SAT Writing : Correcting Grammatical Errors in a Full Sentence

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Improving Paragraphs

1 If you’re wearing clothes right now you’re likely wearing something a sewing machine has produced. 2 But what you may not know is the history of the sewing machine that made your clothes. 3 The device was invented in England during the Industrial Revolution in the late 18th-century. 4 Greatly increasing efficiency by mechanizing the process. 5 Early machines were often used for stitching leather and canvas for various purposes including, horse tack, sails, and shoes. 6 Gradually, other machines emerged that were superior in Europe and America. 7 Famous brands today; include those by 19th century inventor Isaac Singer. 8 As the 1800s progressed sewing machines became purchases for not just clothing manufacturers but individuals. 

Which sentence contains a hyphen error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 4

None of the sentences contain a hyphen error

Sentence 3

Sentence 5

Sentence 2

Correct answer:

Sentence 3

Explanation:

Ordinal numbers and centuries only needed to be hyphenated if they immediately precede a noun (in other words, if they are forming a compound adjective). That is not the case here, so the hyphen should be deleted.

Example Question #61 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Think about medieval Christianity. 2 What do you see? 3 Likely you’re imagining monks, gloomy Gothic cathedrals with flying buttresses, or witches burned at the stake. 4 But what you may not be cognitive of is: the concept of the anchorite. 5 This is the moniker for a religious recluse who elects to be walled up in a small room inside a church. 6 The anchorite was not left to die, however, they were fed through small windows and used the imprisonment to participate more fully in the spiritual life of the community. 7 It is a spiritual calling that is now very rare; few if any anchorites still exist in the world today.

How should Sentence 6 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

The anchorite was not left to die; however, they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life.

The anchorite was not left to die however they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life.

The anchorite was not left to die, however, they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life. (no change)

The anchorite was not left to die, however; they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life.

The anchorite was not left to die, however they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life.

Correct answer:

The anchorite was not left to die, however; they were fed through small windows and used their imprisonment to participate more fully in a spiritual life.

Explanation:

The original sentence contains a comma splice and must be addressed by the addition of a semicolon.

Example Question #63 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Most of you probably know essays to be boring, tendentious assignments required for English class. 2 However the essay has a fascinating history.3 Did you know that the first known example of an essay came in the 16th-century? 4 Its author was Michel de Montaigne the French philosopher. 5 Today the genre includes such disparate types as the dialectic, the narrative, the critical, the historical, the descriptive, and the lyric essay. 6 The genre progressed with essays such as Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s On Poesy or Art, and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of Her Own.” 7 It remains to be, see how the essay will evolve in the future.

How should Sentence 2 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

However; the essay has a fascinating history.

However the essay has a fascinating history. (no change)

However, the essay: has a fascinating history.

However, the essay has a fascinating history.

However: the essay has a fascinating history.

Correct answer:

However, the essay has a fascinating history.

Explanation:

When it begins an independent clause, “however” usually requires a comma immediately after it. (Specifically, “however” requires a comma after it whenever it is used as a conjunctive adverb.)

Example Question #64 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Most of you probably know essays to be boring, tendentious assignments required for English class. 2 However the essay has a fascinating history.3 Did you know that the first known example of an essay came in the 16th-century? 4 Its author was Michel de Montaigne the French philosopher. 5 Today the genre includes such disparate types as the dialectic, the narrative, the critical, the historical, the descriptive, and the lyric essay. 6 The genre progressed with essays such as Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s On Poesy or Art, and Virginia Woolf’s A Room of Her Own.” 7 It remains to be, see how the essay will evolve in the future.

Where should a comma be inserted in Sentence 4?

Possible Answers:

after “Montaigne”

No comma should be inserted

after “was”

after “author”

after “French”

Correct answer:

after “Montaigne”

Explanation:

“The French philosopher” is a dependent clause that modifies the subject of the rest of the sentence, Michel de Montaigne. It should be separated from the independent clause with a comma.  

