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Test PrepSATWritingParagraph Improvement

SAT Writing Skill Review: Paragraph Improvement

A final type of multiple-choice question you will see in the Writing section of the SAT is the Paragraph Improvement question. Here, you’ll be given a paragraph made up of several questions.

You’ll be asked to do one of the following:

  • Identify sentences that are out of order;
  • Identify sentences that should be rewritten or combined with other sentences;
  • Identify sentences that should be removed altogether;
  • Select appropriate introductory/concluding sentences, transitional words and/or supporting examples.


Improve the paragraph below. Questions 1-2 are based on the following passage.

(1) We visited a local animal shelter on Saturday. (2) We wanted to pick out a new dog. (3) As we walked through the corridor, each dog had its own way of sharing something about its personality. (4) Some dogs barked, others jumped up and down, and still others cowered in the corners of their cages. (5) Dogs make wonderful companions. (6) Finding the right fit is important. (7) We visited with several different dogs, but the one who stole our hearts was Bogart. (8) This big, black dog with droopy ears and a wagging tail is now the newest member of our family.

  1. What is the best way to combine the first two sentences of this paragraph?

    (A) We visited a local animal shelter on Saturday, we wanted to pick out a new
    (B) We visited a local animal shelter on Saturday because we were hoping we
         would be able to pick out a new dog.
    (C) Visiting a local animal shelter on Saturday, we were wanting to pick out a
         new dog.
    (D) We visited a local animal shelter on Saturday to pick out a new dog.
    (E) So that we could pick out a new dog, we went and visited a local animal
         shelter on Saturday.

  2. Omitting which of the following sentences would improve the overall unity of the paragraph?

    (A) Sentence 1
    (B) Sentence 4
    (C) Sentence 5
    (D) Sentence 6
    (E) Sentence 9

Answers and Explanations

  1. The correct answer is D.  Choice D combines the two sentences without being wordy. Choice A, although not wordy, is a comma splice. Choices B and E are unnecessarily wordy. Choice C has a problem with verb usage (were wanting).
  2. The correct answer is C. The paragraph is primarily about choosing a dog that will fit within a family. All of the statements except for Sentence 5 speak to that idea in some way.


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Don Munce