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Chris Lele

New SAT Writing: Sentence Boundaries

What are Sentence Fragments?

Sentences are made up of both a subject and a verb that tells us what the subject is doing. The exception would be commands, which aren’t tested on the SAT (study!).

Fragments are incorrect because they lack a verb that describes what a subject is doing. But it’s not that straightforward, as the examples below show.

Many students with a test on Monday.

Correct: Many students with a test on Monday are preparing over the weekend.

With proper training, many athletes.

Correct: With proper training, many athletes should be able to avoid injury.

(The bolded parts are the verbs of each sentence.)

SAT-level

Daily vitamins and minerals that are important in healthy cellular functioning.

In this case, “that” begins a relative clause, which functions as a large adjective describing the subject. The verb that is part of this clause (in this case “are”) is not

Correct: Daily vitamins and minerals that are important in healthy cellular functioning are in many of the foods we eat.

 

What are Comma Splices?

There are several ways to connect complete sentences. The most obvious is by using a period. You can also use a semicolon or a comma AND a conjunction. The “and” is big; that’s why I put it in caps. If you have a sentence made up of two independent clauses and a comma without a conjunction connecting those sentences, you have a comma splice. (I have bolded the part that shows the comma splice).

Incorrect: Studying every day is not how I want to spend my summer, I want to make lasting memories with friends.

Correct: (using a conjunction): Studying every day is not how I want to spend my summer, because I want to make lasting memories with friends.

Correct: (using semicolon): Studying every day is not how I want to spend my summer; I want to make lasting memories with friends.

SAT-level

Incorrect: Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, it also has the largest moon.

Correct: Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system, and it also has the largest moon.

Correct: Jupiter is the largest planet in the solar system; it also has the largest moon.

 

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About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 8 million views.

You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog!

You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!


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