SAT Writing : Identifying Comparative and Superlative Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #461 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

A recent study that tested bleach, detergent, and vinegar found that vinegar was more effective at removing certain types of stains. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

and

more

found

that

Correct answer:

more

Explanation:

When two items are being compared, “more” is the appropriate word to use, while “most” is appropriate when comparing three or more items. Here, three items are being compared: "bleach, detergent, and vinegar." Therefore, “most” is the appropriate word to use, not “more.”

Example Question #22 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

When Denise talks about raising her three boys, she always says that her eldest behaved the worse. No error

Possible Answers:

eldest

No error

about

worse

her

Correct answer:

worse

Explanation:

When two people or things are being compared, “worse” is the appropriate word to use, while “worst” is appropriate for comparisons involving three or more people or things. Here, three people are being compared (Denise's three boys). Therefore, “worst” is the appropriate word to use, not “worse.”

 

Example Question #23 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

After examining the two cookies on the plate, Rita choose the sweetest for her afternoon treat. No error

Possible Answers:

on

for

No error

sweetest

examining

Correct answer:

sweetest

Explanation:

Superlatives can be used when comparing three items, but when comparing only two objects, like the two cookies here), you must use comparative adjectives. So, the superlative adjective "sweetest" should be changed to the comparative adjective "sweeter" to correct the sentence's error.

Example Question #961 : Sat Writing

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Although Mary enjoyed both novels, she vehemently argued in class that the dystopian novel is the best novel of the two. No error

Possible Answers:

vehemently

best

both

No error

is

Correct answer:

best

Explanation:

Because two novels are being compared, Mary can only argue that one is "better" than the other. However, the sentences uses the superlative adjective "best" instead of the comparative adjective "better." The sentence's error could be corrected by changing "best" to "better."

Example Question #11 : Identifying Comparative And Superlative Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

If I had to choose between watching soccer, basketball, or swimming, I would choose to watch swimming because it is the faster paced competition. No error

Possible Answers:

I would choose

because

had to choose

No error

faster paced

Correct answer:

faster paced

Explanation:

This sentence compares three different sports: soccer, basketball, and swimming. Whenever three or more things are compared, a superlative adjective is used in the comparison, not a comparative adjective, which is only used for comparisons between two things. So, "faster," a comparative adjective, needs to be changed to "fastest" to correct the sentence's error.

Example Question #26 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Walking and taking public transportation are also options, but driving remains the more popular way to arrive at the festival. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

are

options

and taking

more popular

Correct answer:

more popular

Explanation:

This sentence uses a comparison adjective (“more”) when comparing three things: "walking," "taking public transportation," and "driving." A superlative (“most”) would be grammatically correct. The corrected sentence reads: "Walking and taking public transportation are also options, but driving remains the most popular way to arrive at the festival."

Example Question #27 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

He could have chosen any profession in the world, but he decided that accounting was more interesting. No error

Possible Answers:

more

decided that

No error

could have chosen

but

Correct answer:

more

Explanation:

This sentence uses the comparative “more,” which should be used when comparing only two things. As this sentence compares all professions, the superlative “most” should be used. The corrected sentence reads, "He could have chosen any profession in the world, but he decided that accounting was the most interesting."

Example Question #462 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Any nutritionist will tell you that between black tea and coffee, coffee has the most caffeine. No error

Possible Answers:

the most

has

No error

Any

between

Correct answer:

the most

Explanation:

When two items are being compared, “more” is the appropriate word to use, while “most” is appropriate for comparisons involving three or more items. Here, two items are being compared: "black tea and coffee." Therefore, “more” is the appropriate word to use, not the phrase “the most.”

Example Question #471 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

Of the three elements necessary to create metal alloys, titanium is the stronger, lead is the heaviest, and aluminum is the most pliable. No error

Possible Answers:

necessary to

stronger

most pliable

No error

heaviest

Correct answer:

stronger

Explanation:

Remember to use the comparative form of an adjective (the form that ends in "-er" or is preceded by "more") when comparing only two items, and to use the superlative form of an adjective (the form that ends in "-est" or is preceded by "most") when comparing more than two items. This sentence tells us that there are three items being compared, so "heaviest" and "most pliable" are correct here. Only "stronger" is in the comparative form when it should be in the superlative form, so it contains the sentence's error. The answer choice "necessary to" is a correct use of the idiom.

Example Question #472 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Select the underlined word or phrase that needs to be changed to make the sentence correct. Some sentences contain no error at all.

In demand as magazine editor and resident gossip queen, Paulina has never been more busier than she is this week. No error

Possible Answers:

has never been

she is

as

No error

more busier

Correct answer:

more busier

Explanation:

The phrase "more busier" is redundant—it should just be "busier," which implies the "more" aspect already. As seems like an attractive choice, but the phrase "in demand as magazine editor" displays proper idiomatic usage.

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