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Title: Attacking the Monster:


1
Attacking the Monster
Grammar on the PSAT
2
Weapon 1 Knowing the Test
Multiple-choice portion of the test
14 identifying sentence errors
39 questions
20 improving sentences
5 improving paragraphs
Contain one or more grammar or usage errors
Your job is to find and sometimes fix the
mistakes in 30 minutes NO TERMINOLOGY! You dont
have to know what its called!
3
SAT QUESTIONS INCLUDE
  • Errors in Basic Grammar
  • (rely upon knowledge of correct use of parts of
    speech, punctuation, etc.)
  • Errors in Sentence Structure
  • (rely upon knowledge of phrases, clauses,
    punctuation, etc.)
  • Errors in Word Choice
  • (rely upon knowledge of usage and ear for diction)
  • Errors in Idiomatic Expressions
  • (rely upon knowledge of English idioms and
    colloquialisms)

4
Identifying Sentence Errors
  • Two important tips
  • About 20 (1 in 5) should be no error (choice
    E)
  • What creates the error is usually in a part of
    the sentence that is NOT underlined!

5

The Big 5
Pronouns
Subject-verb agreement
Verb forms and tenses
Parallelism Modifiers and Comparisons
6
Pronoun Case
Every pronoun has a case (type) that fits the job
it will do in the sentence.
Mini lesson
Subjective Case
Objective Case
Possessive Case
( It is ___ car.)
( ___ go/goes.)
( to ____.)
I You He, She It
We You They
Me You Him, Her It
Us You Them
My Your His, Her Its
Our Your Their(s)
7
Basic errors in pronoun case
BAD Just between you and I this steak is
terrible.
BAD Me and her like to go to the movies every
Friday.
8
The Tarzan Rule
  • Common problem You have two words joined by
    and. Is the pronoun in the correct case?
  • Solution Use it by itself!

9
Dont talk like Tarzan!
  • My friends and me went to the park.
  • Me went to the park.
  • The teacher gave good grades to my friend and I.
  • My teacher gave a good grade to I.

10
Now YOU try it The other delegates and him
immediately A B C accepted the
resolution drafted by the D neutral states.
No error. E
11
Pronoun shift
  • If you begin with one, stick with one.
  • (In other words, dont
  • change pronouns in
  • mid-sentence.)

12
YOU try it again To become a world
figure-skating champion A like Kristi
Yamaguchi, one must be so dedicated B
that you will practice six hours a day. No
error C D
E Note one just before B! Alarm
bells!
13
Pronoun/Antecedent Error
Mini lesson
The antecedent is the word to which a pronoun
refers and with which it must agree in terms of
number.
Ex. A Each of the girls on those teams did their
best to represent the school from which she came.
Ex. B The average college student has difficulty
adjusting to academic standards much higher than
those of their school.
Ex. C Most infants, even unusually quiet ones,
will cry with greater intensity when it begins
teething.
14
Words to Watch For
  • Indefinite pronouns Combinations of each,
    every, some, no, and any with body, thing, and
    one.
  • Ex. Everybody is bringing his or her own lunch.
  • Collective nouns Although they mean everybody,
    they are in singular form.
  • Ex. A doctor should be careful when he or she
    prescribes medication.

15
Now YOU try it The reason first novels are so
often their writers A B best work is that
it draws upon all the C experiences of the
writers childhood. No error D E
16
Watch for vague antecendents
  • Who is it?
  • Who are they?

17
  • YOU try it again
  • Karen, James and Sam were hiking when, stumbling
    over a rock, he fell down a steep embankment.
  • when, stumbling over a rock, he fell down a steep
    embankment
  • and then he fell down a steep embankment after he
    stumbled over a rock
  • when Sam fell down over a steep embankment after
    stumbling over a rock
  • when Sam fell down a steep embankment, since he
    stumbled over a rock
  • and, since Sam has stumbled over a rock, he fell
    down a steep embankment

18
Subject-Verb Agreement
Subjects and verbs must agree in number.
Mini lesson
BAD The local congressman, a reliable
representative of both community and local
interests, are among the most respected persons
in the public sector.
19
Watch out for
  • Distractions between the subject and the verb
    (prepositional phrases, relative clauses)
  • Ex High levels of air pollution cause damage to
    the respiratory tract
  • Levels is the subject of air pollution is a
    prepositional phrase the verb must be plural.

