SAT Multiple Choice Writing Tips: Understanding Relationships between Sentences

Transitions: Understanding Relationships between Sentences

  1. Danish cream is slightly lower in protein and fatty acids than conventional cream is. Also, because it is less condensed, Danish cream contains fewer calories per serving.
  2. In other words,
  3. Therefore,
  4. For instance,

Anytime we see a transition word or phrase underlined, we should immediately focus on the sentence before and after.  In this case, because “Also” is located at the beginning of its sentence, we need to look to the previous line in order to understand how the statements relate.

The first statement is a simple comparison of Danish cream’s nutrition to that of conventional cream: it is “slightly lower in protein and fatty acids.”

The second sentence is, similarly, a simple description of the Danish cream’s nutritional aspects: it “is less condensed…contains fewer calories per serving” than conventional cream, which is implied.

  1. “Also” is a common adverb that links two somewhat related but separate thoughts. The two sentences are indeed slightly related as they both discuss nutrition and are separate in that they describe different aspects of nutrition. CORRECT
  2. The transitional phrase, “In other words” means to rephrase or restate the previous thought but in different words.  Because the second sentence does NOT discuss protein and fatty acids (it talks about calories), it is not a rephrasing of the first idea.  INCORRECT
  3. “Therefore” is another linking adverb, but it is used to create a causal or logical relationship between thoughts.  When using “therefore,” the second sentence must be a RESULT of the first thought or sentence.  The fact that “Danish cream is less condensed” and “contains fewer calories” is NOT a logical or causal RESULT of the first thought.  INCORRECT
  4. The phrase “for instance” is equivalent to “for example.” The thought in the second sentence is not an instance or example of the first thought.  The fact that “Danish cream…contains fewer calories” is not an example of the fact that it is “slightly lower in protein and fatty acids.”  INCORRECT

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