Question Explanations For
Practice Test 1 (English)
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to decide how to connect two clauses. It’s important to notice that the sentence begins with the dependent marker word “when,” so the first clause is a dependent clause. (A) is correct because it uses a comma to separate the dependent introductory clause that explains the timing of an event from the independent clause that describes the event. (B) and (C) both insert dependent marker words, turning the second clause into a dependent clause. A sentence needs to have at least one independent clause, so both of these choices are incorrect. (D) splits the clauses into two sentences. While the second clause becomes a grammatically complete sentence, the first clause becomes a fragment; this choice is, therefore, incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (J) — Here the question relates specifically to the correct use of commas. (J) is correct because it is the only choice that places commas appropriately throughout the sentence. It uses commas to set off appositive phrases, or phrases that rename other nouns in the sentence. Appositives are treated just like parenthetical phrases: they must have matching punctuation, usually commas, surrounding them on both sides. (F), (H), and (G) are all incorrect because they fail to place commas around the appositive phrases in this sentence.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to correctly connect two independent clauses. Only (C) correctly connects the two independent clauses by replacing the original comma with a semicolon, so (C) is the correct answer. (A) is incorrect because it creates a comma splice by using a comma and no coordinating conjunction. (B) is incorrect because it uses no punctuation at all, resulting in a fused sentence. (D) inserts a coordinating conjunction, but no punctuation, creating a run-on sentence—so it is also incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (G) — This question asks you to identify the most effective transition between paragraphs. You might find it easier to solve it if you underline the names mentioned in the last sentence of the preceding paragraph: “Esigie” and “Idia.” The king and his mother are both important players in that last sentence, so you should first try to eliminate any choices which take the focus off of one or both of them. The correct answer is (G), which effectively connects Esigie's choice to seek his mother's advice, explains the results, and sets up the rest of the paragraph which explains how this led to the new role of Queen Mother. We can eliminate (F) because it only talks about Esigie, and because it talks about the challenges he faced—not his success, which is alluded to in the following sentence. We can also eliminate (H) because it shifts the focus away from the mother and son somewhat, and onto the role of women of Benin in general, and because it also fails to mention Esigie's success or even the challenges he faced. (J) focuses only on Idia’s response to Esigie’s decision and fails to mention the successful outcome of the plan they developed. This makes it an incorrect choice, because the subsequent sentence begins, “More important, his success…” .
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to notice that most of the answer choices repeat information, and select the most concise option. (C) is correct, as it is both economical and contains the necessary information. (A) needlessly repeats the words “first” and “mother,” and is too wordy overall, so it’s incorrect. (B) repeats the phrase “Queen Mother” and the name “Idia”; her name was already mentioned earlier in the sentence. (D) is redundant because of information provided before the underlined portion: the words “counsel and mystical support” appear at the start of the sentence and don’t need to be repeated.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question tests your knowledge of pronoun forms and cases; you must use a reflexive pronoun (an object pronoun that is used when the subject and object are the same person or thing) that agrees with the plural antecedent “they.” (H) is the correct answer because it provides the required third-person-plural reflexive pronoun, “themselves,” creating agreement with the antecedent “they.” (F), “herself” is incorrect because it uses a singular pronoun instead of a plural one. (G) incorrectly uses the singular “hers,” which is also possessive and not reflexive. (J) incorrectly uses the impersonal singular pronoun “oneself.”
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to choose the most idiomatic phrase: “assumed” is the regular expression for taking charge of a royal throne. For this question type, remember that the best way to solve it is to eliminate a couple of incorrect answers. (A), “took rulership upon,” is awkward and unidiomatic. (B), “undertook,” means to attempt or take on a task, which doesn’t sound like something you’d do to a throne. (D), “sat down at,” seems a little more accurate, but remember that a “throne” is more than just a seat—possessing one symbolically indicates that you rule a whole country. In context, the abstract sense of "assumed" is more logical than the literal sense of just sitting down on a physical throne. You can therefore eliminate (D) as well.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question is asking you to identify which answer provides the most economy of style; in other words, which choice expresses the idea of the sentence without repetition or wordiness. (H) is correct because it preserves all of the important information without introducing any redundancies. (F) is redundant; if the mothers have “mystical” powers, then it’s not necessary to state that they will cause harm “magically.” (G) is also redundant, because “mystical” and “supernatural” have such similar meanings. (J) is incorrect because eliminating the latter half of the sentence would cause confusion; we wouldn’t know what the mothers were believed to use their powers for.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This rather tricky question is asking you to choose the option that maintains the proper verb forms in a case where the sentence includes the conjunction pair “not only...but also…” in a prepositional phrase. When you have a conjunction pair like this in a sentence, everything that is written immediately before the first part of the pair applies equally to the words that immediately follow each part of the conjunction pair. In this case, that means that the preposition “by” applies to the verb “to allow” and “to honor.” That means that each of them needs to use the “-ing” or gerund form. (A) correctly uses the gerund form for both “allowing” and “honoring.” (B) seems tempting because “allowed” and “honored” continue the past tense established by “asked;” however, the phrases “by allowed” and “by honored” aren’t correctly formed prepositional phrases, so this is incorrect. (C) and (D) each combine different forms of the words that fall after each part of the conjunction pair, but those should have the same structure—so (C) and (D) are both incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (H) — Here you are being asked to correct a sentence fragment. The correct answer is (H), which resolves the sentence fragment issue by inserting a comma and a coordinating conjunction. The original text, (F), creates a problematic structure because the “-ing” form of a verb can’t be the root of a sentence, so it is incorrect. (G) resolves the problem of the sentence fragment but creates a run-on sentence, so it it incorrect. (J) omits the problem of the sentence fragment but it also creates a fused sentence by leaving out any punctuation, so it is incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question is concerned with verb forms. Notice that the helping verb “would” appears at the beginning of this verb phrase, which sets the tense of the phrase. All of the following verbs have to take a form that works together with “would” to create a complete and logical verb tense. (B) is correct, because “would … have” creates a complete verb tense. In this case, it’s the “future in the past”: it shows the future-looking view of an action (imposing a rule for the future) that takes place in the past. (A) and (D) are incorrect because “would … has” does not correctly create any verb tense. (C) is incorrect because, while “would … have had” does create a verb tense, the tense isn’t logical in this context. This tense is used to discuss hypothetical, unreal events—but nothing in the passage suggests that the rule against direct contact was hypothetical or unreal.
