ACT English : Revising Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Many people believe that the current admissions process for colleges is detrimental for high school students. They claim that current admissions standards place a lot of emphasis on things that do not actually measure a child's success in college, such as standardized test scores. They also believe, that there is an augmented attitude among youth of insincerity, as they do community service just or pretend to be interested in activities solely for admissions. 

On the other hand, some believe that there is nothing wrong with the admissions process: any insincerity is a result of active choices on the part of the student, as well as an increase in competition for colleges resulting from economic and social trends. Also, they believe that colleges are in the right for looking for active, rounded students involving in their school and community, and they perceive that there is nothing wrong in encouraging students to have more involvement.

Which of the following is the best alternative for the bolded phrase, "On the other hand"?

Possible Answers:

Likewise

Indeed

In fact

Instead

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "On the other hand" is used to indicate a contrast between ideas, and that is correct in this instance: the first paragraph describes the thoughts of people who disagree with the college admissions process, while the second paragraph describes the thoughts of people who agree. "Likewise" and "Indeed" both indicate similarity of ideas, which is incorrect. "In fact" implies that the second paragraph is an example of the first, which is also incorrect. "Instead" is incorrect because it implies the second paragraph is a substitute for the first. 

Example Question #2 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

 5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7. She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life. She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was. 

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

I had never saw myself being into math

NO CHANGE

Math is a subject that every high school student should master.

It was Mrs. Sweed's dedication to my learning that completely changed my approach to math. 

I never saw myself being into math.

Correct answer:

It was Mrs. Sweed's dedication to my learning that completely changed my approach to math. 

Explanation:

This option is the best as it introduces the idea of Ms. Sweed helping the author to enjoy math through working with her. The other options are off-topic.

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7.She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life.She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was.  

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

Contrastingly,

Also,

And,

NO CHANGE

Hence,

Correct answer:

Also,

Explanation:

The author is showing another aspect of math that Ms. Sweed taught him/her, which is an example of adding ideas. The transition word, "also," shows an addition of ideas. The original transition word, "however," or the word "contrastingly" is not the right word to use here, because the ideas are not contrasting. "Hence" shows a cause/effect relationship, which is also not applicable here. "And" is a conjunction, and can't be used to start a sentence.

Example Question #2 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

Growing up, I used to find math very tedious. I abhorred algebra, couldn't stand geometry, and 1. was just hating trigonometry. I was sure calculus would be no different. 2. That was until I met, my calculus teacher, Ms. Sweed. 3. Calculus being the subject she taught, she used it to show me how 4. math makes our world go around.

 5.Ms. Sweed was very educated, having two master’s and a PhD. 6. I can still remember one day that she talked to me after class after one of the first tests we took in class I had done not as well as I had wanted. When I went to talk to her after class, she told me that she thought I was very smart and could do better if I tried. I began to come to talk to her after class every day for extra study. 7.She only used these extra sessions to not help me understand the math, but showed how math can be used to apply to real life.She showed how math could be used to explain many natural phenomena. 8. However, she showed how math can be used to analyze patterns from studies. I never thought I would say math was my favorite subject, but with Ms. Sweed teaching, it was. 

9. (1) Trying to use Mrs. Sweed’s wit, enthusiasm, and dedication, as I tried to inspire other students. (2) I even started to do well enough in math to start tutoring other students. (3) I never would have been able to do so without meeting Ms. Sweed. (4) I was soon one of the top tutors in our school, and I helped dozens of students increase their grades. [10] Thanks to her inspiration, I’ve decided to look into the field of engineering. 11. Now, an engineering major taking many math classes in college. I enjoy every single one of them. 12. Math is a subject everyone can enjoy.

Which is the best concluding sentence for the passage? 

Possible Answers:

Ms. Sweed has one master's in engineering as well.

NO CHANGE

And we all know that math is great.

I am thinking of going to grad school.

I may have thought that math was tedious, but all it took was one inspirational teacher to show me that nothing is more interesting.

Correct answer:

I may have thought that math was tedious, but all it took was one inspirational teacher to show me that nothing is more interesting.

Explanation:

The correct answer maintains focus on how Ms. Sweed affected the narrator's interest in math, and it references the beginning. 

