SAT Writing : Improving Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1371 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city; for Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

Possible Answers:

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city... Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city, with Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city, Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city; for Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city; Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

Correct answer:

I love Sao Paulo more than any other city; Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "I love Sao Paulo more than any other city; Brazil is a staggeringly beautiful country."

Example Question #31 : Correcting Semicolon Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The government is mired in gridlock, there appears to be no end in sight.

Possible Answers:

The government is mired in gridlock, or there appears to be no end in sight.

The government is mired in gridlock, there appears to be no end in sight.

The government is mired in gridlock, nor there appears to be no end in sight.

The government is mired in gridlock with there appears to be no end in sight.

The government is mired in gridlock; there appears to be no end in sight.

Correct answer:

The government is mired in gridlock; there appears to be no end in sight.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. Semicolons, however, must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "The government is plauged by gridlock; there appears to be no end in sight."

Example Question #1371 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

All three branches of our government are held in check by separation of powers; and it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

Possible Answers:

powers; and it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

powers; it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

powers; but it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

powers; with it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

powers, but it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

Correct answer:

powers; it is one of the most crucial portions of our system.

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. Note, however, that they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is:

"powers; it is one of the most crucial portions of our system."

Example Question #31 : Improving Sentences

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

There's a lot to get done today; but I am worried that I will be to lazy to achieve everything I hope to achieve.

Possible Answers:

There's a lot to get done today; but

There's a lot to get done today: but

There's a lot to get done today but

There's a lot to get done today, but

There's a lot to get done today; and

Correct answer:

There's a lot to get done today, but

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "There's a lot to get done today, but"

Example Question #31 : Correcting Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory; otherwise we will never overcome the other team.

Possible Answers:

We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory: otherwise

We have to have a greater, level of commitment to victory otherwise

We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory, otherwise

We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory; otherwise 

We have to have a greater level, of commitment to victory; otherwise

Correct answer:

We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory, otherwise

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "We have to have a greater level of commitment to victory, otherwise"

Example Question #1371 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal it is also very important. 

Possible Answers:

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal, under

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal, with

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal;

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal,

Correct answer:

It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal;

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. In the sentence above, "it is also very important" is NOT an independent clause, and therefore should not be preceded by a semicolon in the sentence. The word "also" in the second clause is a clear clue that it is a dependent clause. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "It's extremely difficult to find a person that you care for a great deal;"

Example Question #1373 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude; and I insist that you stop.

Possible Answers:

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude...

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude for

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude; and

There will be a lot of trouble, if you don't stop being rude; but

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude;

Correct answer:

There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude;

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however, they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "There will be a lot of trouble if you don't stop being rude;"

Example Question #1374 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods; but I know I shouldn't eat it so much. 

Possible Answers:

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods;

Lamb is one of my absolutely favorite foods;

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods:

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods,

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods.

Correct answer:

Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods,

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses; however they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. Coordinating conjunctions should follow commas, not semicolons when connecting two independent clauses. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "Lamb is one of my absolute favorite foods,"

Example Question #1372 : Sat Writing

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

There's a lot to be done today, we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything.

Possible Answers:

Theres a lot to be done today, we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything. 

There's a lot to be done today; we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything. 

There's a lot too be done today, we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything. 

There's a lot to be done today, we all need to work together, in order to accomplish everything. 

There's a lot to be done today, we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything.

Correct answer:

There's a lot to be done today; we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything. 

Explanation:

Semicolons may be used to separate two related, independent clauses. Semicolons can neither follow nor precede a dependent clause, and they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "There's a lot to be done today; we all need to work together in order to accomplish everything."

Grammatically speaking, a semicolon and comma followed by a coordinating conjunction fulfill the same role in a sentence, which one you choose will depend on the context, the level of connection you wish to suggest between the content of the two sentences, and finally your personal prose style.

Example Question #31 : Correcting Punctuation Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

I really love summer; but I am not a big fan of humidity.

Possible Answers:

I really love summer; and I am not a big fan of humidity.

I really love summer; or I am not a big fan of humidity.

I really love summer: but I am not a big fan of humidity.

I really love summer; but I am not a big fan of humidity.

I really love summer, but I am not a big fan of humidity.

Correct answer:

I really love summer, but I am not a big fan of humidity.

Explanation:

Semicolons are a mysterious, dangerous, and ultimately enchanting form of punctuation. Often misunderstood, and thus underappreciated, semicolons, if given some study and the trust that so often accompanies knowledge, can be used to enhance a writer's personal prose style, and clarify the meaning of all sorts of missives. They are primarily used to separate two related, independent clauses; however they must be used alone, and without any accompanying conjunction. The best way to correct the underlined portion above is: "I really love summer, but I am not a big fan of humidity."

Coordinating conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, for, yet, so) should never follow a semicolon.

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