Question of the Day: September 18, 2013

If you are reading this in an email you received from me, do not click the link to below. Use the link to my website that is farther down on the email. If you are seeing this in my blog, do the SAT Question of the Day by clicking on this link: (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 D.  Idioms are the enemy.  English as well as many other languages contain phrases that are used commonly in the spoken form but are not appropriate in the written form.  Generally, but not always, an idiomatic phrase’s literal meaning has a figurative meaning. For example, “kick the bucket” doesn’t literally mean to “kick a bucket.”  For this question, the test writer refers to an idiom as a non-standard way to write something that we sometimes say in the spoken language.  What you need to remember about the SAT Writing Test and the ACT English Test is that the correct answers are based on “standard written English.”

In this case, things get a little tricky.  When “credit” is used as a noun, the proper preposition is “to.”  For example, you would give “credit to” the teacher for helping students improve their SAT scores.  However, when “credit” is a verb, you should use the preposition “with.”  For this question,  the answer is “with bringing.”  (be sure to scroll down to see the list) is a great website for studying idioms and other common errors in English.  It is incredibly comprehensive; so, don’t think you are going to conquer the English language in a day!  It is worth your effort to spend some time reviewing Professor Brians’ list.

Let’s see what the ACT folks have for us today.

ACT Question of the Day: Use your “back” button to return to my website after reading the ACT Question of the Day.

The answer is G.  As with any composition, you just need to put the new sentence in the context of the passage.  The topic of the second paragraph is how the vice president of Westinghouse grew his profits by making listening to the radio more popular.  Therefore, the new, added sentence fits logically as the final sentence of the second paragraph.

Remember that the “directions” for the ACT English Test are wrong!  They tell you to read the whole passage first and then do the questions.  That’s not only advice (not directions), but also it is terrible advice.  Don’t waste your time.  Start reading and when you come to an underlined question, answer it.

The camels of the world are happy today; it’s hump day.  The week is downhill from here.  There’s an example of an idiom for you!

The SAT & ACT Wizard

PS: Video #9 is a review of the types of mistakes you need to avoid when taking the grammar and compositional sections of both the SAT and ACT.  It will help with the kinds of questions we saw today.



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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