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SAT

Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Sentence Boundaries — Example 1

Watch David work through an SAT Writing: Sentence Boundaries question.

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  • starky seedling style avatar for user sarah jlassi
    dont we say THE COUPLE HAS instead of THE COUPLE HAVE ?
    (13 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Solarflux
      The problem is not that "the couple" is singular or plural, the problem is what appears after that. For example, the sentence "the couple has a child" works because the singular 'has' agrees with the singular 'a child'. Similarly, the sentence "the couple have two children" works because the plural 'have' agrees with the plural "two children".
      (8 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Sana Ali
    why should "and" be used with a comma?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Jowhara
    Does the comma always work on the Fanboys? Since at the beginning of the passage Letizia Oritz has a comma after it.
    (2 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      This comma isn't related to the comma-after-a-FANBOY rule. It separates a nonessential appositive phrase (phrase that renames/identifies a noun), "the Queen of Spain", from the rest of the sentence. Later in the sentence, we do see an "and", but this one doesn't need a comma because it doesn't connect two separate clauses; it only connects both verbs to the subject. Any time you see a FANBOY connecting two independent clauses on the SAT, it needs a comma before it.
      (3 votes)
  • marcimus orange style avatar for user Dipneet Kaur
    Senetence boundries are just puncutation questions ?
    (3 votes)
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  • hopper jumping style avatar for user Hai Nguyen (Unknown911)
    The FANBOYS confuse me. In some case, it was used without comma, and another one is used with a comma like the example above. How come?
    (0 votes)
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    • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user Kunal
      The times that FANBOYS are used without a comma are usually when the second part of the sentence isn't a clause. For example, "I went to the store and bought clothes" has AND in it, but because "bought clothes" isn't a complete thought, there should be no comma there. Hope this helps!
      (10 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Rohit khatana
    Why Didn't he marked 'meeting' as Verb?
    (0 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Hecretary Bird
      You might get a better understanding of this if you go through the grammar course at Khan Academy a bit. What we have in the phrase "meeting Prince Felipe" is a gerund phrase. The whole thing is used as a noun in the sentence. This happens whenever you have a verb in its -ing form, but not in a sentence like "I am meeting Prince Felipe". The "am meeting" would be a present progressive verb. Instead, if you had: "Meeting Prince Felipe was a great joy", you can see how "meeting" actually is the subject of the sentence and acts just like a noun. This second way is the way that "meeting" is used in the example passage.
      A pretty important skill on the SAT is just looking at the bare bones of sentences and ignoring all the fluff. Here, in the first sentence of the passage, we can take out "the Queen of Spain" because it is a nonessential appositive phrase, "into a middle-class Spanish family" because it is a prepositional phrase, and so on. We see that "meeting Prince Felipe" belongs to a prepositional phrase ("before meeting Prince Felipe") which is just more of the fluff. We can't count it as an independent clause (or a dependent one) because there is no verb there.
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user Long Doan
    if the word "couple" doesn't have "the" before. Is it correct?
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Jacob Klemann
    how can i use that for the sat tests
    (2 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Jasmine Solorzano
    The problem is not that "the couple" is singular or plural, the problem is what appears after that. For example, the sentence "the couple has a child" works because the singular 'has' agrees with the singular 'a child'. Similarly, the sentence "the couple have two children" works because the plural 'have' agrees with the plural "two children".
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user emiljansulejmani
    Why is there a comma after the word "daughters"? Shouldn't it be a colon there?
    (1 vote)
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Video transcript

- "Letizia Ortiz, the Queen of Spain, was born into a middle-class Spanish family and worked as a broadcast journalist for many years before meeting Prince Felipe. The couple have two daughters, Leonor and Sofia." Glancing at the underlined section and looking at these answer choices, "no change". "Felipe comma the". "Felipe period the". "Felipe and". I'm feeling like this is a sentence boundaries question. It could be the case that there are, in fact, two sentences hidden within this passage here, and we have to crack them in half, find the best way to do that, to separate them in a legally grammatical way. Or it could be the case that we don't need to make a change, so let's investigate. "No change". I'm going to tell you straight off the bat. This isn't going to work. Let's go through why. What we have here is two independent clauses. Here's the first one, "Letizia Ortiz", and let's cross out all the unnecessary details, so these asides, bounded by commas, "Queen of Spain", right? All we need to determine whether or not it's an independent clause is a subject, right here, and a verb. So, we've got "Letizia Ortiz was born and worked." Right? Then, after that, "before meeting Prince Felipe". That's important to the context of the sentence but it's not actually that important to the structure of the sentence to form an independent clause. So, we've got our clause here. "Letizia Ortiz was born and worked." Check. Now, we're going to have to look for another subject, another verb. And we've got "the couple". That's another subject. And "have". So, we know that we've got two sentences here, two independent clauses. So that means we can't just have nothing between "Prince Felipe" and "the" because this is the start of a new sentence. If we left it alone, it would just be a run-on. And that's not grammatical. Similarly, that means we can also cross off option B, "Felipe comma the", because you can use a comma to unite two independent clauses but only if you also use what's called a fanboy conjunction, or a fanboys conjunction, and that's For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, and So, and these can only be used... These conjunctions can only be used in conjunction with a comma. So, it would be "Felipe comma and the couple". This means that we can't accept option D, because it's just a conjunction and if you're combining two independent clauses, like "Letizia Ortiz was born and worked" and "the couple have", you need to have a comma here. Right? "And" is a fanboys conjunction, so it has to be comma plus fanboys. So this isn't an option either. This leaves us with option C, the correct answer. We know it's the correct answer because it's got a period. This correctly separates the two sentences from one another, starts a new sentence, capitalizes the first letter. That's how we know. So, when you've identified a sentences boundaries question, you can eliminate those answers that create grammatically incorrect sentences. So, for example, option B gives you what's called a comma splice, when you use just a comma to unite two independent clauses. Option A is a run-on sentence, as is option D. Option C is your only option here.