SAT Writing : Deleting Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : New Sat Writing And Language

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.

The writer is considering deleting the underlined sentence. Should he or she do so, and why or why not? 

Possible Answers:

No, this sentence provides necessary supporting evidence for the claims made in the first paragraph

Yes, this sentence is not sufficiently related to the content that comes after it, and it should be deleted.

Yes, this sentence is simply too wordy, and it should be deleted

No, this sentence introduces the topic of the second paragraph; it is relevant, effective, and necessary

Yes, this sentence is grammatically incorrect and not sufficiently relevant to the content; it should be deleted

Correct answer:

No, this sentence introduces the topic of the second paragraph; it is relevant, effective, and necessary


Firstly, we need to evaluate the underlined sentence grammatically, and determine if it is correctly written. We can see that the opening dependent clause is correctly punctuated, and there are no usage errors in the sentence. So, now we need to evaluate its exact contextual relevance, which in this case is to set up the claims of the second paragraph.

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