SAT Writing : Correcting Grammatical Errors in a Sentence Fragment

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #251 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 Dream interpretation has a long and storied past. 2 Did you know that the ancient Egyptians were interpreting dreams thousands of years ago? 3 In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams; and in English literature including Shakespeare dreams have long held a significant role.

4 Common dream symbols include new rooms, which indicate new discoveries about the self, hair, which is purportedly related to sexuality, and forests, which alternately signal loss or variegated opportunities. 5 Books with titles ranging from The Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation and Dream Alchemy offer advice, and opinions.6 More recently, psychologists have contributed their own analysis to the collaboration of interpretative literature. 7 What did you think your dreams mean?

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 3 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

and in English literature, including Shakespearean dreams, they have long held a significant role.

and in English literature including Shakespeare dreams have long held a significant role. (no change)

and in English literature (including Shakespeare’s plays) dreams have long held a significant role.

and in English literature including Shakespeare plays, dreams have long held a significant role.

and in English literature (including Shakespeare) dreams, have long held a significant role.

Correct answer:

and in English literature (including Shakespeare’s plays) dreams have long held a significant role.

Explanation:

There are two issues with this part of the sentence: Shakespeare is not a work of English literature (he’s an author), and parenthetical punctuation has been mistakenly left out.

Example Question #252 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 Dream interpretation has a long and storied past. 2 Did you know that the ancient Egyptians were interpreting dreams thousands of years ago? 3 In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams; and in English literature including Shakespeare dreams have long held a significant role.

4 Common dream symbols include new rooms, which indicate new discoveries about the self, hair, which is purportedly related to sexuality, and forests, which alternately signal loss or variegated opportunities. 5 Books with titles ranging from The Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation and Dream Alchemy offer advice, and opinions.6 More recently, psychologists have contributed their own analysis to the collaboration of interpretative literature. 7 What did you think your dreams mean?

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 3 be rewritten? 

Possible Answers:

In ancient Greece: prophecies were often based off dreams,

In ancient Greece – prophecies were often based off dreams – 

In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams,

In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams; (no change)

In ancient Greece; prophecies were often based off dreams,

Correct answer:

In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams,

Explanation:

Although the original sentence correctly uses a comma to separate the dependent clause (“In ancient Greece”) from the independent clause (“prophecies were often based off dreams”), it incorrectly uses a semicolon instead of a comma before the subsequent conjunction and independent clause.

Example Question #253 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 Dream interpretation has a long and storied past. 2 Did you know that the ancient Egyptians were interpreting dreams thousands of years ago? 3 In ancient Greece, prophecies were often based off dreams; and in English literature including Shakespeare dreams have long held a significant role.

4 Common dream symbols include new rooms, which indicate new discoveries about the self, hair, which is purportedly related to sexuality, and forests, which alternately signal loss or variegated opportunities. 5 Books with titles ranging from The Lofty Principles of Dream Interpretation and Dream Alchemy offer advice, and opinions. 6 More recently, psychologists have contributed their own analysis to the collaboration of interpretative literature. 7 What did you think your dreams mean?

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 5 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

offer advice, and opinions (no change)

offers advice and opinions

offer advice and opinions

offering advice, and opinions 

offers advice, and opinions

Correct answer:

offer advice and opinions

Explanation:

Commas are generally only required before conjunctions if the items being joined by the conjunction are both independent clauses. This is not the case here, so no comma is necessary. The verb is correctly conjugated to reflect the plural subject.

Example Question #254 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal. 5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 5 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals, or cryptids, are

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids, are

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are (no change)

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals, or cryptids are

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids, being

Correct answer:

Some of the most famous of these mythical animals, or cryptids, are

Explanation:

In this sentence, “or cryptids” functions as a parenthetical clause that modifies “mythical animals,” so it must be enclosed in either commas or parentheses.

Example Question #255 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal.5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 7 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed, and yes evidence is often flimsy,

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, (no change)

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and, yes, evidence is often flimsy,

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes, evidence is often flimsy,

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed, and, yes, evidence is often flimsy,

Correct answer:

Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed, and, yes, evidence is often flimsy,

Explanation:

The original sentence lacks necessary commas – one of either side of the parenthetical “yes” and one in front of the conjunction (“and”) that joins two independent clauses.

Example Question #256 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal. 5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 4 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

Greek: crypto meaning hidden and zoo meaning animal.

Greek, crypto meaning hidden, and zoo meaning animal.

Greek: “crypto,” meaning “hidden,” and “zoo,” meaning “animal.”

Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal. (no change)

Greek, “crypto” meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning “animal.”

Correct answer:

Greek: “crypto,” meaning “hidden,” and “zoo,” meaning “animal.”

Explanation:

Here, we need to fix the inconsistent quotation marks and use commas to denote the sentence’s parenthetical elements.

