ESL Sentence Skills Practice Test for the ACCUPLACER® test

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What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written.New haircut and glasses despited, she was recognized by people wherever she went.

Correct! Wrong!

In spite of her new haircut and glasses is the only correct response because it completes the thought while recognizing proper grammatical structure. The other options may appear correct, at a glance, but each is written improperly.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Daniel found that when it came to the need for 8 hours of sleep every night, he was an exception to the rule.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase he was an exception to the rule is the only correct response, because it shows a contrast between Daniel’s sleeping habits and typical sleeping behavior, while recognizing proper grammatical structuring. The other options hint at the same thought, but are poorly constructed or gibberish.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. When my brother and I were children, we found five kittens hided under our porch.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase we found five kittens hidden under our porch is the simplest way to communicate the thought while recognizing correct grammatical structures and without altering the information. All the other options confuse the idea and/or confuse the composition in some way.

We could find no one to look after our son, so my wife and I stayed home last night. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Last night my wife and I stayed home,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase because we could find no one to watch our son communicates the same idea as the original sentence with a slight change in word choice. The other options do not retain the same thought, altering the information slightly.

We filled our garden with perennial plants so we don’t have to replant every year; we look forward to watching them grow for years to come. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: We want a garden that will grow for years to come without replanting,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase so we filled it with perennial plants is an independent clause that completes the sentence logically and with recognition of proper grammatical structures. The other responses hint at the correct answer, but none of them complete the sentence properly.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. The search for a new job can be a challenge for anyone, so everyone should know how to write a resume and perform well in an interview.

Correct! Wrong!

The correct response completes the thought while retaining the tense of the rest of the sentence. The incorrect options change the tense and introduce other problems.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Because of his fame in the music industry, Tupac was able to become starring in various films, before his death in 1996.

Correct! Wrong!

This answer respects the rules of English grammar. The other responses hint at the same thought, but garble the information in various ways.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Taken aback by the sudden noise, Drew dropped his drinking glass.

Correct! Wrong!

The idiom taken aback is something that new English speakers would learn after learning the basics. It should be known at this level, or at least be discernible from the other responses, which are gibberish or simply incorrect.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Jeff never met another friend like Heather, who proved to be a million and one.

Correct! Wrong!

The idiom one in a million is common in English. The other responses are nonsensical and incorrect versions of the idiom. Some also contain grammatical errors.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. The love of public speaking, to learn, and educating were what led Don to become a professor in the first place.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase public speaking, learning, and educating is the only response that correctly completes the thought with respect to meaning and grammatical rules. When listing things in a series, the terms need to be in the same form. The words speaking, learning, and educating are all in the ing form

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Mona didn’t mind very young kids; in fact, this age gave her the most joy as she raised her own children.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase as she raised her own children is the only correct response because it respects the verb tense established in the first half of the thought. The other choices do not fit with regard to tense or grammar.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Because overseeing his school record, Ruben was not allowed to graduate with the rest of class.

Correct! Wrong!

We are looking here for the noun oversight and not a form of the verb oversee. An oversight is the thing that caused Ruben not to graduate and not an action on his part. Using the term oversight record makes the word oversight into an adjective describing a record, which is incorrect in this case.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Ruth was a versatile athlete, able to excel as a point guard, forward, and center,from her height and agility.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase because of her height and agility is the only totally correct response. The other options have conjunctions that are incorrect, and only because correctly completes the sentence.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. I chose an older dog from the animal shelter because I'm fearing the senior animals would have trouble finding homes.

Correct! Wrong!

Each incorrect response either changes the meaning of the sentence, making it nonsense, or includes a verb that is clearly incorrect, given the context of the sentence.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. In spite of his idiosyncrasies, Weird Al Yankovic's hard work and reliable quality have earned him a longer career than many of his more conventional peers.

Correct! Wrong!

The three incorrect responses are common ways that sentences like this one begin. But none of them make a complete thought as well as in spite of his idiosyncrasies. This response is also clearly correct because of the information given at the end of the sentence.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Never sweating in small situations, Nathan overcame his problems with little or no worry.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase never one to sweat the small stuff is an idiomatic way to express the information mirrored in the second half of the sentence. Even if an ESL student is unfamiliar with this figure of speech, they should be able to deduce the correct response, or at least narrow it down, because the other responses don’t work for various reasons, grammatical and logical.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Maggie was so intelligent that to choose between a degree in the fields of anthropology, economics, and to study law was a difficult proposition.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase anthropology, economics, and law is the only response that lists three fields of study and lists them in the same form, which is grammatically correct when listing items in a series. The other responses deviate in some way.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Jodie was determined to try snorkeling and surfing in what was to be a fun-filled vacation.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase in what was to be makes the verb tense consistent through throughout the sentence. The other responses either alter the tense or the meaning of the sentence and none of them are correct.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Doris feels that she is the ideal candidate for the job because she is experienced, dedicated, and persistent.

