Improving Sentence Strategy

Read each sentence carefully focusing first on the part of the sentence which is not underlined.  Remember, the part of the sentence which is not underlined cannot be changed.  Therefore, this portion will more than likely control the tense, the subject and many more aspects of the sentence.  Next, try to reconcile the underlined portion of the sentence and figure out whether it agrees with the “given” part of the sentence.

Predict how the sentence should be corrected.  Realize that 80% of all SAT grammar multiple choice questions will have an error.  Do not read choice A.  Eliminate from choices B,C,D and E from your prediction.  Then carefully scrutinize the choices which are left, giving first crack to the shortest more succinct choice.

Let’s examine this strategy with an actual SAT Improving Sentence Question:

With the 1977 publication of Song of Solomon, Toni Morrison both received popular and critical acclaim.

A  both received popular and
B  both received popular and also
C  received popular, along with
D  received popular as well as
E  received both popular and also

After carefully scrutinizing the sentence, the well prepared student should recognize that the word both is redundant. Therefore choices A,B and E must not be considered.  The student should only thoroughly examine choices C & D and after comparing these two choices, D is the obvious answer.

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