The Directions
The Directions
Here are the SAT’s directions for Identifying Sentence Errors. Memorize them now to avoid having to read them and waste time when you take the actual test.

The following sentences test your ability to recognize grammar and usage errors. Each sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. No sentence contains more than one error. The error, if there is one, is underlined and lettered. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence is correct, select choice E. In choosing answers, follow the requirements of standard written English.

These directions are models of clarity. But there are two subtle points that are important to understand. First, the phrase follow the requirements of standard written English means you must use the rules that govern formal writing rather than the rules that govern the way you talk. That means, “Hello, how are you?” instead of “What’s up?” Second, the directions tell you that some of the actual questions are completely correct. That’s what answer choice E is all about. Students tend to find these questions especially tough. When they can’t find any errors, they’re not sure if they’re missing something or if the sentence really is perfect. We discovered that about one-fifth of the Identifying Sentence Errors questions on the test will be answer E. That means you don’t need to be alarmed if you can’t find an error. That will happen in about one out of every five questions.
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