“How is that wrong?” Jason, an East Lyme High School junior, exclaimed as he navigated the Writing and Language section of the new SAT.
The sentence at issue: “The competition between my brother and I for house ping pong champion was intense.” I explained that prepositions like “between” required object pronouns to follow. “Me” is an object pronoun and should replace “I”, a subject pronoun. Jason, a brilliant student, was growing increasingly frustrated with his inability to master the Writing and Language section of the new SAT.
Grammar used to be a year long subject taught at many high schools. Grammar is boring to teach and boring to learn and through the years has gradually been integrated into English class in bits and pieces. Almost every Connecticut student that I work with tells me: “I never learned grammar.” I know this is not true. But when I explain concepts such as subject v. object pronouns in SAT class, many students look at me with the same look they do when I explain novel math concepts.
Fortunately, there are a list of common mistakes that the new SAT focuses upon and in reasonably short order, we are able to increase our students’ grammar knowledge base.