Digital SAT Poetry Practice Reading Questions

1. A student claims that Will Carleton’s Poem “Autumn Days” contrasts the sweetness of some autumn days in the first stanza with a far different type of autumn days in the second stanza. What pair of lines from the first and second stanzas respectively best illustrate this claim?


A. O’er the dreamy, listless haze/O’er the cheerless, withered plain.
B. Yellow, mellow, ripened days/ Shivering, quivering, tearful days.
C. And the sombre, furrowed fallow/ Woefully and hoarsely calling.
D. Winking at the blushing trees/On thy scanty vestments falling.

2. The following is an excerpt from the poem “We Wait” by Will M. Carleton

Or if upon the field of war we stand,
And sword with sword for mastery we mate,
Grim Death, and radiant Glory, hand in hand,
Approaching us with silent step we see;
And one of them, we vow, for us must be;
Bravely we strive to win renown’s estate,
And still we wait.

And when we grope within the gloom of age,
When our few steps grow feeble and sedate,
We cast our eyes back o’er a blotted page;
We peer among the pictures of the past,
We gaze upon the future, overcast;
Our musings all with hopes and fears we freight;
And still we wait.

Which choice best states the main purpose of the text?


A. To illustrate the abeyancy of life, even as death approaches.
B. To force the reader to consider his own fate.
C. To illustrate the futility of war.
D. To explain the purposelessness of life.

3. The following is an excerpt from the poem “We Hope” by Will M. Carleton


Then we yearn and call for comfort; but no comfort comes unto us,
And we wrap ourselves in sadness, and Despair goes thrilling thou’ us;
And the darkness gathers round us, with its horrors, half-unspoken,
And we pray again for succor: that the fearful spell be broken,
With the light of something shining, be it only but a ray.

Then within our hearts a blossom, from the dreary mould is springing,
Then the birds of Hope make music, with their sweet and cheerful singing;
Then, upon the great clouds gazing, we discern their silver lining,
And at last, through veils of blackness, bursts the sunbeam’s glorious shining,
And upon our raptured vision beams the light of perfect day

Which choice best describes the function of the underlined portion in the text as a whole?


A. It minimizes the role of hope to “but a ray”.
B. It firmly emphasizes the despair of the writer.
C. It clarifies the despair that was described earlier in the passage.
D. It introduces a visual for hope that will be further built upon in the poem.

4. The following is an excerpt from the poem “The House Where We Were Wed” by Will M. Carleton

I’ve been to the old farm-house, good-wife,
Where you and I were wed;
Where the love was born to our two hearts
That now lies cold and dead.
Where a long-kept secret to you I told,
In the yellow beams of the moon,
And we forged our vows out of love’s own gold,
To be broken so soon, so soon!

Which choice best states the main purpose of the text?


A. To tell someone of a trip made, in the light of a broken relationship.
B. To set the stage for a future argument.
C. To argue that marriage is a fruitless endeavor.
D. To help the reader feel the author’s pain after the death of his wife.

5. The following is an excerpt from the poem “Apple Blossoms” by Will M. Carleton


Naught within her eyes he read
That would tell her mind unto him;
Though their light, he after said,
Quivered swiftly through and through him;
Till at last his heart burst free
From the prayer with which ‘twas laden,

And he said, “When wilt thou be
Mine for evermore, fair maiden?”


Which choice best describes the function of the underlined portion in the text as a whole?


A. To clarify the emotional source of the following quotation.
B. To explain a medical condition from which he is suffering.
C. To show the religious fervor with which he lives his life.
D. To build on the previous description of her eyes.

6. An instructor claims that “Lines Written in Early Spring” contains the introspective thoughts of the author. Which quotation from the poem best supports this claim?


A. “And ‘tis my faith that every flower/Enjoys the air it breathes.”
B. “The birds around me hopp’d and play’d/ Their thoughts I cannot measure”
C. “In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts/ Bring sad thoughts to the mind.”
D. “I heard a thousand blended notes/While in a grove I sat reclined.”

7. The following is an excerpt from “The Dungeon” as published in Lyrical Ballads With a Few Other Poems.


And this place our forefathers made for man!
This is the process of our love and wisdom,
To each poor brother who offends against us—
Most innocent, perhaps—and what if guilty?
Is this the only cure? Merciful God?
Each pore and natural outlet shrivell’d up
By ignorance and parching poverty,
His energies roll back upon his heart,
And stagnate and corrupt; till changed to poison,
They break out on him, like a loathsome plague-spot;
Then we call in our pamper’d mountebanks—
And this is their best cure! uncomforted
And friendless solitude, groaning and tears,
And savage faces, at the clanking hour,
Seen through the steams and vapour of his dungeon,
By the lamp’s dismal twilight! So he lies
Circled with evil, till his very soul
Unmoulds its essence, hopelessly deformed
By sights of ever more deformity!


