SAT Writing : Correcting Correlative Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #41 : Correcting Correlative Conjunction 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 love potato chips, but they are very often either too greasy nor too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

Possible Answers:

I love potato chips, but they are very often either to greasy nor to crunchy for an afternoon snack.

I love potato chips, but they are very often either too greasy nor too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

I love potato chips, but they are very often either too greasy nor too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

I love potato chips, but they are very often either too greasy or too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

I love potato chips, and they are very often either too greasy nor too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

Correct answer:

I love potato chips, but they are very often either too greasy or too crunchy for an afternoon snack.

Explanation:

Whenever you see the conjunction "either," it must always be followed by the correlative conjunction "or." As such, the "nor" in the sentence above should be changed to "or."

Example Question #44 : 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.

Neither chemotherapy or surgery is a perfect cure for cancer.

Possible Answers:

Neither chemotherapy or surgery are perfectly cures for cancer.

Neither chemotherapy nor surgery is a perfect cure for cancer.

Neither chemotherapy or surgery is a perfect cure for cancer.

Neither chemotherapy and surgery is a perfect cure for cancer.

Either chemotherapy nor surgery are perfect cures for cancer.

Correct answer:

Neither chemotherapy nor surgery is a perfect cure for cancer.

Explanation:

Whenever you see the conjunction "neither," it must always be followed by the correlative conjunction "nor." As such, the "or" in the sentence above should be changed to "nor." Note that the conjunctions "either" and "neither" treat the grammatical items they are applied to each item individually (thus the non-plural verb form and the singular indefinite article "a" is required).

Example Question #1 : 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.

In Emily Brontë's novel Wuthering Heights, the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

Possible Answers:

the heroine, Catherine, must have chosen between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must have to be choosing between true love either or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must make a choice between true love or social preeminence.

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence.

Correct answer:

the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence.

Explanation:

Only answer choice "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love and social preeminence" correctly uses "and" with the preposition "between."

The other answer choices, including the original text "the heroine, Catherine, must choose between true love or social preeminence," contain an incorrect idiomatic expression. When we have "between," we typically need the word "and"—rather than "or"—to separate the entities that follow.

Example Question #21 : New Sat Writing And Language

Are you trying to stick to a budget? Using coupons for purchases, also known as “couponing” is a great way to save money on groceries. Coupons are a little piece of paper that can give you a discount on what you buy. You will be amazed at the great bargains and amazing savings you can get!

It’s easy to get started. When you open up your daily newspaper, one might find a glossy insert full of coupons. Some of the coupons will be for things you don’t buy, some will be for things you buy all the time. Go through the coupons and chop out the ones you can use.

The key to successful couponing is getting multiple copies of coupon circulars. Ask your friends, your neighbors, and family if they have any extras. Some coupon users even go through the recycling at their office to find more coupons! Have you ever heard of such a thing in your life! Completely devoted, these circulars help coupon users to get even more savings.

Couponing might sound like hard work, but for many people, it’s also a hobby. Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, but also it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

How should the underlined section be corrected?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year. It gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, and it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

It does help them save hundreds of dollars per year, it also gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

This question asks you to select the correct correlative conjunctions to use in a sentence. This sentence is correct as written, making use of the correlative conjunctions "not only... but also" to express inclusion. These correlative conjunctions should be included in the same sentence, and both should be used. 

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