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Improving Sentences

In error identification questions, you just have to spot the error. With improving sentences questions, you have to not only spot the error but also choose the best correction. Also, the errors tend to involve larger structures in a sentence, such as the coordination between clauses. This tends to make the questions harder. The error, if any, will appear in the underlined part, which can encompass part or all of the sentence. Following is some important information about these questions:
  • Choice A always repeats the underlined part of the sentence. If there is no error, choose A.
  • If you cannot spot an error, the answer-choices often can direct you where to look.
  • About 1 in 5 improving sentences questions are correct as written.

A bite from the tsetse fly invariably paralyzes its victims unless an antidote is administered within two hours.

  1. its victims unless an antidote is administered
  2. its victims unless an antidote can be administered
  3. its victims unless an antidote was administered
  4. its victims unless an antidote is administered to the victims
  5. its victims unless they receive an antidote

Choice (A) is incorrect since it is unclear whether the victim or the fly should receive the antidote.


Choice (B) is incorrect since is is more direct than can be.


Choice (C) is incorrect. A statement of fact should be expressed in the present tense, not the past tense.


Choice (D) is wordy. A pronoun should be used for the phrase the victims.


Choice (E) is the answer since they correctly identifies who should receive the antidote.

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