SAT Question of the Day (ACT too!): Sept. 30, 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 C.  The best strategy is to read the sentence without the words between the commas.  So, it becomes “…either have dessert now or waiting until…”  (Ms. Murphy taught me that trick in 9th grade!)  The SAT test writers try to obfuscate (look it up!) the situation by putting unnecessary words between the two parts of the sentence that are critical to answering the question correctly.

After you get rid of the extraneous words, you see that it is a simple either/or construction and that one of the test writers’ favorite grammar rules emerges: parallel construction.  We need a verb that goes with “have” and that verb is “can.”

Less than 60% of students are getting this question correct.  I’m betting that it isn’t the grammar that made this question difficult.  Students are missing it because they didn’t use Ms. Murphy’s technique of checking the grammar by reducing the sentence to its basic elements.  Doing so makes it much easier.

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.

How appropriate is this–a baseball strategy just as the baseball playoffs are about to start to see who gets to compete in the World Series?

The answer is B.  We need to get the timing right.  Simply think about the sequence of events.  Aaron had to walk up to the rack, then stretch out an arm and finally pick a bat.  That leaves us with B and C.  But C doesn’t make sense because he didn’t walk up to the rack “to stretch out a sinewy arm.”  He walked up to it to pick a bat.  That leaves B.  Thanks again to Ms. Murphy who always talked about putting things in appropriate chronological order.  She was the best.

You can understand why I’m thinking about Ms. Murphy this morning.  She helped me help you with these grammar and composition questions.  I’ll bet you have teachers who will affect (not effect) the rest of your life.  Who are they?  Say, “Thanks,” to them this week.

The SAT & ACT 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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