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SAT Secret 21: How to approach sentence addition/deletion questions

SAT Secret 21: How to approach sentence addition/deletion questions

When a question on the SAT Writing and Language Test asks you to consider whether to add or delete information, it’s helpful to identify what the purpose or function of that information is.

When you see this:

“The writer is considering deleting the underlined sentence. Should the writer do this?”

Try this:

1) Review the title of the passage and say back to yourself what the point of the passage is2) What is the purpose of the paragraph and what is the purpose of each sentence?3) Say in your own words what the information being considered for deletion is doing.4) Ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is that information relevant?
  • Or does it blur the focus of the paragraph?

Give question 8 below a try!
This is taken from a passage entitled A Life in Traffic

[Follow the steps!1) Look to the title The title of this passage tells us it’s about the work that transportation planners do. 2) What is the paragraph doing and what is each sentence doing? The topic sentence of the paragraph restates the main idea, and introduces the idea that planners work with folks in the community. Sentence 2 has a problem with it – the “Next” is weird because nothing happened “first” before it – but it is providing a supporting example of the collaboration mentioned in Sentence 1. Sentence 3 is about the benefits of walking. Sentence 4 talks about another form of private-public partnership. 3) What is the sentence doing? It’s talking about how walking is healthy. 4) Is that relevant or does it blur the focus of the paragraph? It’s interesting, but it’s kind of a random detail. The answer is C. It should be deleted because the sentence presents extra info that is unnecessary and disrupts the flow of the paragraph, which is a series of sentences providing examples of the kinds of partnership mentioned in the topic sentence.

When you see this:

“At this point, the writer is considering adding the following sentence:<<sentence being considered>>should the writer make this addition here?”

Try this:

1) Read the paragraph actively. Focus on the topic sentence and state in your own words what the point of paragraph is.2) Say in your own words what the proposed addition would do:3) Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What kind of information would it add?
  • Is that information relevant?
  • Or would it blur the focus of the paragraph?

More variations on the questions to ask about a proposed addition/deletion:

  • Does it introduce unnecessary information?
  • Does it provide additional evidence or examples to support the claim being made in the topic sentence?
  • Is it repetitive?
  • Does it reinforce or contradict the point of the passage or the paragraph?

TOP TIP: Keep it simple – If you have to choose between a choice that will make the paragraph repetitive and long-winded and a choice that will keep the point of paragraph clean and focused, keep it clean! Good luck!

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