20
Now you try it
  • The scientific writings of Edward O Wilson,
    Stephen
  • Jay Gould, and Richard Dawkins, which have
    continued
  • A
  • the discussion of genetic issues raised by
    Charles B C
  • Darwin, is familiar to many high school and
    college
  • D
  • students. No error.
  • E

21
Watch out for
  • When a sentence begins with There, the subject
    comes after the verb.
  • Ex. There are a fire truck, an ambulance, and
    four police cars at the scene of the accident.
  • The subject is a fire truck, an ambulance, and
    four police cars the verb must be plural.

22
Now you try it
  • There was a social worker and a crew of
  • A B
  • 20 volunteers who were sent to the
  • C D
  • disaster area. No error
  • E

23
Who, which, that
  • Can be singular or plural depending on what
    youre talking about.
  • Our ability to use language is one of the things
    that set us apart from animals. (How many things
    set us apart from animals?)
  • Dr. Barker knew that Frank was the only one of
    his sons who was responsible enough to handle the
    estate. (How many sons were responsible?)

24
Now YOU try it The scientific writings of Edward
O Wilson, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard
Dawkins, which has continued A B the
discussion of genetic issues raised by Charles
C Darwin, are familiar to many
high school and college D students. No
error. E
25
Verb tense errors
  • Verb tenses show when things happen.
  • There are six verb tenses.
  • Present Dogs bite
  • Past The dog bit the man yesterday.
  • Future The dog will bite the man tomorrow.
  • Present perfect The dog has bitten the man every
    day this week.
  • Past perfect The dog had bitten the man several
    times before I found him.
  • Future perfect By the time you get here, the man
    will have bitten the dog several times.

26
The two problem tenses
  • Present perfect shows an action beginning in the
    past but continuing into the present.
  • EX I have been to Disney World several times.
  • (And I might go again tomorrow. . . .)
  • Past perfect shows an act that was completed in
    the past before another past event.
  • EX I had eaten half the sandwich before I
    realized the cheese was bad. (Ate first, then
    realized.)

27
Verb Tense Error Two questions
BAD Over the last half-century, the building of
passenger airliners had grown into a
multi-billion-dollar industry.
Does it make sense?
Does it stay the same?
BAD Many superb tennis players turn professional
at an alarmingly early age, but because of their
lack of physical stamina, suffered early in their
careers.
28
Now YOU Try It No matter where they came from or
what A B their previous lifestyle
is, the refugees were C grateful for
having been granted political D asylum in
the United States. No error. E
29
Conditionals
  • . . . are something else youre expected to know.
  • REMEMBER If I were a rich man. . . .

30
Now you try it
  • The teacher, if she was so inclined,
  • A
  • could give everyone a bad grade on
  • B C
  • his or her paper. No error.
  • D E

31
Faulty Parallelism
Lists of things doing the same job in a sentence
must look alike.
Mini lesson
BAD I love running, swimming, and to ride a bike.
Things being compared or contrasted must look
alike.
BAD A healthy economy can be measured not only by
business growth but it has a psychological effect
on people.
32
Now YOU try it A talented and versatile artist,
Twyla Tharp has been A B a dancer,
choreographer, and collaborated on various
C D productions. No error.
E
33
Common Sentence Construction Mistake
Bad subordination
Mini lesson
Some SAT questions ask the reader to revise for
clarity (clearness). BEWARE OF AND!
BAD Laura Ingalls Wilder published her first book
and she was the age of sixty-five years old
then. The SAT hates and you almost always have
to replace it with a subordinating
conjunction. GOOD Laura Ingalls Wilder published
her first book when she was sixty-five.
34
  • Now YOU try it
  • Roger had just walked into his office and that
    was when he was told that his plan had finally
    been approved.
  • and that was when he was told
  • and then he learned
  • when it was learned by him
  • and then they told him
  • when he learned
  • When in doubt, go with the shortest answer on
    these!

35
Improving Sentence Questions
Relate to a small number of grammatical issues
Generally concern structure rather than just
correctness.
  • Sentence fragments
  • Misplaced Modifiers
  • Faulty coordination/subordination
  • Run-on sentences
  • On these questions, A is the no error answer.

