ACT tutor Terri of Prepped and Polished shows you on the whiteboard common rhetorical skills question-transitions involving sentences on the ACT English test.


Hi, I’m terry, with Prepped and Polished in South Natick, Massachusetts. Thanks, for joining us today.

Today I’m gonna cover part one of a three-part series on “How to avoid three pitfalls of rhetorical skills questions on the ACT English test.” The ACT English test has two question types, usage and mechanics and rhetorical skills questions. Usage and mechanics cover punctuation, grammar, word usage and sentence structure. While rhetorical skills test style, organization, and strategy.

Most of my students dread rhetorical skills questions because they find them extremely challenging and time-consuming. Today we’re gonna see how to tackle transitions involving sentences. And transitions can be within sentences or connecting sentences. So here’s a chart that my students find invaluable not only to know about transition words but to help them with answer choices. Once you know the transition words it makes it much easier to select the right answer choice.

So there are three types of transition words, you know, three categories: there’s Continuers, Contradictors, and Cause-and-effect.

And some of the more common continuous are and, also, furthermore, moreover, for instance, or for example, indeed, similarly, then, next.

Contradictors show contrast: but, yet, however, although, nevertheless, instead, in contrast, even so, despite, still, meanwhile.

And cause-and-effect words are accordingly, as such, since, consequently, therefore, thus, so, as a result, because.

Here’s a good example of how these transition words can help you. Orcas are very social animals. Even so, they live in pods of up to a dozen animals. And so the transition words are Even So. Something doesn’t sound quite right about that. Let’s try a strategy where you cross out the transition words. Orcas are very social animals. They live in pods of up to a dozen animals. We need a transition that’s a logical transition. Now, even so, is a contradictor. We don’t need a contradictor, we need cause-and-effect, something like as such or so which would make sense. Orcas are very social animals. So or as such, they live in pods of up to a dozen animals. That’s a logical transition.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper and look at a step by step approach to sentence transition questions. I’ll walk you through the process. So the first step is to cross out underlined words. This is from an actual ACT English test and there is the underlined transition words and we’re just gonna cross them right out. Then you read carefully to the end of the sentence. Now, anytime you see an underlined word or words you should always read the entire sentence, don’t stop there. We’re gonna read the whole thing right now quickly.

On West 45th Street in New York City, wedged between buildings more than twice their height stands the Lyceum Theatre. Tourists and New Yorkers alike regularly fill this theatre to its 900-seat capacity. Most are there to attend a performance, a few, and it said, for example, are likely to be architecture buffs there to admire the stunning building itself.

As you read that does a transition jump out at you? I mean, that sounds kinda awkward. Be thinking if there’s a certain transition word that you might like better there. And to help you decide you think about what type of relationship is it? A continuer… is it a continuer, contrast or cause-and-effect transition like we looked at before in the chart.

So let’s kinda see here. Tourists and New Yorkers alike they regularly attend this theatre to see the performance. But there are some patrons who are architecture buffs… Sorry has architecture buffs. There to simply admire the building. So it seems like it’s a contrast so I’m thinking that we need a contrast word.

Now, we’re gonna narrow down our choices and if two are synonyms neither is correct. So No Change where we, for example, is a continuer and so is, In Fact, that was on the chart and that’s why it’s helpful to know that. So we’re gonna get rid of F and J. Consequently is cause-and-effect that doesn’t work there we don’t need cause-and-effect. So it seems like H, however, is going to be correct and we wanna plug it in and check it out. Most are there to attend a performance, a few, however, are likely to be architecture buffs there to admire the stunning building itself. That sounds right and it is and just remember that transition words don’t necessarily come at the beginning of a sentence, here it’s right in the middle.

Here’s a bonus tip for you, rhetorical skills questions typically take longer than usage mechanics questions. So if you aim for two questions per minute there’s 75 questions, you’ll have approximately eight minutes remaining to review tricky transition questions or any rhetorical question.

If you enjoyed these tips today on “Transition Questions” 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.

What was your biggest takeaway from this video tutorial about how to avoid 3 pitfalls of rhetorical skills questions on the ACT English test (Transitions Sentences)? Do you have any questions for Terri and Alexis Avila?

SSAT Writing

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