When it comes to answer patterns, one of the easiest to spot on SAT Writing is undoubtedly the general wrongness of options containing the word “being.” What I think often gets overlooked in these discussions, however, is the fact that the rule regarding “being” — and gerunds in general — often plays out somewhat differently in Error-IDs and Fixing Sentences. Granted I haven’t done a statistical analysis, but I have spent enough time looking at tests to be able to say this with a fair amount of confidence.

In general it is true that in Fixing Sentences, an answer choice that contains the word “being” is virtually guaranteed to be wrong, either because the word is used in place of a main verb (e.g. Mark Twain being one of the best-known satirists of the nineteenth century) or because it is used to create an unnecessarily wordy and awkward construction (e.g. “Mark Twain is very well known today being that he was a brilliant satirist” rather than “Mark Twain is very well known today because he was a brilliant satirist”).

In Error-IDs, however, the same doesn’t quite hold true. Yes, “being” is perhaps somewhat more likely to be incorrect, particularly on the very easiest questions (where it may be used very obviously to replace a main verb), but otherwise it’s just as likely to be a distractor answer. This is in part because the only real error category that “being” falls into is gerund vs. infinitive, and it is highly unlikely that any given Error-ID section will include more than or or two such questions.

So yes, on Fixing Sentences, you should be very, very suspicious of any answer choice that contains the word “being,” but if the word is underlined on Error-IDs, take good look at your other options before you jump to pick it.