SAT Writing : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 wish that school were out for the summer, but it isn't.  

Possible Answers:

was

were

be

wasn't

weren't

Correct answer:

were

Explanation:

The first part of the sentence indicates that the sentence is a wish, therefore, the sentence is in subjunctive mood. "Were" is the correct verb to use with "school" when using the subjunctive mood.

Example Question #22 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

The usher requested that the lady be quiet during the performance; she was disturbing the other patrons.

Possible Answers:

were quiet

be quiet

is quiet

are quiet

was quiet

Correct answer:

be quiet

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "regret" is used, we know that the subjunctive should be used. The sentence is correct as it is written. 

Example Question #23 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Choose the answer below which best replaces the underlined section of the following sentence. This should result in a sentence that meets all of the rules of standard written English.

The voters demanded that their representatives were held accountable for their shady behavior. 

Possible Answers:

were held

are held

is held

was held

be held

Correct answer:

be held

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "demanded" is used, we know that the subjunctive should be used. The correct subjunctive construction of the underlined portion above is "be held."

Example Question #24 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

If I was you, I wouldn't treat my brothers so poorly; they grow up faster than you think. 

Possible Answers:

If I was you

If I were you

If I is you

If I wasn't you

If I are you

Correct answer:

If I were you

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than a hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "if" begins the sentence, we know that the subjunctive should be used. The correct subjunctive construction of the underlined portion above is "If I were you."

Example Question #25 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The General wished that his subordinate was more loyal, but it was not the case.

Possible Answers:

subordinate was loyalest

subordinate was most loyal

subordinate was more loyal

subordinate were more loyal

subordinate was loyaler

Correct answer:

subordinate were more loyal

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than a hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "wished" is in the sentence, we know that the subjunctive should be used. The correct subjunctive construction of the underlined portion above is "subordinate were more loyal."

Example Question #26 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The President requires that everyone is respectful during visits to the White House. 

Possible Answers:

everyone are respectful

everyone was respectful

everyone be respectful

everyone were respectful

everyone is respectful

Correct answer:

everyone be respectful

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "requires" precedes the subordinate clause, thus making this a requirement or request for possible future behavior, as opposed to an expression of actual behavior that is occuring. The correct subjunctive construction of the underlined portion above is "everyone be respectful."

Example Question #27 : Correcting Verb Mood 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 repreoduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The doctor insists that I be still during my examination.  

Possible Answers:

I were still

I will be still

I was still

I be still

I am still

Correct answer:

I be still

Explanation:

The subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than a hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "insists" precedes the subordinate clause in the second part of the sentence, we know that the subjunctive should be used. The correct subjunctive construction of the underlined portion above is "I be still." The sentence is correct as written.

Example Question #28 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a setence 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.

If I were President for a day, I would try to solve the gridlock in Congress. 

Possible Answers:

If I be President for a day

If I was President for a day

If I were President for a day

Be I were President for a day

If I were President on a day

Correct answer:

If I were President for a day

Explanation:

The subjunctive verb mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than a hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "if" begins the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The sentence is correct as it is written. 

Example Question #29 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a setence 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.

Despair could render everyone, the strongest among us, weak and unwilling to fight every time. 

Possible Answers:

Despair can render, 

Despair could render

Despair be rendering

Despairs can renders

Despair renders

Correct answer:

Despair renders

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, "could" expresses a possibility, whereas the rest of the sentence expresses a definite, universal statment.

Example Question #30 : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a setence 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 propose that we are more patient with each other; these negotiations don't have to be so arduous. 

Possible Answers:

I propose that we was more patient with each other

I propose that we be more patient with each other

I propose that we is more patient with each other

I propose that we are more patient with each other

I propose that we were more patient with each other

Correct answer:

I propose that we be more patient with each other

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than a hard truth. In the sentence above, because the word "propose" is used, we know that subjunctive should be used.

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