HiSET: Language Arts - Writing : Grammatical Agreement

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Grammatical Agreement

Jimmy is annoyed at the video game that he was playing. For one thing, there was not nearly enough interesting characters suspenseful moments or exciting escapes in the game to satisfy him. For another, it was incredibly hard while playing the game to control the cars. It always wanted to veer to the left when he tried to steer to the right. But the ending of the game was worst. By the time he got to the end, the hero had decided to stop chasing rogue spies and therefore marry his girlfriend, a surprise attack resulted in her being kidnapped, and the hero must go on a final mission to save her before the game can be completed. That would of been fine, except it involved tracking the enemy using a helicopter, and Jimmy much to his chagrin never mastered flying the helicopter.

Choose the option that best corrects the bolded and underlined section of the text.

Possible Answers:

there were not nearly enough

(no change)

there is not nearly enough

there had been not nearly enough

Correct answer:

there were not nearly enough

Explanation:

The verb in this phrase needs to agree with the phrase that follows it, which is a list of plural nouns; thus, the phrase "there were not nearly enough" is most appropriate.

Example Question #2 : Grammatical Agreement

After attending a performance of a local jazz band, a blogger wrote the following article.

1 The Mahoney Performing Arts Center played host to a truly inspiring performance by the William Eastwood Quintet last Saturday evening.  Although Mr. Eastwood and his fellow musicians have a songbook comprised solely of jazz standards, many of them are over 50 years old, the Quintet breathes new life into each song they play. The works of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington were certainly in competent hands throughout the two-hour performance.

2 Eastwood departed from jazz tradition by beginning his set with a ballad, You Must Believe In Spring.  While this choice meant that the audience was not as energetic as it might be had he chosen a more upbeat number, it also gave listeners a chance to appreciate the outstanding interplay between the members of the Quintet.  Audience members who wanted to snap their fingers or clap along with the beat were rewarded by several livelier songs in the middle of the performance, climaxing with an incendiary rendition of Gillespie’s classic, Salt Peanuts.

3 While the focus of the show was clearly the outstanding saxophone playing of the band’s leader, Eastwood gave ample opportunities for his fellow musicians to shine.  In particular, pianist Devon Semien, who took the spotlight for a 5 minute solo during the classic Body and Soul.The entire band were in synch throughout the performance, signaling that William Eastwood is going to a force in the jazz world for years to come.

Which is the best choice to replace the bolded and underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

had been

(no change)

might have been.

may be

Correct answer:

might have been.

Explanation:

The sentence is written in past tense (first verb is "meant"). In order to maintain tense consistency, the correct conditional verb phrase should be "might have been".

Example Question #3 : Grammatical Agreement

The following sentence contains one error. Please identify the underlined word or phrase that should be changed in order to make the sentence correct.

After learning that her father was allergic to dogs, Becky gave the puppy to Tom and I.

Possible Answers:

her father

gave

allergic to

learning

Tom and I

Correct answer:

Tom and I

Explanation:

The sentence contains the wrong pronoun case. Since the speaker of the sentence is receiving the action, the object pronoun "me" should be used. It should read "Tom and me." When there are two people receiving an action, in this case "Tom" and "me," it is called a compound object. An easy way to make sure that you are using the correct pronoun form (either "me" or "I") is to remove the other person, in this case "Tom." This trick relies on your grammar ear. Reading the sentence as "After learning that her father was allergic to dogs, Becky gave the puppy to I." sounds and is wrong. Reading it as "After learning that her father was allergic to dogs, Becky gave the puppy to me." sounds and is correct. 

Example Question #4 : Grammatical Agreement

What is the best way to rewrite the given sentence?

Its a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves. 

Possible Answers:

It's a shame that the tree lost most of it's leaves. 

Its a shame that the tree lost most of it's leaves. 

Is a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves. 

It's a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves. 

Its a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves. (no change)

Correct answer:

It's a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves. 

Explanation:

This answer uses the contraction "it's" (meaning "it is)" and the pronoun "its" (indicating possession) correctly. A good way to check whether you are using the correct form of either "its" or "it's" is to expand "it's" to "it is." Saying "It is a shame that the tree lost most of its leaves" still makes sense. However, "Its a shame that the tree lost most of it is leaves" does not. 

Example Question #5 : Grammatical Agreement

Harrison had math test last Wednesday. He studied really well and thought that he did really good. When he walked into school today, Harrison’s teacher looked at him strangely. Harrison started to sweat, because he assumed the teacher’s expression meant he did poorly on the test. Harrison began to wonder wear he went wrong. The teacher walks around the room and handed out the graded assessments. Then the teacher, who had been walking around the room, paused in front of Harrison’s desk, and Harrison thought that he must of performed worst on the test than the rest of the class had. Then, to Harrison’s surprise, the teacher smiled, exclaiming that Harrison had scored one hundred percent.

