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The ACT English Test

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Title: The ACT English Test


1
The ACT English Test
  • 5 Passages
  • 75 Questions
  • Minutes

9 Minutes Per Passage
2
Usage and Mechanics
Rhetorical Skills
3
Suggested Approach
1. Set your watch to 1115.
2. Do NOT read the directions!
4
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.
5
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.
6
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?
7

SUGGESTED APPROACH
1. Set your watch to 1115.
2. Do NOT read the directions!
3. Scan each passage before you start to read.
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.
8
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 its) (whose or whos)
Proper Word Usage (there, their,
theyre) (are, our)
Parenthetical Phrases and Punctuation
Idiomatic Preposition Use (in, of, on, to, for)
Unidiomatic Verb Use (-ing endings)
9
Pronoun Usage
Subject Case I He She We They
Who Whoever
Object Case Me Him Her Us Them Whom
Whomever
10
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 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.
11
Subject or Object Case Pronoun?
STRATEGY Leave out part of the sentence.
If you have any questions about grammar usage,
ask your English teacher or (I / me) to help you.
Example
Read it again WITHOUT the words your English
teacher or
Rephrased
If you have any questions about grammar usage,
ask (I /me) to help you.
X
12
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.
13
Sample Problem
I wonder who/whom he bribed to get this position.
To get this position, he bribed him.
Correct Choice Whom
14
Sample Problem
Whoever/Whomever the drama teacher liked received
a part in the play.
The drama teacher liked him.
Correct Choice Whomever
15
Caution with the Him/He Test
  • Use the subject case if the pronoun
  • precedes a verb AND
  • 2) is the subject of that verb.

16
Sample Problem
The police gave tickets to whoever/whomever had
parked in front of the fire hydrant.
1) Is the pronoun followed by a verb?
2) Does that pronoun appear to be the subject
of that verb? (Didwhoever actually do the
parking?)
Yes
17
Its or Its? Whose or Whos?
The apostrophe takes the place of a letter. Its
It is Whos Who is
STRATEGY
  • Slow down when you come to these.
  • Read the sentence as It is or Who is to be
    SURE youve chosen the correct answer.

18
Sample Problem
Whos / Whose Line Is It Anyway is a funny
television show. Its /Its on the comedy channel.
19
Sample Problem
Whos / Whose Line Is It Anyway is a funny
television show. Its /Its on the comedy channel.
20
Our Are
For questions involving proper word usageSLOW
DOWN and READ CAREFULLY!!!!!
Our is spelled like your.
Helpful Tip
21
There, their, and theyre
There Location
There contains the word here.
Their Possession.
Theyre They are
Substitute They are in the sentence and see if
it makes sense.
22
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.
23
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.
kit ten
D.
24
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.
25
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.
26
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.
27
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!
28
Example of Wordiness
As I previously mentioned to you when explaining
at last weeks 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 weeks meeting, I said there were
benefits to combining our two clubs. Heres a
note repeating why.
29
Spielbergs Amistad is the filmmakers 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)
Spielbergs Amistad is the filmmakers second
attempt at dealing in a serious fashion with
weighty historical and moral themes. (19 words)
Spielbergs Amistad is the filmmakers 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)
30
The remarkable growth in increased attendance
currently being enjoyed by such formerly moribund
sports franchises as baseballs Cleveland Indians
shows that building a new stadium can have a
powerful effect on the popularity of a team.
C.
  1. NO CHANGE
  2. The growth in attendance remarkably being enjoyed
    currently
  3. The remarkable growth in attendance currently
    enjoyed
  4. The remarkable attendance boom currently enjoyed

31
Later, Pike fell while valiantly defending
America in the War of 1812. It goes without
saying that this took place after he discovered
Pikes Peak. He actually died near York (now
called Toronto)
I.
  1. NO CHANGE
  2. Clearly, this must have occurred subsequent to
    his discovering Pikes Peak.
  3. This was after he found Pikes Peak.
  4. OMIT the underlined portion.

32
SEQUENCING
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 through the 1920s, Congress passed a
series of restrictive immigration laws. 4 The
door to freedom hadnt been slammed shut,
exactly, but was now open only to the right
sort of people.
Which of the following sequences of sentences
will make this paragraph most logical?
  • 4,3,1,2 B. 2,3,1,4
  • C. 1,3,2,4 D. 2,3,4,1
  • 4,3,1,2 B. 2,3,1,4
  • C. 1,3,2,4 D. 2,3,4,1

33
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. 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
  • C. about
  • D. that

D.
34
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 authors introductory paragraph
    effective?
  • Yes, because it gets immediately to the problem
  • No, because an introduction should outline the
    whole subject.
  • No, because it doesnt say how many other reasons
    there will be.
  • Yes, because sports is the number one interest of
    most students.

B.
35
Important Points
  • 1/3 of English items concern redundancy,
    verbosity, and relevance.
  • NEVER let the passage repeat itself.
  • Stay true to the authors tone.
  • Dont try to correct EVERY sentence.
  • Trust your ear.

36
CAUTION!
  • Dont Add a New Mistake
  • Avoid Changing the Meaning When Editing

37
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.
38
Dismayed by the news that a top executive had
suddenly accepted a job with a competitor, the
price of the companys stock fell sharply the
next day.
Problem Dangling Modifier
Possible correction Stockholders were
dismayed,and the price
39
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.
40
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.
41
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.
42
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.
43
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
44
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.
45
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.
46
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.
47
The children had been playing in the park, they
were covered in mud.
  1. The children had been playing in the park. They
    were covered in mud.
  1. The children had been playing in the park, and
    they were covered in mud.
  1. The children had been playing in the park they
    were covered in mud.
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