Monthly Archives: April 2014

Grammar Boot Camp Part V: Affect or Effect? Commonly Confused Words

Snarky_affecteffectWhat’s the difference between “affect” and “effect?” Should it be “illicit” or “elicit?” Today’s grammar boot camp session will focus on such ‘almost’ homophones, words that sound quite similar phonetically yet have very different uses. We all get these words easily confused–so pay attention! Make sure your next essay uses the proper forms of the following commonly confused terms.

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How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 3

This is Part 3 of “How to Separate the Good from the Bad”! In the past two weeks, we’ve seen how there are many subtle tricks and tips that can help one eliminate the wrong answers and increase her chances of picking the right answer! This week’s section focuses on how to avoid the wrong answers.


[Continue reading to find out more on how to avoid being tricked into choosing the wrong answers…]

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Grammar Boot Camp Part IV: Absolutes, Gerunds, and Infinitives

InfinitivespokLast week I discussed the first three of six important phrases in English grammar: participial, appositive, and prepositional phrases. (Need a refresher? Check out “Phrasing it Up”). Today we’ll be looking at three others: absolutes, gerunds, and infinitives. Having a solid knowledge of these six phrases will benefit you on upcoming college entrance exams (especially the ACT or SAT), which is largely the point of my current blog series, Grammar Boot Camp. Additionally, having on hand a variety of phrases will add spice to the sentence structures of your academic essays–always a plus!

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Grammar Boot Camp Part III: Phrasing it Up

keep-calm-and-use-correct-grammar-2-resized-600Apostrophes, clauses, and phrases–oh my! Even though there are actually six types of grammatical phrases, don’t be alarmed. Getting a firm grasp on the differences between appositive, prepositional, gerund, infinitive, participial, and absolute phrases will ensure crisp, original essay writing and higher verbal scores on SAT and ACT exams. That’s right: phrases are all the rage nowadays. For good reason! Today we’ll focus on three of these phrases.

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How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 2

There are so many ways we can go wrong in picking the right answer on a test. The SAT is especially challenging because so many of the answers seem right, but commonsense tells us that there can really only be one right answer. In addition to the neat tricks from last week, here are some additional tips that will help you to ace the SAT!


[Continue reading to find out how to pick the right answer…]

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Grammar Boot Camp Part II: Clauses 101

clausesToday we return to the essential building blocks of writing: those groups of words that, when arranged in a certain way, become “phrases,” “clauses,” and “sentences.” Doubtless you have heard these terms in English class, and most likely have seen them in test-prep books for the SAT and ACT. This blog post will give you the skinny–and more–on the basics of these peculiar word groups.

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How to Separate the Good from the Bad on the SAT – Part 1

As with any test, the task of separating the good answer from the bad choices is a difficult one. Often, all of the possible answer choices look so similar and more than one seem to be the right choice! Well, this says something similar, but it has an additional part. Is this too extreme of an answer? Hmm I’m not sure whether this is the right answer, but somehow it just feels right… These thoughts have raced through my mind during each SAT test, practice or not, and even today, while taking tests for my classes. But alas, test-taking is simple in that each question is formulated with only one correct answer – or in the SAT’s case, one best answer. Here are some tips and tricks to help you figure out how to separate the good answer from the bad answers in the SAT!

Good versus bad

[Continue reading to find out how to pick the right answer…]

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Grammar Boot Camp Part 1: Apostrophes

apostrophes-for-saleThis blog post is the first of a new series called “Grammar Boot Camp.” Don’t look so intimidated! My boot camps are certainly rigorous but by the end of it, you will feel primed for the writing sections on the ACT and SAT, essay assignments in English class, and AP English exams.

Let’s get started with one of the basics, those little buggers that hang out at the ends of words and sentences in a world of their own: apostrophes. Believe it or not, these guys have rules, too.

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How to read 200% Faster in 20 Minutes in the SAT

During the SAT, each section is only given about 20 to 25 minutes. Reading fast is thus a definite advantage. How much more of the text could you read and absorb to answer each question in that one minute? A friend once told me, “I always ran out of time on the SAT practice tests. I would worry about understanding everything before tackling the questions, especially in the reading comprehension section. As a result, I didn’t have enough time to really think through and answer the questions as well I could have if I had had more time.” In the reading comprehension section especially, one key skill would be to speed read.



[Continue reading to find out more about speed reading in the SAT…]

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