Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Poor Kids

Here are a few grammar questions from a sample ACT college admissions test I found online.

2. As a result of his method for early music education, Shinichi Suzuki (has been known as one) of the world's great violin teachers.

A. has been known as one
B. had been known as one
C. is seen as one
D. is being seen as one
E. has been one

16. Each night when night came (and the temperature fell,) my parents lit the fire in the bedroom.
A. and the temperature fell,
B. and that the temperature did fall
C. and that the temperature fell
D. and because the temperature fell
E. and when the temperature fell

21. Because she (had an) astounding memory, Sue has never forgotten an important equation.
A. had an
B. could have had
C. has
D. did have
E. has had

And here are the answers, according to the site:

C
E
C

In other words, according to the authors of the questions, it's wrong to say: "As a result of his method for early music education, Shinichi Suzuki has been known as one of the world's great violin teachers." You must say "is seen as."

And it's wrong to say: "Each night when night came and the temperature fell, my parents lit the fire in the bedroom." You must lose the comma and insert a "when" before "the temperature."

And finally, according to the authors, it's wrong to say: "Because she had an astounding memory, Sue has never forgotten an important equation." You must lose the article before "astounding" and put the verb in the present tense: "she has astounding memory."

I don't have a copy of a real ACT test in front of me, so I don't know whether the idiocy of these questions and answers comes from the real test or just from the sample test-question authors.

But I sure hope it's the latter.

Bookmark and Share

2 comments:

Blackwell said...

So, um... is there grammatical support? Some archaic reason why the obviously right answers are wrong? I know that there are some issues where there's a "best" usage (like being concise or having a modifier do it's job), but seriously. Ridiculous. I hurt for my struggling English learners.

June Casagrande said...

No, if they were showing their work, so to speak, it wasn't anywhere I could see it.

The really sad thing is that anyone struggling with this test would naturally assume that the failing was their own. It would never occur to them that the test authors just don't know grammar.

Hopefully, it really just is the test-prep people's fault and in no way represents the skills of the people who write the real test.

Share

Bookmark and Share