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Answer Guide: Section 5 (Writing)

  • The test is available here: https://satonlinecourse.collegeboard.org
  • Sentence Improvement
    • Question1: Since September Patricia has been working at the convenience store down the road.
      • There’s actually nothing wrong with the sentence as written. The phrase “since September” is a clue that a perfect tense will be required.
      • Only A uses a perfect tense.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 2: To help freshmen and sophomores in selecting their courses, candid reviews of courses and instructors compiled by juniors and seniors.
      • This is an easy one. There’s a subject (reviews) but no verb–the reviews don’t do anything!
      • Eliminate A; there’s no verb.
      • Eliminate B; there’s no main verb (just a gerund, which doesn’t count for our purposes).
      • C has an infinitive verb. Wrong. Eliminate it.
      • E merely extends the introductory phrase.
      • D adds a verb and puts it into the active voice.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 3: The landscape artist who designed New York City’s Central Park believed that providing scenic settings accessible to all would not only benefit the public’s physical and mental health and also foster a sense of democracy.
      • The underlined portion of the sentence includes an incorrect coordinating conjunction–it’s “not only/but also”, not “not only/and also.”
      • D changes “and” to “but."
      • Answer: D
    • Question 4: In areas where deer roam freely, residents must dress to protect themselves against deer ticks that might transmit diseases.
      • There’s nothing wrong with this sentence, and all the answer choices other than A introduce new errors.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 5: Given the cost of a hardcover book, the price of it typically hovers around $25, many consumers ask their book dealers, “When will the paperback be out?”
      • This sentence contains a comma splice–an entire sentence spliced into another with commas, not semicolons or conjunctions.
      • The way to correct this problem is to turn the underlined portion into a nonrestrictive clause using the conjunctive adverb “which.”
      • C does this.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 6: The article featured the Sea Islands because many were known there to live much as their ancestors of a century ago had lived.
      • This sentence has two problems. “There” is in the wrong place and there’s no antecedent for “many” except “Islands”, which don’t live in any manner at all.
      • C corrects both of these problems.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 7: A poetic form congenial to Robert Browning was the dramatic monologue, it let him explore a character’s mind without the simplifications demanded by stage productions.
      • This sentence contains a comma splice–an entire sentence spliced onto another with a comma, not a semicolon or conjunction.
      • There are three ways to fix this: break up the sentence into two, replace the comma with a semicolon, or change “it” to “which.”
      • B correctly implements the third option.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 8: Many eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Romantic poets were believers in rebellion against social conventions, express strong emotion, and the power of imagination.
      • The problem here is parallel structure–a list of three things should phrase each of them in the same way. In this case, that means a list of three nouns.
      • Choice E does that, using the nouns rebellion, expression, and power.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 9: At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the proposal to replace the existing Articles of Confederation with a federal constitution were met with fierce opposition.
      • The problem here is subject-verb agreement–if the subject is the singular “proposal,” the plural verb “were” is inappropriate.
      • Luckily for us, English uses the phrases “to be met with” and “to meet with” to mean exactly the same thing.
      • D deletes “were” and leaves the correct phrase “met with.”
      • Answer: D
    • Question 10: When for the first time the United States imported more oil than it exported, Americans should have realized that an energy crisis was imminent and could happen in the future.
      • The problem here is redundancy–if something is imminent, of course it might happen in the future.
      • The solution is to remove the latter part of the underlined portion.
      • E does this.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 11: Intimacy, love, and marriage are three different, if interrelated, subjects.
      • There is nothing wrong with this sentence, and all answer choices other than A add new errors. (They also add length!)
      • Answer: A
  • Error Identification
    • Question 12: Coney Island
      • The problem with this sentence is that it is incomplete; it has a subject, but no verb. The logical solution is to replace “and capable of” with “was capable of.”
      • Answer: B
    • Question 13: Inflation
      • There is nothing wrong with this sentence.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 14: Uniforms
      • The clue here is that this sentence combines an infinitive with a gerund–“to meeting”. This never works, unless the gerund is being used like a noun and the “to” is acting as a preposition.
      • The solution is to make the infinitive a proper infinitive– “to meet.”
      • Answer: C
    • Question 15: Bread in the refrigerator
      • The problem with this sentence is subject-verb agreement. (When either the subject or the verb is underlined, but not both, check whether they agree!)
      • Here, the verb is underlined but not the subject, so the only way to correct the sentence is to change “increase” to “increases.”
      • Answer: B
    • Question 16: Voter survey