Correct! Wrong!

All incorrect responses have either the wrong verb form or present other problems of grammar and logic. The phrase Doris feels that she is completes the sentence with internal consistency.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Weaving through the backstreets on my way home from work, I arrived 5 minutes sooner than usual.

Correct! Wrong!

Each incorrect response makes the sentence flawed. The phrase I weaved through the backstreets is very nearly correct, but because the sentence lacks a semi-colon between the two independent clauses, it is also incorrect. The correct answer makes a complete thought.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Coal mining has a long tradition but is currently firing under from heightened political scrutiny.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase under fire from is identified as the correct answer through idiomatic grammatical knowledge. The other responses either make the sentence incoherent or verbally inconsistent. None of them expresses the idiom in the way it is commonly known.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Ducking beneath the branches just in time, Mort remembered the challenges he often experienced as a tall man.

Correct! Wrong!

Each incorrect response bears strong similarity to the correct response, but each is flawed in some way. The verb tenses and incorrect use of conjunctions make them responses that are not correct.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Waymond realized that he had arrived at his lesson too early, so he circles the block until it is time.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase so he circled the block until it was time respects the form, tense, and meaning of the sentence, unlike the other options.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Marie had to remind herself to bring along their umbrella because the chance of rain was very high.

Correct! Wrong!

This is the only response that completes the sentence with internal consistency. Some meaning may be discernible when other phrases replace it, but none of them are correct. The word their implies more than one person and the sentence tells us we are only talking about one, Marie.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. The girls in the class were somewhat unruly, but she nonetheless turned her assignment in on time.

Correct! Wrong!

Because we are talking about girls, the words they and their are the necessary words found in the correct answer. Another response is further invalidated because the word didn’t contradicts the implication of their behavior as revealed in the first part of the sentence.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. Because of his versatile as an actor, Daniel Day Lewis has played both heroes and villains.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase Because of his versatility is the only grammatically correct response. To choose this answer, one would have to understand various forms of words and how they are used correctly. The incorrect responses alter words until the sentence doesn’t work anymore.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. To change with the times, the company began to manufacture and sell new products.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase To change with the times is a version of a familiar idiom that correctly completes the sentence. Even in other options where the idiom is stated correctly, it does not fit grammatically, or the meaning of the sentence is changed.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. I woke up with a shock, ,found that the noise was only a car passing outside

Correct! Wrong!

To pick the correct response, one must identify the phrase with several correct word forms. The only one that has them is but found that the noise. The others contain some portion of the correct response, but are not entirely correct.

What is the best version of the underlined part of this sentence? One of the choices involves leaving the sentence as it is written. I couldn't make out the year on the coin, but it was clearly old, whatever the case.

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase I couldn’t make out the year on the coin is the only correct response. It contains an idiom, make out, the correct form of which the test-taker will have to identify. The other responses also contain other various problems that rule them out because they make the final sentence inconsistent or meaningless.

Rory couldn’t remember the steps to make a peanut butter sandwich, often ending up with peanut butter smeared all over the bread. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Rory smeared peanut butter all over the bread

Correct! Wrong!

The incorrect responses alter the meaning and ruin the structure of the sentence in various ways. Saying because he couldn’t remember the steps to make a peanut butter sandwich is the only response that retains the meaning and grammatical integrity of the sentence.

Margo feared rejection, but her crush agreed to go out with her. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Her crush agreed to go out with her,

Correct! Wrong!

The first half of the sentence shows a positive result that will be consistent with information to come. The phrase even though Margo initially feared rejection completes the “story” consistently and is written properly. One of the other responses is written correctly but doesn’t make sense or match the meaning of the first. The others are written incorrectly and alter the original meaning.

The little gray dog barked at almost every sound suspiciously, but she wagged quietly when she heard the sound of her master’s truck drive up. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence starting with: The little gray dog wagged quietly when she heard her master’s truck drive up,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase but she barked at every other sound suspiciously is the only response that retains the meaning of the original sentence. Other responses alter the intent in some way or make it grammatically incorrect.

I don’t normally watch sports, but the NBA has held my interest during the past year. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence starting with: The NBA held my interest during the past year,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase “but I don’t normally watch sports” is the only answer that makes a logically consistent, grammatically correct sentence. The other options work structurally, but each changes the meaning of the original statement in some way.

Roger is surprisingly strong, despite his short stature and slight frame. How can this sentence be rewritten, best preserving the original meaning? Begin the sentence with: Despite his short stature and slight frame,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase Roger surprises us with his strength is correct, but requires a small inference to be made by the test-taker. If he is “surprisingly” strong, then it can be inferred he would surprise “us”. The other responses are wrong because they cause errors in meaning, tense, and/or structure

Little did I know that my Spanish 101 class would lead me to a career in international law. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Unexpected things led me to my career in international law, most notably

Correct! Wrong!

