Although she had signed a pledge of abstinence while being an adolescent, Frances Willard was 35 years old before she chose to become a temperance activist.
(A) while being an adolescent
(B) while in adolescence
(C) at the time of her being adolescent
(D) as being in adolescence
(E) as an adolescent
Grammar Rule Tested! Modifying clauses
When tackling sentence correction questions, you want to keep three ideas at the forefront of your mind: clear, concise, and predictable. Look for the answer that presents the idea in as clear and concise a manner as possible while still being predictable, in other words, fitting in with the context of the sentence.
Let’s start off by knocking out some of the answers that are obviously wrong.
Tip! Generally avoid the gerund (-ING) form of the verb
As our tip explains, we want to avoid gerunds. This is especially true with the word “being.” If you see an answer choice with “being,” it’s probably wrong, unless it’s referring to a human being. By this logic, we can eliminate choices (A) , (C) , and (D).
Now we’re left with (B) vs. (E). Note that these are also the shortest of your five choices. To properly evaluate choice (B), you need to know what role “while” plays in the sentence. “While” is a subordinating conjunction, in other words, it introduces a dependent clause. A clause needs, at minimum, a subject and a predicate. Do you see a subject in choice (B)? Since there is none in sight, we are left with choice (E).
(E) is not only the shortest answer, it is also the answer that complicates the sentence the least. It does not add any additional clauses; it simply adds an extra descriptive detail clearly, concisely, and precisely.
Tip! Frequently the correct answer is also one of the shortest answers. This is because correct answers are concise and precise.
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