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The Definitive Practice Test Guide for the English Basics

Sections of the English Basics


In the age of social media, correct capitalization may seem to be a lost art or a skill that is no longer needed. This is definitely not true in the testing sphere and in professional communication. The failure to capitalize a person’s name or title could be construed as an insult. Not knowing capitalization rules may negatively affect a test score required for school entrance or job advancement. There are all sorts of reasons to capitalize correctly and we can help you do that! Still have capitalization questions? See our English Basics: Capitalization Study Guide for help.

Cleaning Up English

This section helps you deal with those mistakes that are most frequent among even professional folks. They are sure giveaways to the audience that the speaker or writer is not aware of the proper use of the English language, regardless of how many titles follow his or her name. Yes, you will hear them on TV and read them in published articles, but that does not make them acceptable. Look for them in your writing and speech and make them go away, just by being aware! Full information is available in our English Basics: Cleaning Up English Study Guide.

Critical Reading

Reading a book or article for pleasure is one thing. Being required to answer questions about it is entirely another. To fully understand what you have read, you must be a critical reader. This skill is required of you on standardized tests, but is also important for career tasks and will certainly help in everyday life. It may even make comprehension of those dreaded instruction and assembly manuals easier! For a full explanation of the critical reading process and additional support, please see our English Basics: Critical Reading Study Guide.

Literary Terms

Often, standardized test creators assume that the user knows basic literary terms for types of writing, literature, and writing tools. You may even encounter some of these terms on the job or in daily life. Don’t let confusion keep you from a high test score or prevent you from understanding an employer’s directions. More questions about literary terms? Find the answers in our English Basics: Literary Terms Study Guide.

Parts of Speech

To write or speak effectively, you must have facility with all kinds of words and be able to use them in the right way and in the right place in sentences. It helps to know the names of the parts of speech, for instruction and usage purposes, but you also need to know the rules for using them. This section will help you do just that! And if you need more information about the parts of speech, check out our English Basics: Parts of Speech Study Guide.


Punctuation often makes the difference in the clarity of writing. All of those little marks—periods, commas, semicolons, etc.—can make or break your message. Find out when and where to use them, and when not to do so. Make your writing clear and concise and learn punctuation skills that may be assessed on standardized tests. More info about punctuation can be found in our English Basics: Punctuation Study Guide.

Sentence Structure

Anyone can put a sentence together, right? Not necessarily. There are certain ways to do it that make the message perfectly clear and others that totally confuse the listener or reader. If you read or listen to media at all, you have probably noticed this. Be sure your language is clear to all by going over our rules for things like placement of modifiers and the order of words. Sentence structure still confusing you? Get the whole picture in our English Basics: Sentence Structure Study Guide.

The Writing Process

Being able to write effectively is so important in today’s world, not only for college, but in many careers. Yet, for many people, it is the most dreaded task. It’s also very discouraging when you’ve spent a lot of time and effort writing, what you think is, a magnificent piece, then find out your message is not at all clear. These scenarios don’t have to be true. Avoid the fear of writing and the chance of muddling communication by studying the writing process. Find out just what you need to include, as well as where to include it. It really is simple, once you know the components! Get full information on all aspects of the writing process in our English Basics: The Writing Process Study Guide.

Word Usage

Some words are just plain confusing. In this section, we break them down for you. Topics like “Commonly Confused Words” deal with differences between word pairs such as lay and lie, affect and effect, and so on. You may not even realize that you misuse some of these words, but why not find out? We also cover issues like using the correct pronoun and correcting errors in phrases. For example, what’s wrong with this sentence? “I could of gone on talking all night!” Find out in this section! We explain it all in our English Basics: Word Usage Study Guide.

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