Which choice best states the main purpose of the text?


A. It examines the purpose of a dungeon form the point of view of a jailor.
B. It critiques a solution that society has found to a common issue.
C. It asks a question about the worth of humanity.
D. It sheds a negative light on how humanity handles a problem.

8. The following is an excerpt from the poem “Expostulation and Reply”. The author speaks to his friend, Matthew:

“The eye it cannot chuse but see,
“We cannot bid the ear be still;
“Our bodies feel, where’er they be,
“Against, or with our will.

“Nor less I deem that there are powers,
“Which of themselves our minds impress,
“That we can feed this mind of ours,
“In a wise passiveness.

“Think you, mid all this mighty sum
“Of things for ever speaking,
“That nothing of itself will come,
“But we must still be seeking?

“—Then ask not wherefore, here, alone,
“Conversing as I may,
“I sit upon this old grey stone,
“And dream my time away.”


Which choice best describes the function of the underlined portion in the text as a whole?


A. It questions the author’s purpose.
B. It asks Matthew a philosophical question.
C. It highlights a subject for which the author is passionate.
D. It explains an earlier statement.

9. A student reads “Old Man Travelling; Animal Tranquility and Decay, A Sketch” and observes that the old man in the poem seems at great peace with his life. Which of the following excerpts from the poem best supports this claim?

A.”Sir! I am going many miles to take/A last leave of my son, a mariner,/ Who from a sea-fight has been brought to Falmouth/ And there is dying in an hospital.”
B. “He travels on, and in his face, his step,/ His gait, is one expression;/ every limb,/ His look and bending figure, all bespeak/ A man who does not move with pain.”
C. “He is one by whom/ All effort seems forgotten, one to whom/ Long patience has such mild composure given/ That patience now doth seem a thin, of which/He hath no need. He is by nature led.”
D. “The young behold/ With envy, what the old man hardly feels./ I asked him whither he was bound, and what/ The object of his journey.”

10. The following is the poem “Why Do Ye Call The Poet Lonely?” By Archibald Lampman

Why do ye call the poet lonely,
Because he dreams in lonely places?
He is not desolate, but only
Sees, where ye cannot, hidden faces.


Which choice best states the main purpose of the text?

A. It asks and answers a question about those who write poetry.
B. It hypothesizes as to what makes people want to write poetry.
C. It gives an explanation as to why much poetry is sad.
D. It opens up the reader to ask questions of poets.

