Tag Archives: grammar

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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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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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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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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Should I Study SAT Vocabulary?

How am I ever going to finish memorizing these 1000 vocabulary words for the SAT?  Is this even important for the SAT??? The SAT vocabulary used to be a large part of SAT prep. After all, if you could confidently memorize all those SAT words, you could have a perfect score on the SAT vocabulary section. Yet, nowadays, with analogies and antonyms gone from the SAT, studying for the SAT vocabulary only become directly important for the Sentence Completion part under Critical Reading. It seems that vocabulary has become less important in the SAT.



[Continue reading to find out whether studying SAT vocabulary is important…]

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6 SAT Prep Mistakes

Preparation is key to any test, right? So all the prep I’ve been doing for my SATs must be helping me somehow, right? This is actually untrue! Although preparation is important for the SATs, there are actually mistakes we can make and things we should not do to prepare for the SATs.


[Continue reading to find out what these 6 SAT prep mistakes are…]

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A Daily Approach for the SAT

Oh man…my SAT is in a month’s time and I haven’t started preparing for it. In addition to my normal school work, extracurricular and the hundred other things I have to do, how am I supposed to even start preparing for perhaps one of the most important tests in my life? Unsurprisingly, with most of the SAT dates during the school term, albeit during a Saturday, many students see the SAT as another enormous challenge placed smack center amidst all the other commitments they already have. Many of these high school students are already barely sleeping 6 hours and are stressed out from trying to achieve high exam scores/class rankings.


Preparing for the SAT thus seems like an additional insurmountable challenge, where you face off thousands of students from all over the country who will contribute to your eventual score and ranking. Sometimes, the seeming difficulty of the SAT causes students to put off preparing for it till much later because “it just seems too hard and tiring to start right now”. Yet, taking a daily approach for the SAT is probably the best thing you can do to prepare for it!

  • Make it a point not to take days off! This is the first most important thing you have to take note of! Even if you only have 10 minutes on the bus or right before you fall asleep, study 10 new vocabulary words everyday and that tiny bit of work every single day will add up to a great deal in the long run.



[Continue reading to find out how to prepare daily for the SAT…]

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Avoiding Carelessness during the SAT

Wait, what??? 10 multiplied by 0 isn’t 10… 0! Grrr, and the value 8 wasn’t the radius but the diameter. How did I forget to divide it by 2 before using it in my calculations?? I could have improved my score by so much if I hadn’t made those mistakes… Have you ever been careless on a test? I know I have. If you have too, this post is definitely for you.

“Carelessness” is a condition that people have faced multiple times during test taking and has become a term commonly bandied about. I have often heard friends, and even myself, often say, “if only I had been less careless, I would have gotten a much higher score”. Moreover, the SAT is one test in which being careless and getting a question wrong will penalize the test-taker and cause points to be deducted from your score. Well, being more vigilant is not an unachievable dream. In fact, with a few crucial strategies and test-taking habits, we can all be a lot less careless.


[Continue reading to find out how to avoid careless mistakes on the SAT…]

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Essay TLC: Five ways to make your paper DAZZLE

essay writingYour copy of David Copperfield has more highlighter marks than your younger sister’s hair; you’ve been staring at your computer screen so long your eyes are changing color; and you may or may not be able to see pink streaks of dawn outside your bedroom window. Essay writing, you tell yourself, should not be like this.

Need help from something other than SparkNotes? I’m gladly here to give it. Follow these essay TLC tips and no matter where you are at in the writing and editing process, your paper will automatically improve. They cannot guarantee an “A” grade—that is ultimately up to you!—but they will make your paper stronger. And the good news: you don’t need to pull an all-nighter to follow them!

[Continue reading to learn five tips!]

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