I present to you an ode to the grammar questions that no longer appear on the SAT.
Every sentence in this post, with the exception of the previous sentence (but not the sentence you’re currently reading), contains a grammatical error for which the SAT and the College Board no longer holds students accountable. Arcane and frustrating to some, we must now bid adieu to these short-lived grammar questions.
No longer will you see “Sentence Error” or “Improving Sentences” questions while you’re taking the SAT, which ask you to identify and correct grammar rules in complete isolation from any larger context. Misplaced modifiers, parallel constructions, sentence fragments, pronoun/antecedent agreement, subject/verb agreement, redundancy, misused idioms, the SAT won’t focus on them anymore!
Grammar, you might say, is like the United States Constitution: one’s interpretation of them can be considered either “elastic” or “rigid.” We ask ourselves if we are right to amend old rules in order to meet society’s evolving needs and predilections. On the one hand, the new test’s insistence on testing concepts in context rather than in isolation are a clear step forward. To my fellow grammar nerds and I, though, it’s hard to contend with the fact that grammar is getting more and more elastic with every super-casual Tweet and every tongue-in-cheek text message. Whoever thinks that Vine is blameless in these matters, I should add, have apparently forgotten the best Vine of all time: “Officer, I got one question for you: what are thooooooooose?!”
I totally understand why these grammar questions have fallen by the wayside: they don’t test how prepared you are for the college experience, don’t ask you to think critically or creatively in any way, and they give an unfair advantage to those who have the economic means to afford targeted tutoring sessions. Often, these are the very objections on which most opponents of the SAT usually harp. They want the test to refrain for being a game that one can learn to play and perfect.
Take a look at this video and consider how the SAT’s old grammar section might represent a lot of what makes people hate the test, which pits an SAT tutor against a foremost critic of the test.
Now it’s your turn; let’s turn to the comments section and have a good ol’ fashioned argument about grammar that’s friendly and clean.
I still like grammar, this was a painful post to write. Brain hurt now.
**This post is part of a series called STUNT: SAT Taking to Understand the New Test.