Sentence Correction Sample Questions

Sentence Correction | 6 Questions

1. Even their most ardent champions concede that no less than a technical or scientific breakthrough is necessary before solar cells can meet the goal of providing one percent of the nation's energy needs.

Answer Choices:
A. that no less than a technical or scientific breakthrough is necessary
B. that nothing other than a technical or scientific breakthrough is needed
C. that a technical or scientific breakthrough is necessary
D. the necessity for an occurrence of a technical or scientific breakthrough
E. the necessity for a technical or scientific breakthrough occurring

Answer: C

Answer Explanation: C is the best choice. The word that functions grammatically to introduce the clause that describes the point that champions of solar cells concede. Choices A and B needlessly lengthen the statement by expressing the idea through negation: no less than and nothing other than could be dropped without loss of meaning. In D and E, the preposition for is less idiomatic than of in expressing necessity. Futhermore, both choices present an awkward and wordy noun-plus-prepositional phrase instead of a that clause that would express meaning more exactly and concisely.


2. What brought the automobile company back from the verge of bankruptcy shortly after the Second World War was a special, governmentally sanctioned price increase allowed during a period of wage and price controls.

Answer Choices:

A. What brought
B. The thing that brought
C. That which brought
D. Bringing
E. What has brought

Answer: A

Answer Explanation: Choice A is best. The verb tense is correct and the pronoun what refers most concisely and idiomatically to the noun increase. It may help to imagine a simplified version of the sentence and substitute the other answer choices for "The price increase was what brought..." Both B and C are unnecessarily word, and C is awkward and unidiomatic. Both D and E are faulty in tense; Bringing suggests an ongoing condition and is incompatible with an action that was completed shortly after the Second World War. Similarly, has brought indicates action that continues up to the present; the past tense brought is needed to parallel was.


3. In addition to having more protein than wheat does, the protein in rice is higher quality than that in wheat, with more of the amino acids essential to the human diet.

Answer Choices:
A. the protein in rice is higher quality than that in
B. rice has protein of higher quality than that in
C. the protein in rice is higher in quality than it is in
D. rice protein ins higher in quality than it is in
E. rice has a protein higher in quality than

Answer: B

Answer Explanation: In this sentence, the initial clause modifies the nearest noun, indentifying it as the thing being compared to wheat. By making protein the noun modified, choices A, C, and D illogically compare wheat with protein and claim that the protein in rice has more protein than wheat does. In C and D, the comparative structure higher in quality than it is in wheat absurdly suggests that rice protein contains wheat. B, the best choice, logically compares wheat to rice by placing the noun rice immediately after the initial clause. B also uses that to refer to protein in making the comparison between the proteins of rice and wheat. Choice E needs either that in or does after wheat to make a complete and logical comparison.


4. Bufo marinus toads, fierce predators that will eat frogs, lizards, and even small birds, are native to South America but were introduced into Florida during the 1930’s in an attempt to control pests in the state’s vast sugarcane fields.

Answer Choices:
A. are native to South America but were introduced into Florida during the 1930’s in an attempt to control
B. are native in South America but were introduced into Florida during the 1930’s as attempts to control
C. are natives of South America but were introduced into Florida during the 1930’s in an attempt at controlling
D. had been native to South America but were introduced to Florida during the 1930’s as an attempt at controlling
E. had been natives of South America but were introduced to Florida during the 1930’s as attempts at controlling

Answer: A

Answer Explanation: Choice A is best. The phrasing are native to correctly suggests that the toad species is indigenous to, and still exists in, South America. In B, native in is unidiomatic; in C and E, natives of illogically suggests that each toad now in Florida hails from South America. In D and E, had been inaccurately implies that the toads are no longer native, or indigenous, to South America, and introduced to Florida is unidiomatic. Both as attempts in B and E and as an attempt in D are wrong because the attempt consists not of the toads themselves, but of their introduction into the environment. The correct phrase, in an attempt, should be completed by an infinitive (here, to control), as in A.


5. In metal work one advantage of adhesive-bonding over spot-welding is that the contact, and hence the bonding, is effected continuously over a broad surface instead of a series of regularly spaced points with no bonding in between.

Answer Choices:
A. instead of
B. as opposed to
C. in contrast with
D. rather than at
E. as against being at

Answer: D

Answer Explanation: The corrected sentence must contrast an effect of spot-welding with an effect of adhesive-bonding. To do so logically and grammatically, it must describe the effects in parallel terms. When inserted into the sentence, D produces the parallel construction over a broad surface rather than at a series. Having no word such as over or at indicate location, choices A, B, and C fail to complete the parallel and so illogically draw a contrast between surface and series. In E, as against being is a wordy and unidiomatic way to establish the intended contrast. Choice D is best.


6. Like many self-taught artists, Perle Hessing did not begin to paint until she was well into middle age.

Answer Choices: 
A. Like  
B. As have  
C. Just as with  
D. Just like  
E. As did

Answer: A

Answer Explanation: Choice A, the best answer, is concise and grammatically correct, using the comparative preposition like to express the comparison between many self-taught artists and Perle Hessing. Choices B and E, which replace A’s prepositional phrase with clauses introduced by as, use auxiliary verbs that cannot properly be completed by any part of the verb phrase in the main clause: neither have…did not begin nor did…did not begin is logically or grammatically sound. In C and D, Just as with and Just like are both unnecessarily wordy.