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PSAT Sample Questions ›› Writing Skills Section : Improving Paragraph Questions

PSAT Sample Questions

Writing Skills Section : PSAT Sample Improving Paragraph Questions

Passage 5:

(1) I have just read an excellent book called "Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years." (2) Usually I do not enjoy autobiographies. (3) I could hardly put this one down. (4) It is about Sadie Delany, who is 103 years old, and her "little" sister Bessie, she is 101. (5) The sisters grew up in North Carolina in times that were not easy for African Americans. (6) Around 1916 they moved to New York City and went to Columbia University at their father's urging. (7) He tells them, "You are college material. (8) And if you don't go, shame on you!" (9) Sadie became a teacher and Bessie a dentist. (10) The second Black woman dentist in New York.

Question: In context, which is the best version of "He tells them" in sentence 7?

  1. (As it is now)
  2. Their father tells them,
  3. This is because he tells them,
  4. He had told them,
  5. His suggestion was:

Answer :

Explanation:

The words "in context" at the beginning of the question alert the reader to consider the material in the sentences immediately preceding sentence 7. Sentences 5 and 6 present descriptive material about the Delany sisters' past. The verbs in those sentences are in the past tense. The verb in sentence 7 should therefore be in the past perfect tense because the father had encouraged the sisters before they went to Columbia. The correct version of sentences 5, 6, 7, and 8 reads: (5) The sisters grew up in North Carolina in times that were not easy for African Americans. (6) Around 1916 they moved to New York City and went to Columbia University at their father's urging. (7) He had told them, "You are college material. (8) And if you don't go, shame on you!"

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