For the SAT Writing test (and grammar in general), there are few topics that warm the heart of grammarians as much as the enforcement of rules pertaining to creating logical comparisons. On every SAT, on every grammar blog, and in every college paper, psychometricians, editors, and English professors break out the brightest red ink and go to town on the violations of “apples to apples, oranges to oranges.” In order to get ready for the SAT (and college, the GMAT, or the workplace), you have to make sure you look for any comparisons that are created and always apply the rule.
Since to apply a rule you have to know the rule, here’s that rule:
Comparisons: All comparisons must be logically and grammatically parallel.
Incorrect: My SAT scores, which were in the 80th percentile, were higher than on the ACT.
Correct: My SAT scores, which were in the 80th percentile, were higher than my scores on the ACT.
Remembering this one rule will make your life (SAT life that is) much easier. If you spot a comparison word (than, like, similar to, etc), make sure you immediately pull out the two parts of the comparison. In the incorrect sentence above, that would be “my SAT score” and “on the ACT” and ignore any fluff between the two (the modifying phrase “which …percentile” didn’t impact the comparison at all, it just made it harder to spot the comparison). Mastering this rule can get you big points on your SAT. On the last 8 SAT Writing tests released, anywhere from 3 – 7 questions have involved comparisons. That means this one rule could account for up to 50 points of your Writing score!
Now that you know the rule, click here to head over to College Board and give that question the old college try!
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