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Introduction of Grammar

The field of grammar is huge and complex—tomes have been written on the subject. This complexity should be no surprise since grammar deals with the process of communication.
SAT grammar tests only a small part of standard written English. Grammar can be divided into two parts: Mechanics and Usage.
Mechanics concerns punctuation, capitalization, etc. It is not tested on the SAT to the same extent as usage. So don’t spend too much time worrying whether the comma is in the right place or whether a particular word should be capitalized. (For a thorough discussion of punctuation, see the Essay chapter.)
Usage concerns how we choose our words and how we express our thoughts. In other words, are the connections between the words in a sentence logically sound, and are they expressed in a way that conforms to standard idiom? This is the part of grammar that is most important on the SAT. Six major categories of usage are tested:
  • Pronoun Errors
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Misplaced and Redundant Modifiers
  • Faulty Parallelism
  • Faulty Verb Tense
  • Faulty Idiom
To do well on this portion of the test, you need to know certain basic components of English grammar and usage. The more familiar you are with the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and so forth) and how they function in a sentence, the easier the test will be for you. Let’s take a look at the types of grammar questions you will encounter on the test, and then we will brush up on some of the rules that dictate proper grammar and usage in the English language.

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