Tips for the SAT Writing Section: Part II
The SAT loves to test the idea of subject-verb agreement. The basic idea is simple: singular subjects must have singular verbs and plural subjects must have plural verbs. Obviously, we say “This test is hard” instead of “This test are hard.” The SAT will make this slightly trickier in this way:
The main explanation that the musicians gave for attending the concert are that the performer had just released a critically acclaimed album.
In this case, the “explanation” is the subject of the sentence. Since it is singular, we must match it with a singular verb- so “are” must be changed to “is.” We need to say that the main explanation is that the performer just came out with a new album.
This can be somewhat confusing because “musicians” is plural, but remember that the subject in cases like this will be the word before the “of.” Another example:
The number of car accidents caused by drivers speaking on cell phones are increasing.
In this case, the subject is the “number” (singular), so the sentence must be changed to read:
The number of car accidents caused by drivers speaking on cell phones is increasing.
Comparing Apples and Oranges
The Writing Section will often try to trick you by setting up a faulty comparison. This is best illustrated with an example:
The actors on the TV show performed much more skillfully than the movie.
To work, this sentence must compare actors on the TV show with actors in the movie. Corrected, it would read:
The actors on the TV show performed much more skillfully than the actors in the movie.
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