SAT Writing : Correcting Ambiguity and Redundancy Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1421 : 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.

Each year, fewer and fewer people contract disease due to increased awareness of its specific symptoms.

Possible Answers:

fewer and fewer people are contracting disease

fewer people contract disease

fewer and fewer people contract disease

fewer and fewer persons contract disease

fewer and fewer people contract the disease

Correct answer:

fewer and fewer people contract the disease

Explanation:

The use of the phrase "its specific symptoms" indicates that the sentence is talking about one specific disease rather than the generalized "disease" without an article. Adding the definite article "the" before "disease" is the best way to clear up this confusion, making "fewer and fewer people contract the disease" the correct answer choice.

Example Question #361 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the best answer from the choices given.

The law that was recently passed allows the officer to determine about which actions qualify as assault.

Possible Answers:

regarding the qualifications of actions as assault.

whether assault qualifies as certain actions or not

about which actions qualify as assault.

for those actions that qualify as assault

which actions qualify as assault.

Correct answer:

which actions qualify as assault.

Explanation:

The sentence is most effective if the needless preposition is eliminated, ultimately leaving "which actions qualify as assault" as the best answer.

Example Question #361 : Correcting Phrase, Clause, And Sentence Errors

Select the best answer from the choices given.

Many detectives were dispatched to Nevada for the purpose of investigating a lead that could provide a break in the case.

Possible Answers:

to investigate

for the investigation of

to investigate on

for the purpose of investigating

to investigate after

Correct answer:

to investigate

Explanation:

"For the purpose of investigating" is wordy and could be shortened. "To investigate" is more concise and conveys the same idea.

Example Question #1421 : 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.

Although the experiment was designed to advance students' knowledge of feline anatomy, Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Possible Answers:

Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cats was barbaric.

Frank felt that the acting of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbarically.

Correct answer:

Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.

Explanation:

Incorrect options:

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbarically.": "Barbarically" is an adverb, but since the choice should be an adjective modifying the noun “act," this is incorrect. "Barbaric" is the appropriate adjective form.

"Frank felt that the acting of dissecting a cat was barbaric.": “Act” here is a noun, so it should not be modified into a gerund. This is incorrect.

"Frank felt although the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric.": The usage of the conjunction “although” makes this an unnecessary and incorrect choice.

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cats was barbaric.": “A cats” does not agree because "a" is a singular article and "cats" is a plural noun, so this is incorrect. If this option had been “cats” or “a cat,” it would be acceptable. 

"Frank felt that the act of dissecting a cat was barbaric" is left as the correct option.

Example Question #201 : Correcting Other 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.

The most shocking element of the film was its frank depiction of Medieval Europe violence.

Possible Answers:

the violence which took part in Medieval Europe.

the violence that took place in Medieval Europe.

Medieval Europe violence.

the violence taking place for Medieval Europe.

the violence that is taking place in Medieval Europe.

Correct answer:

the violence that took place in Medieval Europe.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is oddly worded and unwieldy. The sentence can be greatly improved by simplifying the word choice and making the meaning more clear. The best answer choice is "the violence that took place in Medieval Europe."

Example Question #61 : 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.

Having been that which was the one that lost, the driver congratulated his opponent.

Possible Answers:

Having been one that lost,

Having lost,

Having been that which was the one that lost,

Being that which was the one that lost,

Having been that which was that lost,

Correct answer:

Having lost,

Explanation:

The underlined phrase is extremely wordy and overly confusing in its structure. The phrase needs to be simplified while keeping its intended meaning and being grammatically correct. "Having lost," is the only answer choice that does this.

Example Question #61 : 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.

Unlike that which was considered true in the ideas of the past, the new theory revolutionized scientific thinking.

Possible Answers:

Unlike that which was considered truth in ideas of the past,

Unlike that which was considering true in the ideas of the past,

Unlike that which was considered true in the ideas of the past,

Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past,

Unlike that which considered true in the ideas of the past,

Correct answer:

Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past,

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is extremely wordy and needs to be simplified. The simplified version of the sentence, though, needs to keep the same meaning of the original sentence and be grammatically correct. The only answer choice that does this is "Unlike ideas considered to be true in the past."

Example Question #1222 : Psat Writing Skills

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.

Having been seen to be a figure like a prophet, his writings were well preserved by his followers.

Possible Answers:

Being seen as a prophet-like figure

Being seen like prophet figure

Having been seen as a prophet-like

Having been seen to be a figure like a prophet

Having seen a figure like a prophet

Correct answer:

Being seen as a prophet-like figure

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is awkwardly worded and confusing. Rge entire phrase needs to be cleaned up and simplified. "Being seen as a prophet-like figure" is the answer choice that best simplifies the wording without changing its meaning.

Example Question #371 : 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.

Under condition of anonymity, the informant gave the testimony against the people that were once his former employers.

Possible Answers:

against his former employers.

against people that once were former employers.

against the people that were his once former employers.

against the people that once were his former employers.

against the people that were once his former employers.

Correct answer:

against his former employers.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence is oddly constructed and poorly worded, although there are no grammatical problems. This portion of the sentence needs to be simplified. "Against his former employees" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #211 : Correcting Other 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.

Rarely does a teacher want to publicly humiliate a student in front of students making the rest of the class.

Possible Answers:

in front of students making up for the rest of the class.

in front of the students making the rest of the class.

in front the students make the class for the rest.

in front of the rest of the students in the class.

in front of students making the rest of the class.

Correct answer:

in front of the rest of the students in the class.

Explanation:

The sentence as written is poorly worded, and slightly confusing because of it. The underlined portion in particular can be cleaned up to mean the same thing as it does in the sentence already. The best answer choice, therefore, is "in fornt of the rest of the students in the class."

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