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Myka Yamasaki

SAT Grammar Tips

#TBT, is anyone reading this old enough to remember Schoolhouse Grammar Rock?


Well, regardless of if you do or don’t, I hate to say it but watching Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube probably won’t help you raise your SAT Writing score. I am saying this from personal experience! I went into my first SAT without any substantive preparation and I flopped on the writing section of the test. I realized that being able to write an English class essay wasn’t synonymous with knowing all the grammar technicalities that exist in our language. As a result, I took some time to learn those technicalities in order to go back and conquer the SAT writing sections. Here is some of what I learned.

1) Pay attention to parallel structures.

Whether it is with nouns, adjectives, verbs, or adverbs you need to make sure the form is consistent. Some examples…


2) Spot technical diction errors.

While looking over a sentence, see if the words in the sentence appropriately match the context. Some examples…

  • Remember that if you cannot physically count a noun, use the words “less,” “much,” and “amount.”
    • I had less strength after running the marathon.
  • Remember that if you can physically count a noun, use the words “fewer,” “many,” and “number.”
    • I had fewer apples than I thought because my dad ate some.


3) Catch run-on sentences.

A run-on sentence is when there are too many independent clauses. A well-constructed sentence is made of one independent clause and one dependent clause. There are four main ways to remedy a run-on.

  1. Transform one of the excess independent clauses into a dependent one.
  2. Split the two independent clauses into two separate sentences.
  3. Use a semicolon between the two independent clauses.
  4. Use a comma and then a conjunction to make a compound sentence.
    1. Official conjunctions = FANBOYS (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so)

Now memorize these grammatical technicalities and try doing a practice SAT writing section. I promise you will be able to identify mistakes in sentences that you once thought were perfectly fine!


Photo by Austin & Ally Wiki

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About Myka Yamasaki

Myka will be attending Occidental College (located in Los Angeles) in the fall and is very excited! She is looking forward to reflecting on her high school experience to help others do their best on the SAT/ACT and in college admissions. She loves cats, food, and friends.

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