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.

Digital SAT Words in Context Practice Questions

1.  It was comical in a way, with the dramatic irony of a farcical play. He had studied through the lens of his microscope the waste of germs and infinitesimal parasites- invisible to most- that provoke such majorities of the world’s ___________. And yet, in so focusing his view, he had failed to perceive an affliction that towered before him for fifteen years on that to others was unmistakable.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical word?

A.  Happiness

B.  Suffering

C.  Failure

D.  Calamities

2.  In times of widespread economic distress, experts will sometimes turn to the outliers of a downtrend in order to study the features of their commercial, governmental, and social structures that have seemingly immunized them to financial meltdown. Recently, Sweden’s system has come under particular scrutiny due to the ____________________ of its economy throughout the recession that struck the majority of the Western world in 2007.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most precise phrase?

A.  Relatively stable condition

B.  Incredible crash

C.  Loss of the value

D.  Fragmentation

3.  As Mendeleev assembled the table, he had noticed several gaps in the pattern of properties which- cleverly- he hypothesized to be areas held by yet undiscovered elements. Apart from reserving space on the table for these elements, he went to far as to predict not only their existence, but their ______________ as well. Several years later, the spectroscopic discovery of one of these elements- specifically gallium- and the confirmation of Mendeleev’s predictions caused the popularity of his theory to skyrocket, and the periodic table quickly became a standard fixture in the study of chemistry.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A.  Chemical properties

B.  Present locations

C.  Findings

D.  Theory

4.  Once this multitude is united into a body, an offense against one of its members is an offense against the body politic. It would be even less possible to injure the body without its members feeling it. Duty and interest thus equally require the two contracting parties to aid each other ________. The individual people should be motivated from their double roles as individuals and members of the body to combine all the advantages which mutual aid offers them.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word?

A.  Completely

B.  Intermittently

C.  Hesitantly

D.  Mutually

5.  The columns, in true Mannerist style, are without function; crowded together chaotically in the corners of the room and crushed halfway into its walls. The pilasters at the sides of the windows are unaccountably tapered- further challenging the neat verticality of classical tradition- and ________ with capitals belonging to no established style whatsoever.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word?

A.  Carved

B.  Found

C.  Crowned

D.  Felt

6.  As a whole, the vast exhibition displays how the modernist movement progressed across the three Latin American cultures using furniture as a microcosm of the three societies. Although many might find this to be ________________ of a complex phenomenon, few can argue that the exhibition is, at least, intriguing.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise phrase?

A.  a misunderstanding

B.  an oversimplification

C.  a failure to display the furniture

D.  an elaboration

7.  Millions of people carry the defective gene, but because it is a recessive disorder, an individual will contract cystic fibrosis only if he or she inherits two mutated genes from his or her parents. If the father and mother both _________ the mutated gene, the child will inherit the disease. However, if only one of the genes is mutated, the child will not contract the disease. If both parents carry the mutated gene, every child they have has a twenty-five percent chance of inheriting the disease and a fifty percent chance of passing it on.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word?

A.  lack

B.  grant

C.  avoid

D.  donate

8.  One of the questions that Plato’s fifth book of The Republic grapples with is what role kinship relations play in the function of society. In The Republic, Plato attempts to create a blueprint for a just city-state in which its constituents prescribe to reason and live in communal harmony. In his construction of an ideal city-state, Plato reevaluates the kinship relations that comprise society. Plato believes that the kinship structure is a reflection of the social structure, and that the social and political structures that organize society are not biological or necessary, but rather __________ and subject to change.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word?

A.  avoided

B.  unavoidable

C.  exemplary

D.  created

9.  Justice, it might be said, is when tenacity is met with opportunity, and that opportunity came on August 24, 2002 when the Dodgers finally called me up to The Big Show. I pitched that night in a home game against the Braves. The opposing pitcher was Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, and wouldn’t you know that I beat the son of a gun! After the game, my teammates congratulated me in the clubhouse, and, though I don’t remember all of the details, I remember it as one of the ____________ days of my life.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A.  happiest

B.  most stressful

C.  nicest

D.  darkest

10.  Forsythe’s disposition, so recently buoyant and carefree, swiftly darkened to the extent that, were he to auscultate himself at that moment, the _____________ could only reveal an acute saturninity, or else some other sinister malady that corrupts the body and gives the mind a likeness of wetted ash.

