Spotting The Dead Giveaways

Strategies for Avoiding Trap Answers Based On 20 Words & Phrases That Will Never Be In The Correct Answer

Catalyst's special Spotting The Dead Giveaways course teaches students who agonize over choosing A, B, C, D, or E how they can automatically eliminate three or four answer choices based on 20 words and phrases that will never appear in the correct answer on any SAT grammar question. Sound too good to be true? Here's a typical SAT grammar question and our accompanying strategy.

Choose the answer that best revises the underlined portion of the following sentence:

The reason many authors don't garner acclaim until they are middle-aged is because it can take decades to master the craft of writing.

(A) is because it can
(B) is because they can
(C) is because they are able to
(D) is that they will be able to
(E) is that they can

Strategy: If you think the correct answer is B, think again! In proper English – the kind tested on the SAT - the words “reason” and “because” can't appear in the same sentence. Even though we all say things like “The reason I’m going on a diet is because I want to lose weight,” on the SAT, the use of “reason” and “because” in the same sentence is forbidden. Every time you see the phrase “is because” following the word “reason,” eliminate that answer choice right away! This strategy enables us to automatically get rid of choices (A), (B), and (C). The correct answer is (E).


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