Example Question #2 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

“Bach and German Hymnody”

[31] The great German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a prodigiously talented musical family. [32] A significant number of Johann Sebastians ancestors and descendants were musicians of various levels of talent. [33] Although he was known for music of a variety of forms, one of his most enduring legacies is the repertoire of chorale music by which he improved and solidified the world of German congregational singing.

During the period after the Protestant Reformation, a number of hymns were written for use in the common worship of the Christians of the time. [34] The structured form of these compositions were well suited for congregational singing although they would sound strange to our contemporary ears. [35] The harmonies and meters of these hymns are very close in character to the music with which we are familiar. They lack some of the standard structural elements that we take for granted in this form of organized [36] Western music, these small differences would stand out to our sensibilities.

It was the great glory of Johann Sebastian Bach to have harmonized a great number of these hymns, often penning multiple such harmonies. [37] One solitary single melody might be made by Bach into three, four, or even five different harmonic compositions. [38] This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren. [39] Many of these harmonies remain to this day as classic renditions of these songs. [40] They are sung not only in the German world but in Protestant and Catholic services. [41] Indeed they are even sung in wholly secular concerts thanks to their great beauty!

Interestingly enough, Bach was more recognized as a talented performer, rather than composer, of music in his own lifetime. While he was still composing, knowledge of Bach’s work was limited to music connoisseurs who happened to be physically near places [42] he lived and worked. It was not until the early 19th century, when the first biography of Bach was published, that academic and popular interest [43] truly picked up steam. In the two centuries that followed, his works have continued to proliferate in both religious and purely musical contexts.

This great diffusion of one mans’ work is a testament to his prodigious talent. [44] It also stands as a testament to the fact that Bach’s work came at a pivotal time when the Protestant hymnody was crystallizing, as well as when Western harmonies were coming into a particular expression that is known as the Baroque. [45]

Choose the answer that would be a good addition at location [45]. 

Possible Answers:

This development of Western harmony structure would remain an important aspect in all of Western music for years to come.

This rupture in musical styles would set the stage for many new advances in years to come.

The broad appeal of Bach's music is regularly recognized in concerts, ceremonies, and recitals.

For this reason, the beauty of Bach's music remains a testimony to the greatness of his soul and the talents of all Western musicians who perform it.

Correct answer:

This development of Western harmony structure would remain an important aspect in all of Western music for years to come.

Explanation:

The overall point of the passage is that Bach's work was a development that helped to carry forward certain developments in harmonies in Western music. As it is written, the closing paragraph is okay, though it trails off a little. Thus, the correct answer helps to "round out" the closing paragraph's reiteration of the main theme of the selection.

Example Question #1 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

There once was a shepherd boy whom sat on the hillside watching the village sheep. He was hot and exhausted fanning himself, rapidly in a feeble attempt to cool himself down. On top of that, he had never been so bored before. 

To amuse himself, he decided to play a joke. He put his hands around his mouth and yelled in a loud voice, "Wolf! Wolf! A wolf is chasing the sheep!”

They came running. They asked the boy, “What’s going on? Did you yell ‘A wolf is chasing the sheep?’ ”

The boy laughed. “It was just a joke, everyone.”

The people fumed, but they all returned to their homes.

The next day, the boy bored again decided to amuse himself again. He bellowed, “Wolf! Wolf!”

Again, the townspeople came running. Once they arrived and witnessed the laughing boy, they realized they’d been tricked a second time. Nonetheless, they returned home and irritated resolved to never fall for the trick again for third time.

The next day, the boy was watching his sheep. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a wolf appeared from behind the bushes. With its teeth bared, the boy cowered as the wolf approached the sheep. Terrified, he called, “Help! A wolf! A wolf is here!”

The people ignored his cries. “That mischievous boy,” they all said to one another. “He must think he can fool us again.” But not one of them came running.

No one was there to witness as the wolf ate every last sheep on the hillside, as the boy helplessly cowered behind a bush. As the boy hid, he shook his head. “I shall never fib again,” he resolved to himself.

