SAT Writing : Correcting Comparative and Superlative Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #407 : Correcting Word Usage 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.

I am the best chess player in class—no one has a chance against me.

Possible Answers:

most good

better

more good

best

bestest

Correct answer:

best

Explanation:

When three or more things are being compared, it is best to use the superlative form of the adjective or adverb in question. In the case of "good" the comparative construction is "best," and the example sentence is correct as written. If the speaker were comparing him- or herself to another specific chess player, then the comparative would be needed, e.g. "I am a better chess player than Tom."

Example Question #408 : Correcting Word Usage 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.

I hope you don't get the teacher I had for math, because he is the most bad teacher in the whole school.

Possible Answers:

most bad

badder

worst

very bad

baddest

Correct answer:

worst

Explanation:

When three or more things are being compared, or there is an indefinite comparison (such as one teacher out of a whole school group), it is best to use the superlative form of the adjective or adverb in question. In the case of "bad" the comparative construction is "worst," and it is correct in the sentence. It is reasonable to assume, in this instance, that there are more than one other teacher in the "whole school."

Example Question #409 : Correcting Word Usage 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.

I think that my favorite book is the better book of all time. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

goodest

best

most good

gooder

Correct answer:

best

Explanation:

In the above sentence, the narrator is comparing his/her favorite book to all books, ever. Therefore, because three or more things are being compared, the superlative construction must be used. The best way to write this sentence is, "I think that my favorite book is the best book of all time."

Example Question #410 : Correcting Word Usage 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 day of the track meet, I was prepared to run most quickly than I ever had before.

Possible Answers:

most quickly

 more fast

more quickly

faster

fastest

Correct answer:

more quickly

Explanation:

When comparing two (and only two) things, one must always use the comparative construction. In this example, two things are being compared: how quickly the narrator has run before, and how quickly he or she is intending to run the day of the meet. As such, the best way to write the sentence is: "The day of the track meet, I was prepared to run more quickly than I ever had before." When one thing is being distinguished from a list of three or more things, a superlative construction is required.

Example Question #21 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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 regarded as one of the greater actors of all time.

Possible Answers:

more great

most great

greater

greatest

Correct answer:

greatest

Explanation:

When comparing three or more things, you must use the superlative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. "Greater" is the comparative construction and would only be correct if the actor in question were being compared to one other actor. In this case, the superlative form of "great" is "greatest" which is the best option to replace the underlined portion of the sentence above.

Example Question #22 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

When in dire straits, most people take the easier way out.

Possible Answers:

easier

most easy

easiest

more easy

Correct answer:

easiest

Explanation:

When comparing three or more things, including in the instance of an indefinite comparison like the one in the example sentence, you must use the superlative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. In this case, the superlative form of "easy" is "easiest" which is the best option to replace the underlined portion of the sentence above.

Example Question #23 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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 raw recruits were the absolute bad troops in the army. 

Possible Answers:

worse

bad

baddest

worst

Correct answer:

worst

Explanation:

When comparing three or more things you must use the superlative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. In this case, the superlative form of "bad" is "worst" which is the best option to replace the underlined portion of the sentence above. "Absolute" is a fairly reliable indicator that a superlative might be coming, as this is a word that will commonly precede a distinction of the "best" or "worst" of something.

Example Question #24 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

Amanda hated finals week because it was the stressfullest time of the year for her.

Possible Answers:

more stressful

stressfullest

stressfuller

most stressful

Correct answer:

most stressful

Explanation:

When comparing three or more things you must use the superlative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. In this case, an incorrect version of the superlative form was used. The superlative form of "stressful" is "most stressful" which is the best option to replace the underlined portion of the sentence above.

Example Question #25 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

Which of the nine greyhounds do you think will be the swifter in the race?

Possible Answers:

the swiftiest in the Race?

the swifter in the race?

the swiftest in the race?

the swifter for the race?

the swifter with the race?

Correct answer:

the swiftest in the race?

Explanation:

When you are comparing only two things, you must use the comparative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. When you are comparing three or more things, you must use the superlative construction instead. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "the swiftest in the race?"

Example Question #26 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

If I were hard pressed to choose between William and Jeffrey, I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is most beautiful than William.

Possible Answers:

I will have to choose Jeffrey because he is mostly beautiful than William.

I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is most beautiful than William.

I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is the most beautiful than William.

I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is more beautiful than William.

I would have to chose Jeffrey because he is most beautiful over William.

Correct answer:

I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is more beautiful than William.

Explanation:

When you are comparing only two things, you must use the comparative construction of the adjective or adverb in question. When you are comparing three or more things, you must use the superlative construction instead. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "I would have to choose Jeffrey because he is more beautiful than William."

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