36
Sentences that lack an independent clause because
of a missing verb or because they begin with a
subordinating conjunction
Sentence fragments
Ex. A Whereas many office managers are growing
more and more dependent on facsimile machines,
others resisting this latest technological
breakthrough.
Ex. B In the summertime the kindergarten class
that plays on the rope swing beneath the crooked
oak tree at the bottom of the hill.
often comes away with an abundance of skinned
knees and hair smelling of sunshine.
37
Watch out for
  • -ing words (Theyre not verbs!)
  • Going to the store
  • Dependent clause words
  • When, if, because, though, after, while, until,
    during, since, who, which, that

38
The conversation starter tip
  • You cant start a conversation with a sentence
    fragment!
  • Hi, there! When I went to the
    store.

39
Now you try it
  • Scenes from the everyday lives of African
    Americans, which are realistically depicted in
    the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
  • A. Scenes from the everyday lives of African
    Americans, which are realistically depicted in
    the paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
  • B. Scenes from the everyday lives of African
    Americans being realistically depicted in the
    paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner.
  • C. The paintings of Henry Ossawa Tanner
    realistically depict scenes from the everyday
    lives of African Americans.
  • D. Henry Ossawa Turner, in his realistic
    paintings, depicting scenes from the everyday
    lives of African Americans.
  • E. Henry Ossawa Turner, whose paintings
    realistically depict scenes from the everyday
    lives of African Americans.

40
modifiers whose distance from the word they are
describing creates in the reader mistaken
impressions
Misplaced modifiers
BAD When flashing, you should not speed through
a yellow light. Probably good advice, but likely
not what the writer intended. REMEMBER An ing
phrase at the beginning of a sentence must always
describe the subject!
BAD An advertisement was withdrawn by the
producer of the local news program that was
considered offensive by the citys minority
communities. What was considered offensive here?
The ad? The producer? The program?
41
Now you try it
  • Looking up from the base of the mountain, the
    trail seemed more treacherous than it really was.
  • A Looking up
  • B While looking up
  • C By looking up
  • D Viewing
  • E Viewed

42
Faulty coordination/subordination
when sentence clauses are joined incorrectly
BAD Ben Franklin was a respected and talented
statesman, and he was most famous for his
discovery of electricity. Remember that SAT hates
and!
Ex. B Since the small electronics industry is one
of the worlds fastest growing sectors, but
demand for the computer chip continues to be high.
You only use a coordinating conjunction between
two groups of words that are the same thing.
43
Now you try it
  • The students, discovering they can address issues
    more effectively through letter-writing
    campaigns, so they avoid public demonstrations.
  • A The students, discovering they can address
    issues more effectively through letter-writing
    campaigns, so they avoid public demonstrations.
  • B The students have discovered they can address
    issues more effectively through letter-writing
    campaigns, so they avoid public demonstrations.
  • C Now that the students have discovered they can
    address issues more effectively through
    letter-writing campaigns, and so they avoid
    public demonstrations.
  • D Discovering they can address issues more
    effectively through letter-writing campaigns, so
    the students avoid public demonstrations.
  • E The students discovered they can address issues
    more effectively through letter-writing
    campaigns, but they avoid public demonstrations.

44
two independent clauses incorrectly joined
together
Run-on sentences
(Your teacher may also call them comma splices or
fused sentences.)
Ex.A The decrease in crime can be attributed to a
rise in the number of police officers, more than
500 joined the force in the last year alone.
Corrected The decrease in crime can be
attributed to a rise in the number of police
officers. More than 500 joined the force in the
last year alone.
Ex. B The Humber Bridge in Britain was completed
in 1981 it is the longest single-span suspension
bridge in the world.
Corrected The Humber Bridge in Britain, the
longest single-span suspension bridge in the
world, was completed in 1981.
45
Improving Paragraphs Questions
General organization questions
Skills overlap with general grammar (reviewed in
section one)
Revising sentences questions
Combining sentences questions
46
Improving Paragraphs Questions
  • Now YOU try it
  • Take a look at the following paragraph and
    question.
  • (6) Albert Einstein was a great physicist.
    (7) He won a Nobel Prize in Physics. (8) He got
    the prize for his research into the photoelectric
    effect. (9) Later physicists demonstrated the
    validity of Einsteins ideas.
  • Which of the following is the best way to combine
    sentences 7 and 8?
  • The Nobel Prize in Physics that he won was for
    his research into the photoelectric effect.
  • Having researched the photoelectric effect, he
    won a Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • He won a Nobel Prize in Physics for his research
    into the photoelectric effect.
  • He got the prize in physics, the Nobel Prize in
    Physics, for his research into the photoelectric
    effect.
  • Because of his research into the photoelectric
    effect he got the Nobel Prize in physics.

47
You are now armed and ready
to slay the SAT dragon!
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