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.