SAT 2013

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Identifying Sentence Errors

by Krista

Ask-the-experts

As part of the writing section of the SAT, you will have to approach questions that have you identify the sentence error. So, what are they all about anyway?

Identi-wha?

These questions test your knowledge and ability to recognize grammar errors as well as its proper usage. The sentences either contain one error or none at all, so think of these questions as either true of false type questions (there is either one thing wrong or none at all). They are usually not long, and it should be pretty easy to go through them relatively fast once you're certain you have the error picked out or know there is no error there.

What about the format?

The format of the questions you will approach in this section will have a partial or full sentence. The error, if there is one will be underlined and lettered no matter what. Along with the error you must retrieve, other options of "errors" will also be underlined and lettered. You must then select the answer that shows itself to be the error and bubble in that lettered answer. If the sentence is correct, all you have to do is select E, which means No Error.

It will be more clear to you after you see the question…

Example:

The other(A) shoppers and him(B) suddenly© flooded into the store for the sale being held on(D) the Queen Street West. No Error(E)

The correct answer would be B since the correct sentence would read: Him and the other shoppers suddenly flooded into the store for the sale being held on Queen Street West.

Now for one with more explanation…

Example:

It is likely that the grand opening of the new restaurant, previously(A) set(B) for May 15, would be© pushed back because of(D) the recent transit strike. No Error(E)

The correct answer is C; would be is in the wrong verb tense, that we can see from the start of the sentence starting with it is. Therefore the "would be" has to be in the future tense showing that it is likely to happen, not just semi-likely to happen which is indicated by saying "would". The correct sentence should read: It is likely that the grand opening of the new restaurant, previously set for May 15, will be pushed back because of the recent transit strike.

What else should I know?

There are a couple of things to keep in mind when approaching these questions.You have to remember that these questions are not like multiple choice, in that you have to choose the error or mistake this time. Here are some things to keep in mind…

  • Develop a keen sense of good grammar: start to recognize when sentences in your daily readings don't make sense. By starting to develop a sense of these common mistakes, they will pop out easier on the test.
  • Look out for idioms: Idioms are those little keys in our language that work with other words to create better clarity. For example a song is played ON a guitar, or you would be listening TO a person talk, not listening AT them or WITH them. This may seem simple, but it is a common error in these types of sentences.
  • Don't be afraid to use the No Error choice: It is said that 20 percent of the questions have No Error as the correct answer, so don't be afraid to use it!
  • Move Quickly: These sentences will not take you very long. Plus it's better to conserve your time for the tougher ones in the Improving Sentences and Improving Paragraphs questions.
  • Practice, and more practice: take our follow-up test to try some examples out yourself
Follow the link HERE for our just-like-the-SATs prep test!

2 Comments
    ame_nene
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    ame_neneThu, 25 Aug 2011 11:53:29 -0000

    it's helpful ^^

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    abhijeetks
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    Abhijeet SThu, 21 May 2009 12:16:28 -0000

    I think that first sentence be "He and the other shoppers…" because it should read "He…flooded the store" and not "Him…flooded the store"

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    AIgen
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    AIgenMon, 30 May 2011 10:42:05 -0000

    Ya i agree with Abhijeet…and I'm not very sure that the sentence should necessarily read as "He and the other shoppers…"; whats wrong with "The other shoppers and he"..

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Last Updated At Dec 13, 2012
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