Please correct the following sentence:1) “Neither of us exercise very often on weekends.”Like many sentences on the SAT, this one seems just fine when you read it over the first time. I don’t agree with their sales policy. No we can simplify and check for agreement issues: That the flood was surprising explained her confusion. Subject-verb agreement error spotted! This is because the SAT likes to use propositional phrases to confuse the test-taker’s ear by adding a bunch of words in between the subject and verb or the pronoun and the antecedent. 5. Do you believe in life after death? OK, this grammar lesson is a long one, but it’s very important and worth the time it takes to read it through. Since “one” is the definition of singular, that’s an easy trick to remember. 2 pencils in tow], are waiting patiently [by the bus stop]. All Rights Reserved, SAT Writing Error: Subject-Verb Agreement, Prepositional Phrases and Appositives. Now, go forth and put this knowledge to use! Just a few minutes on the phone can go a long way toward getting the best results. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter! 2 pencils in tow, are waiting patiently by the bus stop. In English grammar, a preposition is a word or phrase that connects both a noun and a pronoun or a verb to an adjective. Notice that YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE ABLE TO REMOVE THE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE AND HAVE THE SENTENCE STILL MAKE SENSE:-I walked (across the bridge) to my house.-The book (about Lance Armstrong) was inspirational.-That vase (on your table) is beautiful.-The house (on the hill) is full of spiders.-Shel Silverstein’s book (of poems and drawings) is hilarious.So, since “of us” cannot be the subject, the subject must be the word “neither.” But now we have a problem: is “neither” singular or plural?Well, don’t worry if you don’t know the answer—most students don’t. Here’s a list of some common singular pronouns:Somebody / SomeoneAnybody / AnyoneNobody / No oneEverybody / EveryoneIt might seem strange to you that “everyone” is singular, but the truth is that most people use these pronouns correctly in everyday speech. Luckily, that part is pretty easy. Now let’s check those prepositional phrases for idiomatic correctness. 3. The cat was sleeping under the warm blanket. “surprising “for Emily” is not okay – that should be surprising “to Emily.”. Finding the right expert requires a better understanding of your needs. Many students find that prepositional phrases are the bane of their existence on the writing section of the SAT. Since graduating from Columbia University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Alice has been teaching and tutoring test prep, helping students achieve their own academic successes. Here are some sentences with the prepositional phrases in parentheses. At the very least, the prepositional phrase will be made up from one preposition as well as the object which it governs, although … Soon enough, you will be an SAT preposition rock-star! That was a long posting. Alice Rothman-Hicks is a Veritas Prep SAT 2400 instructor. But upon closer examination, there is a problem. The use of the prepositional phrase to modify a noun or a verb is known as either an adjectival phrase or an adverbial phrase, respectively. I hope you find it helpful. Pro-Trump Group Donor Sues Over Failure to Expose Election Fraud, Diego Maradona, Soccer Icon Who Led Argentina to Glory, Dies at 60, AstraZeneca Eyes Extra Global Vaccine Trial as Questions Mount, AstraZeneca Faces More Vaccine Questions After Manufacturing Error. With those out of the way, identify the subject and verb and/or any pronoun/antecedent pairings and check for agreement. She scored a 2350 on the SAT. (A) The main purpose of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department is, (B) The main purposes of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department is, (C) The main purpose of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department is that they will be able, (D) The main purposes of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department are, (E) The main purpose of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department are. Plan on taking the SAT soon? One way to do this on SAT Writing questions is to ignore prepositional phrases. Shaan Patel is the director of SAT programs at Veritas Prep, the author of McGraw-Hill’s best-selling book SAT 2400 in Just 7 Steps, and the owner of a perfect SAT score. 4. The main purpose of the research experiment by Professor Balkin in the organic chemistry department is to discover more efficient energy sources and to develop cost-effective production methods. Neither is technically a SINGULAR PRONOUN. There is a lot of information packed into this one, so you’ll probably have to read it through a couple of times before you absorb it fully.-Brian, © 2007-2020 McElroy Tutoring. Many students find that prepositional phrases are the bane of their existence on the writing section of the SAT. Prepositional phrases are phrases that include prepositions (which are usually DIRECTIONAL words such as “above” or “across,” or shorter TWO-LETTER WORDS such as “of,” “on” or “at”). The appositives in the sentences below are in parentheses:-Tom, (a professional poker player), wore his sunglasses even when he was inside.-They went to Geoff’s, (a popular sandwich place), to grab some grub.Now try #23 on page 416 and give it a shot. Here’s what you need to know…. The following SAT example demonstrates how ignoring prepositional phrases can help identify grammar errors on the SAT Writing section. the man in the house seemed to be asleep. i was informed that the bus would arrive in 45 minutes. Identify the prepositional phrases in the sentences given below. Now we can look at the simplified sentence and check for agreement issues: “group” is singular; “are” is plural. As with prepositional phrases, the sentence should still make sense when read without the appositive, and THE SUBJECT OF A SENTENCE WILL NEVER BE INSIDE AN APPOSITIVE. Below is a perfect test to determine your ability to recognize prepositions and your understanding of the use of prepositional phrases within sentences. Some examples of other singular pronouns are “it,” “he,” and “she.” So once you know that NEITHER IS SINGULAR, you can SUBSTITUTE A SIMPLE SINGULAR PRONOUN IN ITS PLACE and then just USE YOUR EAR TO SEE IF IT “SOUNDS” RIGHT. Do a little research on common prepositions and idiomatic phrases involving prepositions, and then use SAT questions to practice identifying and bracketing prepositional phrases, simplifying and checking for agreement errors, and (as needed) checking for idiomatic preposition errors. 1. Ignore prepositional phrases on SAT Writing multiple-choice questions to avoid getting bogged down by unnecessary information. 7. So, let’s bracket those prepositional phrases: [In the morning], the group [of students], [with their backpacks and No. The good news is that, armed with foreknowledge, you can catch the test-writers at their game and never get fooled again. Remember that the SAT LOVES TO TRICK YOU by putting lots of information in-between the subject and the verb, including prepositional phrases. This indicates that there are two purposes of the experiment: “to discover more efficient energy sources” and “to develop cost-effective production methods.” Therefore, the correct sentence should read “main purposes are.”, Eliminate answer choices (A), (C), and (E) because they all contain “purpose” rather than “purposes.” And eliminate (B) because it incorrectly pairs the plural subject “purposes” with the singular verb “is.” Only answer choice (D) correctly pairs “purposes” with “are.”. So what is the subject of “exercise?” Well, most students would say that “us” is the subject, but this is incorrect for two reasons:1) “Us” is technically an object pronoun (meaning it receives an action instead of performing the action) so it cannot be the subject.2) “Of us” is a prepositional phrase, and A PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE CAN NEVER BE THE SUBJECT OF A SENTENCE.Before we move on, let’s discuss the concept of prepositional phrases. An important note about prepositional phrases: In the morning, the group of students, with their backpacks and No. the soldiers crept cautiously through the tunnel. Here we can ignore the following prepositional phrases: The main purpose is to discover more efficient energy sources and to develop cost-effective production methods. their faces brightening, they us for our offer. She accused me of poisoning her dog. The SAT requires students to process lots of information quickly. Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. By ELIMINATING THE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES as I did in my example sentence, you will be able to find the subject more easily. The old man sat under a tree. Give it a shot and see if you may require more study time. Meet the College Admissions Consulting Team, MBA Admissions Comprehensive School Consulting Packages, MBA Admissions Hourly Consulting Packages, Avoid Common Mistakes in Data Sufficiency. 2. So a key approach to beat the test is to cut through the extraneous material and focus only on what’s important.