Only 2 days left to CRAM for the ACT. Since you’re probably applying at an American school, let’s make sure the English section demonstrates a respectable level of knowledge.
ENGLISH - REVIEW RULES OF GRAMMAR
Several standard rules are ALWAYS tested, some more than once on a single test.
its is like his — it shows possession
it’s is an abbreviation for it is
INTRODUCTORY PHRASES must relate to the subject of the sentence
(good) Sitting on the balcony, we watched the parade.
(not good) Sitting on the balcony, the parade passed right by us.
Single subjects do not usually end in ’s’ but single verbs do.
Plural subjects usually end in ’s’ but plural verbs do not.
VERB TENSE does not change in the middle of a paragraph.
The pronoun usually refers to the preceding noun.
If you can’t answer the question “who?” then use the noun.
SPECIAL NOTES ON PUNCTUATION:
-- Two commas (or two dashes) means that the words in between are not needed.
-- The subject and verb can NEVER be separated by a single comma.
-- When adding an ‘-ing’ phrase after a full sentence separate it with a comma if it does NOT describe the preceding noun.
-- A COMMA ALONE CAN NEVER, NEVER, NEVER SEPARATE TWO INDEPENDENT SENTENCES! (But comma-conjunction can.)
-- A period, colon, semicolon, and comma-conjunction are usually interchangable when there is a full sentences in front, so finding more than one in the alternatives tells you to look for special circumstances.
If a shorter alternative gives enough information, pick it.
Spell it out, don’t just say it. These contractions replace ‘could HAVE,’ ‘would HAVE,’ ‘should HAVE,’ so abbreviate them as could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.
ADVERBS VERSUS ADJECTIVES
The difference may be in the -LY (which makes the word modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb).
If ‘omit’ is an alternative, there is a 50% chance that it’s the right answer. Be sure the information is VITAL before including it.
“Who” is the subject doing the action.
“Whom” is the person the action is affecting (direct object, indirect object, object of a preposition).
REFLEXIVE PRONOUNS (himself, herself, myself)
The person DOING and the person RECEIVING the action must be the same person.
CONNECTOR AND TRANSITION WORDS
Lump them into general categories:
a) showing contrast (however, but, instead, although, nevertheless, yet)
b) showing cause and effect (therefore, consequently, as a result)
c) giving proof or more examples (likewise, besides, moreover, indeed)
d) Since the English section is usually informal, when given a choice between ‘however’ and ‘but’ or ‘therefore’ and ‘so,’ choose the informal ‘but’ and ‘so.’
ONLY 2 DAYS LEFT TO SATURDAY'S ACT, so if cramming is your style, you'd better get to it!