Mar 4 ACT & SAT Question of the Day (This link takes you to today’s question. If you use my archive, you will see the question related to my SAT explanation for that date.)

The answer is B.  The SAT staff’s explanation is just fine: the wrong form of the verb “to live” is used in the sentence.  Living is an adjective!  So it is wrong and that is enough grammar knowledge to get the right answer.  If you had to fix the problem, which you don’t, you would need to use an active form of the verb “to live” and “sharks live” would be a fine substitute for the underlined words for B.

Let’s talk about the test writers.  They love subject/verb agreement.  This is an example of a situation where the verb is missing.  In addition, you have to watch for singular/plural problems.  They like to give you, for example, a singular subject and you have to make sure the verb is singular.  How do they make that problem tricky?  They bury the verb a couple miles away from the subject!  Here’s an example: “Harry, who drives trucks to the local grocery stores to deliver bakery items on Tuesdays and Fridays when his friends are also at work, like to play golf.”  Notice how far the subject of the sentence (Harry) is from the verb (like, which should be likes).  Often on the test the problem is the distance between the subject and the verb causes you to lose track of what they are.  To overcome their trap, if a verb is underlined, always go back and find the subject.  Just be careful.  Watch DVD #9 or look at my online course chapter on Writing to see more information about common grammar mistakes.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have done to us to start our week!

Let’s see what the ACT folks are up to this morning. (The ACT staff does not put a date on their questions so if you click on an archived blog, you’ll get today’s question and the old explanation. Sorry. The SAT staff has dated their questions; so, the archive is helpful. The ACT folks simply don’t do that.)-

It’s nice to see the ACT folks took the time to find a new question after serving up several old ones in a row.)It’s nice to see the ACT folks took the time to find a new question after serving up several old ones in a row.

The answer is J.  I got it right without knowing the word cumbrous.  Like on the SAT, the context is very important.  They tell us “in very exact form proceeded without a mistake.”  Those words are all about the form and process of the “swearing;” it had to be precise.  None of the other answers have a meaning that goes along with form and process.  Since burdensome means it weighs you down, tough, and trying and those words all indicate there could be a problem in the form and process of the swearing, J has to be the right answer.

Hope you have a great start to your week.

The Wizard

About Bob Alexander

Bob has been a professional educator starting with teaching biology, becoming a school administrator, and then working as an education lobbyist in Washington, DC. He got his start in national testing by becoming a consulting test writer, later joining Kaplan as a director, and finally starting his own business in 1995. He has written numerous books, consulted for school districts and colleges, developed his website and been featured on a DVD set. He offers SAT and ACT prep classes and tutors individuals and small groups of students in central Florida.
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