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SAT Writing: Parallelism and ACT Math: Coordinate Geometry

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is an Identifying Sentence Errors question that tests your knowledge of parallelism.  

Start by reading the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  The meaning of this sentence is clear: even though Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was not the first animated feature film, it was the first film to both use new techniques and achieve widespread release.   

Now that you fully understand the meaning of the sentence, quickly check each underlined portion of the sentence to make sure that it follows the requirements of standard written English.

(A)  The word "although" tells you that a contrast is coming.  There is certainly a contrast in this sentence because the film was not the first animated feature film, but it was the first so widely released.  The word "not" just sets up the idea that the film was not the first animated feature film.  There is no error here. 

(B)  The words "first" and "animated" both describe or modify "feature film."  Often, when you have two words modifying the same noun, there will be a comma between them.  There is no comma here.  What is the rule?  Only put a comma between the words if they equally modify the same word and you can changed the order of the words without changing the meaning of the sentence.  You cannot change the order of these words, so there should not be a comma.  There is no error here.

(C)  This answer choice tests your ability to link subjects and verbs.  The word "was" is a verb.  Which subject does it match?   Film.  It makes sense to say the film was good or bad.  The test makers are trying to trick you by separating the subject from the verb.  Don't be fooled into thinking that "dwarfs" is the subject and try to change "was" to "were."  There is no error here.

(D)  The words "as well as" let you know that you are looking at a list of two things.  Lists should be in parallel format.  The first thing in your list is that the movie is the first "to use" certain techniques.  However, the verb after the phrase "as well as" is "achieving."  In order for the list to be parallel, both verb forms must be infinitives: "to use" and "to achieve."  Mark this error and quickly check the last choice. 

 (E)  You know that there is an error in the sentence because you already marked it.  Eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer is (D). 

On sat.collegeboard.org, 48% of the responses were correct.

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question of the day is a Math question that tests your knowledge of the equation of a line.

Start by reading the question carefully and identifying your bottom line.  You must find the slope of a line.  However, the equation of the line is written as 5y = –3x + 10.  You know that the standard form of any line should be y = mx + b.  You need to simplify the equation by isolating the y:

5= –3+ 10                        (divide each side by 5)

y = (-3/5)x + 2

Now that you have the equation in the correct form, you know the slope of the line.  Remember that in y = mx + b, the b is the y-intercept and the m is the slope of the line.  Therefore, the slope of this line is -3/5.  Look down at your answer choices.

The correct answer is (B). 

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