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8 Grammar Tips to Help Kids on the SAT

Teens biting their nails over this portion of the College Board exam? Or simply looking for tricks to brush up on the ol' English? Get help here!

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3. Avoid Alien Beings: Use active verbs

In the real world, as opposed to the artificial world of the SAT, it's OK to use being in sentences that are well constructed. For example: Being of sound mind and body, my father lived to the age of 80. However, on the Improving Sentences section of the SAT, being is ALWAYS the wrong choice. To drive this point home, take a look at the following sentences:

  • Jacob has remained in political office for several terms because of being the most popular candidate.
  • Being the most popular candidate, Jacob has remained in political office for several terms.
  • Jacob has remained in political office for several terms, being the most popular candidate.
  • Jacob, the most popular candidate, has remained in political office for several terms.

Now ask yourself this question: Which of these sentences is the most straightforward and direct? The correct answer is the last one – because it gets its point across simply and directly. On the SAT grammar section, sentences can always be improved by eliminating the word "being." Put another way: Shorter is almost always better. Which brings me to my next rule – really a corollary to the "Alien Being" rule.

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