SAT Writing : Correcting Comparative and Superlative Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #61 : 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.

Martin is the funniest comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Possible Answers:

Martin is the funniest comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Martin is the funny comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Martin is the funniest comedian than Max; but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Martin is a funnier comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Martin is the funnier comedian than Max; but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

Correct answer:

Martin is a funnier comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits.

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, or an indefinite number of things, you must use the superlative construction instead. Only Martin and Max are mentioned in the sentence, so the correct construction must be comparative. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Martin is a funnier comedian than Max, but Max does have some really excellent short bits."

Example Question #62 : 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.

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was the better.

Possible Answers:

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was better.

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years George Carlin was the best.

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was the better.

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was the best.

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years George Carlin was the better.

Correct answer:

Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was the best.

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, or an indefinite number of things, you must use the superlative construction instead. In this sentence "of all" tells us that the superlative construction is required. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "Of all the comedians who have hosted SNL over the years, George Carlin was the best."

Example Question #63 : 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.

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a most complicated game.

Possible Answers:

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a more complicated game.

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a most complicated game.

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a game most complicated.

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a complicateder game.

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a complicatedest game.

Correct answer:

I'm a huge fan of basketball, but baseball is a more complicated game.

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, or an indefinite number of things, you must use the superlative construction instead. In the example sentence two sports ("baseball" and "basketball") are being directly compared, so "more" should replace "most."

Example Question #64 : 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.

I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is best for me.

Possible Answers:

I like to watch television programs but I know that reading is best for me.

I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is best for me.

I like to watch television programs but I know that reading is better for me.

I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is better for me.

I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is worst for me.

Correct answer:

I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is better for me.

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, or an indefinite number of things, you must use the superlative construction instead. Here, only "watch[ing] television" and "reading" are being compared, so we know the comparative construction will be needed. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I like to watch television programs, but I know that reading is better for me."

Example Question #65 : 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.

I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is best.

Possible Answers:

I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer Johnny is best.

I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is best.

I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is better.

I have to admit although Paul is a good golfer Johnny is best.

I have to admit although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is best.

Correct answer:

I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is better.

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, or an indefinite number of things, you must use the superlative construction instead. Since only two golfers are being compared, the best way to correct the underlined portion above is, "I have to admit, although Paul is a good golfer, Johnny is better."

Example Question #66 : 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.

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute less favorite fruit.

Possible Answers:

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute lesser favorite fruit.

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute least favorite fruit.

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute less favorite fruit.

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute favoritest fruit.

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute less favoriter fruit.

Correct answer:

I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute least favorite fruit.

Explanation:

In the example sentence, two kinds of fruit are named, but they are not directly compared to one another. Instead, the second clause distinguishes "apples" as the author's "favorite" of all kinds of fruit. Thus, the superlative, NOT the comparative, is required. The correct version of the sentence reads, "I don't care for strawberries, but apples are my absolute least favorite fruit."

Example Question #67 : 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.

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's most difficult to understand people who mumble.

Possible Answers:

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's most difficult to understand people who mumble.

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's more difficult to understand people who mumble.

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's mostly difficult to understand people who mumble.

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but its most difficult to understand people who mumble.

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's mostest difficult to understand people who mumble.

Correct answer:

I find that people with accents are difficult to understand, but it's more difficult to understand people who mumble.

Explanation:

In the sentence above, the level of difficulty inherent to understand people with accents and those who mumble are directly compared, thus "most" should be changed to "more."

Note also that "it's" is a contraction of "it is," and is correctly used in both the example sentence and the correct answer option.

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.

Less people threw they're support behind the politician as more of his personal issues were revealed.

Possible Answers:

Less people threw there support

Less peoples threw they're support

Fewer people threw their support

Fewer people threw they're support

Less people through they're support

Correct answer:

Fewer people threw their support

Explanation:

The use of "they're" is incorrect in the sentence. "They're" is a contraction for "they are," while the sentence needs the third person plural possessive pronoun, "their." "Fewer people threw their support" is the correct answer choice.

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