Example Question #62 : Improving Paragraphs

1 W. Somerset Maugham was a proliferate and English author of more than two dozen books. 2 Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, also working as an ambulance driver in World War I and studying medicine in London. 3 Among his life he traveled in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, within other places, these experiences were also reflected in his writing. 4 His first novel, Liza of Lambeth, drew on these real-life experiences and became an instant bestseller, when it was published, in 1897. 5 One of Maugham’s most famous works, the American writer Theodore Dreiser gave a glowing review to the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. 6 His legacy includes many plays, film adaptations, a tumultuous love life, an epigrammatic British literary award (the Somerset Maugham Award), and a steady if unexperimental oeuvre of fiction.

How should Sentence 5 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

One of Maugham’s most famous works, the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage gave a glowing review to the American writer Theodore Dreiser.

One of Maugham’s most famous works, the American writer, Theodore Dreiser, gave a glowing review to the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage.

One of Maugham’s most famous works: 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. Was glowingly reviewed by the American writer Theodore Dreiser.

One of Maugham’s most famous works, the American writer Theodore Dreiser gave a glowing review to the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. (no change)

One of Maugham’s most famous works, the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage received a glowing review from the American writer Theodore Dreiser.

Correct answer:

One of Maugham’s most famous works, the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage received a glowing review from the American writer Theodore Dreiser.

Explanation:

The original sentence contains a misplaced modifier. The famous work was not the American writer but rather the novel, so we need to rewrite the sentence to accurately reflect this relationship. 

Example Question #66 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Whether or not you are superstitious. 2 Fortunetelling has played a major role in many cultures.3 Also known as divination. 4 Western fortunetelling arose from the Romani people and such as reading tea leaves’, gazing into crystal balls, tarot reading, palmistry, and observing the flights, innards, or eating patterns of birds. 5 In William Shakespeare’s famous play “Julius Caesar,” for example, a soothsayer warns the soon to be assassinated Caesar to beware the Ides of March. 6 Western fortunetelling has also been influenced by Eastern divination methods such as the I Ching and to read coffee beans. 7 Unfortunately several major religions prescribe fortunetelling with very degrees of severity. 8 Despite, fortunetelling still thrives in contemporary culture, psychics and Magic-8 balls are just two of many fun ways to attempt to see into the future.

Which sentence contains a quotation mark error?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 6

Sentence 5

Sentence 1

Sentence 4

Sentence 2

Correct answer:

Sentence 5

Explanation:

The names of full-length works such as plays should be italicized, not in quotation marks.

Example Question #63 : Improving Paragraphs

1 W. Somerset Maugham was a proliferate and English author of more than two dozen books. 2 Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, also working as an ambulance driver in World War I and studying medicine in London. 3 Among his life he traveled in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, within other places, these experiences were also reflected in his writing. 4 His first novel, Liza of Lambeth, drew on these real-life experiences and became an instant bestseller, when it was published, in 1897. 5 One of Maugham’s most famous works, the American writer Theodore Dreiser gave a glowing review to the 1915 novel Of Human Bondage. 6 His legacy includes many plays, film adaptations, a tumultuous love life, an epigrammatic British literary award (the Somerset Maugham Award), and a steady if unexperimental oeuvre of fiction.

How should Sentence 2 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

He was born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, he also worked as an ambulance driver in World War I and studied medicine in London.

Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, he also worked as an ambulance driver in World War I and studied medicine in London.

Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, and also working as an ambulance driver in World War I; he was studying medicine in London.

Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age; he was working as an ambulance driver in World War I and studying medicine in London.

Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, also working as an ambulance driver in World War I and studying medicine in London. (no change)

Correct answer:

Born in 1874 and orphaned at a young age, he also worked as an ambulance driver in World War I and studied medicine in London.

Explanation:

The original sentence is a fragment, so we need to make sure we add active verbs to the independent clause, as well as a subject for the independent clause.

