HiSET: Language Arts - Writing : Idiomatic Usage

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Idiomatic Usage

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:

would

will have

(no change)

would've

Correct answer:

would've

Explanation:

Often people think they hear the phrase "would of," what they're actually hearing is "would've," the contracted form of "would have," which is the appropriate choice here. There is a verb needed after "would" in these cases, "of" will never suffice.

Example Question #2 : Idiomatic Usage

1    The recruitment of elite athletes by American universities has recently reached new levels of both sophistication and it is very competitive. The benefits of having top-quality athletic programs are obvious: massive television revenues, marketing deals with major corporate sponsors, and increased alumni donations.  However, the desire to achieve these riches led many colleges to sanction practices that are both ethically and legally questionable.

2    Colleges have traditionally made allowances in their admission standards for athletes who might not have otherwise been academically qualified.  In recent years, however, several cases of outright academic fraud have been uncovered at major American universities.  These include fraudulent transcripts, fictitious online coursework, and the increasingly common practice of having a star athlete repeat a grade or two in order to achieve a higher grade point average.

3  The recruitment of potential college athletes is also starting at a much earlier age as it was before.  Some football and basketball players have been given scholarship offers before they enroll in high school.  The presence of various types of social media also plays a large role in the recruiting process.  Of course, the offers are non-binding, and oftentimes, the athletes in question do not actually attend the school at all.

4.  It would be a good idea for the leaders of American universities to remind themselves of the academic mission of their institutions before they allow the pursuit of money and fame  to corrupt them.  Success on the playing fields is a noble goal, but not if it comes at the cost ignoring the true purpose of higher education.

Which choice best replaces the bolded and underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

than they were before.

before.

than it was before.

as in the time before.

Correct answer:

than it was before.

Explanation:

The word "earlier" signals a comparison of inequality, making "than" necessary to complete the comparison correctly. Since the sentence compares "the recruitment", which is singular, "it" is the appropriate pronoun for this sentence.

Example Question #3 : Idiomatic Usage

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 choice best replaces the bolded and underlined phrase?

Possible Answers:

departed by

(no change)

departed to

departing

Correct answer:

(no change)

Explanation:

"From" is the correct idiomatic complement for the verb "departed" in this sentence.

Example Question #4 : Idiomatic Usage

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 phrase from the passage?

Possible Answers:

Harrison thought that he could have

Harrison thinks that he could of 

Harrison thought that he could of 

Harrison thought that he must have

Harrison thought that he must of (no change)

Correct answer:

Harrison thought that he must have

Explanation:

The problem with the original phrasing is that the idiomatic phrase meaning "had to have done" is "must have". People often get confused with this idiom, thinking that the idiom is "must of". This confusion is the same with the idioms "would have" and "could have". Any answer choices using the words "would", "could", "should", or "must" followed by "of" are incorrect. The answer choice "Harrison thought he could have" is also incorrect because it changes the sentiment of the phrase from Harrison thinking he indubitably messed up to Harrison thinking that he may possibly have made a mistake. 

Example Question #5 : Idiomatic Usage

In one small town in California, [5] community leaders were worried about the next generation of kids growing up overweight because of the unhealthy food options. Local leaders decided to create a program in which [6] farmers taught kids how to cook healthy meals. In the six-week program, farmers taught kids how to grow fresh vegetables. In the newly-dug school gardens. [7] The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in their [8] own gardens. Plus, these vegetables can make delicious meals from all different cultures. [9]

Choose the most grammatically correct option.

Possible Answers:

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in they's own gardens. 

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in their own gardens.

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in them's own gardens. 

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in they're own gardens. 

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in there own gardens. 

Correct answer:

The kids were proud to eat tomatoes, lettuce, and beans that they had grown in their own gardens.

Explanation:

Correct Examples of Using Their/There/They're

-Their dog was sitting under the tree.

-Look at the dog over there!

-They're (They are) going to take the dog for a walk.

 

Them's and They's are never used in formal academic writing.

Example Question #6 : Idiomatic Usage

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. [12]  If you don't have easy access to fruits and vegetables in your hometown, try to join a program to learn how to grow your own produce! Replacing potato chips with potatoes is a good investment for your future health.

Choose the most grammatically correct option.

Possible Answers:

No Change

It's

Its'

Correct answer:

It's

Explanation:

In this case, the correct answer "It's" can be deconstructed as "It is".

Example Question #7 : Idiomatic Usage

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. [12]  If you don't have easy access to fruits and vegetables in your hometown, try to join a program to learn how to grow your own produce! Replacing potato chips with potatoes is a good investment for your future health.

Choose the option that is the most grammatically correct.

Possible Answers:

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients; but it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. (No change)

No Change

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients but it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. 

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients but, it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. (No change)

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients, but it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. [12] 

Correct answer:

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients, but it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. [12] 

Explanation:

The correct answer connects the two related ideas with a correctly placed comma to construct one fluid sentence.

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