SAT*Improving Sentences* Strategies Ms. Amorin
What does the “improving sentences” section on the SAT consist of? • A sentence in which a phrase of the sentence is underlined. The underlined phrase usually contains a grammar error (verbs, pronouns, prepositions, awkward phrasing, etc…) • Some sentences contain no errors (Choice A). • Answer choices are given that would replace the underlined phrase with a correct phrase (or no change- Select ‘A’) • Students are to select the answer choice/ phrase that would correctly fit the sentence.
Improving sentencesexample Critics often debate whether or not the role of art is one that is simply aesthetic or if it should be instructional. • A. one that is simply aesthetic or if it should be instructional • B. simply one that is aesthetic or being instructional • C. one that is simply aesthetic or if it should have instruction as well • D. simply an aesthetic one or an instructional one • E. aesthetic or should it be instructional
Strategy # 1 • What is wrong with the underlined phrase? COMMON ERRORS: • Is it subject-verb agreement? • Is it the wrong preposition? • Is it too wordy? • Is there a singular vs. plural error?
Improving sentences example-What is wrong with the sentence? Although Senator Fritz and Senator Pierce have both proposed plans to reduce the deficit, only one of the two are viable. A. only one of the two are viable B. only one of the two is viable C. only one of the two plans are viable D. only one of the two plans is viable E. one of the two plans has been viable
Strategy # 2 • FIX the error, or “improve” the sentence • After being able to identify what is wrong with the sentence, look at the answer choices to see which option would best suit the sentence.
Strategy # 3 • Use process of elimination. • Omit answer choices that are definitely incorrect. • Quickly scan the answer choices A. only one of the two are viable B. only one of the two is viable C. only one of the two plans are viable D. only one of the two plans is viable E. one of the two plans has been viable
Strategy # 4: Back-up Plan • Let’s say students couldn’t tell if there was an error in the sentence. How do they tackle the sentence? • Look at the answer choices to see what word/words is different in each one. A. only one of the two are viable B. only one of the two is viable C. only one of the two plans are viable D. only one of the two plans is viable E. one of the two plans has been viable (Circle or underline them if needed)
Improving sentences example-Try the strategies! • When students are told they will be tested on a subject, you tend to be more anxious and find it harder to retain the information. • A. you tend to be more anxious and find it harder to retain the information • B. students being more anxious find it harder to retain the information • C. they tend to be more anxious and find it harder to retain information that will be tested • D. they tend to be more anxious and find it harder to retain the information • E. you tend toward anxiety and a failure to retain information
Extra notes*--- • Pay attention to: • Preposition errors • Faulty comparisons • Incorrect wording • Misplaced modifiers • Adjectives/ adverbs • Diction • Note: Sometimes, there is NO ERROR (Choice A); don’t just assume there has to be something wrong with the sentence
Preposition errors • Prepositions are words that link noun, pronouns, and phrases to other words in a sentence. • Prepositions= about, above, across, after, against, among, around, at, before, beside, between, beyond, with, by, down, during, for, from, in, out, into, to, through, throughout, over, like, of • Examples--- • The book is on the table. • The book is beneath the table. • The book is leaning against the table.
Improving sentences (preposition) example • Cynthia often spends out of her means which is why she is in a great deal of debt. • A. Cynthia often spends out of her means • B. Cynthia often spends besides her means • C. Cynthia often spends over her means • D. Cynthia often spends above of her means • E. Cynthia often spends beyond her means
Comparison errors (faulty comparisons) • Ex.)Larry goes shopping at Foodtown because the prices are better than Shoprite. • Is there anything wrong with this sentence? • Sounds okay, right? • WRONG!
