SAT Writing and ACT Reading

SAT Question of the Day

The SAT question of the day is an Improving Sentences question from the Writing section.  

Read the original sentence to yourself, listening for errors.  If you are familiar with the Big 8 Grammar Rules, you should spot a problem immediately.  This is a long sentence, but focus on the last comma.  There is a complete sentence before this comma, and a complete sentence after the comma.  What do you call that?  A comma splice!  This is a sentence structure error.  There are multiple ways to fix this kind of error, so look down at your answer choices.

(A)  The first choice always matches the original sentence for this type of question, so you can eliminate this choice without reading it.

(B)  This choice adds an extra word, "moreover," but it does not fix the original problem.  There should be a semicolon before the transitional word "moreover" because there are two complete sentences squished into one sentence.  Eliminate this choice.

(C)  Avoid the word "being"!  It sounds awkward in this context.  Eliminate this choice.

(D)  This choice slightly changes the wording of the second portion of the sentence, but it still contains a comma splice with two complete sentences squished into one.  Eliminate it.

(E)  Check out the portion following the comma.  Is it still an independent clause?  No!  The part of the sentence following the comma now starts with the word "during" and can no longer stand alone.  This fixes the comma splice.

The correct answer is (E).

ACT Question of the Day

The ACT question is a reading question today.

On the actual ACT exam, you would read the entire passage focusing on the topic, scope, purpose, topic sentences, and conclusion, if any.  Then you would prioritize the questions and answer them  in order of difficulty (answering all the Easy questions before all the Medium questions before all the Hard questions).  

This particular question looks like a vocabulary question, which should be classified as Easy, because it zeros in on one specific term.  However, if you look at the sentence containing the term, you don't have a lot of context clues.  This question asks you to "infer" something from the passage, and inference questions are Hard.  You should answer this question after you have answered the other questions about the passage so that you are as familiar with it as possible.

Paraphrase the question.  What can you infer about the term "ravaged" as it is applied to Mrs. Sennet's face?  You already know that the context of line 89 is that Mrs. Sennet has resigned herself to at least leaving with the children and seeing them settled.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A)  If Mrs. Sennet is resigned to her decision, it is unlikely that she is irritated or annoyed.  Eliminate this choice.

(B)  "Resentfulness and anger" is even stronger than "irritation and annoyance."  No matter how much the children pleaded for her to come, Mrs. Sennet made her own decision and is traveling of her own free will.  Eliminate this choice.

(C)  This matches previous descriptions of Mrs. Sennet.  She was described as old and "ill" in lines 23-28 and as tired of caring for the family in lines 31-32.  Quickly check the last choice.

(D)  Someone who is tired is not likely to show a lot of enthusiasm and excitement.  In fact, Mrs. Sennet goes on to humorously explain that she is just getting rid of the children in order to come back.  She is covering up her attachment to the children by exaggerating their faults, but she is clearly reluctant to spend another extended period of time with them.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (C).

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