Answer Explanations

  1. B. The question asks for evidence to show a contrast between two different types of autumn days. Answer option B shows two types of days in the fall, one that is yellow (leaf color), mellow (meaning calm), and ripened (as the harvest on the vine). The other is shivering and quivering (cold) as well as tearful (raining). This makes option (B) the best answer. (A) and (C) are incorrect as they only describe one setting, not two. Option (D) is incorrect as it does not describe a day at all, but rather leaves falling.
  2. A. In this poem we see at the end of both stanzas “And still we wait”. The author describes this waiting even when death is near and in every situation. He seems to be telling the reader that life is just a game of waiting. This purpose is best described in answer option (A) since the word abeyancy describes a situation of disuse, suspension, or waiting. Answer option (B) is incorrect for, while a reader may consider his own fate, this does not seem to be the main purpose of the poem. Answer (C) is incorrect as the author seems to be describing the futility of all things, not just war. Answer (D) is incorrect as the poem gives no explanation as to the purposelessness of life that the author sees.
  3. D. In the underlined section the author introduces the idea of visual light. In the second stanza he builds on this image of a single ray of light by describing the emerging “sunbeam’s glorious shining” and “the light of perfect day.” In this way, the light represents a visual image of the hope bursting through dark clouds of sadness. This makes option (D) the best answer. The other answer options do not appropriately understand that the visual light represents hope and that it grows to a sunburst in stanza 2.
  4. A. The opening lines of this poem tells the author’s “good-wife” that he has “been to the old farm house… where you and I were wed”. He is telling her he has gone back to where their marriage started. The end of this first stanza sheds light on the current status of their relationship “we forged our vows… to be broken soon.” Their marriage vows, and thus their relationship, are broken. This makes option (A) the best answer. We have no evidence of a future argument, so option (B) is incorrect. The author knows that his marriage is over, but does not try to say that all marriages are pointless, making option (C) incorrect. There is no evidence that the wife is dead, just that they are separated, making option (D) incorrect.
  5. A. The underlined portion describes his heart “bursting free” from “the prayer with which ‘twas laden” thereafter the man spills his heart to the girl and asks her to stay with him forever. These words of his are from his heart. This makes (A) the best option. The underlined portion explains the source of his ardent outburst. Option (B) is incorrect as his heart is not literally bursting, but figuratively bursting. Option (C) is incorrect as there is no religious undertones to the underlined section. Option (D) is incorrect as the underlined portion describes the source of his words, not her eyes.
  6. C. To be introspective is to think about one’s self and one’s own thoughts and emotions. Answer option (C) is the only answer that gives us a glimpse into the author’s mind to support the teacher’s claim that the author is “introspective”. Answer (A) describes the author’s belief about flowers. Answer (B) and (D) simply describe events that happen.
  7. D. This poem describes what happens to men thrown into a dungeon. The author describes the mental effects of being imprisoned in a very negative way saying things like that the prisoner’s soul is “hopelessly deformed” and that his energy turns inward “till changed to poison”. This makes option (D) the best answer. The author is shedding negative light on how the world deals with the problem of crime. Answer option (A) is incorrect as the poem is not from the point of view of a jailor. Answer (B) is incorrect as a dungeon is not a solution to but rather a punishment for crime. Answer (C) is incorrect as the author does not question the worth of humanity in general, but rather the worth of the dungeon itself.
  8. B. The underlined section, when paraphrased in modern English, would be something like “do you ever think in the middle of all this craziness that we just have to keep going and going even though we’re not going to get anywhere?” This is equivalent to asking if life has any meaning, a deeply philosophical question. This makes answer (B) the best option. This questions the purpose of “seeking”, not of the author, so answer option (A) is incorrect. Answer option (C) is incorrect as we have no evidence that the author is particularly passionate about this topic. Answer option (D) is incorrect as the underlined passage may build on a previous statement, but it does not explain it.
  9. C. The question is asking for evidence that the man feels great peace. Answer option (A) describes a situation in which it would make sense to have little or no peace. Answer option (B) describes the man as having no pain, which is not the same as being at great peace. Answer option (D) says that the young envy him, but that does not necessarily mean they envy any great peace he might have. This leaves option (C) in which the man is described as having forgotten any and all effort, who has so mild a personality that he needs no patience, and who is led by nature. This gives the best evidence that the man is at peace.
  10. A. The first two lines of this short poem ask why the reader calls poets lonely. The second two lines responds to the question, explaining that poets are not lonely, but rather see hidden faces where we cannot. This makes answer option (A) the best solution.

Digital SAT Text Structure and Purpose Reading Practice Questions

The text from these questions is adapted from the book “How to Know the Wildflowers,” by Frances Theodora Parsons.

1. Pliny tells us that the anemone of the classics was so entitled because it opened at the wind’s bidding. The Greek tradition claims that it sprang from the passionate tears shed by Venus over the body of the slain Adonis. At one time it was believed that the wind which had passed over a field of anemones was poisoned and that disease followed in its wake. Perhaps because of this superstition, the flower was adopted as the emblem of sickness by the Persians. Surely our delicate blossom is far removed from any suggestion of disease or unwholesomeness, seeming instead to hold the very essence of spring and purity in its quivering cup.

What choice best states the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It explains how a plant caused illness historically.
B. It clarifies what Pliny believes about the use of the plant.
C. It presents a hypothesis as to the origin of a historic symbol.
D. It argues against a commonly held belief.

2. Ginseng is well known by name but is yearly becoming more scarce. The aromatic root is so greatly valued in China for its supposed power of combating fatigue and old age that it can only be gathered by order of the emperor. The forked specimens are believed to be the most powerful, and their fancied likeness to the human form has obtained for the plant the Chinese title of Jinchen (from which ginseng is a corruption), and the Indian one of Garntoguen, both of which, strangely enough, are said to signify like a man.


What choice best describes the function of the underlined information in text as a whole?
A. It explains the origin of an English word.
B. It clarifies a common mispronunciation of a Chinese word.
C. It gives the reader irrelevant information.
D. It allows the reader to visualize the plant.

3. He who seeks the cool shade of the evergreens on a hot July day is likely to discover the nodding wax-like flowers of this little plant. They are delicate and pretty, with a background of shining leaves. These leaves when young have a pleasant aromatic flavor similar to that of the sweet birch; they are sometimes used as a substitute for tea. The bright red berries are also edible and savory and are much appreciated by the hungry birds and deer during the winter. If not thus consumed, they remain upon the plant until the following spring when they either drop or rot upon the stem, thus allowing the seeds to escape.


