SAT Writing : Identifying Verb Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identifying Sentence Errors

Harold had always found the specialized jargon of artisanal coffee shops being confusing and intimidating. 

Possible Answers:

and

jargon of

had always found

being

No error

Correct answer:

being

Explanation:

This sentence does not use the correct form of the verb that follows “found.” The corrected sentence reads: Harold had always found the specialized jargon of artisanal coffee shops to be confusing and intimidating.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Sentence Errors

His family grew up eating a steady diet of meat and potatoes, and now they are being reluctant to try new foods like enchiladas and kale chips.

Possible Answers:

are being

steady diet

like enchiladas and kale chips

No error

to try

Correct answer:

are being

Explanation:

This sentence uses a clunky progressive tense when it is not needed. The corrected sentence reads: His family grew up eating a steady diet of meat and potatoes, and now they are reluctant to try new foods like enchiladas and kale chips.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

She found herself unable to following his long and wordy directions, so she asked another person at the gas station after he left. No error

Possible Answers:

after he left

to following

so she asked

found herself

No error

Correct answer:

to following

Explanation:

The writer uses the incorrect verb form "to following" in this sentence and needs to change it to "to follow," which is the proper way to form the infinitive (a verbal noun).

Example Question #1 : Identifying Verb Errors

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

I don't know how Jim was able to ran that fast, but since he'd always been running faster than most of us kids, I wasn't too surprised. No error

Possible Answers:

us kids

No error

how

to ran

been running

Correct answer:

to ran

Explanation:

The writer uses the incorrect verb form "to ran" in the above sentence and would need to change it to "to run" in order to make the sentence fully grammatically correct.

Example Question #1 : Identifying Verb Errors

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

Pamela knew that Keith was capable of manage the Smith family's wedding, so she left him in charge of catering the event. No error

Possible Answers:

in

family's

of manage

of catering

No error

Correct answer:

of manage

Explanation:

The sentence above uses the incorrect verb form "of manage." We would need to replace it with "of managing" in order to make the sentence correct.

Example Question #4 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

Daisy and I contacted the jeweler because we had heard she would be able to finding us a great engagement ring. No error

Possible Answers:

had heard

to finding

contacted

would be

No error

Correct answer:

to finding

Explanation:

The sentence contains a verb voice error in "to finding." We would need to change the verb to the grammatically correct form "to find" in order to improve the sentence.

Example Question #5 : Identifying Verb Voice 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 letter from the scholarship committee said that he had selected to be one of the recipients of the prestigious $10,000 scholarship because of his excellent grades and volunteer work. No error

Possible Answers:

had selected

one of the recipients of

because of his excellent grades and volunteer work

No error

from the scholarship committee

Correct answer:

had selected

Explanation:

We say that someone “is selected” by a committee to be the recipient of an award. This is in the passive voice. This sentence instead uses the active voice to describe the student who has been selected for the scholarship. To correct this, we need to change “had selected,” which is active, to “had been selected,” which is passive.

Example Question #6 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

It took Donna many weeks to perfect her pirouette, but when she finally mastered it, she wouldn't stop being shown off in front of us. No error

Possible Answers:

It took

to perfect

No error

wouldn't stop

being shown off

Correct answer:

being shown off

Explanation:

This sentence wants to say that when Donna learned how to do her pirouette, she kept showing off her pirouette to other people. The way the sentence is currently worded, it sounds like Donna is being shown off by another person. “Being shown off” is in the passive voice, but it should be changed to the active voice. So, “being shown off” should be changed to “showing off,” because Donna is the one doing the showing off, not being shown off by someone else.

Example Question #7 : Identifying Verb Voice Errors

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

Sheela and Shreya contacted him because they had heard he selled the best cakes in town. No error

Possible Answers:

selled

No error

heard

contacted

because

Correct answer:

selled

Explanation:

The word "selled" is an incorrect formulation of the verb "sell." Since the cakes are bing sold on an ongoing basis the correct way to conjugate the sentence would be to replace "selled" with "sells."

Example Question #1 : Identifying Verb Errors

Please choose the part of the sentence that needs to be corrected. Some sentences may have no error at all. 

The judges were amazed that Joe had been able to sang so beautifully. No error

Possible Answers:

sang

No error

were

amazed

had

Correct answer:

sang

Explanation:

Because "the judges were amazed that Joe had been able to sing" the correct conjugation of the verb uses the present, rather than the past participle.

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