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Unit 11: Lesson 3

Writing: Grammar

Writing: Conventional Expressions — Video Lesson

David works through a Conventional Expressions question on the SAT Writing and Language test. Created by David Rheinstrom.

Video transcript

- [Instructor] We're looking at question 24 in the passage, and that's here. So I'm gonna start a sentence prior at the beginning of this paragraph. "Toward the end of the 1400s, as the Renaissance :was reaching its height in Florence, Italy, "members of the city's powerful Wool Guild "were celebrating their recently completed city cathedral. "It was a triumph that added to Florence's reputation "from sophistication and beauty, "yet the guild members were eager to fancy it up even more." Okay, so we have from underlined, and then that's the no change option. All the other choices are other prepositions. So choice A is no change. Choice B is for. Choice C is to. Choice D is with. so it's asking which preposition fits into the sentence. reputation from, reputation to. When you have to choose between prepositions like this, it's a good sign that you're looking at a conventional expression question. There will be one to two questions of this type on your official SAT. And they're asking you to identify phrases in which the same words are always put together. Short phrases, like look up to or help out or how either is followed by or and not and. The strategy here is simply to trust your instincts. These are common expressions so the incorrect choices should all feel awkward or unusual based solely on your experience speaking, reading, and writing in English. Let's pause here. If you wanna give this question a try, go for it. Okay, let's do it together now. I'm just gonna test each choice in turn and trust my gut. Does this choice seem weird? Okay, it was a triumph that added to Florence's reputation, no change, from reputation. From sophistication and beauty feels weird. Bye choice A. Choice B, it was a triumph that added to Florence's reputation for sophistication and beauty. Feels normal. I bet that's our answer. Choice C, a triumph that added to Florence's reputation to sophistication feels weird. Choice D, a triumph that added to Florence's reputation with sophistication and beauty feels less weird than C or A, but still not as conventional sounding as B. This is purely a test of your language instincts. Don't overthink it. If you used the process of elimination to cross out the ones that sound weird and you are left with two or more options that feel like they could be right, our advice is to just make a guess and move on. Unfortunately, there aren't any clear grammar rules we can apply on these questions, but your instincts should serve you well. One great way to improve your performance on questions like these is just to read a lot so that you get familiar with all the ways that authors use written language. Another great way is to practice this skill right here on Khan Academy's Official SAT Practice. You're in the right place. You can do this. Good luck out there.