The SAT Writing section doesn’t mess around.For Identifying Sentence Errorsyou had to identifyerrors in sentences. Care to guess what you have todo forSentence Improvement questions? That’s right:You have to improve sentences.
Improving Sentences questions consist of a singlesentence with one underlinedword or phrase. Your mission with that underlined portion of thesentence is twofold. First, you have to figure out if there’s a problem with the underlined part.Then, if there is a problem, you have to decide which answer choice fixesthe problem.Sometimes—one-fifth of the time, in fact—no error will exist.
You know the drill. Learn the directions now so you don’t have to waste time reading themwhen you take the actual SAT.
Directions: The following sentences test correctness and effectiveness of ex
In each of the following sentences, part of the sentence or the entire sentence is underlined.Beneath each sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. Choice A repeatsthe original; the other four are different.
Choose the answer that best expresses the meaning of the original sentence. If you thinkthe original is better than any of the alternatives, choose it; otherwise choose one of the others.Your choice should produce the most effective sentence—clear and precise, withoutawkwardness or ambiguity.
Notice that once again, the SAT wants you to follow the rules of standard written Englishwhen you’re answering these questions. The rules of standard spoken English aren’t acceptedhere, so a lot of English that’s passable in speech will be considered incorrect on ImprovingSentences questions.
Also notice that because answer choice A is always the same as the original sentence, younever need to waste time reading answer choice A. So, unless
you think the sentence contains no error, skip directly to B.
An Example to Sample
Here’s what an Improving Sentences question looks like:
Jenna was awarded the medal not for her academic success or her skill on the soccer field,but for her being a participant in gym class.
(A) but for her being a participant in gym class
(B) the reason being for her participation in gym class
(C) the reason was her participating in gym class
(D) but for her being participation-willing in gym class
(E) but for her participation in gym class
The Good News . . . and the Good News
On this section, as on the other sections, grammar terminology is not tested. Neither isspelling. Mastering this section does not require you to memorize a huge amount of material orlearn a ton of new concepts. You’ll see questions onthe passive voice, run-on sentences, andmisplaced modifiers. You’ll probably also encounter a few questions on parallelism,conjunctions, fragments, and gerunds. Although some of the material in this chapter is new,you’ll notice thatthe SAT tests many of the same grammar rules in this section that wealreadycovered back in the Identifying Sentence Errors chapter.