SAT Question of the Day & ACT QotD May 9

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 B.  The test writers are fond of putting modifying clauses near the wrong noun.  This is a good example of that mistake and they expect you to be able to identify and fix it.  In this case, the appositive “a nurse who…” is close to “Red Cross” and the appositive is describing Barton not the Red Cross.  That’s bad placement.  Answer B rearranges the beginning clause so that “Clara Barton” is now closer to the appositive.  That works.

Answer D is attractive but wrong.  Can you see the mistake?  Drop the clause between the commas and you would get, “Clara Barton she was…” which is wrong.  You wouldn’t need the pronoun “she.”  Oops.

Let’s see what mayhem the ACT folks have prepared for us today. (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.)

The answer is G.  No mayhem here, just a common mistake that is easy to make when you are in a hurry.  The ACT folks provide a lengthy explanation that helps explain the details.  The short explanation is don’t confuse the contraction “who’s” with the pronoun “whose.”  There are similar issues with other words,  for example, “its” and “it’s.”  Be on the lookout for these kinds of errors.

I hope you knew not to follow all of the directions for this section of the test.  In the test booklet, they tell you to read the entire passage before answering the questions.  That’s simply bad advice, not “directions.”  As with most questions on the ACT, you could skip everything else and go right to this question.  Nothing else mattered, just the sentence in which you found the underlined words.  Those directions have been bad since before you were born so don’t expect them to change anytime soon!  Just ignore them.

Hope you are having a good week.  Best of luck with any AP exams you are taking.


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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