Comparison errors • Ex.)Larry goes shopping at Foodtown because the prices are better than Shoprite. • As written, the sentence says that the prices of Foodtown are better than Shoprite- the entire store. • What Larry means is that prices at Foodtown are better than prices Shoprite. • You can only compare like things (prices to prices, or stores to stores– NOT prices to stores)
Wording errors • Common incorrect sign at food stores: • Express Checkout: Ten items or less. • When items can be counted, the word fewer should be used. • If something cannot be counted, the word lessshould be used. • Similar words include many and much; numberandamount • Manyandnumbercan be counted. Muchandamountcannot be counted.
Wordingexamples • If you eat (fewer/ less) fries,you can use less ketchup. • (Much/ Many) hands make for (much/ many) (less/ fewer) work. • The same (amount/ number) of CDs played different (amounts/ numbers) of music.
Wording/ Comparison errors • More (comparing two things) vs. most (for more than two) • Given Alex and Dave as possible dates, Alex is the (more/ most) attractive one. • In fact, of all the guys I know, Alex is the (more/ most) attractive.
Wording/ Comparison errors • less (for two things) vs. least (for more than two) • I am (less/ least) likely to be chosen than you are. • I am the (less/ least) likely person to be chosen from the department.
Wording/ Comparison errors • better (for two things) vs. best (for more than two) • My SAT Prep teacher is the (better/ best) teacher I have ever had. • Taking a cab is (better/ best) than hitchhiking.
Wording/ Comparison errors • *between (for two things) vs. among (for more than two) • (Among/ Between) all the people here, no one likes her. • Just (between/ among) you and me, I never liked her anyway.
Improving sentences (wording) example Suzie was excited because her fantasy baseball team was far better than Justin. A. was far better than Justin B. did far better as Justin C. was far better than Justin’s team D. did seem superior to Justin E. was far better than the team of Justin Hint: What is being compared?
Misplaced modifiers • A modifier is a descriptive word or phrase inserted in a sentence to add dimension to the thing it modifies. • Ex.) Because he could talk, Mr. Ed was a unique horse. • Because he could talk is the modifying phrase in the sentence • It describes a characteristic of Mr. Ed
Misplaced modifiers • Ex.) Every time he goes to the bathroom outside, John praises his new puppy for being good. • Who’s going to the bathroom outside? • It’s John! • The descriptive phrase every time he goes outside needs to be near puppy for the sentence to say what it means. • Note: Be careful with sentences that begin with a descriptive phrase followed by a comma. Make sure what comes after the comma is the person or thing being modified. • Correct sentence: Every time he goes outside, the puppy is praised by John for being good.
Improving sentences (misplaced modifiers) example • Clearly one of the most distinctive and impressive skylines in the country, New York City is a breathtaking sight to behold. • A. Clearly one of the most distinctive and impressive skylines in the country • B. Possessing one of the most distinctive and impressive skylines in the country • C. Possessing one of the most distinctive and impressive skylines in the country • D. Its skyline may be the most distinctive and impressive in the country • E. More distinctive and impressive in its skyline than any other place in the country
Adjectives/ Adverbs • An adjective modifies or describes a noun • An adverb modifies verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Adverbs usually have –ly at the end. Circle the adverbs and underline the adjectives. • The stealthy thief, desperately hoping to evade the persistent police, ran quickly into the dank, dark alley after brazenly stealing the stunningly exquisite jewels.
Improving sentences (adjectives/ adverbs) example • A bacterium may not reproduce for months, but a sudden influx of heat, moisture, or food can cause its growth rate to increase tremendous. • A. can cause its growth rate to increase tremendous • B. can tremendously increase its growth rate • C. increase the tremendous growth rate of it • D. increase its growth rate in a tremendous way • E. tremendously causes the growth rate to increase
Diction errors • Examples----- • Prescribe • Proscribe • Illicit • Elicit • Incredible • Incredulous • Imminent • Eminent
Improving sentence practice!! Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book and she was sixty-five years old. A. and she was sixty-five years old then B. when she was sixty-five C. at age sixty-five D. upon the reaching of sixty-five years E. at the time when she was sixty-five
Do not forget to apply the strategies! Do not forget to apply the strategies!!! Good Luck!