foreseen" uses the correct tense.

Example Question #201 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

The children couldn't sleep, and the reason for this is that they were too excited about their upcoming vaction.

Possible Answers:

sleep because

sleep, the reason being that

sleep, and the reason for this is that

sleep, and therefore

sleep and so 

Correct answer:

sleep because

Explanation:

The children's excitement is the cause of their unability to sleep, not the other way around, so we can eliminate the answers containing "therefore" and "so."  "Because" is the best  of the remaining answers because it is more direct and less wordy than the others.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy Errors

Choose the best way to rephrase the underlined portion of the sentence. One of the answer choices repeats the original phrasing.

The downpour of rain, which soaked us all, was very sudden.

Possible Answers:

The downpour of rain, which soaked us all, was very sudden.

The sudden downpour of rain soaked us all.

The sudden downpour of rain, which soaked us all.

The downpour of rain, soaking us all, was very sudden.

We were all soaked by the downpour of rain, which was very sudden.

Correct answer:

The sudden downpour of rain soaked us all.

Explanation:

The best answer is the most concise, has no interrupting phrases, and uses the active voice.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

The boy having been the one who found the letter, received the reward.

Possible Answers:

The boy having found the letter

The boy who found the letter

The boy had been the one who found the letter

The boy was one who found the letter,

The boy having been the one who found the letter,

Correct answer:

The boy who found the letter

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is convoluted and awkward, which makes its meaning difficult to understand. The same idea can be found in a much simpler form. "The boy who found the letter" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #531 : 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.

The museum specialized in the art which was the style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

Possible Answers:

the art that was the style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

the art which was the style most popular in the century that was earliest.

the art which was the style which was most popular in the earliest part of the century.

the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century.

the art style which was most popular in the part of the century that was earliest.

Correct answer:

the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is extremely convoluted and too wordy, meaning it desperately needs to be simplified. The goal of such a simplification, though, must be to keep the intended meaning of the sentence and be gramatically incorrect. The only answer choice that appropriately does both tasks is "the art style that was most popular in the early part of the century."

Example Question #211 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence 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 hung all of the data, maps, and photos of the key suspects on the wall with the purpose of being able to visualize any potential patterns.

Possible Answers:

so he could visualize

with the purpose of visualizing

so being able to visualize

with the purpose of being able to visualize

purposefully being able to visualize

Correct answer:

so he could visualize

Explanation:

The best answer is the simplest and most concise.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

The earliest known evidence for fermented drinks pre-dates the inventing by people of writing.

Possible Answers:

the invention by people of writing.

the inventing of writing by people.

the inventing by people of writing.

people's invention of writing.

the inventing of people by writing.

Correct answer:

people's invention of writing.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is written in a lengthy and confusing manner. The sentence can be greatly improved by simplifying the word choices. The best answer choice is "people's invention of writing."

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat, has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

Possible Answers:

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or perhaps a cat,

Petting an animal that is friendly such as like a pet dog or cat

Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat,

To pet a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat,

Petting a friendly animal, such as like a pet dog or cat,

Correct answer:

Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat,

Explanation:

As written, the sentence uses both "such as" and "like" to introduce "a pet dog or cat" as representing examples of "a friendly animal." Using both "such as" and "like" in this context is redundant, so omitting one of these fixes the sentence's error. This means that the correct answer is "Petting a friendly animal, such as a pet dog or cat, has been shown to reduce blood pressure."

Example Question #51 : Correcting Ambiguity And Redundancy 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.

Sometimes, we think we know too little, other times, we think we know too much.

Possible Answers:

Sometimes, we think we know too little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little; other times, we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too; little other times we think we know too much.

Sometimes, we think we know too little somtimes we think we know too much.

Correct answer:

Sometimes, we think we know too little; other times, we think we know too much.

Explanation:

The use of a semicolon is necessary when separating two closely connected indepedent clauses. 

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