Tricky SAT Grammar Ruleshttp://schooltutoring.com/help/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/09/sat-pic1.jpg 400 300 School Tutoring School Tutoring http://1.gravatar.com/avatar/78d03a5c650efdb2b2c5c83686f0c95a?s=96&d=mm&r=g
There are a number of difficult grammar rules that seem to exist solely to cause problems for students writing the SAT. Today, I will be focusing on two in particular, the distinction between ‘was’ and ‘were’, and how to distinguish a correct parallelism from an incorrect one. In order to dispel some of the confusion and ambiguity surrounding these rules, each one will be explained in detail to provide a clear distinction between the various usages of words or punctuation.
Rule Number One: Was vs. Were
This is a rule that trips up many students who are writing the SAT. Many people think that the word ‘was’ is used when referring to something in the singular, while ‘were’ is used as a plural form. However, this is not entirely correct. There are cases where it is necessary to use ‘were’ even when referring to a singular thing. For example, consider these two sentences, and try to decide which one is correct.
“I wish I were able to remember that tricky grammar rule.”
Or “I wish I was able to remember that tricky grammar rule.”
The actual correct form to use here is ‘were’. This is because the word ‘were’ is actually used in the hypothetical in this case. The correct usage is to use the word ‘were’ when referring to something in a wishful manner, or something that is not possible or true. This distinction is made clearer in the example “I wish you was here” versus “I wish you were here”. In this case, the difference between the two is more familiar, as it is much less common to use ‘was’ in this fashion. The word ‘was’ is used to the past, and specifically things that actually happened or exist, in comparison to hypothetical pondering.
Rule Number Two: Parallelism
Parallelism is another popular topic on the SAT. To have a proper list, all of the pieces of the list must be in the same form, and this is called parallelism. Often, this is presented in the form of a list of things, such as nouns, verbs, or prepositions, and then the test taker is asked to select the correct form or identify an incorrect form.
Here is an example of faulty parallelism, and how to correct the error:
Incorrect: My grandfather likes to eat in expensive restaurants, and visiting art galleries.
Correct: My grandfather likes to eat in expensive restaurants, and to visit art galleries.
Also Correct: My grandfather likes eating in expensive restaurants, and visiting art galleries.
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This article was written for you by Tobias, one of the tutors with Test Prep Academy.