In the third part of our three part series, ACT tutor Terri of Prepped and Polished shows you on the whiteboard order of sentences in a paragraph on the ACT English test.

What was your biggest takeaway from this video tutorial about Order of Sentences in a Paragraph? Do you have any questions for Terri and Alexis Avila?


Hi, I’m Terri with Prepped and Polished in South Natick, Massachusetts. Thanks for joining us today. Today, I’m going to cover part three of a three-part series on how to avoid three pitfalls of rhetorical skills questions on the ACT English test. Remember that the ACT English test has two types of questions, usage and mechanics, and rhetorical skills questions. Usage and mechanics cover punctuation, grammar, word usage and sentence structure, while rhetorical skills questions test style, organization, and strategy. Most of my students dread rhetorical skills questions. They find them very difficult and time-consuming. So, let’s tackle order of sentences, a common rhetorical skills question.

Here are seven steps that will help you tackle order of sentences in a paragraph. Let’s read through them and then we’ll apply it to a real ACT example. So, step one, pay attention to bracketed numbers at the beginning of each sentence in a paragraph. That’s going to be a red flag, that there’s going to be a question about sentence order. Number two, sentence order’s determined by a clear logical flow. There has to be a flow from one sentence to the next. And number three, the topic of one sentence must connect to the topic of the previous sentence and the sentence that follows. So, there’s really three sentences that have to work together. Number four, try this sentence in different places to find the only place where that sentence will connect to what came before and what comes after, and we’ll see that on the example. There’s only one place where the sentence in question will work. Number five, look for a sudden shift in the action. That’s a good sign that the sentences are out of order. And number six, look for transition words that indicate an introduction conclusion, or that a pair of sentences should go back to back, and definitely use process of elimination.

Now, I’m going to show you an actual example from the ACT about order of sentences in a paragraph. And just remember some of those key steps we just looked at, and we want to look for bracketed numbers, we want a logical flow, we want to find the only place that the sentence in question works, and you know, we’re going to look at words to help us in each sentence. We’re going to use process of elimination, and we’re going to look for any sudden shift. So, let’s look at the paragraph and see what we can do.

So, the question is, and this is a common question on the ACT English test, for the sake of logic and coherence of this paragraph, sentence six should be placed, and that’s the one we’re going to be focusing on. And then, they give you some choices. We see bracketed numbers, so if this were the real test, you would know right away there’s going to be a sentence order question. Let’s just read through this and just see what idea we can get. And sentence six is the one that we want to think about. Okay. As you grow more proficient, you can expand your supplies by purchasing hooks of different types to vary the size of your stitches. Crochet hooks are available in all sizes, ranging from very small to very large, with everything in between. Some are so big that you need to use two strands of yarn. Sometimes I like to circle key words. Other hooks are very tiny, so small that you must use thread. These hooks are suitable for making smaller, more delicate things, such as lace doilies, tablecloths and bedspreads. These hooks make big stitches, so you can finish a project with them very quickly. It is best to start with hooks that are medium in size. These are the easiest to manipulate and require only one strand of yarn. I don’t know about you, but when I read sentence six, it didn’t seem to fit in, but now let’s look at the choices and see if that’ll help us.

Where it is now? Well, here they’re talking about smaller, more delicate items, and then they’re talking about big stitches. So, that doesn’t seem to work there. Choice B, after sentence one, as you grow more proficient, you can expand your supplies by purchasing hooks of different types to vary the size of your stitches. These hooks are what hooks? Like, that doesn’t work. I don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s nothing before that to explain that. So, we can get rid of B. After sentence three, sentence three does talk about large hooks. Some are so big that you need to use two strands of yarn. Let’s just keep that in mind. And after sentence seven…I’ll put a question mark. After sentence seven, it is best to start with hooks that are medium in size. Okay, so that’s talking all about medium crochet hooks. We wouldn’t all of a sudden say these hooks make big stitches. That makes no sense. So, we found our answer, it’s C, and we used a lot of the strategies. We found the only place that it would work after sentence three, and you can use a lot of the words, like I said, to help you. So, it’s talking about, you know, how the hooks are so big, and then six was about making big stitches. So, those two had a logical transition.

If you enjoyed these tips today about how to tackle order of sentences in a paragraph, give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel. If you have any questions or you want more in-depth tutoring, either online or in person, simply email, and we’ll be glad to help you. Good luck.

SSAT Writing

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