SAT Writing : Correcting Subject-Verb Agreement Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2153 : Sat Writing

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.

At the bottom of the stairs, there's tons of pairs of shoes.

Possible Answers:

shoes and pairs of them are there and in the tons.

pairs of shoes are.

 pairs of shoes are tons.

 there's tons of pairs of shoes.

 there are tons of pairs of shoes.

Correct answer:

 there are tons of pairs of shoes.

Explanation:

"There" is not a subject. It pretends to be a subject. When "there" is used with a be-verb, the subject complement (or predicate nominative) determines whether or not the verb should be plural. Because the subject complement "tons" is plural, the plural form "are" is required.

Example Question #2154 : Sat Writing

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.

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurk a horrifying beast of mammoth proportions.

Possible Answers:

A horrifying something lurks in the darkeness of the woods and it is a

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurk a horrifying

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurks an horrifying

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurks an horrifying

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurks a horrifying

Correct answer:

Somewhere in the darkness of the woods lurks a horrifying

Explanation:

While "woods" appears to be the subject, it is the object of the preposition "of." "Beast" is the actual subject, so the verb must be singular.

Example Question #51 : Correcting Subject Verb Agreement 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.

Paul and Tom, who is some of the fastest runners I have ever seen, left yesterday.

Possible Answers:

Paul and Tom, who are some of the fastest runners I have ever seen,

Paul and Tom who is some of the fastest runners I have ever seen

Paul and Tom who is some of the fastest runners I have ever seen,

Paul and Tom, who is some of the fastest runners I have ever seen,

Paul and Tom, who is some of the fastest runners I have ever seen

Correct answer:

Paul and Tom, who are some of the fastest runners I have ever seen,

Explanation:

In standard English, there are different forms for verbs. You must always ensure, in any sentence, that the form of the verb being used corresponds to the noun whose action is being described. In the sentence above, there is an error due to the fact that the subject is plural and the verb is singular. The best way to correct the underlined portion is: "Paul and Tom, who are some of the fastest runners I have ever seen,"

Note that the interrupting phrase "who are some of the fastest runners I have ever seen" is correctly enclosed with commas.

Example Question #2156 : Sat Writing

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.

The jury are ready to render the verdict: it's all going to be over soon.

Possible Answers:

The jury is ready to render the verdict:

The juries is ready to render the verdict:

The jury are ready to render the verdict;

The jury are ready to render the verdict,

The jury are ready to render the verdict:

Correct answer:

The jury is ready to render the verdict:

Explanation:

In standard English, there are different forms for verbs. You must always ensure, in any sentence, that the form of the verb being used corresponds to the noun whose action is being described. In the sentence above, there is an error due to the fact that the subject is singular and the verb is plural. It is important to remember that some nouns describe groups of people as a unit, like a "jury," and those nouns are considered singular. The best way to correct the underlined portion is: "The jury is ready to render the verdict:"

Example Question #21 : Grammar: Pronouns And Verbs

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 corrected?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

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 was being sown.

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.

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.

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