Welcome back to school! I hope you had a fantastic summer break, full of fun, relaxation, good memories, and SAT preparation. The new SAT is in full swing, with three exams administered in spring 2016. This month, I want to, first, give you some general reminders and information about the exam; then, I’ll cover a Writing and Language lesson: Modifying Phrases.

 

Daily Practice: The SAT is a demanding exam, and to maximize your score, you have to practice. You should do so on a daily basis, treating your exam preparation like a job until you have taken the SAT. You do not need to spend hours every day practicing, though; something as little as five to ten minutes a day can be effective.

 

If you have not already done so, download the free (!) Daily Practice for the New SAT app: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/daily-practice-app

 

Here, you will find a different question every day on official reading, writing and language, and math content. The questions represent varying degrees of difficulty, and you can ask for a hint if you are unsure how to proceed on a question. Answer explanations are provided, so use them to strengthen and reinforce your knowledge of required material.

 

PSAT: Consider practicing with and taking the PSAT. It contains the same content areas as the SAT and will provide a great gauge of your strengths and areas in need of improvement.

 

You can find out more about the PSAT at:

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/psat-nmsqt-psat-10

 

SAT Test Dates & Registration: https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/dates-deadlines

 

  • October 1, 2016
  • November 5, 2016
  • December 3, 2016
  • January 21, 2017
  • March 11, 2017
  • May 6, 2017
  • June 3, 2017

 

Make sure you register to take the SAT by the deadline provided on The College Board’s website for each test administration. If you register after the deadline, you will have to pay a late fee.

 

There are fee waivers available for eligible students. Check here to see about eligibility:

https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/fees/fee-waivers

 

Now, let’s look at this month’s Writing and Language lesson.

 

Modifying Phrases

Let’s start with this sentence:

The waiter served a dinner roll to the woman that was well buttered.

This sentence should make you laugh! Why? As written, it makes it sound as if the woman was well buttered, but what we really want to say is the dinner roll was well buttered.

Correction: The waiter served a well-buttered dinner roll to the woman.

What, then, is a modifying phrase? A modifying phrase acts like an adjective or adverb by providing more specificity to the word or group of words it is modifying.   In the above sentence, “well-buttered” is the modifying phrase; it gives us more description about the dinner roll. We now have a better idea as to what this dinner roll was like.

Modifying phrases, though, are not crucial to a word or group of words. We could take out the phrase “well-buttered,” and the sentence would still make sense:

Also Correct: The waiter served a dinner roll to the woman.

 Rule: If you are going to use a modifying phrase, it needs to be located right next to the word or group of words it is modifying.

Practice: Revise each of the following sentences so the modifying phrase does not cause confusion.

  1. I thought I heard a strange noise riding my bike.
  2. Having finished studying, the television was turned on by the children.
  3. Orbiting between Venus and Earth, research astronomers discovered a new group of asteroids.
  4. Victoria made the mistake of walking her rambunctious Chihuahua, George, wearing high heels.
  5. Rafael bought a car from his neighbor with faulty brakes.
  6. Michael nearly earned seventy-five dollars for caring for his neighbor’s dog while she was out of town.
  7. Spiced with aromatic herbs, I had never tasted anything quite like Jane’s vegetable curry.
  8. Climbing the mountain, the rock hit Lisa on the head.
  9. Simone washed her hair after she finished swimming with a new shampoo.

 

 

 

 

Answers

*There could be more than one way to correct each sentence. I am providing one correction for each sentence, though, so please let me know if you would like me to check your correction if it is different from mine.

  1. While riding my bike, I thought I heard a strange noise.
  2. Having finished studying, the children turned on the television.
  3. Research astronomers discovered a new group of asteroids orbiting between Venus and Earth.
  4. Victoria made the mistake of walking her rambunctious Chihuahua, George, while she was wearing high heels.
  5. Rafael bought a car with faulty brakes from his neighbor.
  6. Michael earned nearly seventy-five dollars for caring for his neighbor’s dog while she was out of town.
  7. I had never tasted anything quite like Jane’s vegetable curry, which was spiced with aromatic herbs.
  8. The rock hit Lisa on the head while she was climbing the mountain.
  9. After she finished swimming, Simone washed her hair with a new shampoo.

 

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