The Complete Guide to SAT Grammar Rules

Have you ever wondered what the phrase “sat grammar rules” means? Even if you have done that, do you understand what it means? If you have, do you know the complete guide to it? Let’s find out.

The SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) includes a Writing and Language section that assesses your knowledge of English grammar and writing conventions.

Lately, CollegeBoard drastically altered the format of their SAT Writing and Language Test. Although its striking resemblance to the ACT English Test allows learners to prep for both tests at the same time, the SAT Writing Section is still an intimidating challenge for students.

To help you defeat the beast, we have compiled the top ten basic grammar rules to follow when reviewing for the SAT Writing and Language Test.

Guide to SAT Grammar Rules

If you review, memorize, and practice the following rules, you’re one step closer to getting your target score:

1. The Subject and Verb Must Agree in Number

Subject-verb agreement is one of the most often tested grammar rules in the SAT Writing Section. This means if the subject is singular, the verb must also be singular, and a plural subject attracts a plural verb.

Below is a basic example you have probably learned in the college:

Singular: Mr. Nsikak raps every day. (Mr. Nsikak is a singular subject standing for one person, and ‘raps’ is a singular verb).

Plural: Mr. Nsikak and Mr. Christian rap every day. (Mr. Nsikak and Mr. Christain form a plural subject because they are more than one person, and the verb ‘rap’ is plural because it does not carry the suffix ‘s.’

If each test question were as simple as this, every student would be on their way to the Ivy League, but SAT® test-makers always like to complicate this question type. This takes us to our second rule.

2. Collective Nouns are Singular

To make basic subject-verb agreement complex, the SAT® Writing and Language Test often makes use of things like collective nouns to trick test-takers.

For the SAT® review, remember that group words used to refer to multiple individuals are singular subjects.

For example:

Incorrect: The team are winning today’s match.

Although the subject team refers to more than one person as a collective noun, we take team as a singular subject. So, the correct structure is:

Correct: The team is winning today’s match.

Some examples of other collective nouns to consider are jury, group, committee, crowd, class, and panel. Note that multiple groups (panels, juries, groups, etc.) are used with plural verbs.

3. Prepositional Phrases DO NOT Make a Subject Singular or Plural

One of the essential grammar rules to remember when preparing for the SAT® Writing and Language Test is that prepositions are not used when identifying whether or not a subject is plural or singular.

InRather, the head noun, or the noun being modified, tells us which verb form to use.

Examples of how the SAT® uses prepositions are:

Incorrect: The group of members are extremely passionate.

Correct: The group is extremely passionate.

Incorrect: The book with five chapters are well written.

Correct: The book is well written.

As you can see, if you cross out the prepositional phrase altogether, you can easily know the suitable subject.

In the stress and hurry of taking the SAT®s, prepositional phrases can distract test takers from simple grammatical errors. By removing the prepositional phrase, we quickly simplify the sentence and make the errors more apparent.

4. Pronouns Must be Clear in Reference and Number

On the SAT® Writing and Language Test, you must be able to circle a pronoun and draw an arrow to the exact person, place, or thing being referenced. In your SAT® review, learn to connect pronouns to their nouns.

For example:

Even though Andrew was tired, he continued running.

Here, we can see that the he being referenced is Andrew. To test your ability to identify proper pronoun usage, the SAT® Writing and Language test often employs ambiguous pronouns (pronouns in the presence of more than one possible noun):

Incorrect: Andrew, Jim, and Carl were running when he got tired and stopped.

Because there is more than one possible he, we cannot logically deduce who got tired and stopped. Instead, a correct answer would be one that specifies a particular individual.

Correct: John, Jim, and Carl were running when Jim got tired and stopped.

Along with using ambiguous pronouns to test your knowledge, the SAT® employs sentences in which the pronoun does not agree with the number of nouns being referenced.

Incorrect: The mile times were higher than that of Dan’s class.

As we observed above, prepositional phrases do not make a subject singular or plural. Here, we cross out the prepositional phrase to clearly see that the pronoun that is used in reference to the noun mile times.

Since mile times are a plural subject, the pronoun must also be plural. To correct the error, the sentence should read:

Correct: The mile times were higher than those of Carl’s class.

When you are doing revision for the SAT® Language and Writing Test, remember that I, me, you, she, her, it, and him are singular and we, us, you, they, and them are plural.

To make it easier on yourself, whenever you come across a pronoun in a question, circle it in the text and draw an arrow to the noun it’s referring to.

5. Correlative Coordination Means Two Parts

One of the commonest, but easiest error-types to identify is the use of a coordinator without its matching word.

Because the first coordinator needs its pair word to be complete, you should circle the word anytime you see it and quickly identify if its partner word is present in the sentence.

..or – Either Jack or Jane is the club leader.
..and – Both Jack and Jane are funny.
not so much…as – He’s not so much funny as he is annoying.
just as…so
not only…but(also)
at once…and

While this list is far from everything, if you follow these Top five Essential SAT Grammar Rules during your test revision, you are well on your way to achieving your target score for the SAT® Writing and Language Test and near-identical ACT® English Test.

If you have any essential rules to include in this list, please insert them in the comment section below.

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