Which is the best alternative for the underlined word, "Nonetheless"?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

Instead

On the other hand

Therefore

Likewise

Correct answer:

Therefore

Explanation:

The sentence here is a cause-effect relationship. The townspeople left irritated because they realized that the boy had tricked them. "Nonetheless" and "on the other hand" show a contrast between ideas, which does not apply here. "Instead" shows one action replacing another, while "likewise" shows a similarity of ideas, both of which also don't apply here. "Therefore" is the best answer.

Example Question #11 : Introductions, Transitions, And Conclusions

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 adding a concluding sentence to this paragraph. Which of the following sentences would provide the strongest conclusion?

Possible Answers:

I don't know why they moved out of the city.

Josh is no longer a bartender.

I also know another married couple that lives on their street.

Josh is a better cook than Mary.

Josh and Mary are proof that sometimes people can surprise you.

Correct answer:

Josh and Mary are proof that sometimes people can surprise you.

Explanation:

This question asks you to select the best conclusion for the paragraph. The best option, "Josh and Mary are proof that sometimes people can surprise you," sums up the thesis of the paragraph--that a couple who did not initially seem like a good match ended up being happy together. The other options do not provide satisfying conclusions, but merely introduce new information.

Example Question #21 : Revising 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 adding an introductory sentence to the beginning of the paragraph. Which sentence would be the most effective introduction?

Possible Answers:

My friend Mary has many hobbies, including golfing and scrapbooking.

NONE OF THESE

My friends seem like a perfect couple, but they almost didn't get together. 

Most married couples end up living in the country.

People should not get married unless they are very similar, and here is one example.

Correct answer:

My friends seem like a perfect couple, but they almost didn't get together. 

Explanation:

This question asks you to select the most appropriate introductory sentence for a paragraph. The best choice adds context and establishes the topic of the paragraph. The phrase "My friends seem like a perfect couple" explains how the narrator knows the characters, and the statement "but they almost didn't get together" foreshadows the story that expands this conflict. The other options are off topic for this paragraph or make sweeping generalizations that are not supported by the paragraph's content.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Contextual Relevance

Which of the following edits best modifies the passage?

1.We had been searching for the treasure for months. 2. I had wanted to be the captain of a ship sailing the high seas since I was a child. 3. Our rations and clean water were running low, and, thus, so was our time. 4. I climbed to the crows nest to search the area again, and I hoped this time would not be in vain.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

Sentence 2 should be removed

Sentence 2 should be moved to after Sentence 4

Sentence 3 should be the first sentence

Correct answer:

Sentence 2 should be removed

Explanation:

Sentence 2 gives information that is irrelevant to the current paragraph, which is concerned with a search for treasure, not the speaker's childhood wishes. While the information may be relevant to the whole story that this paragraph belongs to, it is not relevant here, and, therefore, should be removed.

Example Question #1 : Word Choice, Style, And Tone

My lunch I had with my friend Gary (1) did not go very well. For one thing (2) he said he would come to pick me up (3) at noon. He normally texts me when he's outside, so I waited until 12:25.  Finally, at 12:30, he sends (4) a text: "Left my phone at home and had to come back to get it since you weren't downstairs waiting."

When he came back to get me, he was mad, at me. (5) "I couldn't find your doorbell," he shouted, "because there was no name tag on it, so I had gone (6) all the way home to get my phone just to text you!" (7)

"Wait a minute," I said, starting to get angry myself, "you're mad at me because you left your phone at home and you couldn't find my doorbell?"

"That's right," he replied __________ (8). "If you had been waiting downstairs, I would have had to not go through all of this." (9)

"But you're the one who left your phone at home," I countered, "and you always text me when you get here. Never have you asked me (10) to wait outside for you."

"Well, you should have," he muttered.

The rest of the day goes (11) downhill from there, all because my former friend Gary is (12) too proud to admit when he makes a mistake.

Choose from the following four options the answer that best corrects the underlined mistake preceding the question number. If there is no mistake or the original text is the best option, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

he was mad at me!

he was mad, at me!

he was mad—at me.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

he was mad—at me.

Explanation:

Using the hyphen and the italics best accentuates the speaker's disbelief at being the target of his friend's anger over his friend's mistake.

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