      • Once again, check gerunds and infinitives to make sure they haven’t been switched or incorrectly combined.
      • In this case, “inability” must have an infinitive after it– “to work.”
      • Answer: C
    • Question 17: Marie Curie
      • When a verb in the perfect tense is underlined, check to make sure it’s really necessary; often, it has replaced a correct past-tense verb.
      • In this case, “had been” should be the past-tense “was”.
      • Answer: C
    • Question 18: Maple syrup
      • The problem here is subject-verb agreement again; the subject is “sound” and requires the singular verb “signals.”
      • Answer: C
    • Question 19: Investors in 1929
      • When adjectives are underlined, make certain that they modify nouns; when adverbs are underlined, make sure they modify adjectives, verbs, or other adverbs.
      • In this case, “lucky” can only be modified by an adverb such as “exceptionally,” not the adjective “exceptional”.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 20: Mississippi River
      • This sentence contains no errors.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 21: Air pollution
      • There’s nothing wrong with this sentence either.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 22: Headlights
      • This sentence contains an underlined verb. There’s your clue!
      • The subject is the singular (actually noncount) “light”, but the verb is the plural “are”.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 23: Greek mythology
      • There’s nothing wrong with this sentence.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 24: Museum’s butterfly conservatory
      • There’s an underlined infinitive (“to gain”). There’s your clue!
      • The idiom here should be “of gaining.” That’s right–they’ve swapped a gerund for an infinitive again.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 25: Shakespeare
      • There’s an underlined pronoun. That’s your clue!
      • In this case, the plural pronoun “they” has no plural antecedent. (No, the SAT will not let you use “they” for a singular antecedent of unknown gender.)
      • Answer: C
    • Question 26: Kepler
      • This sentence is all about idioms. In English, it’s incorrect to say something is “inconsistent to” something else. It’s always “inconsistent with” that something else.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 27: Evolution
      • Whenever two things are being compared, make sure they’re actually comparable.
      • In this case, the sentence is comparing Lynn Margulis’s theory with “most biologist”–and it’s nonsensical to compare a theory with a group of people.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 28: Tall buildings
      • Pronouns again! The pronoun they is underlined. What is its antecedent?
      • That’s right–it’s each, which is singular. There’s your error.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 29: Toxic waste
      • Pronouns! One of the underlined segments contains the pronoun it. What is its antecedent?
      • That’s right. It’s the plural chemicals. There’s your error.
      • Answer: D
  • Paragraph Improvement
    • Question 30: Which is the best version of the underlined portion of Sentence 2?
      • There’s no error in this sentence, so nothing needs correction.
      • All of the options either introduce grammatical errors or change the subject (incorrectly) from Tanner to Du Bois.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 31: Which is the best version of the underlined portion of Sentence 4?
      • If Tanner’s work was forgotten, but the Smithsonian later revived interest in it, and is the wrong conjunction for this sentence.
      • D removes and and uses the preposition until, suggesting a change in Tanner’s status.
      • C uses but; however, it’s wordier and more awkward than D.
      • Answer: D
    • Question 32: Which is the best revision of sentence 6?
      • This sentence is grammatically correct, but not formal enough to mesh with the rest of the paragraph.
      • E replaces the informal “you” with the more formal “one” and offers the shortest, simplest construction.
      • Answer: E
    • Question 33: Which is the best way to revise sentence 7?
      • Always look out for wordiness. This sentence doesn’t need “by the name of”; calling the work “the realistic painting ‘The Banjo Player’” is perfectly adequate.
      • Answer: B
    • Question 34: Which sentence is best inserted after sentence 7?
      • Once the passage mentions the painting, don’t you want to know what it looks like? The painting’s subject matter is an obvious topic for the next sentence, yet the passage as presented never describes the content of the painting.
      • A corrects this oversight.
      • Answer: A
    • Question 35: Which is best to add to the beginning of sentence 9?
      • The goal here is to add something that coordinates with the rest of the sentence: “The painting isn’t like a photograph.”
      • The phrase “Although it is realistic” sets up a pleasant contrast. It is also relatively concise.
      • Answer: A
  • Recommended supplementary material to view SAT questions featured in lesson answer guides: The Official SAT Study Guide by the College Board.

Answer Guide: Section 5 (Writing)

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:11
  • Sentence Improvement 0:35
    • Question 1
    • Question 2
    • Question 3
    • Question 4
    • Question 5
    • Question 6
    • Question 7
    • Question 8
    • Question 9
    • Question 10
    • Question 11
  • Error Identification 7:36
    • Question 12
    • Question 13
    • Question 14
    • Question 15
    • Question 16
    • Question 17
    • Question 18
    • Question 19
    • Question 20
    • Question 21
    • Question 22
    • Question 23
    • Question 24
    • Question 25
    • Question 26
    • Question 27
    • Question 28
    • Question 29
  • Paragraph Improvement 14:40
    • Question 30
    • Question 31
    • Question 32
    • Question 33
    • Question 34
    • Question 35