You’ll come across four different types of Improving Paragraphs
questions. Though the specifics of each question are crucial to
understand, it’s just as important to know that all four types of
question share one general rule: Unlike Identifying Sentence Errors
and Improving Sentences, Improving Paragraphs questions do
not focus on grammar. Here’s what they do focus
- No Grammar!
This makes sense because Improving Paragraphs questions
take a broader view on writing. These questions
also focus on an entire passage of writing, not just on one sentence.
Therefore, Improving Paragraphs questions usually approach problems
at the paragraph or sentence level, which means the big picture
tends to matter most. They definitely cover sentence improvement,
but they do that within the context of the overall thrust or purpose
of the paragraph.
Here are the four different types of Improving Paragraphs
questions plus a quick explanation of each. We go over them all
up close, including examples, later in the chapter.
1. Sentence Revision Questions
Sentence Revision questions, the most common
question type in this section, require you to change and improve
an entire sentence or a portion of one. Revision questions ask you
to pick a word that should be added to clarify the meaning of a
particular sentence or to choose a multiple-choice answer that would most
effectively revise a flawed phrase.
2. Sentence Addition Questions
Sentence Addition questions ask you which sentences or
phrases should be added to the passage in order create a smoother
transition or to clarify meaning. These questions require you to
take into account the meaning of the overall passage and how the
paragraphs transition into or relate to one another.
3. Sentence Combination Questions
Sentence Combination questions present you with two sentences
and ask you to pick the best way to join them. A semicolon? A conjunction?
Which conjunction? The skills you picked up in our section on Conjunctions,
Coordination and Subordination and the chart of conjunction words
will be particularly useful on Sentence Combination questions.
4. Essay Analysis Questions
Essay Analysis questions require you to take a deeper,
more critical look at the essay. They ask you to pick the sentence
that best sums up the essay or to identify how a particular sentence
functions within the essay as a whole. These questions test your understanding
of the mechanics of essays, which means how essays are built from the
ground up. We cover everything you need to know about essays for
the SAT in our chapter on the SAT essay (see page ).