The ACT English test has evolved over the past few years.  The test assesses students in their knowledge of grammar, usage, punctuation and sentence structure.  It also assesses students in the areas of topic development, organization, unity and cohesion as well as knowledge of language.

There is always only one right answer that is undisputedly correct.

Students who are well-spoken and hear the language used properly can generally “hear” that something doesn’t sound right grammatically.   But when it comes to specifics, students often forget some of the grammar or sentence structure rules they learned mostly in middle school.

Sentence Structure is a Common Topic on the ACT English Test.

This example from an actual ACT test is a good illustration of a typical sentence structure question.

In Question 24, use of a comma after “yard” creates a comma splice.  The reason is that the clauses on either side of the comma are both independent clauses—they have a subject and a verb and could each be a stand-alone sentence.  There are several ways to correct the error.  A coordinating conjunction (one of the FANBOYS) can be used in addition to the comma—but unfortunately that is not one of the choices.  Another correct option is use of a semi-colon to join these two independent clauses, as is the case in Choice H.  Choice J, offering no punctuation, would result in a run-on sentence known as a fused sentence.  The only correct answer is Choice H.

Students who take the time to review grammar basics will reactivate the knowledge they learned in middle school. Students do use those grammar rules in high school writing.  However, on the ACT, students must be able to identify errors in usage.  To do so requires a clear understanding of grammar in order to decide one answer is correct.

The Knowledge Edge ACT Program typically includes 10 hours of English instruction.  Part of that is a review of the grammar and other rules most commonly tested on the ACT.  Students have the chance to review, refresh and reactivate their prior knowledge with a tutor during prep sessions.  Then, they test their knowledge with practice.  Most importantly, if they do not understand, our tutor is there to explain and ensure the skill is mastered.

For more information about Knowledge Edge ACT prep, click here!