The ACT English Test

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					 The ACT
English Test
    5 Passages
    75 Questions
    45Minutes

9 Minutes Per Passage
Usage and Mechanics
•Basic Grammar & Usage (16%)

•Sentence Structure (24%)

•Punctuation (13%)
                       Rhetorical Skills
                            •Strategy (16%)

                            •Organization (15%)

                            •Style (16%)
 Suggested Approach
1. Set your watch to 11:15.

 2. Do NOT read the directions!
                Directions
 In the following five passages, certain words
and phrases have been underlined and
numbered. You will find alternatives for
each underlined portion in the right-hand
column. Select the one that best expresses
the idea, that makes the statement acceptable
in standard written English, or that is phrased
most consistently with the style and tone of
the entire passage.
If you feel that the original version is best,
select “NO CHANGE”. You will also find
questions asking about a section of the passage
or about the entire passage. For these
questions, decide which choice gives the most
appropriate response to the given question. For
each question in the test, select the best choice
and fill in the corresponding space on the
answer folder. You may wish to read each
passage through before you begin to answer the
questions associated with it.
Most answers cannot be determined without
reading several sentences around the phrases
in question. Make sure to read far enough
ahead each time you choose an alternative.


                 Any Questions?
   SUGGESTED APPROACH
         1. Set your watch to 11:15.
         2. Do NOT read the directions!
         3. Scan each passage before you start to
            read.
• TOPIC • STYLE • TONE          • ORGANIZATION
  4. Read the ENTIRE passage.
  5. Answer the questions as you come to them.
  6. Circle answers in test booklet first!
  7. Look for the most common errors.
   Most Common Errors Tested
       on the ACT English
Singulars and Plurals   (especially the word they)
Pronoun Usage           (I or me, he or him, etc…)
Apostrophe Use          (its or it’s) (whose or who’s)
Proper Word Usage       (there, their, they’re)
                        (are, our)
Parenthetical Phrases and Punctuation
Preposition Use         (in, of, on, to, for)
           Pronoun Usage
Subject Case
  I   He       She   We   They
 Who           Whoever


Object Case
Me Him Her           Us   Them
Whom          Whomever
     Singulars and Plurals
   MOST common error in this area?
            The use of THEY

When a friend borrows my car, I usually ask
them to fill it with gas before they return it.



When friends borrow my car, I usually ask
them to fill it with gas before they return it.
 Subject or Object Case Pronoun?
STRATEGY: Leave out part of the sentence.
  Example: If you have any questions about
             grammar usage, ask your English
             teacher or (I / me) to help you.
      Read it again WITHOUT the words
          “your English teacher or”
 Rephrased: If you have any questions about
                                X
             grammar usage, ask (I /me) to
             help you.
        WHO or WHOM?
         How do you decide?
STRATEGY: Use the Him/He Test
 1) Re-order the part of the sentence
      containing who or whom.
 2) Rephrase with he or him.

 Where him is the proper choice,
 then whom would also be correct.
        Sample Problem
I wonder who/whom he bribed to
get this position.

   To get this position, he bribed him.


Correct Choice: Whom
Sample Problem
Whoever/Whomever the drama
teacher liked received a part in the
play.
        The drama teacher liked him.


Correct Choice: Whomever
  It’s or Its? Whose or Who’s?
The apostrophe takes the place of a letter.
     It’s = It is    Who’s = Who is

STRATEGY:
•Slow down when you come to these.
•Read the sentence as “It is” or “Who is” to
be SURE you’ve chosen the correct answer.
Sample Problem

Who’s / Whose Line Is It Anyway is a
funny television show. Its /It’s on the
comedy channel.
      1. Who is Line Is It Anyway…
                    OR
      2. Whose Line Is It Anyway…
Sample Problem

Who’s / Whose Line Is It Anyway is a
funny television show. Its /It’s on the
comedy channel.

        1. It is on the comedy channel
              OR
       2. Its on the comedy channel
              Our & Are

For questions involving proper word usage—
  SLOW DOWN and READ CAREFULLY!!!!!