The Correct Answer is (H) — To answer the question, consider the tone of the piece as a whole. The overall tone is informative and fairly formal: the writer doesn’t express any strong opinions, or use colloquial and informal language. (H) is the correct answer because it best maintains the formal and informative style of the piece. We can eliminate both (F) and (G), because exclamations don’t match the formal tone of the passage. We can likewise eliminate (J) because its expressions are too colloquial: “it may seem harsh” and “at least” are better-suited to conversations and informal writing than to this piece—especially when you consider the seriousness of the subject.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question is asking you to choose the option that correctly uses—or does not use—apostrophes, to form possessives or contractions. (C) is the correct answer because, in this case, no apostrophes are required: “sons” and “obas” are each simply plural, not possessive. (A) incorrectly inserts an apostrophe to make “sons” possessive. (B) incorrectly uses the apostrophe to create the possessive form of “obas.” (D) incorrectly makes both “sons” and “obas” possessive.
The Correct Answer is (F) — The first paragraph introduces Benin as the setting for the narrative, and begins to describe the civil war. The second paragraph, meanwhile, describes the civil war in more detail, and discusses its effect on the country. Since the proposed addition mentions both the location of Benin and the war’s “devastating effects,” it would serve as an excellent transition from the first to the second paragraph. (G) is incorrect because placing the sentence at the end of the second paragraph would disrupt the course of the passage; the author has already moved on to describing Esigie’s plan. (H) and (J) are incorrect for similar reasons: the writer has already moved on to other ideas, and placing this sentence at the end of later paragraphs would create a confusing non-sequitur.
The Correct Answer is (C) — Here the question is concerned with the writer’s purpose. (C) is correct, because it correctly identifies the fact that the essay is about only a particular, small group of women in Benin—not women in general or throughout the whole continent of Africa. (A) is incorrect because the essay is specifically focused on Isia, and how the title of Queen Mother of Benin came into being; it does not broadly discuss the role of women. (A) goes beyond the scope of the essay by assuming that Isia is representative of women in general during the 15th century. (B) is incorrect for a similar reason: it’s true that the essay provides some details about the lives of specific women, but you can’t necessarily conclude that the experience of the Queen Mothers represents the experience of women in general. (D) is incorrect because, again, the essay focuses on the role played by Isia and, to a lesser degree, subsequent Queen Mothers. That role is changing, but it’s the role of a very small group of women—not women in general.
The Correct Answer is (H) — The challenge here is to choose the best punctuation for this sentence. (H) is the correct answer because the semicolon correctly separates the two independent clauses in this complex sentence. While (F) seems almost poetic, the comma dividing “music seems eternal” from “it is” creates a comma splice and the colon incorrectly makes the rest of the sentence look like an appositive phrase, or a phrase that renames another subject. (G) uses a little too much punctuation: using a semicolon to separate the clauses makes sense, but the addition of a colon is unnecessary and incorrect. The use of dashes in (J) incorrectly sets off “it is” as a parenthetical phrase, when it’s actually the main verb of the second independent clause.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to select the word that is most inconsistent with the passage's fairly formal tone. (C), “Stuff,” which is a distinctly informal and very general term, is therefore the correct answer. (A), “Ditties,” is somewhat informal, but it does specifically refer to songs. (B), “Music,” and (D) “Songs,” are both perfectly appropriate in a formal context and they both specifically refer to songs; thus, they are incorrect answers to this question.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question requires you to identify the correct idiom in this case. (H), “woven into,” is correct. (F), “woven around,” is unidiomatic. (G) is tempting, because it is a common English idiom; however, this phrase usually describes the movements of a vehicle “weaving in and out of” traffic, so this is incorrect. (J) also describes movements so it is not correct.