Example Question #257 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 Ethnography: sounds erogenous but is simply a study of a culture or group of people.2 Originating in the field of anthropology, later becoming popular in sociology and other disciplines. 3 Ethnographies typically include: descriptions of geography, religion, economy, social behaviors, rituals and histories. 4 Most early ethnographies were written by ex-patriot European explorers traveling outside their home continent; though by some standards the Greek historian Herodotus was producing protoplasmic ethnographies hundreds of years before the Age of Exploration. 5 Ethnographies can take forms ranging from the confessional, the feminist, the critical, and the realist but most are qualitative and descriptive rather than quantitative and statistical. 6 Some attempt to provide fairly objective observations of a group or society, others have the anterior motive of empowering marginalized or repressed cultures.7 This group or culture may include anything from a fraternity to a particular Uruguayan village. 8 Today ethnographers often immerse themselves fully in the lives of their subjects, be they powerful politicians and impoverished blue-collar workers.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 4 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

outside their home continent, though by some standards

outside their home continent; although, by some standards

outside their home continent, however, by some standards

outside their home continent though by some standards

outside their home continent; though by some standards (no change)

Correct answer:

outside their home continent, though by some standards

Explanation:

Here, we have an independent clause (“Most early ethnographies were written by ex-patriot European explorers traveling outside their home continent”) followed by a dependent clause (“though by some standards the Greek historian Herodotus was producing protoplasmic ethnographies hundreds of years before the Age of Exploration”). A semicolon is incorrect punctuation for this type of sentence; a comma should be used instead.

Example Question #131 : Rewriting A Sentence Fragment

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal.5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 7 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

sometimes, has provided evidence to the contrary

sometimes provide evidence to the contrary

sometimes, providing evidence on the contrary

sometimes provides evidence to the contrary

sometimes provides evidence on the contrary

Correct answer:

sometimes provides evidence to the contrary

Explanation:

The subject in this part of the sentence is the singular “existence,” not the plural “fossil records,” so the verb must be conjugated accordingly. “To the contrary” is the correct expression.

Example Question #259 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 Ethnography: sounds erogenous but is simply a study of a culture or group of people.2 Originating in the field of anthropology, later becoming popular in sociology and other disciplines. 3 Ethnographies typically include: descriptions of geography, religion, economy, social behaviors, rituals and histories. 4 Most early ethnographies were written by ex-patriot European explorers traveling outside their home continent; though by some standards the Greek historian Herodotus was producing protoplasmic ethnographies hundreds of years before the Age of Exploration. 5 Ethnographies can take forms ranging from the confessional, the feminist, the critical, and the realist but most are qualitative and descriptive rather than quantitative and statistical. 6 Some attempt to provide fairly objective observations of a group or society, others have the anterior motive of empowering marginalized or repressed cultures.7 This group or culture may include anything from a fraternity to a particular Uruguayan village. 8 Today ethnographers often immerse themselves fully in the lives of their subjects, be they powerful politicians and impoverished blue-collar workers.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 8 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

be they powerful politicians and be they impoverished blue-collar workers.

be they powerful politicians to impoverished blue-collar workers.

be they powerful politicians and impoverished blue-collar workers. (no change)

be they powerful politicians with impoverished blue-collar workers.

be they powerful politicians or impoverished blue-collar workers.

Correct answer:

be they powerful politicians or impoverished blue-collar workers.

Explanation:

The correct construction is always “be they __________ or __________.”

Example Question #261 : Improving And Correcting Sentences

1 You may not know Gerard Manley Hopkins was a famous English poet. 2 Hopkins led a complicated life as a Jesuit priest, converting to Roman Catholicism in 1866. 3 Born in 1844 the poet was excellent at sketching from an early age and attended the University of Oxford from 1863 to 1867, where he met poets Christina Rossetti, Robert Bridges, and others. 4 According to his personal diaries, Hopkins frequently struggled to repress homoerotic urges, adopting an ascetic lifestyle, many believing that this contributed to his writing. 5 His work itself is characterized by an escarpment of conventional poetic meter, the use of sprung rhythm, frequent vivid imagery, and a careful and creative use of language.6 Sprung rhythm is a particular poetic rhythm that is intended to mimic natural speech and is distinguished by its irregular patterns although it is distinct from free verse.

7 Hopkins died when he was only in his forties, but his contributions to poetry – particularly his experimentation and his use of sprung rhythm – continue to obscure today.

How should the underlined portion of Sentence 3 be rewritten?

Possible Answers:

Born in 1844 the poet was excellent at (no change)

Born in 1844, the poet was excellent with

Born in 1844, the poet was excellent at

Born in 1844: the poet was excellent at

Born in 1844 the poet was excellent with

Correct answer:

Born in 1844, the poet was excellent at

Explanation:

In this case, “at” is the correct preposition and a comma is required to separate the introductory phrase “Born in 1844” from the rest of the passage.

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