(a)HAVING a membership to a health club has helped me (b) TO LOSE weight, increase my (c) OVERALL fitness level,
and (d) INTRODUCED me to new friends. (e) No error.

 

That is an SAT question taken from from page 82 of 'SAT Writing Essentials' by Lauren Starkey. The error picked in the book is (d) INTRODUCED with the explanation that it should be in the present tense since the sentence is in the present tense.

But I don't think that is an error; I think it's used because of 'has'. Please help me with the correct answer and explanation. Thanks

Original Post
Yale Wale posted:
(a)HAVING a membership to a health club has helped me (b) TO LOSE weight, increase my (c) OVERALL fitness level, and (d) INTRODUCED me to new friends. [. . .]

The error picked in the book is (d) INTRODUCED [. . .]

But I don't think that is an error; I think it's used because of 'has'.

Hi, Yale Wale,

I agree with Gustavo's explanation and revision. Notice that he has changed "introduced me to," not to "introduce me to," but rather to "make." He has changed the verb phrase, for a good reason.

Changing "introduce" to the base or infinitive form "introduce" would not in itself solve the problem, since you can't say, *"It has helped me to introduce me to new friends." But you can say, "It has helped me to make new friends."

If we stick to the lexical items in the original example, the only single-item fix that I see is to change "increase" to the past participle "increased." The coordination would thus be under "has," as you thought it might be, rather than under "to":

- Having a membership to a health club has:
(1) helped me to lose weight,
(2) increased my overall fitness level, and
(3) introduced me to new friends.

I've found a pdf of the book from which you have taken the example (here). The author does not use the awkward capitalization that you have used in quoting the example. Underlining is used instead. Here is the example with explanation:

Quote:

11. Having a membership to a health club has helped me to lose weight, increase my overall fitness level, and introduced me to new friends.

11. d. The health club membership does three things, all of which should be in the present tense to maintain consistency. Introduced should be changed to introduce.

In the book, the underlined words and phrases in sentence (11) each have a letter written under them: "having" is (a), "to lose" is (b), "overall" is (c), and "introduced" is (d). Answer (e) is "no error."

The test question is flawed on at least three levels, and I don't think the author is aware of it. The answer should read, "The health club membership has done three things", not "It does three things." The sentence is in the present perfect.

Second, as Gustavo has explained above, if you change "introduced" to "introduce," the change will be to the infinitive form, not to the present tense. The threefold coordination would then be under "to."

Third, that threefold coordination doesn't work in the sentence! Gustavo's version works because "introduced me to" is changed to "make." Again, it is ungrammatical to say: *"It has helped me to introduce me to new friends."

Yet that is what the author is advocating. She is saying that students should choose an answer that would make the sentence totally ungrammatical, and has not provided an answer choice that is correct. None of the choices is right!

Do many students use this SAT guide? Should I try to contact the author?

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