The Correct Answer is (D) — To answer this question correctly, look for references to other information and consider the role of the sentence in the paragraph as a whole. The sentence refers to “those songs,” and this reference should logically follow a mention of some songs to which this phrase could refer. (A) is incorrect because there is no context yet for the missing traces of songs. (B) is incorrect for the same reason. Though sentence 3 refers to the instruments used to play the missing songs, it does not refer to the songs themselves, so (C) is also incorrect. (D) is the most logical choice—the question about the origins of music has been asked, the instruments on which the earliest songs may have been played have been introduced, as have the musicians. Therefore, the fact that traces of the actual songs are missing must be stated at the end of the paragraph.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question requires you to consider the transitions created by different transition words, but be careful: you actually need to pick the worst transition word as your answer. The previous paragraph introduces the fact that musical instruments date back some 43,000 years, but also that none of the songs played on those ancient instruments remain. This paragraph is discussing the fact that the oldest known “song” is apparently just 4,000 years old; this means the transition needs to express the connection between these two pieces of information. (H), “However,” is the correct answer because it is the least acceptable in that it implies a contrast between the conclusion that none of the 43,000 year old songs remain and the idea that the most recent sample of musical notation is “just” 4,000 years old. If no songs as old as the oldest instruments remain, then it follows logically that the oldest songs are not as old as the oldest instruments. (F), “Additionally,” continues the discussion about the mysteries surrounding the earliest songs and is, therefore, not the worst choice. (G), “Further,” is tempting because it hints at the continuing mystery but it is not the least acceptable. (J) is not the least acceptable choice because, though deleting the transition would not result in the most elegant transition, it is not the least acceptable choice.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question is asking you to choose the option that provides the most relevant information at this point in the paragraph. The paragraph as a whole is discussing the age of songs, and specifically the fragment that experts have agreed is the oldest musical fragment, Hurrian Hymn No 6. (D) provides specific additional information about the age of the hymn, indicating the century in which it was composed, so it is correct. (A) is incorrect because it introduces a detail about an instrument that is not clearly relevant to the focus of the passage. (B) focuses on modern-day musicians rather than the tablet or hymn itself, so it is incorrect. (C) focuses on how the musical annotations for Hurrian Hymn No. 6 can be interpreted and transcribed, which is not the focus of the paragraph, so it is incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (G) — To answer this question correctly, consider the specific task outlined in the question and whether each choice satisfies that objective. The prompt specifically asks for information “physically describing the clay tablet on which the Hurrian Hymn was inscribed.” (G) is correct because it offers specific physical details about the “cracked and partially illegible” tablet. (F) is incorrect because, while it does discuss the type of writing that appears on the tablet, it does not describe the physical details of the tablet itself. (H) is incorrect because it discusses tablets in general rather than the specific tablet. (J) is incorrect because it explains how the annotations of the hymn were inscribed into the tablet but it does not physically describe the specific tablet that we’re interested in.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to select the option that correctly uses a form of the verb that can serve as the main verb in a complete sentence. (C) is correct because the simple present form of “claim” can serve as a main verb, making this a complete sentence. The underlined portion is located in the sentence’s only independent clause, and “claim” consequently needs to serve as the main verb of the sentence. (A), “experts to claim,” puts the verb in the infinite form, which can only make a dependent clause. However, there’s no other main verb in this sentence to make an independent clause—so that results in a sentence fragment. (B), “experts claiming,” can likewise only make a dependent clause as it uses the gerund or “-ing” form of the verb without including a helping verb like “are.” (D), “experts having claimed,” is likewise only suitable for a dependent clause.
The Correct Answer is (J) — This question requires you to select the pronoun that correctly maintains the third-person voice that is used throughout the rest of this passage. (J), “they insist,” is the correct answer because it maintains the third person voice. (F), (G), and (H) are all incorrect because each one shifts to a pronoun in the first-person voice.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to select the option that maintains a logical and consistent verb tense. (C) is the correct because it maintains the present verb tense that is used in the rest of this paragraph, and that is typically used for statements of fact. (A) is incorrect because it unnecessarily and illogically shifts to the past tense. (B) is incorrect because it shifts to the remote past tense. (D) “would be,” incorrectly shifts to a conditional tense.
The Correct Answer is (J) — Here you are being asked to choose the most concise option that clearly expresses the key ideas of the sentence. (J) is correct because “enable” is concise and clear. When the meaning of an entire phrase can be expressed clearly in a single word, it’s almost always better to use the single word rather than a longer phrase. (F), (G), and (H) all use wordy, awkward phrases to express a meaning that can be clearly expressed in a single word, so each of them is incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This choice creates a parallel structure between “to translate” and “to play.” The notes allow the scholars to translate and the musicians to play. (A), (C), and (D) each break up the parallel structure of the sentence by using a different form of the verb in the second part than in the first part.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question requires you to recognize that the first “sentence” is actually a fragment, and select the option that correctly combines the fragment with the following sentence. (H) is correct because it fixes the problem by combining the fragmented clauses using a conjunction. (F) and (J) are incorrect because they fail to correct the issue of the first clause being a fragment by leaving it punctuated as a separate sentence. (G) is incorrect because, while it does connect the two sentences, it does so using a colon; colons can only follow independent clauses, but here the colon follows a dependent clause.
The Correct Answer is (D) — The existing sentence is concerned with the reasons that the recordings exist—the lyrics are poignant and the music is plaintive—so the correct answer is (D), which speaks directly to the fact that the proposed addition would not be relevant. (C) also points out that the proposed addition is irrelevant, but incorrectly states the focus of the passage—which is about the world’s oldest piece of music, and discusses both pieces as possible candidates for that title, rather than being mainly about one of the two pieces. (A) and (B) both make irrelevant arguments in favor of the addition. (A) is incorrect because, while it may be true that hearing the song would provide additional information, the question is about whether the information is “relevant”—not just whether it’s “additional.” (B) is incorrect because the statement that it is necessary to hear a song in order to understand it is just a statement of opinion, not an argument for including this line—which doesn’t actually enable a reader to hear the song.
The Correct Answer is (J) — This question requires you to select the option that correctly punctuates this sentence. The question focuses on whether and how to use commas around the phrase “after all.” This is a nonessential adverb phrase that provides additional information about how “it is.” Nonessential phrases should be set off from the rest of the sentence as parenthetical elements. (J) correctly uses commas on both side of the phrase “after all” to set if off from the other parts of this sentence, so it’s the correct choice. (F) is incorrect because it omits commas entirely. (G) and (H) are both incorrect because they each use only one of the two commas that are necessary to separate a parenthetical elements from the rest of the sentence.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to consider a series of clauses, and determine whether they should be separated into two sentences, or joined into one—and if so, how. In this case, the first sentence is a complete sentence, and so is the second one. This is a tricky question, because the first clause of the second sentence is a dependent clause that looks like it could modify “novel.” However, it modifies “From Here to Eternity” in the second sentence—which begins an independent clause. (A) is the correct answer to the question, as it keeps these two complete sentences apart. The other choices all try to combine the two sentences into one, but don’t provide the necessary punctuation to do so. (B) creates a comma splice by using a comma with no conjunction, and (C) creates a fused sentence. Remember that two independent clauses must be joined with a semicolon, a comma and a conjunction, or a semicolon and a conjunction or transition word. (D) simply creates a confusing mish-mash by omitting important words, leaving us with a fused sentence that has an unclear meaning.