What is the best way to revise the bolded and underlined portion of the passage?

Possible Answers:

The teacher had walked

The teacher would walk

The teacher walked

The teacher walks (no change)

The teacher was walking

Correct answer:

The teacher walked

Explanation:

The original phrase "The teacher walks" is incorrect because the tense of the verb does not agree with the rest of the passage. The rest of the passage and the other verb in the sentence are in the past tense, but the verb "walks" is in the present. As such, the statement must be revised to include the past tense. The answer choices "The teacher was walking", "The teacher would walk", and "The teacher had walked" are all incorrect because though they indicate some form of the past tense, they are in the imperfect, conditional, and past perfect respectively. These grammatical forms all differ from the other verb in the sentence, which is in the basic past tense. As such, they do not agree with the rest of the sentence and are incorrect. 

Example Question #6 : Grammatical Agreement

The rules of English grammar and writing are important to some poets. Proper grammar can help get the meaning of writing across to a wide audience. That is why many people were shocked with the inventive poetry of E.E. Cummings. He took risks and did all he could not to write in a single comprehensible English sentence. He E.E. Cummings lived an interesting and productive life. He is most widely known as “the poet who didn’t capitalize his name,” and his life, like his poetic style, was unique.

Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894. He grew up with lenient, liberal parents. They supported his writing at an early age. Unlike many poets, he liked his parents and enjoyed his childhood. He attend public schools in Cambridge fore attending Harvard University, like his father. At Harvard, Cummings received a M.A. for English and Classical studies and graduated magna cum laude. He also helped found the Harvard Poetry Society.

How should the following sentence be corrected?

"He attend public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father."

Possible Answers:

(no change)

He went to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father. 

He was going to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard, like his father. 

He did go to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard, like his father. 

Correct answer:

He went to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father. 

Explanation:

As written, the sentence "He attend public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father" is grammatically incorrect. The best choice is "He went to public schools in Cambridge before attending Harvard University, like his father" because it uses the singular past tense verb went. The other options use verb forms that are not consistent with the rest of the paragraph or are also grammatically incorrect. 

Example Question #7 : Grammatical Agreement

Jimmy is annoyed at the video game that he was playing. For one thing, there was not nearly enough interesting characters suspenseful moments or exciting escapes in the game to satisfy him. For another, it was incredibly hard while playing the game to control the cars. It always wanted to veer to the left when he tried to steer to the right. But the ending of the game was worst. By the time he got to the end, the hero had decided to stop chasing rogue spies and therefore marry his girlfriend, a surprise attack resulted in her being kidnapped, and the hero must go on a final mission to save her before the game can be completed. That would of been fine, except it involved tracking the enemy using a helicopter, and Jimmy much to his chagrin never mastered flying the helicopter.

Choose the option that best corrects the bolded and underlined section of the text.

Possible Answers:

will be annoyed

(no change)

has been annoyed

was annoyed

Correct answer:

was annoyed

Explanation:

The entire given passage is written in past tense, so the past tense form "was annoyed" is most appropriate here. Verb tense should generally agree within a paragraph, unless there is a specific, correct reason for it not to.

Example Question #8 : Grammatical Agreement

Jimmy is annoyed at the video game that he was playing. For one thing, there was not nearly enough interesting characters suspenseful moments or exciting escapes in the game to satisfy him. For another, it was incredibly hard while playing the game to control the cars. It always wanted to veer to the left when he tried to steer to the right. But the ending of the game was worst. By the time he got to the end, the hero had decided to stop chasing rogue spies and therefore marry his girlfriend, a surprise attack resulted in her being kidnapped, and the hero must go on a final mission to save her before the game can be completed. That would of been fine, except it involved tracking the enemy using a helicopter, and Jimmy much to his chagrin never mastered flying the helicopter.

Choose the option that best corrects the bolded and underlined section of the text.

Possible Answers:

more worser

more worse

(no change)

the worst

Correct answer:

the worst

Explanation:

In the context of the passage, Jimmy is comparing three things: the lack of suspenseful moments and so on, the difficulty of steering the cars, and the ending. Since three things are being compared, the superlative form "the worst" would be the most logical choice here. A "the" is needed because "worst" is acting as a substantive adjective, or an adjective that stands in for a noun. For example, the sentence could say, "But the ending of the game was the worst part of it," or it could say, "But the ending of the game was the worst," and leave the comparison between the lack of suspenseful moments and so on, the difficulty of steering cars, and the ending implied but not directly stated.

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