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Comprehension and Grammar

SAT Review of Identifying Sentence Errors

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Overview One of the subtests of the SAT Writing portion is Identifying Sentence Errors. These multiple-choice questions ask students to recognize errors in grammar, usage, word choice, and idioms. During preparation for the SAT, it is best to identify the error and correct it. There are a few sentences that don’t have any errors at…

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Vocabulary Review for the SAT

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Overview Students develop a good vocabulary as one of the advantages of going to college. It is a result of reading scholarly texts, writing papers and essays, and listening to professors expound on a myriad of subjects. The SAT tests vocabulary directly through sentence-completion and reading-passage questions, and indirectly through appropriate word choice in the…

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Deciphering Meaning from Reading Passages on the SAT and ACT

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Overview Questions about longer reading passages on the SAT, ACT, and other standardized tests tap students’ abilities to find and use meaning from what they read.  These skills are important to college success, as students are expected to read and understand textbooks in unfamiliar subjects.  Students are expected to extract the main ideas from what…

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Recognizing Nonstandard English: Diction Errors

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Overview Diction errors are types of errors when the incorrect word is used in a nonstandard way.  Some word usage is colloquial: out of place in a formal essay.  Other errors in word usage occur when similar words are used in the incorrect context. What about Lots or A Lot? The use of lots or…

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Appropriate Sentence Construction for the SAT and ACT

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Overview: Some grammar questions on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT ask students to apply the rules they have learned about sentence construction.  Sentence prompts may include dangling clauses, free-standing phrases, and run-on sentences.  The task is to choose the rewritten sentence that makes the most sense without changing the author’s intended meaning.…

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Review of Nonstandard English: Idiom Errors

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Overview:  What Do the SAT and ACT Test in English Grammar? The SAT and ACT test for formal, academic, standard English, which is not necessarily the same way that students speak or write.  Many errors are especially insidious because the correct form and the incorrect form are very close.  However, some idiom errors involve words…

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Proofreading for Parallel Structure on the SAT and ACT

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Overview:  What Is Parallel Structure? Parallel structure in writing is a refinement technique in which verbs, subjects, and clauses are made similar.  It is tested on the ACT and SAT in grammar questions, as it is a feature that adds impact to writing.  Often, phrases that mean the same may not be parallel. Checklist:  Are…

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Grammar Review : Choosing the Correct Pronoun on the ACT and SAT

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Overview:  What Are Pronouns? Pronouns are word forms that substitute for nouns.  They differ from nouns in that the correct pronoun form depends on the function it takes within the sentence.  Nouns in English only change form when they are possessive.  Otherwise, the same word forms are used whether they are the subject or the…

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Nonstandard English: Troubleshooting Idiom Errors on the SAT and ACT

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Overview: The English usage that is tested on standardized tests, such as the SAT and ACT, is formal academic English.  It may or may not reflect how students usually speak or even write.  The term idiom error refers to formal usage rather than common usage. Similar Meanings and Spellings The difference between using the correct…

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Nonstandard English: Negative Sentences

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Overview:  Why Double Negatives? Some of the most common examples of nonstandard English occur when negative words and statements are misused.  Negatives as alternatives are contained in the English/grammar tests on both the SAT and the ACT to trap the unwary.  The errors can be compounded because double negatives were once considered standard in English,…

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