The Correct Answer is (J) — This question requires you to recognize that the pronouns suggested are unclear or incorrect, and to replace the pronouns with a specific noun. (J) is the correct answer, because it correctly identifies Jones as a witness of the events at Pearl Harbor. Keeping (F)’s “it” would be incorrect because it is an ambiguous pronoun that could refer to the Japanese attack, to Pearl Harbor, or to Hawaii—but would probably not be used to refer to Jones, because it is not a personal pronoun. (G) is incorrect because the object pronoun “him” doesn’t fit here because Jones, who “witnessed” the attack, is functioning as a subject, not an object. (H) is incorrect because it is ambiguous, like “it.” Further, while “they” might be conversationally used to refer to a single person, it is actually a plural pronoun—and should not be used to refer to a singular antecedent like “Jones” in formal writing.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Remember that the verb needs to link up with the helping verb “would,” as in, “would eventually become.” You can imagine the verb phrase without the adverb if that makes things clearer: “would … become” is a correctly formed verb tense. (B) makes “would ... became,” (C) makes “would ... becomes,” and (D) makes “would ... will become.” They are all incorrect because none of those are correctly formed English verb tenses.
The Correct Answer is (F) — To correctly answer this question, consider the sentence in the context of the paragraph, and whether each claim about what role the information plays in context is true. (F) is the correct answer; the sentence introduces the information that From Here to Eternity was the first in a trilogy of novels concerned with World War II—in other words, discusses its place “in the context of other works.” (G) is not the best answer because the sentence is not concerned with Jones’s military background; that information is provided elsewhere. (H) is incorrect because there is no argument being made in the passage that could be supported by this information. (J) is not the best choice because the sentence does not repeat ideas. The war trilogy is discussed further in the passage, but this sentence introduces the idea.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to select the option that correctly punctuates the point between two clauses at the underlined portion. (C) is the correct answer because the clause that begins, “Having taken some classes…” is a dependent clause, so it is correct to separate it from the following independent clause with only a comma. Every other choice adds inappropriate punctuation to the sentence. A dependent clause can’t be joined to an independent clause with a semicolon as in (A). Likewise, (B) is incorrect; you can’t use a colon after a dependent clause. The dash, used in (D), is also unsuitable here.
The Correct Answer is (H) — To correctly answer this question, consider the paragraph as a whole and look for transitional words, relative references to other information, or patterns. In this case, the general pattern is for sentences to proceed in chronological order as they describe a series of events. The correct answer is (H) because the information about Jones's service, injury, and discharge in 1944 most logically precedes the information about his resuming his studies after leaving the military and follows information about his enlistment in 1939. (F), (G), and (J) are all incorrect because they place this information in a way that disrupts the chronological order of the information.
The Correct Answer is (D) — The underlined sentence includes a long modifier, “named one of the 100 Best Novels of the 20th century …” Each answer choice arranges the clauses differently around that modifier, changing its apparent object. The correct answer, (D), places the sentence’s various clauses and phrases in the most coherent order, and makes it clear that the object of the modifier is “the book.” (A) makes it seem like “the Army” was “named one of the 100 Best Novels,” rather than Jones’s book. (B) makes it seem as though “the war” received the award, and (C) makes it seem like the “flawed human beings” were the recipients of the literary accolade, rather than the novel.
The Correct Answer is (H) — This question requires you to select the idiom that has the most appropriate meaning in context. The correct answer is (H); it’s the most idiomatic phrasing of the effect From Here to Eternity had on “the reading public.” (F) may be tempting because the word “blockbuster” is appealing in a context that discusses making a movie based on a book. However, it is incorrect; it’s not idiomatic to say that something is a blockbuster “in” the reading public. The preposition “in” generally expresses a location in time or place; a more correct way of phrasing this might be “a blockbuster with the reading public,” but that’s not a choice. (G) is a tempting choice, and would be idiomatic in other contexts, but since the the words immediately before the underlined portion are “was such,” we can rule it out. It’s not logical to say that the book “was” an impact. Rather, you would need to say that it “had” an impact. (J) is likewise incorrect; the phrase “triumph over” suggests that the book defeated the public in a battle, when in reality it simply pleased them.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question is asking you to choose the option that creates the correctly structured sentence. Note that the main verb of the sentence is “wrote.” (A) is correct, because it uses a comma and the dependent marker word “which” to make the additional information about Some Came Running a dependent clause. (B), (C), and (D) are all incorrect because they omit the dependent marker word “which.” (B) creates a fused sentence, in which the independent clause “Some Came Running was not as critically acclaimed” is connected to the first clause with no punctuation at all. (C) creates a comma splice by joining an independent clause to the first clause with only a comma. (D) incorrectly omits a subject from its dependent clause, making it incoherent.
The Correct Answer is (F) — This question requires you to distinguish between the adjective, adverb, and noun forms of two words, and select the pair that uses the correct combination. (F) is the correct answer: “acclaimed” is an adjective that is being used in a comparison of two noun objects (Jones’s books). “Critically” is an adverb that modifies the adjective, explaining how the books were acclaimed: by critics. (G) turns the adjective into a noun phrase, which doesn’t work in the comparison, and is thus incorrect. In (H), “critically” looks like an adverb modifying the verb form “acclaim,” which doesn’t fit the grammatical structure of the sentence and is therefore incorrect. (J) is incorrect because it has two adjectives, and that doesn’t work grammatically or logically. You’d need to connect these two words with a conjunction for this to be grammatically correct, and even then it wouldn’t make much sense.
The Correct Answer is (A) — Be careful: this question requires you to select the option that makes the least sense in context. It’s easy out of habit to eliminate answers that sound wrong and select an answer that sounds right, but that’s the opposite of what the question is asking for. The idea being expressed here is that Jones moved to France, perhaps permanently. (A), however, implies that Jones merely did something that was the natural next step; it fails to communicate the intended meaning of the sentence. This subtle difference in meaning makes this phrase incorrect in the context of the sentence, and so this is the correct answer to the question. (B), (C), and (D) are all similar in meaning to the underlined phrase, and are therefore incorrect answers to the question.