Example Question #64 : Improving Paragraphs

1 While maybe he wasn’t as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was still known as a feared pirate and river smuggler in his day.2 That day being the War of 1812. 3 You see, he came from a British Loyalist family and settled in Upper Canada before beginning a career as a Lake Ontario schooner captain, he carried legal cargo as well as smuggled tea and rum into Canada. 4 When the War of 1812 began he spied on the British for several years. 5 In 1838, his most famous escapade occurred: in the capture and burning of the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel. 6 Because Johnston was arrested many times during his life (including for this crime against the Sir Robert Peel), he always either escaped jail or was not convicted because of juries sympathetic view of his activities. 7 Many people do not know that another name for pirate is “corsair.” 8 Nevertheless, Johnston played many roles in his lifetime – everything from fugitive and corsair, criminal and hero.

How should Sentence 5 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

In 1838, in the capture and burning of the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel his most famous escapade occurred.

In 1838, occurred his most famous escapade, he captured and burned the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel.

In 1838, he occurred his most famous escapade, the capture and burning of the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel.

In 1838, he captured and burned the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel in his most famous escapade.

In 1838, his most famous escapade occurred: in the capture and burning of the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel. (no change)

Correct answer:

In 1838, he captured and burned the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel in his most famous escapade.

Explanation:

To achieve the most concise, grammatically correct sentence, some rewriting is required. The unnecessary insertion of the colon, leads to an overly complex, and equally informative, sentence when compared to the correct answer option.

Example Question #65 : Improving Paragraphs

1 While maybe he wasn’t as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was still known as a feared pirate and river smuggler in his day.2 That day being the War of 1812. 3 You see, he came from a British Loyalist family and settled in Upper Canada before beginning a career as a Lake Ontario schooner captain, he carried legal cargo as well as smuggled tea and rum into Canada. 4 When the War of 1812 began he spied on the British for several years. 5 In 1838, his most famous escapade occurred: in the capture and burning of the enemy ship Sir Robert Peel. 6 Because Johnston was arrested many times during his life (including for this crime against the Sir Robert Peel), he always either escaped jail or was not convicted because of juries sympathetic view of his activities. 7 Many people do not know that another name for pirate is “corsair.” 8 Nevertheless, Johnston played many roles in his lifetime – everything from fugitive and corsair, criminal and hero.

How should Sentence 1 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

it should not be rewritten

While maybe as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was not still a feared pirate and river smuggler during his day.

While maybe he wasn’t as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd; Bill Johnston, still known as a feared pirate and river smuggler in his day.

While not as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was still a feared pirate and river smuggler in his day.

While maybe he wasn’t as well known as the pirates Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was still a feared one and known as a river smuggler during his day.

Correct answer:

While not as well known as Bluebeard or Captain Kidd, Bill Johnston was still a feared pirate and river smuggler in his day.

Explanation:

Although it’s grammatically correct, Sentence 1 can be edited and condensed for improved concision and clarity. As it stands now, the sentence's excess language both bloats the sentence, and obscures the focus.

Example Question #66 : Improving Paragraphs

1 Many people have an imminent dislike of crows, few know much at all about the bird. 2 “Crow” actually refers to a genus not a species that includes jackdaws, ravens, rooks and other birds. 3 Their dark color, striated cries, and appearance in horror movies all make it seem very omnivorous. 4 The truth about this genus is that the birds in it are incredibly intelligent – often nearly so as some apes. 5 Appearing on all continents except South America and Antarctica. 6 These perspicacious birds were once thought to predict the future, including weather and war plans. 7 Today, they are used for scientific research, hunting, or even being kept as pets.

How should Sentence 1 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

Many people have an imminent dislike of crows; and few know much at all about the bird.

Many people have an imminent dislike of crows, few know much at all about the bird. (no change)

Many people, having an imminent dislike of crows, few know much at all about the bird.

Many people have an imminent dislike of crows, but few know much at all about the bird.

Many people have an imminent dislike of crows, few knowing much at all about the bird.

Correct answer:

Many people have an imminent dislike of crows, but few know much at all about the bird.

Explanation:

Sentence 1 contains a comma splice that can be addressed in two different ways: either change the comma to a semicolon or, as was done in this case, add a conjunction after the comma.

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