Checklist for ACT English section.


#1: Read Before and After the Underlined

Some of the ACT English questions will ask you to change the underlined portion. Read before, and after the underlined text to get “a feel” of what the sentence is about. The words which are not underlined, in the sentence, are the context clues which will help you find the answer.

#2: Don’t Find an Error Which Isn’t There

Often times there is no error in the sentences. Usually “NO CHANGE” is the answer 25% of the time. So, “NO CHANGE” it the choice that occurs more often than you would expect. Shocking, I know.

#3: Pace Yourself

Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth before you tackle an ACT English question. Underline parts of the question. This is an effective strategy to slow you down and make you more actively involved with the text.

#4: Know Your Grammar Rules

Know rules on when to use commas, semi colons and colons. Don’t choose an answer because it sounds grammatically incorrect. We speak differently than when we write so don’t choose it because it “sounds wrong”. It might sounds weird but in fact could be grammatically correct.

#5: Look for Words that are Redundant

Look for words in a sentence that mean the same thing. For example: “I was late for work, and I wasn’t on time” or “I woke up at 6 a.m. in the morning”. Late means the same as “wasn’t on time”A.M. means morning so “morning is redundant”

#6: Look for Dangling Modifiers

When you start a sentence with a phrase, the word directly after the comma has to be the noun the phrase is describing.


To walk a high wire, an acrobat needs a pole for balance.

But a dangling modifier might look like


To walk a high wire, a pole is needed by an acrobat for balance.

The latter sentence leads you to believe that “a pole” was walking on the high wire.

#7: Get Rid of Two Answers that are Similar

If two answers basically mean the same thing, get rid of them. For example, if there is a question about transitions and two of the answer choices are “In addition” and “furthermore,”

Here’s to your success!

John Dolan


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