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Grammar Strategy

The Seven Basics

  1. Pronouns
  2. Subject-Verb Agreement
  3. Tenses
  4. Parallelism
  5. Adjectives and Adverbs
  6. Gerunds
  7. Idioms, Wrong Word usage, Double Negatives


1. Pronouns


When identifying sentence errors, pronouns rank the highest. A pronoun take the place of a noun (example using  I , we, me, they). Here are the rules for pronouns.

Pronoun and Noun Agreement : The pronoun must agree in number with the noun. If the noun is plural then the pronoun that replaces it must also be plural.

Example: Each student wrote their answer on paper. (Student is singular and their is plural. Their should be replaced with his or her. )

Pronoun Case: When a pronoun replaces a noun it must match the case of the noun.

There are three cases of pronouns:

Subject Pronouns





I me my (mine)
you you your (yours)
he, she, it him, her, it his, her (hers), it (its)
we us our (ours)
they them their (theirs)
who whom whose

Some examples of wrong usage of case:

1. In compound sentences where you have two or more pronouns, drop one of the pronouns and then see which case you want.

example: Sue and me travel all the time.

(This is not correct because you would not say "me" travel?)

example: He gave the cookies to Sandra and I.

(This is not correct because you would not say He gave the cookies to "I".

Us girls like the new dance teacher.

(This is not correct because you would not say "Us" like the dance teacher)

Pronoun usage of "me" and "I".

While most people think that it is more proper to use "I" this is usually not the case. "Me" is more commonly used and the SAT is always going to test you on this. It is often hard to tell when to use "Me" or "I". the best approach is to cut out part of the sentence and just listen to how it sounds to your ear. The correct answer is that "I" must always be the subject and "me" the object.


2. Subject-Verb Agreement

The basic rule for subject - verb agreement is:

Singular subjects requires singular verbs

Plural subjects require plural verbs

The SAT tests you on four main areas of Subject - Verb Agreement:
1.Using the subject after the verb
2.When the subject and verb are separated
3. Using either, neither, and nor
4.When a subject seems plural but is not


3. Tenses

There are three main areas that the SAT tests for tenses:

1. Verbs that are annoying

2. Tense switches that do not make sense

3. The conditional