Reading comprehension and writing skills are incredibly important for both standardized tests (and just college prep in general). Therefore, it definitely doesn’t hurt to refresh on the basics of grammar as part of your test prep for the ACT and SAT.
It may seem simple to go over basics, but a strong foundation will help you avoid mistakes and strengthen your skills. Besides, rules like these can trip up even the most seasoned writers.
You’re vs. Your
You’re: Contraction of “you are”
- You’re going to be amazing.
Your: Signifies possession
- Remember your lessons.
Using your and you’re in the same sentence:
- You’re expected to use your common sense in public.
Two vs. To vs. Too
- Our family has two dogs.
To: A preposition that refers to a place, direction, or position. Also an infinitive used before a verb.
- Preposition: We went to the park on Saturday.
- Infinitive: It’s hard to run a marathon.
Too: “excessive”, “also”
- Excessive: I ate too much ice cream at the party.
- Also: I love you, too.
- To remember the difference, “too” has an extra “O” which seems excessive.
- When using the “also” form of too, don’t forget the comma in front of it!
Using two, too, and to in one sentence:
- I was too tired to attend two more meetings.
There vs. Their vs. They’re
There: referring to a location or place
- The kids are on the playground over there.
Their: Signifies possession, can be plural or singular
- Someone left their water-bottle on the desk.
- It was their time on the practice field.
They’re: Contraction of “they are”
- They’re expected to win the championship game.
Using there, their, they’re in one sentence
- They’re bringing their cameras to the press conference over there.
- There has the word “here” in it
- Their has the word “heir” in it
- They’re has an apostrophe, which signifies two joined words
Its vs. It’s
Its: Signifies “it” possessing something
- Its claws are long.
It’s: Contraction of “it is”
- It’s a surprise party
Using its and it’s in the same sentence:
- It’s not unusual for its color to change based on temperature.
Whose vs. Who’s
Whose: Signifies possession
- Whose book is this?
Who’s: Contraction of “who is”
- Who’s responsible for this vandalism?
Using whose and who’s in the same sentence:
- Colin Mochrie, who’s best known for the show Whose Line is it Anyway?, is from Canada.
Then vs. Than
Then: Refers to time, sequence of events
- Sequence: First I’ll finish my homework, then I’ll eat dinner.
- Time: He should be home by then.
Than: Refers to comparisons
- I’d rather listen to hip-hop than country music.
Using then and than in the same sentence:
- I’d prefer to the movie then rather than the earlier showing.
Who vs. Whom
Who: Refers to people, used before verbs
- My mom is a person who plans ahead.
Whom: Refers to people, used after prepositions
- Shakespeare is a playwright to whom many modern writers owe inspiration.
Using who and whom in the same sentence:
- The man, whom she met at work, had a wife who skydived regularly.
Keep these basics in mind and you’re sure to nail the ACT / SAT reading comprehension sections, and impress the judges reading your essays.
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