About SAT Exam
This question type measures your ability to:
- recognize and correct faults in usage and sentence structure
- recognize effective sentences that follow the conventions of standard written English
The following sentences test correctness and effectiveness of expression. Part of each sentence or the entire sentence is underlined; beneath each sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Choice A repeats the original phrasing; the other four choices are different. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A; if not, select one of the other choices.
In making your selection, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, sentence construction, and punctuation. Your selection should result in the most effective sentence-clear and precise, without awkwardness or ambiguity.
Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book and she was sixty-five years old then.
(A) and she was sixty-five years old then
(B) when she was sixty-five
(C) at age sixty-five years old
(D) upon the reaching of sixty-five years
(E) at the time when she was sixty-five
Answering Improving Sentences Questions
Look carefully at the underlined portion of the sentence because it may have to be revised. Keep in mind that the rest of the sentence stays the same. Follow the two outlined steps in answering each Improving Sentences question.
Read the entire sentence carefully but quickly and ask yourself whether the underlined portion is correct or whether it needs to be revised.
In the example above, connecting the two ideas ("Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book") and ("she was sixty-five years old then") with the word "and" indicates that the two ideas are equally important. The word "and" should be replaced to establish the relationship between the two ideas.
Read choices (A) through (E), replacing the underlined part with each answer choice to determine which revision results in a sentence that is clear and precise and meets the requirements of standard written English.
Remember that choice (A) is the same as the underlined portion. Even if you think that the underline does not require correction and choice (A) is the correct answer, it is a good idea to read each choice quickly to make sure.
- The word "and" indicates that the two ideas it connects are equally important. No.
- Replacing the word "and" with "when" clearly expresses the information that the sentence is intended to convey by relating Laura Ingalls Wilder's age to her achievement. Yes, but continue to look at the other revisions.
- Using the word "at" results in a phrase that is not idiomatic. No.
- The phrase "upon the reaching of" also results in a phrase that is not idiomatic. No.
- The phrase "at the time when she was sixty-five years old" is awkward and wordy. No.
Correct answer: (B)
Improving Sentences Practice Question
Scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans, which are realistically depicted in the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
(A) Scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans, which are realistically depicted in the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
Correct Answer: C
(B) Scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans being realistically depicted in the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
(C) The paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner realistically depict scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans.
(D) Henry Ossawa Tanner, in his realistic paintings, depicting scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans.
(E) Henry Ossawa Tanner, whose paintings realistically depict scenes from the everyday lives of African Americans.
For a sentence to be grammatically complete, it must include both a subject and a main verb. When a sentence lacks either a subject or a main verb, the result is a sentence fragment. In this example all options but (C) are sentence fragments.
- In (A), the phrase "Scenes... Americans " is modified by the dependent clause "which... Tanner," but there is no main verb.
- In (B), the phrase "Scenes ... Tanner" contains no main verb.
- In (D), the noun "Henry Ossawa Tanner " is modified by "depicting " but is not combined with a main verb.
- And in (E), the noun "Henry Ossawa Tanner" is modified by the dependent clause "whose ... Americans " but not combined with a main verb.
- (C) is correct. It is the only choice in which a subject ("The paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner") is combined with a verb ("depict") to express a complete thought.