The Correct Answer is (G) — This question is asking you to identify the option that correctly maintains the verb tense of the first part of the sentence in the second part, and that uses a verb that agrees with the subject of the sentence. The sentence has a singular subject, and is written in the simple past tense. (G), “wrote,” is in the simple past tense and agrees with the singular subject, so it is correct. (F) is incorrect because it uses the plural present tense, so it doesn’t maintain the correct tense or agree with the subject. (H) is incorrect because it is in the present tense. It agrees with the subject in number, but doesn’t maintain the correct verb tense. (J) is incorrect for similar reasons: it agrees with the singular subject, but incorrectly switches to the perfect past tense.
The Correct Answer is (A) — To answer this question, consider the overall structure of the essay, and its main ideas. The essay discusses James Jones’s life and work, specifically focusing on his war trilogy and the life events that influenced those books and occurred while he was writing them. Broadly speaking, the essay moves through events in chronological order. (A) moves in chronological order to the conclusion of the war trilogy, which was completed after Jones’s death; it follows logically from the preceding sentence, and completes the discussion of the war trilogy. It is therefore correct. (B) introduces a general comment that would have made more sense earlier in the essay. It is consistent with the ideas in the essay, but does not summarize them or complete the discussion. It doesn’t make sense as a conclusion, so it is incorrect. Likewise, (C) does not fit well as the concluding sentence for the whole essay. It is an interesting detail, but does not fit in the sequence of events and does not complete the discussion of the war trilogy. (D) is incorrect not only because it fails to serve as an adequate conclusion, but also because it introduces a detail that’s not closely related to anything that’s been discussed so far. Mentioning this new detail at the very end of the essay doesn’t make sense.
The Correct Answer is (G) — To answer this question correctly, you must consider the information in Paragraph 1 and the general organizational style of the passage as a whole. Within the paragraphs, and across the passage as a whole, most information is presented in chronological order. However, the events of Paragraph 2 actually occur before the events of Paragraph 1. (G) is correct because Paragraph 2 offers the most appropriate introduction to the piece by naming Jones and the date and place of his birth; the rest of the passage proceeds chronologically from there. (F) is incorrect; it places an entire paragraph between the introduction of From Here to Eternity in Paragraph 1 and the detailed description of the book in Paragraph 3. (H) mixes up the order of the paragraphs dealing with From Here to Eternity; as a general rule, you should not place basic facts about a book after a more detailed description of it in a brief essay. (J) is incorrect because it places events far out of chronological order. Paragraph 1 describes a book published in 1952, but Paragraph 4 ends with the 1962 publication of The Thin Red Line.
The Correct Answer is (D) — To answer this question correctly, consider the passage as a whole and its main ideas. The passage introduces a specific author, and discusses his novels and how his life experiences influenced those novels. (D) is the correct answer because the essay focuses almost exclusively on Jones and his writing; it never relates his works to the genre of war literature as a whole. To answer this kind of “primary purpose” question, remember that some of the incorrect answers might use genuine evidence from the text, but in the service of an argument that’s incorrect. Others might cite evidence that’s not actually in the text, or use faulty reasoning. (A) might be tempting because the essay does mention that Jones based From Here to Eternity on his war experiences, but that true statement is largely irrelevant to the question of whether the essay discusses how Jones’s work shaped war literature. (B) is incorrect because the essay discusses only one “future author,” and only to the extent that that author helped to finish Jones’s final novel. That isolated detail does not justify this answer choice. (C) takes the correct position, but cites false evidence. The essay actually focuses most of its attention on the war trilogy, and discusses events in Jones’s life mainly in relation to how they influenced his war trilogy.
The Correct Answer is (J) — This question might initially appear to be asking you to select the most appropriate transitional word, but actually requires you to notice that each of the word options is a dependent marker word and to determine that no such word is correct at this point in the sentence. The first clause of this sentence is a dependent clause; placing a dependent marker word at the beginning of the second clause would make it dependent as well. Two dependent clauses don’t make a full sentence: they create a fragment. (J) is, therefore, correct: you must omit the dependent marker word in order to make the second clause an independent clause. (F), (G), and (H) each insert a dependent marker word, thus turning the second clause of the sentence into a dependent clause.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question is asking you to determine how best to use punctuation to make the meaning of a sentence clear. In this case, (D) is correct because the comma sets off the nonessential phrase “selling the stuff,” and the semicolon joins the following independent clause that does not contain a coordinating conjunction. (A) omits any punctuation, creating a run-on sentence. (B) incorrectly uses a colon. It might be possible to use a colon in a different part of the sentence, but where it is now falls between a gerund, “selling,” and its direct object, “the stuff.” (C) is incorrect because it misplaces the semicolon. This puts too many words in the second clause, creating a jumbled and confusing clause.
The Correct Answer is (G) — This question requires you to select the option that correctly maintains a logical verb tense at this point in the passage. There’s another verb in the sentence that cues you into the correct tense: “wasn’t.” That’s a contraction of “was not,” which is in the simple past tense. “It” refers to “one of the first fibers,” which is the subject of “was.” This sentence is talking about a single subject, and contrasting what it “was not” with what it “was.” (G) is the correct answer because it logically maintains the simple past tense of “was not.” (F), (H), and (J) are all incorrect because each choice switches to a different tense. (F), “is,” incorrectly shifts to the present tense. (H) uses the past perfect, “had been,” instead of the simple past. (J) uses the simple future “will be”.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This is a question about avoiding sentence fragments. (C) is the correct answer because it adds the verb “is” to the fragment to create a complete sentence. (A), (B), and (D) all lack a verb, so they are all sentence fragments and are therefore incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (G) — You might find this question easier to answer if you mark up key elements with your pencil to help focus on the main ideas of the paragraph. Doing so makes it clear that the paragraph is focused on acrylic fibers. (G) is the correct answer, because it defines the term “extrusion” from the previous sentence without shifting the focus of the paragraph away from acrylic fibers onto other products whose production involves the extrusion process.We can eliminate (F) because it places the focus on a different product of extrusion. The sentence following the underlined section is “These are spun into yarns,” which, if it followed (F), would seem to refer to polyester and Kevlar. However, it is apparent from the topic sentence and concluding sentence of the paragraph that the focus should be on acrylic fibers, not other types of fiber that can be made using extrusion. We can similarly eliminate (H) as it shifts the focus of the paragraph to other forms of extruded fibers. (J) can be eliminated because it shifts the focus from acrylic fibers to foods that are produced using extrusion processes—a major departure from the main idea of the paragraph!
