SAT Writing : Correcting Verb Mood Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #31 : 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 suggest that you are quiet for the remainder of this lecture, because that great man only has so much tolerance in his heart.

Possible Answers:

I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

I suggest that you were quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

I suggest that you are quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

I suggest that you is quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

I suggested that you are quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

Correct answer:

I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of this lecture,

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 of the word "suggest" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The underlined portion should read: "I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of this lecture,"

Example Question #32 : 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.

If he was handled properly, he would perform well.

Possible Answers:

If he was handled properly,

If he was been handled properly,

If he were handled properly, 

If he were, properly handled,

If, he was handled properly,

Correct answer:

If he were handled properly, 

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. The example sentence is discussing a purely hypothetical situation, as suggested by the word "if." The correct version of the sentence reads: "If he were handled properly, he would perform well."

Example Question #33 : 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.

The general wished that his aid was more competent, but it was simply not the case. 

Possible Answers:

The general wishes that his aid was more competent

The general wished that his aide was more competent

The general wished that his aids was more competent

The general wished that his aid were more competent

The general wished that his aid was more competent

Correct answer:

The general wished that his aid were more competent

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because of the word "wished" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The underlined portion should read, "The general wished that his aid were more competent"

Example Question #34 : 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.

If he was more competent as a lawyer, he would make more money.

Possible Answers:

If he were more competent as a lawyer,

If he was competenter as a lawyer,

If he was competent as a lawyer,

If he was more competent as a lawyer,

If he was more competent as a lawyer;

Correct answer:

If he were more competent as a lawyer,

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because of the word "if" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The underlined portion should read, "If he were more competent as a lawyer,"

Example Question #35 : 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 suggest that you are quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

Possible Answers:

I suggest that you are quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

I suggest that you is quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

I suggest that you were quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

I suggested that you are quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

Correct answer:

I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt, possibility, hypothetical conditions, or suggestions. In the sentence above, because of the word "suggest" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The sentence should read, "I suggest that you be quiet for the remainder of the examination period.

Example Question #36 : 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.

The commander requested that his men are patient during their long trial.

Possible Answers:

The commander requested that his men are patient during their long trial.

The commander requested that his men be patient during their, long trial.

The commander requested that his men is patient during their long trial.

The commander requested that his men be patient during their long trial.

The commander requested that his men was patient during their long trial.

Correct answer:

The commander requested that his men be patient during their long trial.

Explanation:

In the sentence above, because of the word "requested" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. The subjunctive is used to express unreal conditions, of which a request is one. One cannot request that something that has already happened happen. The sentence should read, "The commander requested that his men be patient during their long trial."

Example Question #37 : 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.

The great teacher demands that all his students are attentive when he speaks.

Possible Answers:

The great teacher demands that all his students be attentive; when he speaks.

The great teacher demands that all his students are attentive when he speaks.

The great teacher demands that all his students are attentive, when he speaks.

The great teacher demands that all his students is attentive when he speaks.

The great teacher demands that all his students be attentive when he speaks.

Correct answer:

The great teacher demands that all his students be attentive when he speaks.

Explanation:

Subjunctive mood is used when a sentence is intended to express doubt or possibility, rather than hard truth. In the sentence above, because of the word "demands" in the sentence, we know that subjunctive should be used. A demand is considered an unreal condition requiring the subjunctive mood. The sentence should read, "The great teacher demands that all his students be attentive when he speaks."

Example Question #102 : New Sat

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 culture.

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 forces 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:

Although these were not the only positive forces during these centuries, the monasteries will have played an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance

Although these were not the only positive forces during these centuries, the monasteries would play an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance

Although these were not the only positive forces 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

NO CHANGE

Although these were not the only positive forces during these centuries, the monasteries will play an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance

Correct answer:

Although these were not the only positive forces during these centuries, the monasteries would play an important role in preserving and advancing the cause of culture through at least the thirteenth century and arguably until the Renaissance

Explanation:

The problem with the sentence, as written, is its misuse of the past perfect form "had played." We use the past perfect when we refer to things that are further in the past than are other past-tense verbs in the sentence. For example, you could say, "After he had brushed his teeth, he went to bed." This indicates that the person first brushed his teeth then went to bed.  

For this sentence, you need to indicate that with the passage of years, the monasteries would play an important role. The future tense ("will play") is not completely appropriate, as we are not talking about the future relative to the rest of the narrative of the passage. Thus, it is a little clearer if we use the conditional "would." This expresses that, given the "condition" of years passing, the monasteries would play an important role in the preservation of culture.

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