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17/08/2011

That’s What is Literally Written

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  • Ally

    Ally

    自小熱衷鑽研英語、分享心得,酷愛研究遣詞用字、文法活用,討厭硬記生吞詞彙生字、死記爛背文法規則。自有一套獨特的英語教學方法——「語境技巧」(Context Approach) ,著重語境理解及語文邏輯,達到有效表達和溝通。慨歎學生過於考試主導(exam-oriented)、死操試題、不求甚解,欲藉著學生爭取優異成績的鬥志,驅動學生有效地應付英語公開試,同時提升英語水平,求分數同時求學問。

    大學畢業後即任會考及高考班英文老師,現為資深英文導師及英語專欄作家,熟悉各大英語公開試,例如:SAT, IELTS, TOEFL, HKCEE, HKASLE, HKDSE。

    進攻SAT

 

In the SAT Identifying Sentence Errors section, students need to recognize appropriate and logical relationships between different parts of a sentence. It requires that the literal meaning of the sentence is logical and unambiguous. However, nonsense in the sentence can be easily overlooked since your brain will interpret it for you and you will subconsciously realize what the writer intends to mean. You have to be able to see that the sentence is, in fact, literally wrong even when you can understand it.

 

9. Dangling participle

 

There are two kinds of participles: present participle and past participle. A participial phrase is a group of words that begins with a participle.Whenever a sentence starts with a participial phrase followed by a comma, the subject of the clause after the comma must also be the subject of the participial phrase.

 

  • Present participle (e.g. eating, dreaming): used in active voice 

 

    Floating in the swimming pool, I slept under the soft moon light.


    (I floated in the swimming pool. I slept under the soft moon light.)

 

  • Past participle (e.g. eaten, dreamed): used in passive voice


    Encouraged by the enthusiasm of her fans, Helen sang a song on the stage.


    (Helen was encouraged by the enthusiasm of her fans. Helen sang a song on the stage.)

 

A participle is dangling when the participial phrase in the sentence has no proper subject. That is, the participial phrase does not modify the subject after the comma.


For example,


     ×Arriving at the station, the last train had left.


“The last train” is the subject being modified by “arriving at the station”. That is clearly not what the speaker means, but that is what the sentence is literally saying. The sentence should be:


     Arriving at the station, I had missed the last train.

 

 

10. Diction Error


A diction error is using an incorrect word for the meaning that the writer intends. In the SAT, the wrong word is spelled almost the same as the word that should be used. Note that a diction error is not a spelling one since that wrong word does exist. It tests if students will mix up words which have different meaning but similar spelling. Again, this can be easily overlooked as your brain automatically figures out the actual meaning for you.

 


11. Redundancy (e.g. “annually each year”)

Redundancy is easy to miss because it does not affect the meaning of the sentence. It is inconspicuous when there are multiple distractors in a complex sentence.

 

Watch out for the “no error” option


Don’t go crazy second-guessing every underlined option. If you have checked that each of them does not commit any of the 11 commonly tested errors, it is very likely that the sentence contains no error. Remember there are usually 3 “no error” answers out of the 18 questions.

 

If you have any questions or enquires, feel free to visit my facebook page: www.facebook.com/allylo.english.

(Next Tue: Improving Sentences)

 

 《經濟通》所刊的署名及/或不署名文章,相關內容屬作者個人意見,並不代表《經濟通》立場,《經濟通》所扮演的角色是提供一個自由言論平台。

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