SAT Writing : Identifying Adjective and Adverb Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #10 : 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.

Susan's term paper was definitely the most thorough researched work she had done all year, but she was still worried that the teacher wouldn't like itNo error

Possible Answers:

she'd done

it

No error

was

most thorough

Correct answer:

most thorough

Explanation:

The error here is "most thorough." Since "thorough" is followed by a verb it is an adverb, and thus must become "thoroughly." The correct way to write this would be "the most thoroughly researched." Adding the "-ly" to an adjective usually makes it an adverb, and every time and adjective is describing another adjective or a verb it must become an adverb. The "it" at the end is the correct pronoun, as "it" is referring to the paper.

Example Question #11 : Identifying Sentence Errors

The lights were dimmed slow, and the crowd gasped when the blue glow of the painted letters became apparent.

Possible Answers:

gasped

No error

were dimmed

became apparent

slow

Correct answer:

slow

Explanation:

This sentence uses the adjective “slow” to describe a the verb “were dimmed.” An adverb would be better. The corrected sentence reads: The lights were dimmed slowly, and the crowd gasped when the blue glow of the painted letters became apparent.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Word Usage Errors

The sharp beak and beady eyes of a common farm chicken can be terrifying to those who have never seen this animal previous.

Possible Answers:

sharp beak and beady eyes

previous

who

can be terrifying

No error

Correct answer:

previous

Explanation:

This sentence uses the adjective “previous” to describe the verb “seen.” An adverb would be better. The corrected sentence reads: The sharp beak and beady eyes of a common farm chicken can be terrifying to those who have never seen this animal previously.

Example Question #53 : 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. 

Contrary to popular belief, if one were to compare the hunting prowess of female lions with that of male lions, the females would be the best hunters. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

were to compare

to popular belief

female lions with male lions

best

Correct answer:

best

Explanation:

"The best hunters" is the error here, making this a comparative error. The correct word would be "better" here because the sentence draws a comparison between two groups—females and males. Whenever a comparison is drawn between two items, it is correct to use the "-er" form of the word; this is known as the "comparative" form of the word. Whenever a comparison is drawn between three or more things, you use the "-est" form of the word, known as the "superlative" form. A comparison is used to compare one item to one other item; superlatives are used to distinguish one item from many other items.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

My mother explained the process to me in an excruciating detailed manner; you don’t need to worry about me forgetting anything.

Possible Answers:

No error

manner; you

to me

excruciating

anything

Correct answer:

excruciating

Explanation:

In this sentence, the adjective “excruciating” is used to describe the other adjective “detailed.” Adverbs should describe adjectives, so the adverb form “excruciatingly” would be better. The corrected sentence reads: My mother explained the process to me in an excruciatingly detailed manner; you don’t need to worry about me forgetting anything.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Adjective And Adverb Errors

The kite caught the breeze, flew up in the air, danced graceful about the sky, and lodged itself in a tree.

Possible Answers:

graceful

in the air

flew

No error

and lodged itself in a tree

Correct answer:

graceful

Explanation:

In this sentence, the adjective “graceful” is used to describe the verb “danced.” Adverbs, not adjectives, should describe verbs, so the adverb version “gracefully” would be better. The corrected sentence reads: The kite caught the breeze, flew up in the air, danced gracefully about the sky, and lodged itself in a tree.

Example Question #3 : Identifying Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

It was impossible to choose between the litter, because all of the kittens were just too adorable! 

Possible Answers:

no error

!

between

kittens

, because

Correct answer:

between

Explanation:

The correct adverb here would be among, because there are multiple kittens in a litter, not just two.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

The scapula are not actual connected to the rib cage through any bones or joints.

Possible Answers:

through any

actually

are

No error

or joints

Correct answer:

actually

Explanation:

In this sentence, the adjective “actual” is used to describe the verb “connected.” The adverb should be used instead. The corrected sentence reads: The scapula are not actually connected to the rib cage through any bones or joints.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

She will arrive lately than expected due to travel issues.

Possible Answers:

later expectedly

lately than expected.

lately expectedly.

later than expected.

expectedly lately.

Correct answer:

later than expected.

Explanation:

The underlined portion of the sentence uses an adverb "lately," where an adjective should be used. The only answer choice that properly uses an adjective is "later than expected," which is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #2 : Identifying Other Adjective And Adverb Errors

In the following question, please choose the best sentence improvement.

The parents looked at their college graduate so proud that they seemed to glow with happiness.

Possible Answers:

so proudly

so very proud

so much pride

so prideful

so proud

Correct answer:

so proudly

Explanation:

The word proud needs to be an adverb because it is modifying looked.

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