ACT English : Removing Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Removing Content

"A Unique Journey" by Jasmine Tilley (2013)

While I was studying abroad in Europe, I had the great opportunity to travel to different countries. For one of my adventures, I chose to travel to Switzerland; however, the classmates I usually traveled with were unable to come with me. I was faced in deciding whether to go alone or not at all. This decision was easy for me, I was not going to pass up the opportunity to see Switzerland!

I first had to board a train from where I was staying in Italy to reach the southern part of Switzerland. Unfortunately, the train workers were on strike that day, so I ended up delayed in Milan for several hours. Soon enough I was on my way again.  However, shortly after I reached the Switzerland border, the train stopped because one of the cars was filled with smoke! I still have no idea what happened, but after a few minutes we were moving again.

Once I finally reached Geneva, I had to walk to find the hostel where I was staying that I had booked. It was night, and I realized that I was truly alone. I did not know another soul in this entire country! This thought was both scary and exciting.

The next day, I walked all around Geneva. Being my own tour guide was a fantastic adventure. I saw all the major sites while also experiencing the culture. There was some sort of marathon going on that day, and there was so much excitement all throughout the city. There were live bands. It even rained off and on. Everything was new and interesting, and I loved it.

That evening, I boarded a train to Zermatt. Prior to this journey, I had no idea that the Matterhorn was an actual mountain! The city of Zermatt was very tiny and had no cars, only small electric vehicles that resembled wind-up toys. The whole city was lit up, and though I was walking to my hostel at night again, I felt very safe. Walking through Geneva at night, though, starkly contrasted it.

The next day, I decided to go skiing on the beautiful, snowy mountains in Zermatt. I rented a pair of skis and spent a few hours skiing in my jeans and coat! It was an amazing experience.

My journey to Switzerland is dear to me not just because of the many beautiful and exciting things I experienced, but also because I was alone. I had the time as well as the quiet atmosphere to absorb and contemplate not just what was going on around me but also what was going on inside myself. I felt changed somehow. I felt stronger and more independent.

The writer is considering removing the underlined portion. If she were to do so, the essay would primarily lose what?

Possible Answers:

Descriptive information that enhances the story

Vital information to understanding the story

Nothing

Details of a specific event

Correct answer:

Descriptive information that enhances the story

Explanation:

While not vital, the fact that it rained throughout the day adds detail to the reader’s mental picture of the writer’s perspective. 

Example Question #32 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Adapted from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (1868)

Laurie ran to meet and present them to his friends in the most cordial manner. The lawn was the reception room, and for several minutes a lively scene was enacted there. Meg was grateful to see that Miss Kate, though twenty, was dressed with a simplicity which American girls would do well to imitate, and who was much flattered by Mr. Ned's assurances that he came especially to see her. Jo understood why Laurie "primmed up his mouth" when speaking of Kate, for that young lady had a standoff-don't-touch-me air, which contrasted strongly with the free and easy demeanor of the other girlsAmy found Grace a well-mannered, merry little person, and after staring dumbly at one another for a few minutes, they suddenly became very good friends.

Tents, lunch, and croquet utensils having been sent on beforehand, the party was soon embarked, and the two boats pushed off together, leaving Mr. Laurence waving his hat on the shore. Laurie and Jo rowed one boat, Mr. Brooke and Ned the other, while Fred Vaughn, the riotous twin, did his best to upset both by paddling about in a wherry like a disturbed water bug. Jo's funny hat deserved a vote of thanks, for it was of general utility. It broke the ice in the beginning by producing a laugh, it created quite a refreshing breeze, flapping to and fro as she rowed, and would make an excellent umbrella for the whole party, if a shower came up, she said.

Meg, in the other boat, was delightfully situated, face to face with the rowers, which both admired her and feathered their oars with uncommon skill and dexterity.

The author is considering removing the bolded and underlined portion in the first paragraph. If she did so, the paragraph would primarily lose __________.

