My son had the following question on a SAT review. I chose the right answer, but I am having trouble explaining why I chose it. Emotion: smile Can you help us out? The answer is "A" which I would replace as "fall", but then it doesn't agree with the rest of the series with the words "burning" and "leaving"?

Here's the question:

The following sentence contains either a single error or no error at all. If the sentence contains an error, select the one underlined part that must be changed to make the sentence correct. If the sentence contains no error, select choice E.

Every day, millions of tiny stony bits falling (A) quietly into the atmosphere, burning briefly as (B) meteors, and leaving behind (C) a vaporized residue that filters slowly (D) to Earth. No Error (E)

Thank You! Laurie :-)

The correct answer is 'fall' because the sentence requires a main verb.

Think of it this way. The basic sentence is

Every day, millions of tiny stony bits fall quietly into the atmosphere.

'Burning ' and leaving' just provide additional descriptive information.

It's the same as this shorter and simpler sentence.

Every day, he sits in the park, smiling.

You wouldn't say

Every day, he sitting in the park, smiling.

Best wishes, Clive
Thank you so much! That makes perfect sense! I will pass on this info. to my son!

Have a great holiday week! Laurie