What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It concludes the text with a detail about the safety of berry consumption.
B. It helps the reader understand how evergreens spread.
C. It clarifies the nutritional value of berries to the birds and deer.
D. It builds on the claim of the previous sentence.

4. The common knotweed, P. aviculare, which grows in such abundance in country dooryards and waste places, has slender, often prostrate, stems, and small greenish flowers, which are clustered in the axils of the leaves or spike at the termination of the stems. This is perhaps the “hindering knotgrass” to which Shakespeare refers in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” so terming it, not on account of its knotted trailing stems, but because of the belief that it would hinder the growth of a child.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined selection in the text as a whole?
A. It introduces a term from literature that will later be clarified.
B. It provides direct evidence for a previous claim.
C. It gives the exact words of a noted botanist.
D. It explains the use of a previously explained.

5. Despite the difference in the spelling of the names, it has been suggested [about the pokeweed] that the plant was called after President Polk. This is most improbable, as it was common throughout the country long before his birth, and its twigs are said to have been plucked and worn by his followers during his campaign for the Presidency.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It provides evidence as to the origin of the name Pokeweed.
B. It explains where a term originated.
C. It presents chronological information to assuage the reader’s doubts.
D. It refutes a claim as to the origin of a term.

6. This [Queen Anne’s Lace] is believed to be the stock from which the garden carrot was raised. The vegetable was well known to the ancients, and we learn from Pliny that the finest specimens were brought to Rome from Candia. When it was first introduced into Great Britain is not known, although the supposition is that it was brought over by the Dutch during the reign of Elizabeth. In the writings of Parkinson, we read that the ladies wore carrot leaves in their hair in place of feathers. One can picture the dejected appearance of a ball-room belle at the close of entertainment.


What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It presents literary evidence of a novel use for carrots.
B. It explains the depth and breadth of a tradition.
C. It helps the reader visualize Queen Elizabeth.
D. It gives evidence for the previous thought.

7. Some October day, as we pick our way through the salt marches which lie back of the beach, we may spy in the distance a thicket which looks as though composed of such white-flowered shrubs as belongs to June. Hastening to the spot we discover that the silky-tufted seeds of the female groundsel tree are responsible for our surprise. The shrub is much more noticeable and effective at this season than when—a few weeks previous—it was covered with its small white or yellowish flower-heads.

What choice best describes the function of the underlined sentence in the text as a whole?
A. It sets the scene for a shocking discovery later in the text.
B. It describes an interesting discovery that is later explained in the text.
C. It sets the scene for an unusual activity.
D. It helps the reader visualize a normal setting.

8. The yellow lady’s slipper usually blossoms in May or June, a few days later than its pink sister, C. acaule. Regarding its favorite haunts, Mr. Baldwin says: “Its preference is for maples, beeches, and particularly butternuts, and for sloping of hilly ground, and I always look with glad suspicion at a knoll covered with ferns, cohoshes, and trilliums, expecting to see a clump of this plant among them. Its sentinel-like habit of choosing ‘slightly places’ leads it to venture well up on mountain sides.”


What choice best describes the function of the underlined phrase in the text as a whole?
A. It explains why the author does not believe Mr. Baldwin.
B. It gives a reason why Mr. Baldwin is suspicious of the yellow lady’s slipper.
C. It explains where Mr. Baldwin expects to find yellow lady’s slipper.
D. It explains what plants Mr. Baldwin expects to find on knolls.

9. If Emerson’s definition of a weed, as a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered, be correct, we can hardly place the dandelion in that category, for its young sprouts have been valued as a pot-herb, its fresh leaves enjoyed as a salad, and its dried roots used as a substitute for coffee in various countries and ages. The feathery-tufted seeds which form the downy balls beloved as “clocks” by country children, are delicately and beautifully adapted to dissemination by the wind. The common name is a corruption of the French dent de lion.


What choice best describes the function of the quotation marks around the underlined word in the overall structure of the text?
A. They place emphases on the word.
B. They show that the word is a direct quote from Emerson.
C. They show that, while they are treated like clocks, dandelions are not actual clocks.
D. They show that the word inside is not truly part of the sentence.