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to select the choice that most concisely and effectively conveys the main idea of the sentence. (A) is the correct answer: it conveys all of the necessary information without any redundant words or phrases. (B) uses the wordy, empty phrase, “possesses the attributes of being,” when the same meaning of that long phrase can be conveyed simply with the word “is.” (C) uses the wordy phrase “has the following characteristics” and, in addition, it converts the three adjectives to wordier abstract nouns (e.g. “inexpensiveness”). (D) unnecessarily inserts the phrase “characterized by,” and uses the longer abstract noun forms of the adjectives.
The Correct Answer is (G) — Remember that this question stem asks you to identify the least acceptable alternative to “Unfortunately,” a word which indicates a shift in mood. Don’t make the mistake of picking a word that would be an appropriate substitute! (G), “Indeed,” is the only word that serves to emphasize an already-stated idea, rather than a shift to a new one. Because it would not convey the same meaning as the underlined portion, it is the correct answer to this question. (F), (H), and (J) are all incorrect because each of them would be an acceptable alternative to the underlined portion. (F), “However,” is an acceptable alternative; it doesn’t necessarily convey the same emotional associations as “unfortunately,” but it still functions as a transition from one idea to another. (H), “Regrettably,” is a close synonym of “unfortunately.” (J), “Alas,” has a slightly old-fashioned tone, but it does indicate a shift from one thought to another and has a similar connotation to “unfortunately.”
The Correct Answer is (D) — To answer this question, consider the apparent purpose of the sentence, and the context of the paragraph. The paragraph is about merino wool: the first sentence introduces merino wool, the second sentence introduces the idea that different types of wool have different qualities, and the third sentence discusses some of the qualities of merino wool. (D) is the correct answer to this question, because it correctly states the reason that the sentence should not be inserted: it fails to develop the ideas expressed in the paragraph. (A) is incorrect because the proposed addition doesn’t say anything about merino wool: the answer choice makes a false claim, and is therefore incorrect. We can also eliminate (B): the proposed addition does, in a sense, talk about different qualities by discussing different color options, but this is a statement about wool in general—not a specific example of qualities of wool from different kinds of sheep. (C) is incorrect because it doesn’t provide the best reason for not including the proposed addition. Even if the addition did mention the color of merino wool, it would still disrupt the development of the passage as a whole by focusing on the idea that wool can be dyed rather than focusing on the qualities that wool derives from the different breeds of sheep.
The Correct Answer is (F) — This is a punctuation question, focusing on the end of a sentence. (F) is correct because the phrase “how can wool be squishy?” is phrased as a question, and should therefore be punctuated with a question mark. (G) is incorrect; an exclamation mark might be acceptable at the end of a question in, for instance, a line of dialogue, but in this nonfiction context it’s incorrect. (H) ends the question with a period, which is also incorrect. Finally, (J) incorrectly uses a colon instead of the necessary question mark.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to select the choice that creates a complete sentence. (C) is the correct answer because it correctly joins the sentence’s two independent clauses with a comma and a “FANBOYS” coordinating conjunction, “so.” This is one of several ways you can correctly join two independent clauses. (A) is ungrammatical; “merino our most popular product” lacks a verb, so it isn’t a complete clause. (B) includes a verb, but creates a comma splice—an error caused by trying to join two independent clauses with a comma alone. (D) starts out on the right track by using a semicolon (a perfectly acceptable way to join two independent clauses) but it removed the verb “was” from the second clause and replaces it with a comma. You shouldn’t separate a simple noun phrase from an independent clause with a semicolon, so this is incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (F) — For this question, your task is to fix an error of grammatical agreement—specifically, you need to pick the word that can correctly modify the noun phrase “luxury fibres.” (F) is the correct answer because the adjective “expensive” appropriately describes the noun phrase “luxury fibres.” Every other option uses an incorrect form of the word. Try to fit each option into the sentence to check if it sounds right. (G), “expensively,” is an adverb form of the word, so it doesn’t correctly describe the noun phrase “luxury fibers.” (H), “expense,” is similarly incorrect. This is a noun form of the word, and while nouns can sometimes modify other nouns, it doesn’t describe “luxury fibers” logically in this context. (J), “expensiveness,” is another noun, and, like “expense,” doesn’t describe the noun phrase “luxury fibers.”
The Correct Answer is (B) — This grammar question tests your knowledge of comparative and superlative modifiers. (B) is the correct answer because alpaca wool is being compared directly to sheep’s wool; the appropriate word to make the comparison between these two objects is “warmer.” (A) incorrectly uses the superlative, “warmest,” instead of the comparative, “warmer.” Superlatives should be used when you’re identifying an object in a group of many objects as having the most extreme degree of a quality, not when directly comparing two objects. (D) also uses a superlative, with the phrase “most warm.” (C), “warm,” can’t work on its own as a comparative; it needs “more” or “less” next to it to do so.
