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Introduction to the ACT English Test The Princeton Review, 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to the ACT English Test The Princeton Review, 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to the ACT English Test The Princeton Review, 2009

2 ACT English Tests how well you know and can apply the rules of standard written English If you dont know what the question is testing, look at the answers for clues

3 ACT English 5 passages to read – portions of passage underlined – you must decide whether the underlined portion is correct or needs correcting Measures knowledge of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure Some questions are designed to see if you know how to revise and strengthen a passage, how to change particular words for style or clarity, or how to explain or support a point of view clearly and effectively 75 questions – 45 minutes

4 ACT English DO NOT RELY ON YOUR EAR – just because it sounds right does not make it correct Better approach: look for specific errors that appear on the test all the time – by looking for these errors you can take the guess work out of your approach

5 ACT English – looking for clues… Look at the following example: –A. NO CHANGE –B. one goes –C. you go –D. he goes

6 Looking for clues – example… By looking at the answers you can tell the question is asking about pronouns The choices are telling you to look to see which of these pronouns agrees with the noun referred in the passage

7 More than one thing wrong in the sentence… This is often the case Dont try to see everything at once – Find ONE error and eliminate the answer choices that contain the same error and compare the remaining answer choices FOCUS ON the differences in the answer choices

8 POE Even though you are not sure what the right answer is, youre certain that some of the answers are wrong – cross these out immediately – then guess from what is left (by doing this you are preventing yourself from picking a wrong choice if you use your Letter of the Day You should still mark this question just in case there is time left to go back

9 NO CHANGE This is the first answer on many of the questions DONT assume that there is always something wrong! NO CHANGE tends to be the correct answer a little less than ¼ of the time – Dont be Afraid to chose it!

10 OMIT the underlined portion A few questions have this as the last answer choice When this is offered – it has a high probability of being correct – better than ½ the time – however; dont always assume it is the answer just… Dont be afraid of it

11 Some Terminology Tom broke the vase. This sentence is made up of two nouns, a verb, and an article. NOUN – word used to name a person, place, thing, or an idea. VERB – a word that expresses action. ARTICLE – word that modifies or limits a noun.

12 Tom broke the vase. (cont) Nouns – Tom and vase Article – The Verb – broke Tom is the subject of the sentence b/c it is the person, place, or thing that is doing the action. Vase is the object of the sentence b/c it receives the action of the verb.

13 More terminology Tom accidentally broke the big vase of flowers. ADVERB – word that modifies a verb, adjective, or another adverb. ADJECTIVE – word that modifies a noun. PREPOSITION – word that notes the relation of a noun to an action or a thing. PHRASE – group of words that acts as a single part of speech. A phrase is missing either a subject, a verb, or both. PREPOSITIONAL PHRASE – group of words beginning with a preposition.

14 Tom accidentally broke the big vase of flowers. (cont) Accidentally is an adverb modifying the verb broke. Big is an adjective modifying the noun vase. Of is a preposition because it shows a relationship between vase and flowers. Of flowers is a prepositional phrase that acts like an adjective by modifying vase.

15 Even more terminology As he ran across the room, Tom accidentally broke the big vase of flowers. PRONOUN – word that takes the place of a noun. CLAUSE – group of words that contains a subject and a verb. Tom accidentally broke the big vase of flowers – independent clause – it contains the main idea of the sentence and can stand alone. As he ran across the room – dependent clause – this is not a complete thought.

16 Sentence Structure and Punctuation

17 The Most often used sentence structures Indep. Clause (period) new indep. Clause (period) Jane lit the campfire. Frank set up the tent. Indep. Clause (comma plus conjunction) indep. Clause (period). Jane lit the campfire, and Frank set up the tent. Indep. Clause (semicolon) independent clause (period) Jane lit the campfire; Frank set up the tent. Indep. Clause (comma) dependent clause (period) Jane lit the campfire, while Frank set up the tent. Dependent clause (comma) indep. Clause (period) As Jane lit the campfire, Frank set up the tent.

18 The Glue: Punctuation Punctuation is the glue that holds the sentence together. If correct punctuation is not used – your sentences wont make sense.

19 The rules for punctuation and 2 independent clauses… Mary wondered why there was a bird in the classroom and she decided to ask the teacher what the bird was doing indoors. When 2 indep. Clauses appear in the same sentence, they are usually joined by a conjunction (and, or, but, for, nor, or yet) – a COMMA goes before the conjunction OR Remove the conjunction and replace it with a PERIOD or a SEMICOLON.

20 Using the colon You can also use a colon (:) to connect two independent clauses if the second is an expansion or explanation of the first clause. I didnt know what to do: I could either go camping or stay home and study for the ACT.

21 An independent clause and a dependent clause COMMAs are used to separate independent clauses (can stand alone) from dependent clauses (cant stand alone). Before Mary could reach the teacher she saw the woman offer the bird part of the bagel. Before Mary could reach the teacher, she saw the woman offer the bird part of the bagel.

22 An independent clause and a modifying phrase A modifying phrase modifies or describes something else – usually a noun. Commas are used to separate indep clauses from modifying phrases. Hungry and excited, the bird snapped up the bagel.

23 Commas and Restrictive/NonRestrictive Phrases Restrictive clause is essential to the meaning of a sentence and should NOT be separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. EXAMPLE: People who snore are advised to sleep on their sides. NONRESTRICTIVE clause is NOT essential to the meaning of a sentence (it merely adds a thought) EXAMPLE: My father, who snores loudly, always sleeps in his long johns.