10. “Too well known as a pernicious weed which is difficult to extirpate,” is the scornful notice which the botany gives to Common St. John’s-wort whose bright yellow flowers are noticeable in waste fields and along roadsides nearly all summer. Its rank, rapid growth proves very exhausting to the soil, and every New England farmer wishes it had remained where it rightfully belongs—on the other side of the water.


What choice best describes the function of the underlined phrase in the overall structure of the text?
A. It explains the origin of St. John’s-wort.
B. It explains the origin of the farmers.
C. It clarifies the location of the St. John’s-wort.
D. It clarifies the location of the farmers.

Answer Explanations

1. C. In the passage, we learn that a story of wind passing over a field of anemones causing the wind to be poisoned and lead to disease. The next sentence uses the word “perhaps” to speculate that this may have been where an ancient symbol of disease originated. This makes (C) the best answer option. It is not (A) since this is a story, not a historical fact. It is not (B) as this is not something Pliny believed, but rather something modern historians hypothesize. It is not (D) since it does not argue against this belief.

2. A. We learn in the first sentence of the text that the text is discussing the plant Ginseng. The parenthetical information (the information between the parenthesis) clarifies that from this name comes “a corruption” of the Chinese title of the plant: Jinchen. This makes option (A) the best answer. Answer (B) is incorrect since Ginseng is an English word with a Chinese origin, not a mispronunciation of a Chinese word. Answer (C) is incorrect since the information is not irrelevant to the discussion. Answer (D) is incorrect as it does not give any idea of Ginseng’s visual appearance.

3. B. In the text, we learn that evergreens have bright berries that are often eaten by birds or deer. The underlined sentence then concludes that if they are not eaten, they fall or rot, thus spreading the seeds. With the spread of seeds, the evergreens also spread. This makes option (B) the best answer. Option (A) is incorrect as the underlined portion does not give any details about the safety of consuming berries. Option (C) is incorrect as it does not explain the nutritional value of eating the berries. Option (D) is incorrect as the previous sentence does not make a claim about uneaten berries.

4. A. The term “hindering knotgrass” is an unknown term when first introduced. The rest of the sentence explains that this was a term used by Shakespeare and that the author believes that Shakespeare may have been referring to the plant knotweed and why. This makes answer (A) the best option. (B) is incorrect as “hindering knotgrass” is not evidence of anything. (C) is incorrect as Shakespeare is not a noted botanist. (D) is incorrect as the term is not previously explained term.

5. D. The second sentence explains why it isn’t possible that pokeweed was named after President Polk. This makes sentence (D) the best option—the term “pokeweed” didn’t come from President Polk. (A) and (B) are the exact opposite of what the sentence is doing. (C) is incorrect as it does not assuage doubts.

6. D. In the previous sentence the author states that it is thought that the carrot came to England during the reign of Elizabeth. The next sentence gives evidence for this by explaining that ladies were wearing carrot leaves in their hair, meaning the carrots must have been brought over. Option (A) is incorrect as it is historical evidence, not literary evidence. Option (B) is incorrect as there is no evidence that the wearing of carrot leaves is a tradition, rather it seems to have been a fad. Option (C) is incorrect as the sentence does not describe how Queen Elizabeth looked, but rather an accessory that she might have worn.

7. B. The sentence in question notes that “we” are out walking in October, yet see plants in the distance that look like they have June flowers on them. This is an interesting discovery. The rest of the text goes on to explain the plant that has these curious late-season flowers. This makes (B) the best option. (A) is incorrect as we can’t describe this as a shocking discovery. Option (C) is incorrect as the plant is unusual, not the activity. (D) is incorrect as the sentence helps the reader visualize an unusual setting (with flowers in October) not a normal setting.

8. C. The underlined sentence explains that the speaker, Mr. Balwin, always looks with “glad suspicion” at certain areas, “expecting to see a clump of this plant” (C. Acaule). This means he expects to find C. Acaule among the other plants mentioned, making option (C) the best answer. Answer (A) is incorrect as these are Mr. Baldwin’s words, not suspicion on the part of the author. Option (B) is incorrect as Mr. Baldwin is not suspicious of a plant, but rather looks “suspiciously” at where the plant grows. Option (D) is incorrect as he doesn’t expect knolls in general to have certain plants, but when they have fens, cohoshes, and trilliums, he expects to find yellow lady’s slipper as well.

9. C. In this instance the quotation marks are being used as a person might use what we call “air quotes” to show that the speaker does not mean the literal use of the word. (C) is the best option as the author does not mean to say that the dandelions are being used as literal clocks. Option (A) is incorrect as the quotes are used to show non-standard use of the word, not to place emphasis. Option (B) is incorrect as the word is not a direct quote. Option (C) is incorrect as the word “clocks” is indeed part of the sentence.