   Our = possession     Are = Verb

 Helpful Tip: Our is spelled like your.
       There, their, and they’re
There = Location
        There contains the word here.
Their = Possession.

They’re = They are
        Substitute “They are” in the
        sentence and see if it makes sense.
        Parenthetical Phrases
Definition: Phrases which could be removed
and the sentence would still be complete.

 Bob, on his way to the store, saw a lizard.
 Bob saw a lizard.

RULE: Parenthetical phrases must begin AND
   end with the same punctuation mark.
Punctuation – Sample Problem
On the day of the test, his over-protective mother
packed him an ACT survival kit. Ten sharpened
pencils, a pencil sharpener, a calculator, a pack of
batteries, three different-weight sweaters, four
pieces of fruit, a liter of spring water and a box
of tissues.
                 A. NO CHANGE
                B. kit, ten
                C. kit; ten
                                    D.
                D. kit: ten
     Idiomatic Preposition Use
 Certain phrases require the use of particular
 prepositions.

      STRATEGY: Trust your ear.
    Is that what most people say?

“I will pick you up tonight at quarter of six.”

“I will pick you up tonight at quarter to six.”
More Idiomatic Prepositions

 She tried to instill on me a respect to the law.
 She tried to instill in me a respect of the law.

 I want to protect you in all dangers.
 I want to protect you from all dangers.
Unidiomatic Verb Use                 (-ing endings)
     RULE: -ing endings are used to
     indicate repeated or continuous action
     and should NOT be used for a single
     action that occurs once.
Example:
When I left for the store, I was forgetting my list.

Correction:
When I left for the store, I forgot my list.
OMIT the Material When…
      • It is unnecessary
      • It is repetitious, or
      • It is wordy

Correct more than half of the time.

  When in doubt, take it out!
      Example of Wordiness
       As I previously mentioned to you when
explaining at last week’s meeting the incredible
and undisputed advantages of combining our two
clubs, The Poetry Society and the Poets Outside, I
have written up here for your further study my
thoughts on the matter, detailing the many
benefits that will accrue to both organizations.

       At last week’s meeting, I said there were
benefits to combining our two clubs. Here’s a
note repeating why.
Spielberg’s Amistad is the filmmaker’s second attempt
to show that someone who is an unexcelled creator of
funny, fast-paced action movies can also be a producer
of films that try to deal in a serious fashion with
weighty historical and moral themes. (42 words)
Spielberg’s Amistad is the filmmaker’s second attempt
at dealing in a serious fashion with weighty historical
and moral themes. (19 words)

Spielberg’s Amistad is the filmmaker’s second attempt
to show that an unexcelled creator of funny, fast-paced
action movies can also produce films dealing seriously
with weighty historical and moral themes. (30 words)
The remarkable growth in increased attendance
currently being enjoyed by such formerly
moribund sports franchises as baseball’s
Cleveland Indians shows that building a new
stadium can have a powerful effect on the
popularity of a team.
                                             C.
A. NO CHANGE
B. The growth in attendance remarkably being enjoyed currently
C. The remarkable growth in attendance currently enjoyed
D. The remarkable attendance boom currently enjoyed
Later, Pike fell while valiantly defending
America in the War of 1812. It goes without
saying that this took place after he discovered
Pike’s Peak. He actually died near York (now
called Toronto)…

    F. NO CHANGE                              I.
    G. Clearly, this must have occurred
       subsequent to his discovering Pike’s Peak.
    H. This was after he found Pike’s Peak.
    I. OMIT the underlined portion.
[1] The immigration laws led, ultimately, to a quota
system based on the number of individuals of each
national origin reported in the 1890 census. [2] The
United States, which was founded mainly by people who
had emigrated from northern Europe, had an essentially
open-door immigration policy for the first 100 years of
existence. [3] But starting in the 1880s and continuing
                SEQUENCING
through the 1920s, Congress passed a series of restrictive
immigration laws. [4] The door to freedom hadn’t been
slammed shut, exactly, but was now open only to the
“right” sort of people.