The Correct Answer is (H) — To answer this question correctly, consider the purpose of the sentence: it draws a contrast between alpaca wool and sheeps’ wool, describing alpaca wool as “never prickly.” (H) is correct because this placement logically supports the preceding claim that alpaca wool is the author’s favorite, and transitions logically to the description of alpaca wool as “incredibly soft”—a description that contrasts with “prickly.” Notice also that Sentence 3 contrasts alpaca and sheeps’ wool, and it does so using the word “also”—signalling that it should be preceded in the paragraph by another comparison between the two. For this reason, (F) is incorrect: if you keep Sentence 4 in its current position, the "also" in Sentence 3 has nothing to refer to. (G) is incorrect because starting with this sentence would place the pronoun “it” in front of its antecedent, which would be confusing. (J) is incorrect because, while the paragraph does focus on the attributes of alpaca wool, this sentence develops ideas about alpaca wool by contrasting it with sheeps’ wool.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This is a question about appropriate tone and precise word choices. Consider the overall style and tone of the passage: the passage is a relatively informal personal narrative, which includes lots of descriptive adjectives and emphasis. It will also be easier to answer this question if you remember that the words immediately before the underlined portion are “one of my,” and consider those words as part of the phrase that you’re choosing. (A) is the correct answer because “one of my most prized possessions” is a common expression in writing that clearly expresses the writer’s meaning and matches the general tone of the passage. (B) creates “one of my things that I like.” This is vague and unidiomatic and therefore incorrect. (C), “one of my highly valued holdings,” is much too formal in context; the author is describing a scarf, not an Elizabethan manor house! (D), while perhaps tempting, is also incorrect; why would the author say, “it’s one of my articles of clothing” as his concluding sentence? It’s too bland and obvious a statement and does not match the descriptive style of the passage as a whole.
The Correct Answer is (G) — For this question, you need to select the option that correctly indicates whether the writer accomplished the stated goal and provides a sound argument supporting that position. Consider the overall purpose of the passage: the passage serves mainly to relate some information that the writer learned about various types of fiber while he was working at a yarn business. (G) is, therefore, correct. Although the writer did learn a lot about various fibers, (F) is incorrect because the writer never states that he learned how to manufacture fiber. The author relates some information about how acrylic fibers are manufactured, but also specifically indicates that the business he worked for did not sell acrylic yarns. (H) is not correct because the passage does, in fact, explain how the author learned about fibers in the opening paragraph. The evidence offered in support of (H) is incorrect, so (H) is incorrect. (J) correctly states that the passage provides information about fibers rather than “business knowledge.” However, the prompt doesn’t specifically ask about business knowledge. This answer makes an assumption that is beyond the scope of the question, so it’s incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to select the choice that uses commas correctly. (B) is correct because the comma after “child” correctly completes the punctuation of the parenthetical phrase “Spanish for ‘the boy child’” without inserting any unnecessary commas. (A) correctly completes the punctuation of the parenthetical phrase, but also unnecessarily incorrectly inserts a comma between “arose” and “because,” so it’s incorrect. (C) and (D) are both incorrect because they leave out the comma that is needed to finish punctuating the parenthetical phrase in this sentence.
The Correct Answer is (F) — This question asks you to choose the option that creates the most logical relationship between sentences in the paragraph that is introducing the phrase “El Niño” and explaining its use and origins. Sentence 4 begins with the relative pronoun “this,” which refers to something previously mentioned. Consider what “this” must logically refer to: it’s something that linked “the event” to the “child Christ.” Christmas is a holiday associated with “Christ,” and the warming up of coastal waters makes sense as “the event,” so the most logical conclusion is that “this” refers to information in sentence 3. (F) is the only option that places this sentence after sentence 3, and is therefore the correct choice. It’s not logical to have an introductory sentence with a relative pronoun like “this,” so (G) must be incorrect. The information that the pronoun “this” refers to doesn’t appear in sentences 1 or 2, so (H) and (J) are likewise incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to choose between a couple of pronouns and noun phrases. Any of the choices would be grammatically correct, since they’re all singular nouns or pronouns. Your task is to select the clearest choice. “El Niño” clearly and specifically refers to the intended object, so (C) is correct. The preceding paragraph discusses different phenomena, any of which could be the antecedent of the pronouns “it” or “this,” so (B) and (D) are unclear and therefore incorrect. (A) doesn’t use an ambiguous pronoun, but it does use vague language; “the phase” could be misinterpreted as a reference to La Niña. We need to read closely to see that the sentence must actually refer to El Niño: La Niña is described as a cooling of the ocean surface, but this sentence discusses a warming of the ocean surface. (A) is therefore incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (G) — This is a grammatical agreement question; it asks you to use the right combination of adjectives and adverbs to modify the noun, “rain.” (G) is the correct answer because it uses an adverb to modify an adjective, expressing the idea that the rain could, potentially, be severe. (F), “potentially severely,” is incorrect; it would make “potentially severely rain,” and while adverbs can modify each other they can’t modify a noun. You’d need an adjective like “rainy” for this phrase to fit. (H), “potential severe,” is incorrect because “potential” is intended to modify “severe” and must take an adverb form to do so. (J), “potential severity,” is incorrect too; “bringing potential severity rain” is a garbled and confusing phrase.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question is about appropriate tone. (A) is the correct answer because it’s the best fit with the tone elsewhere in the essay, which is rather formal and journalistic. Also remember that the subject of the clause is “East African countries,” meaning that you should avoid any expressions that would fit better with individuals or small groups. (B) is too informal, using the intensifier “pretty” and the informal and slightly comic “damp days.” (C) is far too informal, using the colloquial expression “raining cats and dogs.” (D) is too informal because it uses the intensifier “totally” and the word “soaked,” which better describes individual people than entire countries.