10. A. The New England farmer wishes that the plant had remained “on the other side of the water”. In this case, there is only one body of water that all New England farmers could refer to in such a vague way—the Atlantic Ocean. Therefore, St. Joh’s Wort must have origins somewhere on the other side of the ocean. This makes option (A) the best answer. Option (B) is incorrect as it is the origin of the plant, not the farmers, to which is being referred. Option (C) is incorrect as St. John’s wort has spread, and so its original location is no longer its only location. It is not option (D) as the farmers are in New England.

Digital SAT Standard English Conventions Practice Questions

1. Despite a fearsome cough that for two months racked his ___________ three ribs in a particularly violent episode — the decrepit nobleman had greedily held fast his grip on life.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. torso — cracking
b. torso, cracking
c. torso: cracking
d. torso crackin

2. Naturally, Sweden’s aggressive new policies came with a price tag — particularly its massive investment in ___________ creating a large federal deficit, in 1934 Sweden became the first country to fully emerge from the Depression and foreign creditors were quickly recompensed.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. public work’s projects. But despite
b. public works projects: but despite
c. public works projects. But despite
d. public work’s projects; but despite

3. Although Mendeleev’s table eliminated the chemical inconsistencies of the telluric helix, ___________
by standard chemical terminology, large pockets of the scientific community remained resistant to the notion of periodicity.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. and were accompanied
b. and was accompanied
c. and accompanied
d. and accompanies

4. The very scope of the action dictates the terms of this contract and renders the least modification of them inadmissible, something making them null and void. Thus, although perhaps they have never been stated ___________ the same everywhere and tacitly conceded and recognized everywhere.


Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. in so many words, they are
b. in so many words: they are
c. in so many words they are
d. in, so many words, they are

5. For the next forty years, Michelangelo continued to introduce the stark, complex, and disturbing motifs found in his Library to the architecture, sculptures, and paintings ___________ the Mannerist movement.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?

a. that would later come, to christen
b. that would later come to christen
c. that would later come too christen
d. that would later come for christen

6. Remarkable, ___________ through the frosted window to where Lady Cress was dancing a quadrille. She’s gone along with this the whole while.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?

a. thought Forsythe: gazing back
b. thought Forsythe gazing back
c. thought Forsythe gazing, back
d. thought Forsythe, gazing back

7. Apart from extending unemployment benefits, the government also reinforced its agricultural industry by subsidizing farms when necessary ___________ to protect the price of domestically grown crops.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. and established tariffs
b. and having established tariffs
c. and established tariff
d. and establishing tariffs

8. Unfortunately, because Chancourtois inexplicably included several polyatomic ions on the helix, and published his report using ___________ was largely ignored.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. geological, rather than chemical terminology, his discovery
b. geological rather than chemical terminology his discovery
c. geological rather than chemical terminology, his discovery
d. geological, rather than chemical terminology his discovery

9. The social contract’s terms, when they are well understood, can be reduced to a ___________ member alienates himself totally to the whole community together with all his rights.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. single stipulation: the individual
b. single stipulation, the individual
c. single stipulation the individual
d. single stipulation: the individual,

10. Disquieting in design, and utterly without regard for classical convention, the vestibule is an exceedingly high, narrow room, whose massive dark and imposing staircase seems to push visitors outward, ___________

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. rather than invited them inside.
b. rather than offering an invitation to come in.
c. rather than giving to guests the opportunity to enter.
d. rather than inviting them inside.

11. Many of the pieces in the room are composed of natural, local materials of Latin America. Other pieces throughout the exhibition ___________ traditional design but are reconstructed out of contemporary materials (like aluminum or fiberglass).

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. reflect
b. will reflect
c. reflects
d. has reflected

12. Cystic Fibrosis is an inherited lung disease affecting the secretory ___________ responsible for producing mucus and sweat. This disease causes debilitating breathing and digestive deficiency.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. glands, they are
b. glands; which are
c. glands, which is
d. glands, which are

13. Plato argues that taboos and societal norms influence our ability to change the form of societal ___________
that conventional ideas and historical traditions can prevent civilizations from being able to imagine new systems of organization.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. structure, insofar
b. structure insofar
c. structure; insofar
d. structure. Insofar

14. Fourteen years have come and gone, bringing with them 256 wins, 9 All-Star games, and 2 World Series of my very own. My elbow is shot, my shoulder is in tatters, and my back barks at me when I get out of bed every morning, ___________ I can walk away from this game with my head held high and my heart full of pride.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. for
b. but
c. and
d. so

