I did pretty well on the verbal section of the SAT, at least for someone who chose to pursue engineering. But this question kicked my ass:
Part of the following sentence is underlined; beneath the sentence are five ways of phrasing the underlined material. Select the option that produces the best sentence. If you think the original phrasing produces a better sentence than any of the alternatives, select choice A.
"The gong, believed to have originated in Western Asia, reached China in the sixth century, where it continues to be used for a wide range of purposes, including as a military signal, a rhythmic accompaniment for vocal performance, and a ritual instrument."
A. including as
B. which include
C. which includes
E. they include as
Here is the answer:
Choice (A) is correct. It avoids the errors of the other options by correctly using the preposition “as” to introduce the “wide range of purposes” for which the gong is used.
Only 21% of online respondents answered the question correctly, i.e. about the rate of random guessing.
The alternative to the underlined phase that immediately sprang to mind was "such as", meaning "for example". However, such a use is considered idiomatic, and is in any case not among the options.
Among the listed answers, (E) is obviously wrong, given the punctuation.
(C) is wrong because since "purposes" is plural, it requires the plural noun "include", not the singular "includes".
But that said, why is (B) wrong: ". . . used for a wide range of purposes, which include a military signal, . . . ."? Can't a "military signal" be a "purpose"?
For that matter, why is (D) wrong?
Frankly, (A) would have been my third choice. I suppose if we were to drop the "include", we would say, "purpose as a military signal". But the construction still feels uncomfortable.