Style
Style
Style questions generally concern effective word choice. They often ask you to choose the most appropriate word for a sentence in terms of its tone and clarity. Other times, they’ll ask you to eliminate redundant words or phrases. In the next section, we discuss the following style topics:
  1. Redundancy
  2. Appropriate Word Choice and Identifying Tone
Redundancy
The ACT writers will test you on your ability to spot redundant statements. Redundant statements say the same thing twice, and you should always avoid redundancy on the English Test (in life too, if possible). For example,

WRONG: The diner closes at 3 a.m. in the morning.

RIGHT: The diner closes at 3 a.m.

“In the morning” is redundant because it is implied in “a.m.” Here’s another example of a redundant statement:

WRONG: In my opinion, I think we should go get some food.

“I think” and “In my opinion” mean the same thing, so you can eliminate one of the phrases from the sentence:

RIGHT: In my opinion, we should go get some food.

ALSO RIGHT: I think we should go get some food.

Either one of those phrases gets the point across; using both merely makes the sentence cumbersome.
Redundancy questions almost always give you the option to “OMIT the underlined portion.” If you spot a phrase or word that means the same thing as the underlined portion, then you should always choose to “OMIT.” (For more on “OMIT,” refer to “If the Phrase Doesn’t Fit, You Must ‘OMIT’” on p. .)
Appropriate Word Choice and Identifying Tone
Identifying the appropriate word choice can be as simple as figuring out whether a sentence should use the word “their,” “there,” or “they’re.” But word choice can also be more complicated, involving many words working together to create a tone. For example, the sentence “Lloyd George rocks!” probably does not belong in an essay on World War I. It doesn’t fit because it’s written in a casual, slangy tone, and history essays are generally neither casual nor slangy. The sentence might belong, however, in a passage on your awesome new friend, Lloyd George.
The content of a passage will generally give you a clue about the appropriate tone. Essays on history and culture will probably be written in a fairly formal style—a style that omits youthful slang, casual contractions, and familiar personal pronouns (such as “I” and “you”). A personal essay on your experiences driving a bulldozer, on your great-grandmother, or on your new skateboard calls for a relatively informal style of writing. These personal essays can exhibit varying degrees of informality. An essay by a young writer may be more colloquial and relaxed than an essay by a mature writer recalling past experiences.
Tone is one of the most important elements in correctly answering word choice questions. You will encounter quite a few questions that look like this:
During the Great War, the British Public believed
 
that Lloyd George  rocks!  He was widely admired
 7 
7. A. NO CHANGE
B. rocked!
C. was an effective political
leader.
D. had the ability to unify the
government and thus to unify
Britain.
for his ability to unify the government and thus
 
to unify Britain.
 
Because we already told you that informality does not belong in a history essay, you can immediately eliminate choices A and B, even though B correctly changes the verb tense. If you read the section above, you should also be able to eliminate D because it is redundant—it repeats the information given in the next sentence. That leaves the correct answer, C.
Help | Feedback | Make a request | Report an error