SAT Writing : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

Example Question #41 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

I never admitted it to my daughter, but I lost the little sock puppet which traveled with us throughout Europe, posing in front of historic landmarks. No error

Possible Answers:

which

but

it

Europe, posing

No error

Correct answer:

which

Explanation:

This sentence uses the word "which" where it should use the word "that," so "which" contains the sentence's error and is the correct answer.

"That" is used to signal the start of a restrictive clause, a type of clause that provides necessary information about the sentence's subject and is not set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. (Example: "The fish that was frying in the pan smelled delicious.") "Which" is used to begin nonrestrictive clauses, which are introduced by commas and provide extraneous information that could be omitted from the sentence without significantly altering its meaning. (Example: "The pancakes, which were warm, were Jenna's favorite part of the breakfast buffet.")

In the given sentence, the phrase "which traveled with us throughout Europe, posing in front of historic landmarks" tells us important information that helps define its referent, so "that" should be used, not "which," making the corrected sentence, "I never admitted it to my daughter, but I lost the little sock puppet that traveled with us throughout Europe, posing in front of historic landmarks."

Example Question #42 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

My grandmother tells me that its the best time of the year to make homemade apple sauce, but she still won’t pass along her secret recipe. No error

Possible Answers:

still won't pass along

its

tells me

No error

sauce, but

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

This sentence uses the wrong form of its/it’s. “Its” is a possessive pronoun, while “it’s” is a contraction of “it is.” The latter is what is appropriate here. The corrected sentence reads, "My grandmother tells me that it’s the best time of the year to make homemade apple sauce, but she still won’t pass along her secret recipe."

Example Question #43 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

Before going out in the blizzard, the men put on they're warmest winter coats, scarves, and hatsNo error

Possible Answers:

and hats.

put on

No error

they're

Before

Correct answer:

they're

Explanation:

This is an example of commonly confused words: in this case we need the possessive pronoun "their."

"They're" is a contraction for "They are" and "there" indicates a location.

Example Question #45 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

While I expected giraffes and monkeys at the zoo, I had no idea their were going to be naked mole rats as wellNo error

Possible Answers:

zoo, I

as well

While

their

No error

Correct answer:

their

Explanation:

In this sentence, the incorrect spelling of their/there/they’re is used. “Their” is a possessive pronoun (e.g. their giraffes), while “there” is used for existence (e.g. there are naked mole rats). The corrected sentence reads: While I expected giraffes and monkeys at the zoo, I had no idea there were going to be naked mole rats as well.

Example Question #41 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about the idea of chickens as pets, but you’re chicken Spike’s friendliness and character took away all of my doubtsNo error

Possible Answers:

admit that

you're

all of my doubts

skeptical

No error

Correct answer:

you're

Explanation:

In this sentence, the wrong version of you’re/your is used. “You’re” is a contraction of “you” and “are,” while “your” is the possessive pronoun that we want in this sentence. The corrected sentence reads, "I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical about the idea of chickens as pets, but you’re chicken Spike’s friendliness and character took away all of my doubts."

Example Question #49 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

The new regulations are too strict; they will neither be affective nor respected by the target demographic. No error

 

Possible Answers:

No error

too

nor

target demographic

affective

Correct answer:

affective

Explanation:

"Affective" is easily confused with "effective." "Affective" means to influence someone emotively, while "effective" means to produce a desired result. 

Here, the problem is that the regulations will not be "effective," or produce the desired result. However, the sentence uses the word "affective," which is not the proper word choice. Therefore, "affective" is the part of the sentence that contains an error.

Example Question #51 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

My sister has always loved to watch the swimmers in the Olympics when she was younger, so its no surprise that they inspired her to become an amazing athlete and win every race she ever swam during high school. No error

Possible Answers:

she ever swam

its

that they

No error

has always loved

Correct answer:

its

Explanation:

"Its" and "it's" are a pair of homonyms that are often confused. Without the apostrophe, "its" is the possessive form of the pronoun "it." On the other hand, "it's" is the contraction of "it" and "is." In this sentence, "it is no surprise" captures the sentence's meaning, but the possessive form of the pronoun "it" does not make any sense. So, "its" is the part of the sentence that contains the error.

Example Question #52 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

John and Susan were disappointed when they heard the rain, because they knew that they're soccer game would be canceled. No error

Possible Answers:

knew

were disappointed

No error

they're

heard

Correct answer:

they're

Explanation:

"They're" is a contraction which means "they are." The correct form in this case is the possessive pronoun "their." So, "they're" contains the sentence's error.

Example Question #53 : Identifying Errors Involving Commonly Confused Words

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

The hand jive is a dance from the '50s where one slaps and claps one's hands to the beat. No error

Possible Answers:

'50s

No error

one's

is

where

Correct answer:

where

Explanation:

"Where" speaks to location. In this sentence, the clause should be "during which" or "in which." Note that '50s is appropriate: it is never "50's."

Example Question #401 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

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

The last question, that was asked by the town’s famously off-kilter librarian, addressed the completely irrelevant issue of protection against government spyingNo error

Possible Answers:

No error

famously

government spying

that

issue of

Correct answer:

that

Explanation:

This sentence uses “that” where “which” is more appropriate. Use “which” for added information, after a comma. The corrected sentence reads, "The last question, which was asked by the town’s famously off-kilter librarian, addressed the completely irrelevant issue of protection against government spying."

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors