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Course: SAT > Unit 11

Lesson 3: Writing: Grammar

Writing: Combining Sentences — Video Lesson

David demonstrates a Combining Sentences question on the SAT Writing and Language test. Created by David Rheinstrom.

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Video transcript

- Individual we're looking at question six, which comes at the intersection of two sentences, so let's read both. For example, when paramedics have access to electronic records and ambulances, they can learn what kinds of treatment they should immediately begin on a patient. Immediate treatment results in safer and earlier care. All right, and the question asks us which choice most effectively combines the sentences at the underlined portion? So our choices are patient comma resulting, patient and results, patient comma and those treatments result, and D, patient because it results. You're likely to see two to three questions on the SAT that ask you to combine sentences or clauses like this. So we wanna do several things at once in questions like these. We want to avoid redundancy, we want to avoid comma splice errors or run-on sentences, and we wanna link clauses in a way that makes sense. Let's go back to the question. So we can eliminate any choices that contain grammar errors. And it's important to remember that we can't do questions like these by just looking at the choices by themselves. We need to read each choice through in its context. So let's start with choice A. They can learn what kinds of treatment they should immediately begin on a patient, resulting in safer and earlier care. I don't see anything wrong with that grammatically. It also seems nice and efficient. That might be our answer. What about choice B? They can learn what kinds of treatment they should immediately begin on a patient and results in safer and earlier care. Aha, that's an error. The singular verb, results, doesn't match up with the plural subject, they. So we can cross out choice B. Now, let's try choice C. They can learn what kinds of treatment they should immediately begin on a patient, and those treatments result in safer and earlier care. This is the longest of our choices and I'm always a little suspicious of long choices, because simpler is often better. However, longness isn't really a good enough reason to cross something out. If we wanna cross it out, we need to actually find something wrong with it. So is it redundant? Well, those treatments actually makes clear what the subject of the clause is, so I wouldn't cross this out just because the word treatments is repeated. The problem with this choice is that it confuses the subject. What is the thing that is resulting in better care? Is the sentence trying to say that the treatments result in better care? No, it isn't. That would be like saying treatments result in better treatments, which doesn't make sense. What this sentence is trying to get across is that paramedics having access to electronic records in their ambulances results in better treatments. Cause and effect. So we can cross this one off, because it confuses the cause and effect relationship of the sentence. It confuses what the sentence is trying to say. And finally, choice D, let's plug it in. When paramedics have access to electronic records in ambulances, they can learn what kind of treatments they should immediately begin on a patient, because it results in safer and earlier care. And that has the relationship backwards, I think. The treatments are safer and come earlier because of the presence of electronic medical records in the ambulance, not the other way around. So this isn't a logical way to link these clauses. Notice also with this choice, the singular pronoun it doesn't refer to a specific singular noun. I don't really know what it refers to, it's ambiguous. So that's yet another reason to knock it out. So our answer is choice A. My strategy here was to plug in the choices while checking for the following errors. First, redundancy. Is any information unnecessarily repeated? Next, subject-verb disagreements. Is there disagreement, for example, between a singular subject and a plural verb form? Third, are there comma errors like run-ons or comma splices? And fourth, are there any illogical relationships, like are there any cause and effect relationships that get the idea backwards, as we had in this sentence? So keep all of that in mind. Good luck. You can do this.