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ACT English and SAT Writing and Language Quiz: Sentence Placement and Transitions


Test your knowledge of ACT English and SAT Writing and Language sentence placement and transitions questions with this short quiz. Read the paragraph below and choose the best answer for each of the four questions. Check the end of the quiz for answers and explanations.




[1] Most of these reasons are harmless natural phenomena. [2] Furthermore, sometimes



the meaning of glowing water is more ominous. [3] The sea can appear to “glow” for a



variety of reasons. [4] Off the Pacific Coast of North America, it may mean that the sea



is filled with a minute plant that contains a poison of strange and terrible virulence. 3



[5] About four days after this minute plant comes to alter the coastal plankton, some of



the fishes and shellfish in the vicinity become toxic. [6] This is because in the course of



their normal feeding habits, they have strained the poisonous plankton out of the water. 4



  2. However
  3. In addition
  4. For example



  2. Despite this, about
  3. Also, about
  4. Yet, about



  1. At this point, the writer is considering adding the following statement:


Off the Atlantic Coast, glowing water can have other meanings.


Should the writer make this addition here?


  1. Yes, because it helps the reader to understand the unique nature of the glowing water near the Pacific Coast.
  2. Yes, because it clarifies that the seas near the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts can glow for different reasons.
  3. No, because it blurs the focus of the paragraph.
  4. No, because it contradicts the central claim of the paragraph.



  1. To make this paragraph most logical, sentence 3 should be placed
  2. where it is now.
  3. before sentence 1.
  4. after sentence 1.
  5. after sentence 5.



Answers and Explanations


  1. Correct answer:

Explanation: Sentence 1 describes glowing water as “harmless phenomena.” Sentence 2 introduces the idea sometimes glowing water has a “more ominous” meaning. A contrast transition, such as “however,” helps clarify the relationship between these two ideas by emphasizing the difference.


  1. Correct answer: A

Explanation: Transitional words and phrases help clarify the relationships between ideas. The idea of “a minute plant that contains a poison of strange and terrible virulence” flows directly into the effects of this plant. Therefore, no transition is needed.


  1. Correct answer: C

Explanation: This paragraph is about the effects of a plant off the Pacific Coast. No plants off of the Atlantic Coast are mentioned, so this sentence distracts from the main idea of the paragraph. Mentioning the Atlantic Coast does not, however, undermine what can happen off the Pacific Coast.


  1. Correct answer: B

Explanation: Sentence 3 introduces the idea that the sea can “glow” for a “variety of reasons.” The other sentences in this paragraph talk about these reasons in some detail. Because sentence 3 does not mention specific reasons, it functions best as a topic sentence.






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