Which of the following choices best completes the text with the most logical and precise word?

A.  doctor

B.  patient

C.  feeling

D.  diagnosis

Answer Explanations

1.  B. The character is studying germs and parasites. It is an irony that, though he studies these creatures, he didn’t realize when he himself was “afflicted” with one. It therefore follows that those germs and parasites would create the world’s “suffering” (B). It isn’t (A) as that is the opposite of what the germs and parasites would cause. It isn’t (C) as the world’s failures aren’t caused by germs or parasites.  It isn’t (D) as calamities can be caused by any number of natural disasters and man-made situations in addition to infectious diseases and parasites.

2.  A.   The first sentence of the passage says that during economic disasters, experts turn to outliers. Since the 2007 financial crisis was a recession, the outlier would need to be a country that didn’t experience that recession. Sweden being in a “relatively stable condition” (A) would make it of interest to economists. (B) and (C) are incorrect since if Sweden had crashed or lost value it would not have been an outlier. (D) is incorrect as there is no evidence that the Swedish economy split up into pieces, or fragmented.

3.  D. From the context we know that Mendeleev is predicting the existence of elements as well as something else about them. We know that he reserved spaces for them on the periodic table, so we wouldn’t repeat that he predicted their “present locations” therefore (B) is incorrect. Elements wouldn’t have “findings” or “theory”, so (C) and (D) are incorrect as well. This only leaves “chemical properties,” (A), for him to predict in addition to predicting their existence.

4.  D. In the final sentence we learn that “individuals should be motivated…to combine all the advantages which mutual aid offers them”. This context tells us that the author is calling for the “two contracting parties to aid each other mutually”. In other words, that each should help the other.  This rules out (B) “intermittently” and (C) “hesitantly” since those would both be less than the “mutual aid” the author is calling for. (A) “Completely” is not a word that can be used to describe aiding a person.

5.  C. A “capital” is the top part of a column which often flairs out from the column (or pilar) and is often engraved with a decorative motif. Be careful not to confuse this with a “capitol” which is the building in which a government meets.   Since “capitals” are at the top of a column or pilar, the best word to use in this sentence is (C) “crowned” which indicates that the “capitals” are at the top of the pilar. (A), (B), and (D) would not describe the placement of the capitals.

6.  B. The first sentence sets up a fairly complex topic- the advancement of an entire movement. It makes logical sense that trying to show this complex topic through a display of furniture might be thought to be “an oversimplification” (B) of the topic. There is no evidence that the display is a “misunderstanding” (A) of the movement. We know that the furniture was displayed, so it is not (C). “An elaboration” (D) would be the opposite of an oversimplification and is therefore incorrect.

7. D. In this sentence, the author is describing the process by which both parents must pass on the gene in question in order for the child to have cystic fibrosis. The answer which most closely means “pass on” is “donate”, making (D) the correct answer. If the parents lack or avoid the gene, then the child will not have Cystic Fibrosis, making (A) and (D) incorrect. “Grant” (C) does not fit the context of the sentence.

8.  D. We see in the context of the last sentence that this structure is “not biological or necessary” we are therefore looking for an answer that is the opposite of biological and necessary. “Created” (D) would be the best answer since things that are created can be changed and people can choose not to create them.  They are therefore not “biological” or “necessary”. (A), (B), and (C) do not fit into the context, even though they are grammatically correct.

9.  A. In this passage, the speaker describes the day in which he was given a huge opportunity and not only grabbed that opportunity, but managed to beat one of the best opponents he ever faced. The best way to describe such a day would be as the “happiest” (A) day of his life. “Nicest” (C) is not a strong enough word to describe such a day. “Darkest” (D) is not at all appropriate for such a momentous day.  While the day may have been stressful, the passages is overwhelmingly positive about the experience, so focusing on the negative stress (B) would be inappropriate.

10.  D. While you might not know what “auscultate” means in the passage, context shows that where he to auscultate himself, he was scared of finding a “sinister malady”. This makes “diagnosis” (D) the best option since it is a “diagnosis” that would show such a malady. Since he is auscultating himself, there wouldn’t be a “doctor” involved, so (A) is incorrect. It would be very odd for him to discuss himself in the third person as the “patient”, so (B) is incorrect. He is not looking at a “feeling” but rather at something that will show him something that will “corrupt the body”, making (C) incorrect.