15. The Cannibalism Manifesto, written by Oswald de Andrade and published in 1928, critiqued European colonialism and expressed that Brazil’s greatest strength ___________ to “cannibalize” other cultures by actively selecting and reappropriating the cultural principles of others in a new way.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. was their ability
b. is their ability
c. is its ability
d. was its ability

16. Moderno explores the progression of interior design and its relation to daily ___________ also questioning how design reflected the political climate of the time.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. life, but
b. life: but
c. life, while
d. life; while

17. As sweat is produced from sweat glands, cells near the skin absorb the sodium, chloride, and other ions produced ___________ cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) does not allow for absorption to occur. This, in turn, can lead to grave complications.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. by the glands. On the other hand, a missing
b. by the glands but, a missing
c. by the glands, however, a missing
d. by the glands. However, a missing

18. Plato seeks to replace the kinship system with a new model in which people who aren’t blood relatives still interact in ways now reserved for familiar ___________ forms a communal family: “every time he meets any of them, he will assume he is meeting his brother, or sister, or, mother, or son, or daughter — or the child or parent of one of these.”

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. relations, in his vision, the city-state
b. relations. In his vision, the city-state
c. relations; in his vision the city-state
d. relations in his vision. The city-state

19. Life, we’ve seemingly ___________ a commodity most effectively measured in years.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. arbitrarily decided, is
b. arbitrarily decided: is
c. arbitrarily decided is
d. arbitrarily, decided is

20. Money that was previously pumped into developing markets is now being funneled toward a much ___________ the general feeling among the electorate is that the country is as healthy as ever.

Which choice completes the text so that it conforms to the conventions of Standard English?
a. safer, yet no less promising, Stockholm, and
b. safer yet no less promising Stockholm, and
c. safer, yet no less promising Stockholm, and
d. safer yet no less promising Stockholm and

