Improving Sentences questions consist of a single sentence with one underlinedword or phrase. Your mission with that underlined portion of the sentence is twofold. First, you have to figure out if there’s a problem with the underlined part. Then, if there is a problem, you have to decide which answer choice fixesthe problem. Sometimes—one-fifth of the time, in fact—no error will exist.
You know the drill. Learn the directions now so you don’t have to waste time reading them when you take the actual SAT.
Directions: The following sentences test correctness and effectiveness of expression. In choosing answers, follow the requirements of standard written English; that is, pay attention to grammar, choice of words, sentence construction, and punctuation.
In each of the following sentences, part of the sentence or the entire sentence is underlined. Beneath each sentence you will find five ways of phrasing the underlined part. Choice A repeats the original; the other four are different.
Choose the answer that best expresses the meaning of the original sentence. If you think the original is better than any of the alternatives, choose it; otherwise choose one of the others. Your choice should produce the most effective sentence—clear and precise, without awkwardness or ambiguity.
Read the sentence and try to hear the problem.
If you find an error, eliminate A.
Before you look at the answer choices, figure out how to fix the error.
Find the correction that most closely matches yours.
If no correction matches, eliminate answers that repeat the error or contain new errors.
If you’re still stumped, reach into your bag of tricks (more on those soon).
Plug your answer back into the sentence to check it.
If you’re still stumped—cut, guess, and run.