The Correct Answer is (J) — To answer this question correctly, read each of the sentences indicated and simply determine which one is least focused on “the effects that El Niño has on different nations in the world.” A close look at this paragraph shows that the one sentence that does not focus on nations is Sentence 4, which is concerned only with the effect of El Niño on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. (J) is thus the correct answer to this question. (F), Sentence 1, begins by mentioning droughts in “western Pacific countries from Southeast Asia to Australia,” and also mentions severe rain in Peru and Ecuador. (G), Sentence 2, talks about “East African countries” and “South African countries.” (H), Sentence 3, discusses “the northern U.S., Canada, and Europe” and “the southern portions of North America and Europe.” Even when the countries aren’t specifically mentioned by name, these sentences still refer to areas where nations are physically present, and are therefore more focused on the impact on different nations in the world than (J).
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to select the least acceptable alternative. That means that you should pick the word with the least similar meaning and connotations, and which would make the least sense in context. “Naturally” suggests a natural and expected continuation from the previous point. (C) is correct because “Conversely” implies a reversal of the statements about weather conditions expressed in the previous paragraph, so this is the least acceptable alternative. (A) and (B) both imply a continuation of the previous paragraph’s claims, and are therefore similar to the word used in the passage and acceptable in context. (D), which omits any transition, would also be more acceptable than “conversely,” because a transition word is not logically or grammatically necessary in this sentence; it merely serves to emphasize the nature of the transition. A transition word that indicates the opposite relationship is a worse choice than no transition word at all.
The Correct Answer is (F) — This question prompts you to identify the choice that either correctly joins two sentences, or leaves them divided with a period. (F) is correct. These two sentences are fine as they are, and every other option introduces an error. (G) is incorrect because it simply replaces the period after “effects” with a comma, creating a comma splice. (H) is incorrect because it simply puts the two sentences together without using any punctuation, creating a run-on sentence. (J) once again creates a comma splice, and also inserts an unnecessary comma after “El Niño.”
The Correct Answer is (D) — Here you must choose the appropriate tense for the verb “to affect.” General statements of fact are usually placed in the present tense, and that tense is established in the first clause of this sentence with the verb “are.” (D) is correct because it maintains the present tense. (A) is incorrect because “had affected” shifts to the perfect past (or “remote past”) tense. (B) is incorrect because in shifts inappropriately to the simple past tense. (C) is incorrect because it shifts inappropriately to the future tense.
The Correct Answer is (J) — Here you are being asked to determine which option expresses the point about the prices of goods and services most concisely. The correct answer is (J). It avoids the wordiness and redundancy of the other options. (F) is incorrect because it uses the word “prices” three times. (G) also repeats the word “price,” and the clunky phrase “nearly everything else.” (H) repeats “prices,” and also uses the phrase “as a result of the effects on things such as crops and dams,” which is incorrect both because it’s wordy and because it repeats information from earlier in the sentence.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question is asking you to identify the most appropriate punctuation for this sentence. (B) is correct because the dashes set off parenthetical material that deserves special emphasis while maintaining a clear relationship between the subject “risk” and the verb “increases.” (A) is incorrect because failing to correctly punctuate the parenthetical element makes it appear as though “wars” is the subject of the verb “increases.” That would be both illogical and ungrammatical. (C) is incorrect for the same reason. (D) incorrectly inserts a colon between the subject and verb of the sentence.
The Correct Answer is (F) — Here you are being asked to select the option that correctly uses apostrophes to form a possessive noun. The intention of the sentence is clear from context: it is discussing the effects (plural) of El Niño, that are caused by or “belong” to El Niño. (F) is correct because it uses an apostrophe to create the possessive form of “El Niño” and leaves the apostrophe out of the plural noun “effects.” (G) is incorrect because it omits apostrophes entirely. (H) is incorrect because it omits the apostrophe that is necessary to make “El Niño” possessive, and incorrectly inserts an apostrophe into “effects.” (J) correctly inserts an apostrophe to create the possessive of El Nino, but also incorrectly adds an apostrophe to “effects.”
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question might look like it’s asking you to select the correct verb tense, but—more importantly—it’s asking you to identify the form of the verb that agrees with its subject. In this case, the subject is the phrase “rates of mosquito-borne disease” or simply “rates.” (D), “fall,” is the only choice that correctly agrees with a plural subject, so it is correct. (A), (B), and (C) use a variety of tenses; however, only (A) and (C) can be eliminated because they inappropriately change to a new verb tense. All of these choices are incorrect because none of them agree with a singular subject.
The Correct Answer is (J) — This question is asking you to choose the correct option for fixing the sentence fragment created by the original punctuation. (J) is correct because replacing the period with a comma corrects the sentence fragment by changing the fragment into an introductory clause. (F) is incorrect because it leaves the fragment. (G) is incorrect because, while it removes the period, it neglects to add a comma. Long introductory clauses should be separated by a comma from the information that follows in order to avoid confusion. (H) is incorrect because it misplaces the comma, resulting in an illogical and confusing sentence.
The Correct Answer is (D) — To answer this question correctly, consider the ideas in the passage. The passage mainly focuses on providing general information about El Niño and its consequences. While many of the effects of El Niño that the writer discusses are negative, she also mentions some positive effects. The essay ends with the conclusion that it’s good for us to know about the effects of El Niño, but there’s no real argument for this conclusion, and the main purpose of the essay seems to be simply to provide information. (D) is correct because, although the writer does discuss the consequences of El Niño, the primary focus of the passage is on explaining this phenomenon rather than making any argument about its future effects. (A) is incorrect because, while the last line does claim that it’s good to know about and plan for El Niño, that is not the main focus of the passage, and it is a more general point than that asked about in the question. (B) is incorrect because the passage discusses positive and negative effects of El Niño; however, even if the passage provided only warnings about the “severe consequences” of El Niño, that would be inadequate to build an argument that future generations must work to mitigate those effects. (C) is incorrect because it goes beyond the scope of the question. The writer could have argued that future generations should mitigate El Niño’s effects without offering specific information about how to do so; however, in this case, she did neither.