Possible Answers:

a detail about why Kate wasn't in the boat with Jo and Laurie

a blend of childish accusations and unsupported details

None of the other answers. 

an explanation for Laurie's behavior when he speaks about Kate

an explanation of Jo's perspective on Kate's behavior

Correct answer:

an explanation for Laurie's behavior when he speaks about Kate

Explanation:

The phrase preceding the underlined portion states: "Jo understood why Laurie 'primmed up his mouth' when speaking of Kate." The clause that follows, therefore, provides evidence for why Jo understands this. The word "for" is used to show that evidence is about to be given.

Example Question #2 : Removing Content

Passage adapted from Twenty Years After (1845) by Alexandre Dumas

(1) In a splendid chamber of the Palais Royal, formerly styled the Palais Cardinal, a man was sitting in deep reverie, his head supported on his hands, leaning over a gilt and inlaid table which was covered with letters and papers. Behind this figure glowed a vast fireplace alive with leaping flames; great logs of oak blazed and crackled on the polished brass andirons whose flicker shone upon the superb habiliments of the lonely tenant of the room, which was illumined grandly by twin candelabra rich with wax-lights.

(2) Any one who happened at that moment to contemplate that red simar - the gorgeous robe of office - and the rich lace, or who gazed on that pale brow, bent in anxious meditation, might, in the solitude of that apartment, combined with the silence of the ante-chambers and the measured paces of the guards upon the landing-place, have fancied that the shade of Cardinal Richelieu lingered still in his accustomed haunt.

(3) It was, alas! the ghost of former greatness. France enfeebled, the authority of her sovereign contemned, her nobles returning to their former turbulence and insolence, her enemies within her frontiers - all proved the great Richelieu no longer in existence.

(4) In truth, that the red simar which occupied the wonted place was his no longer, was still more strikingly obvious from the isolation which seemed, as we have observed, more appropriate to a phantom than a living creature - from the corridors deserted by courtiers, and courts crowded with guards - from that spirit of bitter ridicule, which, arising from the streets below, penetrated through the very casements of the room, which resounded with the murmurs of a whole city leagued against the minister; as well as from the distant and incessant sounds of guns firing - let off, happily, without other end or aim, except to show to the guards, the Swiss troops and the military who surrounded the Palais Royal, that the people were possessed of arms.

If paragraph 3 was removed, this passage would lose all of the following except _____________.

Possible Answers:

important information about the state of France under Cardinal Richelieu's leadership

important information about how Cardinal Richelieu died

important information about the present state of France

an important characterization of Cardinal Richelieu

Correct answer:

important information about how Cardinal Richelieu died

Explanation:

"Important information about how Cardinal Richelieu died," is the correct answer, because paragraph 3 never addresses the cause of Cardinal Richelieu's death. If paragraph 3 was deleted, the passage would lose the characterization of Cardinal Richelieu as a great leader, important information about the state of France under Cardinal Richelieu's leadership, and important information about the state of France at present.

Example Question #34 : Writing And Revising Effectively

Passage adapted from Under The Lilacs (1878) by Louisa May Alcott

The elm-tree avenue was all overgrown, the great gate was never unlocked, and the old house had been shut up for several years.

Yet voices were heard about the place, the lilacs nodded over the high wall as if they said, "We could tell fine secrets if we chose," and the mullein outside the gate made haste to reach the keyhole, that it might peep in and see what was going on. If it had suddenly grown up like a magic bean-stalk, and looked in on a certain June day, it would have seen a droll but pleasant sight, for somebody evidently was going to have a party.

