ACT English

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is an Improving Sentences Question that has already been addressed on this blog: click here to see an explanation.

ACT English Question of the Day

Some ACT English questions will ask you to reflect on a whole passage rather than a single grammatical point.  Take a look at today's question.

Tuning In During the Twenties


     Modern broadcasting began to develop after
the First World War. Before 1920, radio was simply
a useful way to send electrical signals ashore from a

ship at sea, or, from one "ham" operator to another.
The new technology associated with movies and
airplanes was already developing rapidly by the time
soldiers started returning from European trenches

in 1918. The vast potential of the airwaves, therefore,
had scarcely been touched.


     [1] Then a vice president of Westinghouse,
looking for a way to make the transmission of radio

signals more profitable, decided on a two-fold 
strategy. [2] First, he would entice an audience with
daily programming of great variety. [3] Second, he
would sell this audience the radio receivers necessary

to listen to this entertainment. [4] The plan succeeded

beyond anyone's expectations. 


     The federal Radio Division in Washington, D.C.,

was created to license stations, because it had no 
power to regulate them. Broadcasters multiplied
wildly, some helping themselves to the more desirable
frequencies, others increasing their transmission

power at will. Chaos means things were out of control.


     Yet even in the midst of such anarchy,

some commercial possibilities and organizations
saw clearly of a medium whose regulation seemed 
imminent. In 1926, RCA paid the American
Telephone & Telegraph Company one million dollars
for station WEAF in New York City—and NBC was

born. Years later, the Radio Law of 1927 was

enacted. It authorized it's control for licensing and of policing the broadcasters.


     The RCA executives who created the 
powerful NBC network were right to see that
sizable profits would come from this new medium.

Even in 1930 for example an hour's advertising on 
nationwide radio to forty-seven cities cost $10,180.
Advertising turned broadcasting into an industry,
and the untapped potential of the airwaves

began to be realized.

The writer has been asked to write an essay assessing the development of modern technologies after the First World War. Would this essay fulfill that assignment?

This is a big picture question; you can predict the answer without looking at the choices.  Notice that the question asks about “technologies.” If you skim the first paragraph and skim the topic sentences of the rest of the essay, you will notice that this entire essay is about radio, which is only one technology.  This is an essay about “modern broadcasting,” not about “modern technologies.”  This essay does not fulfill the assignment because it is too narrow in scope.  Look down at your answer choices.

A. Yes; the writer focuses exclusively on the commercial possibilities of radio.
B. Yes; the writer focuses on the need for federal regulation in the world of broadcasting.
C. No; the writer focuses on the commercial possibilities of radio, just one technology.
D. No; the writer focuses on the contrast between early radio and radio broadcasting of today.

The correct answer is (C). 

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