SAT Writing : Identifying Other Usage Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #3 : 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 comprehensive chemistry exam consists in four parts in which students must correctly identify the element or compound. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

correctly identify

in which

in

comprehensive 

Correct answer:

in

Explanation:

The correct preposition to use with the verb “to consist” is “of.” For example, “The Constitution consists of many sections.”

Example Question #4 : 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. 

While his parents were at work, Michael skipped school and decided to take the train for the city, where he met his older brother Jimmy and some of Jimmy's friends. No error

Possible Answers:

While his parents

and some of Jimmy's

for

where

No error

Correct answer:

for

Explanation:

"For" is a preposition error, as well as an idiom error. An idiomatic error is a grammatical error, but one that no longer has any logical explanation; it is simply the way we speak, or write in English. The correct preposition to substitute for would be "to." We take trains "to" cities, not "for" them. An idiosyncrasy is something unique or odd to a person that has no explanation. An idiopathic symptom, or illness, medically, is a condition with an unknown cause.

Example Question #11 : 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. 

Everyone will tell you that our soccer team is the best among our county. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

our

among

the best

will tell you

Correct answer:

among

Explanation:

This is a sentence with an idiomatic error in the use of a preposition; "among" is the error and "in" would be the a preposition. "Among" is used a bit more like "between" in cases where there are several other entities implied. In this sentence, "best" is correct because there is no comparison between two specific things. A more through rephrasing of the sentence to read "our soccer team is among the best in the country" would also be correct, but would carry the implication that the team was not the single best, but rather was in the top tier of teams.

Example Question #11 : 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.

Selena was very angry on her sister for arriving more than thirty minutes late to their cousin’s surprise party. No error

Possible Answers:

their

arriving

on

No error

than

Correct answer:

on

Explanation:

The adjective “angry” should always be paired with either the preposition “with” or "at." For example, “I’m angry with you for missing the appointment.”

Example Question #1 : Identifying Other Usage Errors

Her explanation for her absence, that she had been at the laundromat and lost track of time, was confirmed with the piles of neatly folded laundry on the dresser.

Possible Answers:

had been

neatly folded laundry

confirmed with 

her absence

No error

Correct answer:

confirmed with 

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with a prepositional idiom. The corrected sentence reads: Her explanation for her absence, that she had been at the laundromat and lost track of time, was confirmed by the piles of neatly folded laundry on the dresser.

Example Question #11 : Identifying Sentence Errors

My two dogs have recently become rather mutually antagonistic, and I am struggling to keep them separate to each other.

Possible Answers:

have recently become

No error

and I am

separate to

mutually

Correct answer:

separate to

Explanation:

This sentence has a problem with prepositional idioms. The corrected sentence reads: My two dogs have recently become rather mutually antagonistic, and I am struggling to keep them separate from each other.

Example Question #1 : 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.

Jon, as an avid lover of all animals, decided to protest over the depiction of violence towards dogs, which is becoming increasingly common in feature films. No error

Possible Answers:

towards

becoming 

over

lover of all animals

No error 

Correct answer:

over

Explanation:

As a general idiomatic rule, the verb "protest" always goes with the preposition "against," not "over." Therefore, the phrase should be "protest against," not "protest over."

Example Question #1 : 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.

When the batter made contact with the baseball, it zoomed threw the air like a bullet and flew out of the park. No error

Possible Answers:

out of the 

like 

threw

No error

made contact

Correct answer:

threw

Explanation:

The preposition here should be spelled "through." "Threw" is the past tense singular form of the verb "to throw" and is not appropriate in this sentence. 

Example Question #2 : 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 zoo visitor became startled when he saw the tiger running at him with a crazed look in its eyes. No error

Possible Answers:

No error

became

at

in

when

Correct answer:

at

Explanation:

Idiomatically, a person or animal would not be “running at” something, but rather, “running towards” something. Therefore, the underlined word “at” contains the error in the sentence. 

Example Question #1 : 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.

In choosing between hummus, salsa, and guacamole as a dip to serve with pita chips, most people would say that pita chips are best served with hummus. No error

Possible Answers:

between

most

salsa, and

No error

are

Correct answer:

between

Explanation:

"Between" is used to compare two items, while "among" should be used to compare three or more items. Given that three items (hummus, salsa, and guacamole) are being compared, "among" should be used instead of "between."

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