GED Language Arts (RLA) : Other Sentence Structure

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Sentence Structure

Adapted from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1623)


[This is a monologue by the character Jacques]


All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

To what does the underlined phrase refer?


Possible Answers:




every man and woman


Correct answer:



Although the participial phrase "creeping like a snail . . ." comes directly after "face," this latter word is not the antecedent for the phrase. Generally, we do place participial phrases directly after their antecedents. For instance, we would say, "The boy, walking to the park, decided to get some soda." Here, "walking to the park," describes, "boy." In our sentence, the phrase comes at some distance from its antecedent. However, context and meaning clearly indicate that it is referring to the school-boy, who is the one that is creeping along to school with such reluctance.

Example Question #2 : Other Sentence Structure

Adapted from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.82-117 (1599)


[This is a speech by Mark Antony.]


Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-

For Brutus is an honorable man;

So are they all, all honorable men-

Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me;

But Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal [a public festival]

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And sure he is an honorable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause;

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

What is the function of the underlined expression, "Friends, Romans, countrymen"?

Possible Answers:

To announce the names of those being called to a meeting.

It is the predicate of the sentence.

To express the people being addressed in the speech.

It is the subject of the sentence.

To call out the perpetrators of Caesar's murder.

Correct answer:

To express the people being addressed in the speech.


Notice several things in this question. First, we have three classes of people (or three names for one class): "friends," "Romans," and "countrymen." Furthermore, the last of these are separated from the main clause by a comma. You can find the main clause by looking for the part of the sentence that can "stand on its own." That portion is: "Lend me your ears." This is an imperative statement. It is a command by Mark Antony and is the main clause. The list of people is separated from this by a comma because they are three nouns of direct address. They are the people whom he is addressing. The context provided by the sentence and its grammar—without the further context of the play—is all that is necessary to figure this out.

Example Question #5 : Interrupting Phrase Errors


Are you trying to stick to a budget? Using coupons for [61] purchases, also known as “couponing” is a great way to save money on groceries. [62] Coupons are a little piece of paper that can give you a discount on what you buy. You will be amazed at the [63] great bargains and amazing savings you can get!

It’s easy to get started. [64] When you open up your daily newspaper, one might find a glossy insert full of coupons. [65] Some of the coupons will be for things you don’t buy, some will be for things you buy all the time. Go through the coupons and [66] chop out the ones you can use.

The key to successful couponing is getting multiple copies of coupon circulars. Ask [67] your friends, your neighbors, and family if they have any extras. Some coupon users even go through the recycling at their office to find more coupons! [68] Completely devoted, these circulars help coupon users to get even more savings.

Couponing might sound like hard work, but for [69] many people, it’s also a hobby. Not only does it help them save hundreds of dollars per year, [70] but instead it gives them a fun challenge every time they do their shopping.

Is there perhaps a greater value to a life lived without constant counting, penny-pinching, and miserliness? [71] But of what value are such savings? [72] At the end of the day; money is a construct, invented by the elite for the sole purpose of controlling the populace. [73] If we accept this fundamental truth, it behooves one to question the monetary structures that control our lives. Indeed, from this perspective, the very practice of couponing might seem a venial distraction from the valuable human endeavor of personal philosophical consideration. [74]

The papers we pore over should be in our books; the pennies we save should be in the currency of our happiness; [75] the budget we have made should have been a budget of our contentment.

A sort of couponing of the soul might ultimately be the solution.

Choose the answer that best corrects section [61].

Possible Answers:

purchases, also known as "couponing," is

purchases; also known as "couponing," is


purchases, also known as "couponing." Is

Correct answer:

purchases, also known as "couponing," is


This question asks you to correct an interrupting phrase error. An interrupting phrase is a phrase that provides extra information, but can be removed without changing the sentence. These phrases should be surrounded on either side by commas. In the original text, the second comma after "couponing" is missing. 

Example Question #3 : Other Sentence Structure

Read the passage and answer the question below

Dear Congressman Phillips,

I urge you to reconsider your closure of the shipyard. I'm a medical practitioner in the area, I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility. Many of these people are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford regular medical care; any gap in their employment could be devastating. If you must see it economically, consider the tremendous cost to the taxpayers when these people must rely on public programs for assistance. I ask you to please keep this shipyard open.

Very truly yours, . . .


What is another way to write this sentence?

Possible Answers:

I'm a medical practitioner in the area and I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility.

I'm a medical practitioner in the area and meet many of the men and women employed by the facility.

I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility that are medical practitioners.

I'm a medical practitioner in the area, and I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility.

Correct answer:

I'm a medical practitioner in the area, and I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility.


Removing the comma and replacing it with a conjunction is not quite enough to separate the two clauses, because they are independent. Thus, we must use a comma and a conjunction to separate them, not just one or the other.

Example Question #4 : Other Sentence Structure

1About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. 2 All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. 3 She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. 4 But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. 5 Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. 6 Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. 7 But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. 8 She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.

What style of sentence dominates this passage?

Possible Answers:






Correct answer:



Hypotaxis or hypotactic sentences are ones in which clauses are subordinate to other clauses (e.g. “I am late because I overslept”). This is the kind of sentence structure that gives rise to the long, winding syntax of this passage. On the other hand, parataxis or paratactic sentences are ones in which short, simple clauses are placed beside each other without subordination (e.g. “I am late; I overslept”).

Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814)

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