Directions: For each question in this section, select the best answer from among the choices given. The following sentences test your ability to recognize grammar and usage errors. Each sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. No sentence contains more than one error. The error, if there is one, is underlined and lettered. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence is correct, select choice In choosing answers, follow the requirements of standard written English.
(Improving Sentences) — For homes in typically colder geographic regions, it is particularly important to have effective and efficient heating systems.
- For homes in typically colder geographic regions
- For people in homes in typically colder geographic regions
- For homes in typically cold geographic regions
- People in typically colder geographic regions
- Homes in typically colder geographic regions
ANSWER EXPLANATION — The problem with this sentence is that it makes sense conversationally but not in written English. You cannot just say “colder geographic regions” when there is no object of comparison. Colder compared to what? An area can easily be identified as cold without a prior standard (such as the southern regions or areas near the equator) but not “colder.” Also, it is wrong to refer to people as the subject of this sentence because the second clause states that “it is particularly important to have...heating system.” People cannot have heating systems usually. Therefore, choice C, which uses a descriptive rather than comparative term, is the best choice.
- around the month of September
- arrival of
- by May
- No error
ANSWER EXPLANATION — This sentence is flawed because of the redundancy in part A. To correct the error, shorten the underlined portion to read “around September.” It is very unnecessary to prelude “September” with “the month of.” Choice A is the answer.
- time has
- No error
ANSWER EXPLANATION — This sentence contains an error in choice B. The writer refers to “scandals,” a plural noun. So the verb describing such plurality must match. “Scandals...have not subsided” would be more appropriate. Just as you would not say “The other girls in my school has become more cooperative...” you must not say “...scandals...has not subsided.” Sound sentences out, and the errors will jump out at you.
(Improving Sentences) — Concerns about global warming have grown into actual efforts sanctioned by non-governmental organizations and governments that not only work to understand global warming and also to prevent it.
- understand global warming and also to prevent it.
- understand global warming but also to prevent it.
- understand global warming yet also to prevent it.
- understand global warming but also to prevent its growth.
- understand global warming yet also to prevent it’s growth.
ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — The original underlined portion is incorrect because of the improper use of the “not only...but also...” structure. Only choice B and choice D use this structure, but choice D accurately adds “to prevent its growth.” The sentence began by discussing growth because global warming is a dynamic problem that has not just stagnated; it continually has changed. Choice D corrects the structure and also uses the proper possessive form of it (i.e. its).
(Improving Sentences) — High school reunions are usually looked forward to by alumni that have worked hard since graduation and now consider themselves successful.
- High school reunions are usually looked forward to by alumni that have worked hard since graduation and now consider themselves successful.
- High school reunions are usually looked forward to by alumni who have worked hard since graduation and now consider themselves successful.
- Alumni who have worked hard since graduation and now consider themselves successful usually look forward to high school reunions.
- Alumnus that have worked hard since graduation and now consider themselves successful usually look forward to high school reunions.
- High school reunions are usually looked forward to by alumni that have worked hard since graduation and now consider yourselves successful.
ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — The problem with this sentence is that it uses the passive voice and a mistaken pronoun to refer to people (i.e. that). Choice C and choice D change the passive voice to the active voice by writing that the alumni commit the action, rather than writing that the action was committed by the alumni. Also, choice D mistakenly changes “alumni” (plural) to “alumnus” (singular). Choice C is the best choice because “alumni” is plural as it should be based on the logic of the sentence (not just one person looks forward to high school reunions) and the active voice is properly implemented.
(Improving Sentences) — Lockers in schools are often dilapidated, making student’s valuables susceptible to theft.
- making student’s valuables susceptible to theft
- which makes student’s valuables susceptible to theft
- that makes student’s valuables susceptible to theft
- that makes students’ valuables susceptible to theft
- making students’ valuables susceptible to theft
ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — This sentence is wrong because of a possession error. Not just one student possesses lockers and many valuables. The sentence refers to “lockers in schools,” and your typical student doesn’t just have a ton of lockers to choose from! Because multiple entities (i.e. people) possess the valuables referred to, the clause needs to become “making students’ valuables susceptible to theft.” Choices A, B and C all fail to correct this possession error, and choice D mistakenly places “that” after the comma when “which” would be the only appropriate way to begin the descriptive clause. If there was no comma or a replacement semi-colon preceding (coming before) “that” then the sentence would have been okay. Only choice E corrects the possession error and makes a fitting descriptive clause.
(Improving Sentences) — Natural disasters have been increasingly effecting nearly every part of the world in the past decade with catastrophic tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis.
- have been increasingly effecting
- has been increasingly effecting
- have been increasingly affecting
- will be increasingly effecting
- will be increasingly affecting
ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — The only problem with the underlined portion of this sentence is the use of the word “effecting” instead of “affecting.” When an object/s undergoes changes, these changes are effects such as in the following sentence: John’s excellent attendance at school has had positive effects on his education. However, in the verb form, “effects” turns into “affects” such as in the following sentence: John’s excellent attendance has affected his education. Noun (effect) vs. verb (affect). Only choice C and choice E properly used “affecting” but choice E uses the future tense when the sentence clearly describes an occurrence of the past (“...in the past decade...”). Choice C is correct.
(Identifying Errors) ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — This sentence refers to English courses taken by high school students. Whenever there is a description of a person or people, the pronoun “who” must be used. Students are not inanimate objects like fruit-flies or an avocado. Therefore, part A should be replaced by “who” in the place of “that.” English should always be capitalized because it is a language, “prose” is a form of writing just like poetry and “well-respected” is an adjective that is appropriate to describe writers.
(Identifying Errors) ANSWER EXPLANATION — The error is choice D. “Me” can be used if it is an object that is affected, but not if an action is being performed. At the end of this sentence, the word that replaces me (i.e. I) needs to be “worried.” Which sounds more correct, “Me was worried.” or “I was worried.”? Oftentimes questions such as these identifying the error writing questions on the SAT will demand you to apply critical thinking and place the word in a different context than its original context in order to test the meaning and how the word fits. Change “me” to “I” in order to fix this sentence; choice D is the answer.
(Improving Sentences) — For every song that is a hit, it is critical to have a quality “beat” and quality lyrics; however, music companies hire professional producers and song writers.
ANSWER EXPLANATIONS — The underlined portion of this sentence is wrong because the conjunction “however” needs to properly reflect the supporting nature of the second clause—NOT a contrasting relationship. Choice A, C and E all reflect a contrasting relationship when a supporting and united relationship should be here. Choice B and D are left. Choice B is best because the initial clause creates a premise (the requirements for a good song) that the second clause needs to support (how the se requirements are met); therefore is the ideal transition for this type of cause-effect relationship.