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Language Question Help for Catholic High School Entrance Exams

Part of the Catholic High School Entrance Exams For Dummies Cheat Sheet

No matter which version of the Catholic High School Entrance Exams you're taking (HSPT, COOP, or TACHS), you can expect to be tested on your basic understanding of the English language. That means you need to have a pretty good grasp on language points such as grammar, spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and usage. Of course, it can't hurt to have a few tips in your back pocket either:

  • Analyze each answer choice one at a time and look for error clues.

  • For usage questions, read the choices and check the pronouns and verbs. If the verbs and pronouns look okay, search for problems with sentence construction or word choice.

  • For punctuation questions, examine the way the choices apply commas, semicolons, and colons.

  • Memorize these punctuation rules:

    Use commas to separate a series of three or more items.

    Use a comma to separate a beginning dependent clause from an independent clause.

    Separate independent clauses in a sentence with a comma and conjunction or just a semicolon.

    Separate nonessential elements from the rest of the sentence with commas.

    Never use a punctuation mark to separate a verb from its complement or a preposition from its object.

  • Memorize spelling rules and their exceptions, including these major ones:

    Put i before e except after c unless ei is pronounced with a long a sound.

    Form plurals by adding -s to the ends of words, except when the original word ends in o, y, f, fe, ch, sh, or ss.

    Double the consonant before adding -ed or -ing to a base word that ends in a consonant and is stressed on the preceding vowel.

  • Commit the following facts about possessives to memory:

    You make singular nouns and plural nouns that don't end in -s possessive by adding 's to the end of them.

    You make plural nouns that end in -s possessive by adding an apostrophe to the end of them.

    The possessive forms of pronouns that come before other nouns are my, your, his, her, its, our, their, and whose. The possessive form of pronouns that come at the end of a clause or are used as subjects are mine, yours, his, hers, its, ours, theirs, and whose.

  • Always capitalize the following:

    The first word in a sentence

    The first word in a quotation that's a complete sentence

    Proper names and nouns that are used as names, such as Dad

    Titles of people, songs, and literary works

    Days of the week, months of the year, and holidays

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