Each incorrect response introduces various redundancies, grammatical problems, and incorrect information. The phrase my Spanish 101 class simply resolves the sentence while retaining the original’s meaning.

It became clear that the celebration was getting out of hand when Uncle Dwayne arrived on the dance floor. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: When Uncle Dwayne arrived on the dance floor,

Correct! Wrong!

he idiom out of hand is the key to understanding this sentence. Because it is present in the original statement, the test-taker should be able to deduce the correct response, even if the idiom is unfamiliar. The other responses make the sentence incoherent or alter its original meaning.

Murphy enjoyed the peace and quiet while he sat under the oak tree. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Sitting under the oak tree,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase Murphy enjoyed the peace and quiet is the correct response because it is the only one that retains the meaning and tense of the original. The others alter one or both of these in some way.

Maggie imagined the movement of monsters and burglars, though the sound she actually heard outside her window was the wind. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Though the sound she actually heard was the wind,

Correct! Wrong!

The correct response given is the only one that retains the meaning of the original sentence. The others alter the information until it is rather absurd. This will only be noticed by paying close attention to meaning, because two of the three options still read like correct sentences.

Moles are rarely seen above ground when they are alive because their lives are primarily subterranean. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Moles live subterranean lives

Correct! Wrong!

Each of the correct responses completes a correctly written sentence, but each one changes the meaning. The first sentence establishes that subterranean and below ground are synonymous.

I have gotten to know my neighbors because they live in the property immediately adjacent to mine. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: I see my neighbors enough that we have become friends because

Correct! Wrong!

Each of the incorrect responses forms a complete thought, but none of them reflects the correct meaning of the word adjacent in the original sentence, which means near to or beside. Only they live right beside me reflects this meaning.

Even though Darius was at the top of his class, he neglected to turn in his application on time and missed out on the college of his choice. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Darius missed out on his college of choice even though he was a great student,

Correct! Wrong!

The correct response retains the meaning of the original sentence and does not add any previously unstated information. Each incorrect response is grammatically strong but changes the meaning of the sentence.

Lorna was a strong swimmer, so everyone was surprised when a lifeguard had to pull her out of the pool. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: To everyone’s surprise, the lifeguard pulled Lorna out of the pool,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase even though she was such a strong swimmer completes the sentence to reflect the meaning of the original sentence. Any of the other options will change the first sentence’s meaning.

Unless you are confident in your answer, do not raise your hand. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Do not raise your hand, unless

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase you feel sure that you know the answer means having confidence as it is used in the first sentence. All of the other responses may be true of someone speaking in class, but each alters the original meaning in some way.

Follow my directions exactly and you should have no trouble finding the old barn. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: You should have no trouble finding the old barn

Correct! Wrong!

The expression don’t deviate from has the same meaning as follow…exactly in the original sentence. The word deviate may be unknown, but the test-taker can observe that every other option clearly alters the meaning of the sentence.

When the flooding started, everyone wished that they had observed the evacuation procedures they were given. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Everyone neglected to follow the evacuation procedures they were given, but

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase they wished they had followed them when the flooding started is the correct response because it shows that they knew what they were supposed to do and that they did something else, anyway. The other responses change this meaning.

Ron could rely on his years of training to get him through even the toughest scenarios. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Due to his many years of training,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase even the hardest situations didn’t stop Ron is the correct response because all the other options change the meaning of the original sentence in some way. The sentence tells the readers that Ron had years of training, so it stands to reason that he would hold up well in hard situations.

Rose was about to fall asleep when, suddenly, the first meteor streaked across the sky. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: The first meteor streaked across the sky,

Correct! Wrong!

The original sentence implies, though it doesn’t clearly state, that the meteor woke Rose up from her drowsiness. The incorrect options don’t account for this shade of meaning like awakening Rose from her near slumber does.

Diego couldn’t understand why his parents made him study piano, but he was thankful years later when he became a concert pianist. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: Diego was a concert pianist who was glad of his early training

Correct! Wrong!

The first sentence implies that Diego did not always like studying piano, but that his parents made him stick with it and that it all paid off with a career as a concert pianist. The other sentence options do not adhere to this meaning.

Even though they didn’t make much money, my parents always found a way to take us on vacation. Keeping the same meaning, rewrite this sentence beginning with: My parents took us on vacation every year,

Correct! Wrong!

The phrase even though I don’t know how they could afford it holds the same meaning, even though it is stated in different words than the original sentence. The other options either add or take away meaning from the first sentence, making them incorrect choices.

very frequently forget to buy eggs when I go out to the market to buy our weekly groceries. Keeping the meaning the same, rewrite this sentence starting with: When I go out to the market

Correct! Wrong!

Each incorrect response makes a structurally intact sentence, but only the phrase “to buy our weekly groceries, I frequently forget to buy eggs* maintains the meaning of the original sentence.

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