I am going over a practice SAT test, and I cannot figure out why one answer is better than another for a particular problem. You are supposed to mark the answer that best replaces the underline portion of the sentence.
11. With billions of tons yet to be mined, some argue that coal conservation measures are unneccessary.
(a) With billions of tons
(b) Because billions of tons of coal are
(c) Because of coal in billions of tons
(d) By considering that there are billions of tons
(e) Aware of the coal in billions of tons
I was able to eliminate A and D because it leaves the subject ambiguous. I am guessing that you are supposed to eliminate B and E because of the preposition 'in'?
Any suggestions or comments?
Hi, and welcome to the forums.

This is a tough one for me! I see nothing wrong with the original - I don't find it ambiguous, although the reference follows (tons of what? of coal, which appears later in the sentence), but perhaps that writers of the question agree with you.

C just doesn't make sense, D is overly wordy and no improvement on the original, E is not natural sounding to me at all. B is probably the best shocie. Where do you see "in" here? Am I just going blind?
my mistake, the 'in' is in C and E. So you agree with me that you can eliminate C and E by virtue of the word 'in'
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The answer is (a).
Jim, I like the original too (isn't A the same?), but what's wrong with B?
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Grammar Geekisn't A the same?
Yes. This is the typical format of those SAT questions. They don't leave a blank. They actually put the (a) answer in the stem part of the question, thus:

Bears have big claws that are good to eat.
a) have
b) has
Grammar Geekwhat's wrong with B?
Nothing except that I don't like it -- too wordy. Usually SAT stresses that they want the best answer, not the correct answer. They often throw in two correct answers just to make things interesting.

Ah. Mercifully, the SAT is a distant memory. Either you help tutor for SAT prep, or your memory is far keener than mine!