SAT WRITING WORKBOOK

PART V

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THE HEART OF THE TEST: MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS

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Improving Sentences Questions

More than half of the multiple-choice sections of the SAT Writing Test are Improving Sentences questions that ask you to recognize two types of errors:

1.   Errors in standard English usage and grammar

2.   Errors in style and expression

All the sentence-improvement questions on the SAT begin with a sentence in which a part, or sometimes the entire sentence, is underlined. Then you are given five different ways of phrasing the underlined part. Your job is to choose the version that makes use of clear and concise standard English and is free of errors in grammar and usage.

The first choice of the five choices always repeats the original. If you think the original version is better than any of the alternatives, mark choice A on your answer sheet. Otherwise, choose the best version from the remaining choices, but steer clear of any sentence that changes the essential meaning of the original.

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The Difference Between Usage and Grammar

Although the words are often used interchangeably, usage describes actual spoken and written language. “Standard” usage is the level of usage accepted by literate people who, in a general way, occupy positions of leadership and influence in society.

Grammar, on the other hand, is a set of rules that are followed when you speak and write “correctly.”