SAT Writing : Identifying Preposition Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Identifying Preposition 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 teacher was very proud of the student for pursuing towards her dream. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

was

towards

for 

proud of

Correct answer:

towards

Explanation:

This sentence does not comply with the idioms that govern which prepositions should follow verbs. “Pursuing” is not typically followed by a preposition. Therefore, “towards” should not come after “pursuing” in the sentence, and can be omitted.

Example Question #12 : Identifying Preposition 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 young attorney was frustrated that despite being a lawyer, she was being treated for an intern. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

was

for

being

despite

Correct answer:

for

Explanation:

This sentence does not comply with the idioms that govern which prepositions should follow certain verbs. “Treated” is typically followed either by “as” or not followed by a preposition at all. Therefore, the use of the preposition “for” after the word “treated” is inappropriate.

Example Question #11 : Identifying Preposition 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 athlete knew that in order for win the tournament, she would have to practice much more than she already did. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

more

in order for win the tournament

would have to practice

than she already did

Correct answer:

in order for win the tournament

Explanation:

In standard English, the phrase "in order to (verb)" means to make it such that (verb)ing can occur. When used in this manner, the phrase is always "in order to (verb)," never "in order for (verb)." One might write "In order for the athlete to win the tournament" or "In order to win the tournament," but never "In order for win the tournament."

Example Question #14 : Identifying Preposition Errors

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

While the cake was baking, she ate half from the icing and ran to the store to buy moreNo error

Possible Answers:

ran

No error

half from the icing

to buy more

While the cake was baking,

Correct answer:

half from the icing

Explanation:

In standard English, "half from the icing" is incorrect; one should say "half of the icing" instead to convey that the subject ate half of the amount of icing that was available. 

Example Question #21 : Identifying Other 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.

Nearly all of the city council members voted in favor of the proposal to increase the number of lanes on several notoriously busy streets in an effort at reducing heavy traffic.

Possible Answers:

in an effort at

proposal to

No error

in favor of

notoriously

Correct answer:

in an effort at

Explanation:

This sentence contains an erroneous idiomatic expression. The correct idiom is "in an effort to" rather than "in an effort at." The idioms "in favor of" and "proposal to" are correct, and the adverb "notoriously" correctly modifies the adjective "busy."

Example Question #211 : 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 smell of roasting onions permeated in the courtyard by the kitchenNo error

Possible Answers:

roasting onions

by the kitchen

No error

The smell of

permeated in

Correct answer:

permeated in

Explanation:

The verb "permeated" is not typically followed by the preposition "in." The corrected sentence reads, "The smell of roasting onions permeated the courtyard by the kitchen."

Example Question #12 : Identifying Preposition Errors

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

Public transportation strikes can have serious harmful effects for the local economy. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

serious harmful

can have

local

for

Correct answer:

for

Explanation:

The wrong preposition is used here. Usually we say that something has an effect "on" another thing, not "for." The corrected sentence reads, "Public transportation strikes can have serious harmful effects on the local economy."

Example Question #21 : Identifying Other 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.

What is the reason of the giant, empty box that has been sitting in the living room for the past week? No error

Possible Answers:

No error

for

has been sitting

reason of

past

Correct answer:

reason of

Explanation:

This sentence does not follow the conventions of noun and preposition use. The correct preposition to use after “reason” is “for,” not “of.” The corrected sentence reads: "What is the reason for the giant, empty box that has been sitting in the living room for the past week?"

Example Question #19 : Identifying Preposition Errors

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

Since she had surgery, Christine has appreciated for the elevator up to her fourth-floor apartment. No error

Possible Answers:

her

appreciated for

No error

surgery; Christine

Since

Correct answer:

appreciated for

Explanation:

This sentence uses an unnecessary preposition. While it is convention to speak about “an appreciation for,” the preposition “for” is not used with the verb “to appreciate.” The corrected sentence reads, "Since she had the surgery, Christine has appreciated the elevator up to her fourth-floor apartment."

Example Question #14 : Identifying Preposition 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 roller coaster was old and rickety, and the seatbelts were dangerously frayed; getting in, I felt afraid of my life. No error

Possible Answers:

dangerously

afraid of

old and rickety

No error

getting in

Correct answer:

afraid of

Explanation:

This sentence doesn’t follow the conventions of prepositions in its choice of preposition that follows the verb “afraid.” “Afraid of is very different than “afraid for.” In this case, because the speaker’s life is the thing in danger instead of the speaker's life causing the speaker to feel afraid, “for” is appropriate. The corrected sentence reads, "The roller coaster was old and rickety, and the seatbelts were dangerously frayed; getting in, I felt afraid for my life."

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