From the gate to the porch went a wide walk, paved with smooth slabs of dark stone, and bordered with the tall bushes which met overhead, making a green roof. All sorts of neglected flowers and wild weeds grew between their stems, covering the walls of this summer parlor with the prettiest tapestry. A board, propped on two blocks of wood, stood in the middle of the walk, covered with a little plaid shawl much the worse for wear, and on it a miniature tea-service was set forth with great elegance. To be sure, the tea-pot had lost its spout, the cream-jug its handle, the sugar-bowl its cover, and the cups and plates were all more or less cracked or nicked; but polite persons would not take notice of these trifling deficiencies, and none but polite persons were invited to this party.

On either side of the porch was a seat, and here a somewhat remarkable sight would have been revealed to any inquisitive eye peering through the aforesaid keyhole. Upon the left-hand seat lay seven dolls, upon the right-hand seat lay six; and so varied were the expressions of their countenances, owing to fractures, dirt, age, and other afflictions, that one would very naturally have thought this a doll's hospital, and these the patients waiting for their tea.

If the underlined portion was deleted, the passage would lose ___________.

Possible Answers:

an important piece of dialogue

an important detail about characters who may soon be introduced

the author's opinion about the partygoers

an important piece of information about the narrator's family

Correct answer:

an important detail about characters who may soon be introduced

Explanation:

"An important detail about characters who may soon be introduced" is the correct answer, because the narrator has not yet introduced the partygoers, but can be expected to soon.

"An important piece of dialogue" is not the correct answer because the underlined portion is not a piece of dialogue.

"The author's opinion about the partygoers" is not the correct answer because the author is not writing in first person.

"An important piece of information about the narrator's family" is not the correct answer because the narrator is speaking not about family, but about those invited to the party.

Example Question #3 : Removing Content

Passage adapted from The Mysterious Key and What it Opened (1867) by Louisa May Alcott 
 
"Trevlyn lands and Trevlyn gold,
Heir nor heiress e'er shall hold,
Undisturbed, till, spite of rust,
Truth is found in Trevlyn dust."

"This is the third time I've found you poring over that old rhyme. What is the charm, Richard? Not its poetry I fancy." And the young wife laid a slender hand on the yellow, time-worn page where, in Old English text, appeared the lines she laughed at.

Richard Trevlyn looked up with a smile and threw by the book, as if annoyed at being discovered reading it. Drawing his wife's hand through his own, he led her back to her couch, folded the soft shawls about her, and, sitting in a low chair beside her, said in a cheerful tone, though his eyes betrayed some hidden care, "My love, that book is a history of our family for centuries, and that old prophecy has never yet been fulfilled, except the 'heir and heiress' line. I am the last Trevlyn, and as the time draws near when my child shall be born, I naturally think of his future, and hope he will enjoy his heritage in peace."

If the underlined portion was deleted, the passage would lose all of the following except ___________.

Possible Answers:

an important detail about why Richard was reading the book

a important detail about Richard's wife

important information about an event that may soon occur

important information about Richard's parents

Correct answer:

important information about Richard's parents

Explanation:

"Important information about Richard's parents" is the correct answer, because the underlined portion gives no information about Richard's parents. It does give us an important detail about Richard's wife (namely that she is pregnant), and the book (which is "a history of [their] family). The detail about his wife, that she is pregnant, is also about an event that will occur soon.

Example Question #4 : Removing Content

The writer wants to add the following phrase to the beginning of the sentence: "First elected in 1954,"

 Should the writer make this addition?

Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina served in the Senate for 49 years until his death.

Possible Answers:

No, because the reader can infer the year in which Thurmond was first elected.

None of these

No, because it introduces a detail that is largely irrelevant.

Yes, because it helps the reader understand the importance of Thurmond's service as a Senator.

Yes, because it establishes the beginning of Thurmond's tenure as a Senator.

Correct answer:

Yes, because it establishes the beginning of Thurmond's tenure as a Senator.

Explanation:

By placing the date of Thurmond's first election as 1954, the writer allows the reader to deduce that the Senator died in 2003.