Answer Explanations

  1. A. When there is extra information interrupting an independent clause two commas or two dashes may be used to show the reader that the information is extra. In this sentence, the phrase “cracking three ribs in a particularly violent episode” is extra. Since there is a dash at the end of that extra information there must be a matching dash at the beginning, making (A) correct. Answer option (B) would be correct if there were a comma after the word episode. Answer options (C) and (D) both are incorrect ways of showing that there is extra information in a sentence.
  2. C. Answers (A) and (D) can be eliminated since they use the possessive “works” instead of the plural “works”. The works don’t own anything, so “work’s” is incorrect. A colon is used to connect an independent clause to a clarification or explanation, so (B) is incorrect. Since the punctuation is connecting two complete sentences, or independent clauses, a period is the best option.
  3. B. This question is, in part, asking us to select the verb that would best fit in the blank. On questions like this it is important to identify the subject of the verb. What is the “thing” that is “doing the action”. In this case, what is being accompanied or accompanying the standard chemical terminology. The “table” is the subject, but the table isn’t accompanying anything, rather, it is being accompanied by the standard chemical terminology. Since we are in the past tense (as shown by the word “eliminated”) “and was accompanied” (B) is our best option since it is singular to match “table” and doesn’t force the table to do the accompanying.
  4. A. Within the sentence the phrase “although perhaps they have never been stated in so many words” would be considered extra information, since it is interrupting “thus they are the same everywhere and tacitly conceded and recognized everywhere.” Extra information is shown by putting a comma or dash before (after the word “thus”) and after (after the words “words”) it. Answer option (A) is the right answer. Answer options (B) and (C) do not put a comma after the word “words” and answer option (D) has a non-necessary extra comma after the word “in”.
  5. B. Since there are no clauses being connected and no extra information beginning or ending in the blank, no punctuation is needed. This eliminates option (A). Option (C) is incorrect as it uses “too” which is synonymous with “also”. Answer option D is incorrect since “for” is the incorrect word choice. Option (B) is correct since it lacks any punctuation and has the correct “to”.
  6. D. Within the sentence, the phrase “thought Forsythe” should be separated from the rest of the sentence since it is describing where the quotation “remarkable” is coming from. In English this is generally done by putting a comma before and after the descriptor. In this case, we have a comma after “remarkable”, so we need a matching comma after “Forsythe”. This makes option (D) correct and the other options incorrect. Another way to figure this out would be to read the sentence “out loud” in your head and hear the pause after “Forsythe”.
  7. D. The government “reinforce its agricultural industry” by doing two things. The first thing they did was “subsidizing farms” the second thing they do, therefore, should have the same verb tense. This makes (D) “and establishing tariffs” correct and the other answers incorrect.
  8. C. In order to figure out where commas should go, start by identifying clauses and looking for extra information. There is no extra information in this sentence, but there are two separate clauses. The second clause “his discovery was largely ignored” is independent, since it can be a sentence on its own. The first clause is dependent. Independent and dependent clauses are connected with a single comma. This makes answer option ( C) correct as it has a single comma after the end of the first clause. (A) uses two commas around a phrase that is not extra, (B) is a run on sentence since the two clauses are not correctly connected, and (D) puts the comma in the middle of the dependent clause instead of between the independent and dependent clauses.
  9. A. A colon connects an independent clause to an explanation or clarification of that independent clause. In this case, the second part of the sentence is clarifying what the “single stipulation” is from the first part of the sentence. This means that a colon is the most appropriate punctuation to have after the word “stipulation”. Thus, options (B) and (C) are incorrect. Option (D) is incorrect as there is no reason to put a comma after the word “individual”. There are no clauses being connected or extra information in this place.
  10. D. Good writing gets the point across as clearly and directly as possible. Answers (B), and (C) say the same thing in less succinct ways and are therefore incorrect. (A) uses the incorrect form of the verb “to invite”.
  11. A This passage is in the present as can be seen in the use of the very “are” twice. Therefore, the verb will be in the present. (B) is in the future and (D) is in the past, making both options incorrect. (C) uses the singular “reflects” to refer to multiple pieces. The plural tense “reflect” (A) is the correct option. If the difference between singular and plural verb tense confuses you, just listen: would you say “the pieces reflect” or the “the pieces reflects”?
  12. D. Remember to identify cluses as you make decisions about punctuation. A comma can connect a dependent and independent clause; a semicolon connects two independent clause. (A) is incorrect as it is connecting two independent clauses with just a coma. (B) is incorrect as it connects an independent and dependent clause with a semicolon. (C) is incorrect as it uses the singular “is” to refer to the plural “glands”. (D) is the best option as it uses a comma to connect an independent and dependent clause and uses the plural “are” to refer to the plural “glands.”
  13. B. Since there is only one clause, no punctuation is needed. (A) is incorrect as a comma would connect a dependent and independent clause. (C) and (D) are incorrect as they would connect two independent clauses.
  14. B. Think about the author’s intended meaning. This is a situation where the author is setting up a contrast between the negatives of the physical toll on his body with the positives of the pride he feels. In order to show this contrast “but” is the best option. The other answer options to not make logical sense with the contrast set up in the passage.
  15. C. The subject of the very in question is the strength of Brazil, a singular subject. Consequently, answer options (A) and (B) are incorrect as they us the plural “their” to refer to the strength. (D) is incorrect as it is in the past tense.
  16. C. Since the second clause is not independent, options (A) and (D) are incorrect. Both a comma with one of the FANBOYS and a semi-colon connect two independent clauses. Answer option (B) is incorrect since a colon is designed to go after an independent clause but before a clarification or explanation. The second part Is not clarifying the first. This leaves option (C) where a comma connects an independent and dependent clause.
  17. D. Since both clauses are independent, we must have the correct wording and punctuation to connect them. (A) is incorrect as “on the other hand” does not correctly express the author’s intention. (B) is incorrect since it puts the comma after the fanboy, not before. (C) is incorrect as it connects two independent clauses with a comma. If the comma after “glands” was turned into a semicolon, it would be correct. (D) is the best answer since it ends the first independent clause with a comma, uses correct wording, and has a comma after the introductory work “however”.
  18. B. Answer option (B) is the best answer since it ends the independent clause with a period and has the appropriate comma after the introductory phrase on the second independent clause. (A) is incorrect as it connects two independent clauses with a comma, creating a run-on sentence. (C) is incorrect: while it correctly connects two independent clauses with a semicolon, it lacks the necessary comma after the introductory phrase “in his vision”. (D) is incorrect as it has no punctuation to connect the two independent clauses.
  19. A. In this sentence “we’ve seemingly arbitrarily decided” is extra information. Standard English requires a comma both before and after extra information. Answer option (A) is the only answer option that correctly puts a comma after the word “decided”.
  20. A. In this sentence the phrase “yet no less promising” is extra information, requiring a comma both before and after to set it apart from the rest of the sentence. In addition, there are two independent clauses with the word “and” in between. One option for connecting two independent clauses is a comma along with one of the FANBOYS. We therefore need a comma before the “and”. Option (A) is the only answer that correctly places those three commas within the sentence.