SAT Writing : Correcting Grammatical Errors in a Full Sentence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #101 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

“The Dark Ages?” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

There are two different ways to consider the so-called “Dark Ages.” On the one hand, you can think of the period directly after the fall of the Roman Empire, when civilization began to collapse throughout the Western Empire. On the other hand, you can consider the period that followed this initial collapse of society. It is a gross simplification too use the adjective dark to describe the civilization of either of these periods.

As regards the first period, it is quite a simplification to consider this period to be a single historical moment. It is not as though the civilization switched off like a lightbulb. At one moment light and then, at the next, dark. Instead, the decline of civilization occurred over a period of numerous decades and was, in fact, already occurring for many years before the so-called period of darkness. Thus, the decline of civilization was not a rapid collapse into barbarism, but instead, was a slow alteration of the cultural milieu of a partition of Europe. Indeed, the Eastern Roman Empire retained much of it’s cultural status during these years of decline!

More importantly, the period following the slow collapse of the Western Empire was much less “dark” than almost every popular telling states. Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds for cultural restoration was being sown. A key element of this cultural revival were the formation of monastic communities throughout the countryside of what we now know as Europe. Although these were not the only positive force during these centuries, the monasteries had played an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance.

How should the underlined section be changed?

Possible Answers:

Indeed, even during the period of decline the seeds for cultural restoration was being sown.

NO CHANGE

Indeed, even during the period of decline the seeds, for cultural restoration was being sown.

Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds, for cultural restoration were being sown.

Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds for cultural restoration were being sown.

Correct answer:

Indeed, even during the period of decline, the seeds for cultural restoration were being sown.

Explanation:

The issue with the sentence as written is the fact that its main verb does not match the number of the sentence's subject. The subject is "seeds." Think of a simple sentence to check the verb: "The seeds were . . ." If you were to say, "The seeds was," you would immediately be aware of the error! The intervening expression "for cultural restoration" can distract you if you are not careful. Now, no additional commas are necessary. The "for" is a preposition, not a conjunction.

Example Question #101 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

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:

your friends, your neighbors, and your family

NO CHANGE

friends, neighbors and your family

your friends and neighbors, and your family

friends, your neighbors and family

Correct answer:

your friends, your neighbors, and your family

Explanation:

This question asks you to correct a parallel structure error. In parallel structure, items on a list are in the same format to increase clarity and convey the equal importance of all items. The original phrasing, “your friends, your neighbors, and family,” does not follow a parallel structure. To improve it, we can add the word “your” in front of family, so that the list reads, “your friends, your neighbors, and your family.”

Example Question #102 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

The Moluccas is a chain, or archetype, of islands belonging to Indonesia. Historically, these islands were known as the Spice Islands for their abundance of nutmeg, cloves, mace, and pepper, this profundity of spices eventually drew colonial attention. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, and pepper were particularly popular during the medieval times. In the 1600s, the Spice Wars arose as a result of competing Portuguese and Dutch interest’s in the Spice Islands. The bloody conflict ended in the deaths of many native Moluccans as well as European traders, wherefore both Portugal and the Netherlands gained and lost territories ranging from Africa and South America. For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements. It is located just west of New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean, and its more than 1,000 islands are home to more than 2 million people today.

How should the underlined section be corrected?

Possible Answers:

For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands, although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.

For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands; although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.

For this day strife occasionally breaks out on the islands, although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.

For this day strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands, although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements.

Explanation:

The underlined sentence, "For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements," contains an independent clause (“For this day, strife occasionally breaks out on the islands”) and a dependent clause (“although it is now motivated by religious and not colonial disagreements”), so a comma must be used to separate them. A comma is also needed after introductory phrases such as “For this day.” Semi-colons can never be used to join a dependent clause to an independent clause, neither can a colon.

Example Question #103 : Rewriting A Full Sentence

There once was a shepherd boy whom sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. He was hot and exhausted fanning himself, rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down. On top of that, he had never been so bored before. To amuse himself, he decided to play a joke. He put his hands around his mouth and yelled in a loud voice, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is chasing the sheep!”

They came running. They asked the boy, “What’s going on? Did you yell ‘A wolf is chasing the sheep?’”

The boy laughed. “It was just a joke, everyone.”

The people fumed, but they all returned to their homes.

The next day, the boy bored again decided to amuse himself again. He bellowed, “Wolf! Wolf!” Again, the townspeople came running. Once they arrived and witnessed the laughing boy, they realized they’d been tricked a second time. Nonetheless, they returned home and irritated resolved to never fall for the trick again for third time.

The next day, the boy was watching his sheep. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wolf appeared from behind the bushes. With its teeth bared, the boy cowered as the wolf approached the sheep. Terrified, he called, “Help! A wolf! A wolf is here!” The people ignored his cries. “That mischievous boy,” they all said to one another. “He must think he can fool us again.” But not one of them came running.

No one was there to witness as the wolf ate every last sheep on the hillside, as the boy helplessly cowered behind a bush. As the boy hid, he shook his head. “I shall never fib again,” he resolved to himself.

How should the underlined section be corrected?

Possible Answers:

He was hot and exhausted fanning himself rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down.

He was hot and exhausted, fanning himself rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down.

NO CHANGE

He was hot and exhausted fanning him, rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool him down.

He was hot, and exhausted, fanning himself rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down.

Correct answer:

He was hot and exhausted, fanning himself rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down.

Explanation:

Commas should be used to separate a dependent clause from an independent clause. The independent clause in this sentence is "He was hot and exhausted," while the dependent clause is "fanning himself rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down." To separate the main clause from the dependent clause, a comma should be put between the word "exhausted" and "fanning."

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