Issue 2: Are You Smarter Than Your High Schooler?
Welcome back to another edition of Are You Smarter Than Your High Schooler, a weekly chance for parents to show their teens who’s boss or to lie to them that you lost on purpose. Maybe you’ll fare better here than with your NCAA bracket.
This week’s edition features three questions that could appear on an ACT: one from Math and two from English. (Future editions will feature SAT questions, too.) As always, the Math question doesn’t require knowledge of a specific rule or formula, but, like the two English questions, it would not be considered easy. The English questions don’t come with an actual “question”: just an underlined portion followed by three options. Determine whether it’s correct as written (NO CHANGE) or pick the choice that fixes the error.
For the English, you could certainly select your answer by the rules you remember from long ago. Or you may suss out your answer by ear, which is exactly how your high schoolers would do it. News flash: schools don’t teach real grammar, at least not in the depth that many of us experienced. (Raise your hand if you remember what “parse” means.)
When you check your answers for the English, you’ll find common sense terms for the rules rather than the real grammar terms. If you just need to fix the error but not name it, why worry about terms you’ve never learned? “Complete idea” or “main idea” identifies any idea that could be its own sentence, even if it’s part of a larger sentence. For the old-schoolers out there, a complete idea is an independent clause, needing a subject and verb and forming a complete thought. Anything that can’t stand on its own is incomplete, which would include everything from a single word to a phrase to a dependent clause.
Once you’ve chosen your answers, read on for explanations.
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