24 Dashes (-) Separate a word or group of words from the rest of the sentence –Either indicate an abrupt break in thought or… –Introduce and explanation or afterthought LETS LOOK AT SOME EXAMPLES….

25 Dash Example 1. I tried to express my gratitude not that any words could be adequate but she just nodded and walked away. 2. Just outside the door to the cabin we heard the howling of wolves a sound that made our hair stand on end.

26 Where do the dash(es) go? 1. I tried to express my gratitude – not that any words could be adequate – but she just nodded and walked away. (the sentence can stand alone w/o the center piece) 2. Just outside the door to the cabin we heard the howling of wolves – a sound that made our hair stand on end. (when the phrase falls at the end of a sentence, only one dash is required)

27 How do you spot dash errors? If underlined portion or any of the answer choices contains a dash, compare the dash to the punctuation marks available in the other choices. Check the non-underlined portion of the passage for dashes that might be linking up with this one to isolate a clause or phrase. Does the sentence contain a sudden break in thought, an explanation, or an afterthought. Isolation occurs in middle – 2 dashes needed Isolation occurs at end – only one dash needed

28 Colons (:) Used after a complete statement to introduce a list of related details (one or more details) Lets look at some examples:

29 Colon Examples Maria just purchased all the camping supplies for our trip, a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a pair of hiking boots.

30 Answer Maria just purchased all the camping supplies for our trip: a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a pair of hiking boots.

31 How do you spot colon errors? If underlined phrase or any of the answer choices contains a colon, you should ask yourself: Is a list of some kind introduced by an independent clause? If the answer is yes – a colon preceding the list or statement is correct.

32 ACTs favorite COLON trick… Is to write a sentence that utilizes a colon to introduce a list but to do so incorrectly because it follows an incomplete thought. LOOK OUT FOR COLONS THAT FOLLOW THE VERB INCLUDING OR THE PHRASE SUCH AS!!!! Incorrect use: Maria just purchased all the camping supplies for our trip, including: a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a pair of hiking boots.

33 Avoid these common errors in sentence structure Error #1: Sentence Fragments: 1. a dependent clause by itself 2. punctuation changes in the answer choices

34 1 st Type of sentence fragment example: Dependent clause by itself: The bride and groom drove away in their car. As the children ran behind, shouting and laughing. –A. NO CHANGE –B. While the –C. During which the –D. The

35 2 nd Type of sentence fragment example: Punctuation changes in the answer choices: Although it will always be associated with Shakespeares famous literary character. The castle at Elsinore was never home to Hamlet. –A. NO CHANGE –B. Character, the –C. Character; the –D. Character. A

36 Avoid these common errors in sentence structure Error #2: Comma Splices and Run-ons Comma splice – 2 indep. Clauses are jammed together into one sentence, with only a comma to try to hold them together. Aunt Sally ran into the room, Tom was already gone. Run-on sentence – the same thing as a comma splice but with out the comma Aunt Sally ran into the room Tom was already gone.

37 Comma Splice Example: There is not much difference between the decision to enter politics and the decision to jump into a pit full of rattlesnakes, in fact, you might find a friendlier environment in the snake pit –A. NO CHANGE –B. Rattlesnakes. In fact, –C. Rattlesnakes in fact –D. Rattlesnakes, in fact

38 Run-On sentence example: The colleges plans for expansion included a new science building and a new dormitory if the funding drive is successful, there will be enough money for both. –F. NO CHANGE –G. Dormitory, if –H. Dormitory; if, –J. Dormitory. If

39 Avoid these common errors in sentence structure Error #3: Misplaced modifiers: –Modifying phrases followed by commas –Do the nouns being modified appear right after the modifiers? *Walking to the pawnshop, Bobs watch dropped into the sewer. A. No Change B. Bobs watch dropped in the sewer C. Bob dropped his watch into the sewer D. Bobs dropped watch into the sewer

40 Avoid these common errors in sentence structure Error #4: Non-Parallel Construction Consist of a list/series of verbs and/or nouns….

41 Non-Parallel Construction Examples When Tom finally came home, Aunt Sally kissed him, hugged him, and gives him his favorite dessert after dinner. Three explanations for Sids locking himself in his room were a desire to do his homework, a sense that he needed to hone his college essays, and disliking his brother Tom, who always got away with murder.

42 Apostrophes (not part of sentence structure but ACT likes to test you on them) Indicates possession or marks missing letter in a word Possession = it appears right before or right after the s at the end of the possessive noun –Rules: –1. noun in possession is singular – apostrophe falls before s = Peters car –2. noun in possession is singular AND ends in s – bosss –3. noun in possession is plural but doesnt end in s – it falls before the s = womens –4. noun in possession is plural AND ends in s – apostrophe falls after the s = girls

43 Apostrophes (not part of sentence structure but ACT likes to test you on them) The apostrophe is also used to indicate missing letters in a word: –Could not = couldnt –Would not = wouldnt –Can not = Cant

44 Apostrophes (not part of sentence structure but ACT likes to test you on them) Its/Its/Its Its = used only when you want to say it is or it has Its = the possessive form of the word it = The baby bear could not find its mother. Its = NOT A WORD AT ALL – but ACT will use it! BEWARE!


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