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SAT Writing Exercise: Identifying Sentence Errors Practice

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This short quiz is modeled after the “Identifying Sentence Errors” portion of the SAT Writing Exam. Nine of the sentences contain common grammar errors. One sentence contains no errors. Correct answers and explanations can be found at the end of the quiz.

 

  1. Although most of its(A) land is(B) uninhabitable, Alaska is larger(C) than any(D)state. No error.(E)
  1. The members of the jury was(A) unmoved by (B)the defendant’s plea for leniency (C) and returned a verdict(D) of guilty. No error.(E)
  1. A fan of musicals(A), Marla enjoyed(B) the movie Into the Woods more(C) than her friend(D). No Error.
  1. Due to(A) an accident on I-285(B), John missed(C) a meeting with(D) an important client. No error.(E)
  1. If she would have(A) spent more time studying than(B) she did partying, Jane might not(C) have had(D) to attend summer school. No error. (E)
  1. The writing workshop had fewer(A) attendees and the most(B) problems than any other event(C) I attended at the convention(D). No error.(E)
  1. The reason Steve chose(A) the least prestigious university was that(B) they(C) offered him the greatest number(D) of scholarships. No error. (E)
  1. A group of underprivileged students(A), led by a charismatic senior, has staged(B) a protest against (C)the proposed increase in(D) tuition yesterday. No error.(E)
  1. Whomever(A) sells the most(B) protection agreements during(C) the month of December will receive(D) a holiday bonus. No error.(E)
  1. I had(A) the strangest sense of(B) déjà vu when(C) I met my daughter’s(D) new chemistry teacher. No error.(E)

 

Answers and Explanations

  1. Correct answer: D. Explanation: Change “any state” to “any other state” to avoid unintentionally comparing “Alaska” to itself.
  1. Correct answer: A. Explanation: The verb “was” should be “were” because the subject, “members,” is plural. The interrupting phrase “of the jury” has no impact on subject-verb agreement.
  1. Correct answer: D. Explanation: The underlined word “friends” incorrectly compares Marla’s enjoyment of the movie to her friends themselves. Changing this to “friends did” fixes the faulty comparison.
  1. Correct answer: A. Explanation: Never start a sentence with a predicate adjective such as “due to.” Use “because of” instead.
  1. Correct answer: A. Explanation. In a past contrary to fact conditional statement, the “if clause” takes a past perfect verb. The future perfect “would have spent” should be replaced with the past perfect “had spent.”
  1. Correct answer: B. Explanation: Comparing the workshop with “any other event” is grammatically the same as comparing it with any one of those individual events. The superlative “most” is used for comparing three or more things and should be replaced with the comparative “more.”
  1. Correct answer: C. Explanation: Collective nouns such as “university” are treated as singular things and take the singular pronoun “it.”
  1. Correct answer: B. Explanation: This sentence needs the simple past tense “staged” because “yesterday” indicates the specific past time when the protest took place. The present prefect “has staged” would be correct only if “yesterday” was omitted.
  1. Correct answer: A. Explanation: Choice A is the subject of the sentence. Use “whom/whomever” when the person being referenced is the object of the sentence, but “who/whoever” when that person is the subject of the sentence.
  1. Correct answer: E. Explanation: This sentence contains no errors.

 

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