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Test PrepSATWritingDiction

SAT Writing Skill Review: Diction

Sometimes you will have to identify words that are misused rather than grammatically incorrect. For example, a sentence may use the word imply where it should use infer. This grammar concept is tested most commonly on the Error ID multiple-choice questions.

Here is a brief list of commonly confused words. Many more are available in grammar texts and online. Develop your own list based on words you often confuse.

accept (v.): to agree or take something

vs.

except (prep.): excluding

disinterested (adj.): impartial

vs.

uninterested (adj.): not interested

imply (v.): to indirectly suggest meaning

vs.

infer (v.): to draw a conclusion

disperse (v.): to scatter

vs.

disburse (v.): to pay out

than (conj.): used for comparison 

vs.

then (adv.): next

farther (adj.): more distant; more advanced

vs.

further (adj.): in addition; extending beyond a certain point

affect (v.): to produce an effect or change

vs.

effect (n.): a result

who (pron.): referring to a person or to people

vs.

which (pron.): referring to a singular or plural thing

who or which (pron.): see above

vs.

that (pron.): referring to things or a group of people

conscience (n.): sense of right and wrong

vs.

conscious (adj.): awake; aware

So, when you see one of these words (or one like them) underlined in an Error ID question, ask yourself, “Is this word being used correctly?

Example

Answer and Explanation

  1. The correct answer is A. In this sentence, we need there (used as a pronoun) rather than their, which is used to indicate possession.

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