Self-assessment on sentence-structure and importance
[2016 note: The answer file contains all the answers to individual questions, but unfortunately the individual links no longer work.]
Read this short passage:
H G Wells was a writer who a century ago pioneered science fiction. His most famous work was The War of the Worlds.
Now read the following three sentences, all of which express the same meaning, and select the one that has the most effective word order.
- Having landed in Britain, Martians survive by injecting human and animal blood into themselves in the novel. Select.
- In the novel, Martians land in Britain and survive by injecting human and animal blood into themselves. Select.
- Martians, who land in Britain in the novel, survive by injecting human and animal blood into themselves. Select.
Which of the alternatives listed below would best follow this sentence?
The girl was hanging by her hands from the railings of a balcony.
- He lived on the twelfth floor of the high-rise block in the flat next to hers. Select.
- The high-rise block had twelve floors and the balcony was next to his. Select.
- The balcony was on the twelfth floor of the high-rise block next to his.Select.
This short passage could be continued by any of the three alternatives listed below it. Select the one which you think provides the best continuation.
There are in the state of Wisconsin, some ten thousand lakes. The lakes were created by glaciers that advanced and retreated over the lowland plains in the four major stages. In the current era, winter temperatures in the region reach thirty degrees below zero and lower.
- When the lakes freeze over, a hardy subculture of sport fishermen takes to the ice. Select.
- A hardy subculture of sport fishermen takes to the ice when the lakes freeze over. Select.
- Sports fishermen form a hardy subculture, which takes to the ice when the lakes freeze over. Select.
Here is an extract from The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. First read it, then answer the questions below it, all of which will allow you to apply your understanding of sentence structure and importance. The sentences have been numbered for convenience.
A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On this mighty tide the black ships – laden with the fresh-scented fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the dark glitter of coal – are borne along to the town of St Ogg’s, which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river brink, tinging the water with a soft purple hue under the transient glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch the rich pastures and the patches of dark earth, made ready for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn. There is a remnant still of the last year’s golden clusters of bee-hive ricks rising at intervals beyond the hedgerows; and everywhere the hedge-rows are studded with trees: the distant ships seem to be lifting their masts and stretching their red-brown sails close among the branches of the spreading ash.
This passage contains at least one example of each of the special patterns for reorganising clauses to show importance. For each pattern click the number of the sentence or sentences in which it is found.