Sentence Revision—Up Close
Sentence Revision—Up Close
The SAT asks you to revise sentences for a bunch of reasons. Most often the problem is awkward language that obscures the meaning of the sentence. The SAT poses these questions in a variety of ways. Here are some examples:
Which of the following is the clearest version of the underlined portion of sentence 2?
In the context of the third paragraph, sentence 9 could be made more precise by adding which of the following words after “That”?
The phrase “this thing” in sentence 5 is made most specific in which of the following revisions?
Which is the best word or phrase to add after “The movie theater” in order to connect sentence 3 (reprinted below) to the rest of the first paragraph?
On Improving Paragraphs questions like these, clarity is key. The SAT hates sentence structure that lacks specificity or could be interpreted in more than one way. Your goal on Sentence Revision questions is always to suggest alternatives that make problematic sentences clearer, simpler, and more specific.
Finally, on some Sentence Revision questions, you may be able to skip step 3 (reread the context sentences). While we think it’s always a good idea to look at the context sentences, if you’re pressed for time, you could just revise the sentences blindly.
Here’s an example of a paragraph with a Sentence Revision question that follows. Read the paragraph and the question, and then we’ll explain how to get the correct answer using our five-step method:

(1) Obesity is a big problem in the United States. (2) Sixty-one percent of adults suffer from it, but around 300,000 people die every year from diseases directly related to obesity. (3) Obesity is related to diabetes, high blood pressure, and getting heart disease.

1. Which of the following is the best way to revise the underlined portion of sentence 2, reprinted below?
Sixty-one percent of adults suffer from it, but around 300,000 people die every year from diseases directly related to obesity.
(A) suffer from it, but around
(B) suffer, from it but around
(C) suffer from it, and
(D) suffer from it, although
(E) suffer because of it, but around
Follow our five-step method:
  • Read the passage and mark down something like “obesity, 61% adults, 300,000 dead per year” (step 1).
  • Read the question (step 2).
  • Go back and read the context sentences quickly (step 3).
  • Now come up with your own answer (step 4).
At this point you may have spotted the conjunction error in the sentence. Since there’s no contrast between the first half of the sentence and the second half, the conjunction word after the comma should be a noncontrast word like and, so, or therefore. Once you have an idea of the possible answer worked out on your own, read the answers and try to find a match (step 5). Happily, you’ve struck gold with choice C, which uses the conjunction to improve the sentence.
Help | Feedback | Make a request | Report an error