Example Question #5 : Removing Content

Josh and Mary, who have been married for several years, told us the story of the early years of their relationship. They first met on a cold day in December of 1993. They were very different--Josh was an artist and spent his days painting murals, and his nights bartending. Mary was on the fast track to a partnership at a law firm. At first, Josh was not sure he was interested. Mary felt it was love at first sight. Over time, as their relationship developed, Josh could not imagine his life without Mary anymore, so he suggested that they get married. They have been living happily in the country ever since. 

The author is considering removing this sentence. What would be the effect of its removal?

Possible Answers:

It would be impossible to understand the story without the locating information contained in this sentence.

The paragraph would be weakened because this information is key to Josh and Mary's relationship.

The paragraph would cease to make any logical sense.

The paragraph would be strengthened because this information does not relate to the story.

The story would be less vivid, but the paragraph's overall meaning would not change.

Correct answer:

The story would be less vivid, but the paragraph's overall meaning would not change.

Explanation:

This question asks you about the effect of removing content from a paragraph. This sentence provides imagery and helps to locate the reader in the time when the characters met, but removing it would not have a huge effect on the actual events described in this story. The information about the temperature and time of year is not the key to understanding their relationship, but it does relate to the story.

Example Question #6 : Removing Content

“John Adams—A Forgotten American Founder”

Sadly, the great exploits of important [46] men and women is often forgotten in the mists of history. The myths and historical tales of a nation can lead the people to forget [47] some of their most important founders and national heroes. In the United States of America, this kind of forgetfulness has occurred in the case of the Founding Father, John Adams. For a number of reasons, President Adams [48] had been forgotten. Recounting the [49] tales of the nations’ founding, many remember figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. [50] However, during those early years of the republic, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring independence to the burgeoning nation.

[51] During the debates concerning the Declaration of Independence, Adams was something of a “chief orator,” tirelessly attempting to convince the gathered parties of the importance of declaring independence from England. [52] Adams a temperamental and passionate man, was the perfect person to fill such a role. In contrast to the judicious Franklin and the controlled and quiet Jefferson, he was fit for performing such oratorical shows and bombasts. [53] Although he joined Jefferson and Franklin on the drafting committee for the declaration, his most important work during this time was arguably this long project of oratory.

[54] In addition, many forget the lonely years Adams spent as a minister to France and as the first minister to England. What a difficult affair such posts would have been at the time. [55] As the minister to France, what weight could he have had with the court of such an old European nation? Furthermore, Adams [56] was not temperamentally [57] suited for French courtly customs being a stern and somewhat moralistic man. [58] Then, to be sent to England—how difficult that must have been. As the minister on behalf of a once-rebel nation, how could he stand before the Court of King James? Nevertheless, Adams served his [59] post nobly and deserves great recognition for this devoted service to his young nation.

Which sentence would need to be altered if this selection were to focus on all of Adams's achievements in his lifetime?

Possible Answers:

Nevertheless, Adams served his post nobly and deserves great recognition for this devoted service to his young nation.

Although he joined Jefferson and Franklin on the drafting committee for the declaration, his most important work during this time was arguably this long project of oratory.

The myths and historical tales of a nation can lead the people to forget some of their most important founders and national heroes.

Recounting the tales of the nations’ founding, many remember figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

However, during those early years of the republic, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring independence to the burgeoning nation.

Correct answer:

However, during those early years of the republic, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring independence to the burgeoning nation.

Explanation:

The option that is correct is so because it focuses the topic on the "early years of the republic."  Granted, in the final paragraph, Adams's work as a minister to France and England is discussed in a way that implies that the nation was already independent, perhaps for some time.

When you read the sentence, "However, during those early years of the republic, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring independence to the burgeoning nation," you likely have the sense that the passage will discuss affairs pertaining to the early period of the nation's gaining of independence. This limits the temporal scope of the passage. If you wish to discuss more in Adams's life (i.e. outside of this limited temporal scope), it would be advisable to edit this sentence into something like, "However, during his lifetime, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring the status of the new nation."

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