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Multiple-Choice Grammar

  • To do well on the Multiple-Choice Grammar portion of the Writing section, you need to have a strong grasp of English grammar. Make sure to check out the next lesson, "Grammar Mistake Petting Zoo", to familiarize yourself with the most common types of mistakes. If you want any more help with grammar, check out the SAT Writing-specific lessons.
  • The Writing section tests you on formal, written English. The correct answers are based on "proper" grammar and using the language correctly. This means you need to avoid slang, colloquialisms, and other such things.
  • As you progress in each subsection, the difficulty increases. That means you need to expect the later, harder questions. In those questions, just because a phrase sounds unusual does not automatically mean it is incorrect. Sometimes formal English can sound weird and foreign but still be correct. On the hard questions, try to rely on your knowledge of proper grammar. Identify the mistake instead of just relying on instinct.
  • Try to read aloud when practicing the Writing section. Sometimes it's easier to hear a mistake than to see one.
  • A lot of grammar mistakes can be discovered if you omit the middle clause. In a complex sentence, middle clauses can obscure an otherwise simple mistake. Try reading the sentence with only the necessary clauses and see if it sounds wrong that way.
  • You have to get through a lot of questions very quickly in Multiple-Choice Grammar: you can't spend too much time on any one question. If a question is really difficult, skip it, then come back to it at the end if you have extra time.
  • Sometimes No Error shows up, so don't freak out if nothing seems wrong. While most sentences will have errors, about 20% overall will already be correct.
  • On Improving Sentences questions, you want to identify the error, then choose whatever phrase fixes the error best. If there's no error, choice (A) is always the sentence as it is (effectively No Error). If you know something's wrong but just can't figure out, choose the shortest choice: it's very often correct.
  • On Identifying Sentence Errors, you want to identify the error, then mark its location with your choice. If there's no error, choice (E) gives No Error [Notice that's different than Improving Sentences!]. If you can't find the answer at first, read each underlined portion very carefully. If something seems wrong, it probably is.
  • On Improving Paragraphs, you have to read a short essay with flaws, then fix errors and analyze its grammar. Start off by reading the essay: it will help to understand what the author is talking about. Once you've read it, start the questions and then refer back to the text as necessary.

Multiple-Choice Grammar

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
  • Legal Disclaimer 0:06
  • Introduction 0:15
  • Formal, Written English 1:45
    • Written Section Tests You on Formal, Written English
    • Avoid Colloquialisms and Certain Kinds of Everyday English
  • Beware Rising Difficulty 2:59
    • Easier Questions Will Have Clear Errors in Earlier Subsection
    • Just Because a Phrase Sounds Unusual Does Not Automatically Mean It's Incorrect
  • Read Aloud 5:12
    • Read Sentences Aloud When Practicing
    • Try to 'Hear' the Sentences
  • Omit Middle Clauses 7:08
    • Omit Clauses in Complex Sentences
    • Example
    • Once You Remove the Clutter
  • Eliminate Wrong Choices 9:22
    • On the Easy Questions, You'll Find the Correct Choice Right in the Beginning
    • Eliminate Choices as You Notice Errors
  • Pacing and Skipping 10:26
    • 35 Questions on the 25-Minute Section
    • Skip Difficult Questions
  • No Error Shows Up Occasionally 11:23
    • Don't Expect Too Many Sentences to Start Off Correct
    • No Error Shows Up About 20%
  • Improving Sentences 12:51
    • Question Has Sentence With Part of it Underlined
    • Choose a Phrase That Will Replace the Underlined Portion
  • Improving Sentences: Strategies 13:53
    • Read the Whole Sentence
    • Read the Choices One By One
    • Pay Close Attention to the Grammar
    • If you Still Don't Know, Choose One That Sounds Formal and Dry
  • Identifying Sentence Errors 16:23
    • Figure Out Which Underlined Portion Contains a Mistake
  • Identifying Sentence Errors: Strategies 18:03
    • Read Each Underlined Portion Carefully
    • If You Still Can't Find an Error, There Probably Isn't One
  • Improving Paragraphs 19:33
  • Improving Paragraphs: Strategies 21:31
    • Look At It In Context