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Alyssa R.
English, SAT Prep and General Tutor for Nine Years
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SAT
TutorMe
Question:

Writing and Language: Bats have always seemed mysterious predators. While many other animal predators use methods 1 similar to human hunters, bats have evolved a series of unique methods of capturing prey. 2 The main curiosity among the bat’s weaponry is its use of echolocation, or sonar. 1. A) NO CHANGE B) similar to that of human hunters C) similar to those of human hunters D) like human hunters 2. A) NO CHANGE B) The echolocation, sonar, of the bat's weaponry is its main curiosity. C) The bat has a curious weaponry, main among which is its echolocation and sonar. D) The bat's weaponry is mainly curious in its use of echolocation of sonar.

Alyssa R.
Answer:

1. C The parallelism in the original sentence is incorrect. "Methods" is what is being compared, yet the sentence is trying to compare "methods of animal predators" with "human hunters" instead of "methods of human hunters". Since demonstrative pronouns are used to refer back to nouns in a sentence and "methods" is plural, "those" is the correct choice. 2. A While students often complain that the SAT is purposely trying to "trick" them, the real purpose of the SAT Writing and Language section is simple: to determine how much test takers understand about quality writing. Quality writing is always concise and clear. It avoids redundancy and inconsistency. In the case above, only the sentence within the paragraph meets these criteria. More specifically, it clearly connects to the central idea of the previous sentence (the bat's "unique methods") by placing "main curiosity" (i.e. the main "unique method") at the beginning.

Writing
TutorMe
Question:

As a way to improve punctuation skills, read the following passage aloud, placing punctuation where appropriate. Of course the ordinary soldiers didn't have much fun for one thing there was the snow it came down in a great blizzard about a week after the troops had started to build their encampment their huts were not finished and they were forced to work in bitter cold and storm the cold was a problem the huts were really just tiny log cabins with big stone fireplaces making the whole rear wall in cold weather they had a lot of trouble getting the mortar to set because of this the chimneys leaked so badly that half the smoke blew back into the room the snow made hewing wood difficult, too Sam told us that they were having an awful time getting the huts finished even when they were done they weren't much to live in twelve soldiers jammed into a 14 by 16 room breathing more smoke than air and having to stumble over people whenever they wanted to move around and the the snow never stopped falling by January it covered the countryside three feet deep so that the stone walls disappeared you could drive a sled over the snow anywhere you wanted without paying attention to where the roads were. From My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier (1974, 177)

Alyssa R.
Answer:

Of course the ordinary soldiers didn't have much fun. For one thing there was the snow. It came down in a great blizzard about a week after the troops had started to build their encampment. Their huts were not finished, and they were forced to work in bitter cold and storm. The cold was a problem. The huts were really just tiny log cabins with big stone fireplaces making the whole rear wall. In cold weather they had a lot of trouble getting the mortar to set. Because of this the chimneys leaked so badly that half the smoke blew back into the room. The snow made hewing difficult, too. Sam told us that they were having an awful time getting the huts finished. Even when they were done they weren't much to live in - twelve soldiers jammed into a 14 by 16 room, breathing more smoke than air and having to stumble over people whenever they wanted to move around. And the snow never stopped falling. By January it covered the countryside three feet deep, so that the stone walls disappeared. You could drive a sled over the snow anywhere you wanted without paying attention to where the roads were.

English
TutorMe
Question:

How can I make my essay flow better? It seems to be lacking cohesion.

Alyssa R.
Answer:

Consider the thesis: a good thesis is like a thread that connects every sentence and every paragraph, as well as the essay in its entirety. If you think of each sentence as a mini-idea, then the key is to relate every idea to the thesis, or main idea, in a definitively clear way. One practical way to improve cohesion, then, is to re-read your essay with these two questions in mind: What is it I'm trying to prove or convince the reader of (i.e. the thesis) and does every single idea I've written relate to that main idea?

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