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:
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
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
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
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.
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.
||suffer from it, but around
||suffer, from it but around
||suffer from it, and
||suffer from it, although
||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.