           A. 4,3,1,2      B. 2,3,1,4
Which of the following sequences of sentences
will make this paragraph most logical?
           C. 1,3,2,4      D. 2,3,4,1
              School Paper Editorial
The first reason why the Denville school district should
not be combined with the Jackson school district is the
fact that the schools have been sports rivals for too long.
   1
 Trying to unite the schools after so many years of
competition would inevitably lead to friction. [2]

       1. A. NO CHANGE
           B. because of the fact that       D.
           C. about
           D. that
  The first reason why the Denville school district should
  not be combined with the Jackson school district is the
  fact that the schools have been sports rivals for too
  long. Trying to unite the schools after so many years of
  competition would inevitably lead to friction. [2]
2. Is the author’s introductory paragraph effective?
                                                        B.
   A. Yes, because it gets immediately to the problem
   B. No, because an introduction should outline the whole
      subject.
   C. No, because it doesn’t say how many other reasons there
      will be.
   D. Yes, because sports is the number one interest of most
      students.
Important Points
  • 1/3 of English items concern
        redundancy, verbosity, and relevance.

  • NEVER let the passage repeat itself.
  • Stay true to the author’s tone.
  • Don’t try to “correct” EVERY sentence.
  • Trust your ear.
          Grammar Review
Among those who played a crucial role in the
Northern victory at Gettysburg were Joshua
Chamberlain, a Union colonel from Maine
who later enjoyed a distinguished career as an
educator and politician.

Among those who played a crucial role in the
Northern victory at Gettysburg was Joshua
Chamberlain, a Union colonel from Maine
who later enjoyed a distinguished career as
an educator and politician.
Dismayed by the news that a top executive
had suddenly accepted a job with a
competitor, the price of the company’s
stock fell sharply the next day.

     Problem: Dangling Modifier

Possible correction:
Stockholders were dismayed…,and the
price…
A fabled center of monastic life during the
Middle Ages, each summer thousands of
visitors travel to the island of Iona near the
coast of Ireland.
      Problem: Misplaced Modifier

  Suggestion:
  Move “A fabled center of monastic life
  during the Middle Ages” after the
  phrase “the island of Iona”.
   In the 90s, albums by Pearl Jam
   appeared consistent on the charts
   even without the exposure of
   music videos.

In the 90s, albums by Pearl Jam
appeared consistently on the charts
even without the exposure of
music videos.
Although the hospital administrators interviewed
many staff members about the repeated cases of
staph infections they had no explanation for the
puzzling pattern of outbreaks.
        WHO had no explanation?
 The administrators?     The staff?
Possible Correction: Although the hospital
administrators interviewed many staff members
about the repeated cases of staph infections the
staff had no explanation for the puzzling pattern
of outbreaks.
 Each member of the tour group should
 have their tickets by the end of the week.

         Problem: pronoun usage
Each member of the tour group should have
his or her tickets by the end of the week.
                    OR
All members of the tour group should
have their tickets by the end of the week.
Representatives to the student senate were
asked to pursue often contradictory goals:
boosting student acceptance of more
homework, developing explanations for
adding two hours to the length of each
school day, and the reduction of rampant
poor morale.

         Problem: Parallelism
Representatives to the student senate were
asked to pursue often contradictory goals:
boosting student acceptance of more
homework, developing explanations for
adding two hours to the length of each
school day, and the reduction of rampant
poor morale.


  “…reducing rampant poor morale.”
In the Olympics the first place
winner gets a gold medal, second
place, a silver medal, and third
place, a bronze medal.

In the Olympics the first place
winner gets a gold medal; second
place, a silver medal; and third
place, a bronze medal.
       Princess Diana, for who the
       song Candle in the Wind was
       written died tragically in an
       automobile accident.


Princess Diana, for whom the song
Candle in the Wind was written, died
tragically in an automobile accident.
The children had been playing in the
park, they were covered in mud.
      A. The children had been playing in the
         park. They were covered in mud.
      B. The children had been playing in
         the park, and they were covered in
         mud.
      C. The children had been playing in
         the park; they were covered in
         mud.

				
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