Content Covered by the ACT English Test

ACT Test English Practice, English ACT Test Preparation QuestionsSix elements of effective writing are included in the English Test: punctuation, grammar and usage, sentence structure, strategy, organization, and style. The questions covering punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure make up the Usage/Mechanics subscore. The English ACT Test preparation questions covering strategy, organization, and style make up the Rhetorical Skills subscore.


  • Punctuation (13%). Questions in this category test your knowledge of the conventions of internal and end-of-sentence punctuation, with emphasis on the relationship of punctuation to meaning (for example, avoiding ambiguity, indicating appositives).
  • Grammar and Usage (16%). Questions in this category test your understanding of agreement between subject and verb, between pronoun and antecedent, and between modifiers and the word modified; verb formation; pronoun case; formation of comparative and superlative adjectives and adverbs; and idiomatic usage.
  • Sentence Structure (24%). Questions in this category test your understanding of relationships between and among clauses, placement of modifiers, and shifts in construction.

Rhetorical Skills

  • Strategy (16%). Questions in this category test how well you develop a given topic by choosing expressions appropriate to an essay‚Äôs audience and purpose; judging the effect of adding, revising, or deleting supporting material; and judging the relevance of statements in context.
  • Organization (15%). Questions in this category test how well you organize ideas and choose effective opening, transitional, and closing sentences.
  • Style (16%). Questions in this category test how well you select precise and appropriate words and images, maintain the level of style and tone in an essay, manage sentence elements for rhetorical effectiveness, and avoid ambiguous pronoun references, wordiness, and redundancy.

ACT English Test Question Types(75 questions in 45 min.)

Usage/Mechanics Questions (total of 40 questions)

Skills/Content Tested


# of Questions


Commas, apostrophes, colons, semicolons, dashes, periods, question marks, and exclamation points

10 questions

Grammar & Usage

Subject-verb agreement, pronoun agreement, pronoun forms and cases, adjectives, adverbs, verb forms, comparative and superlative modifiers, and idioms

12 questions

Sentence Structure

Subordinate or dependent clauses, run-on or fused sentences, comma splices, sentence fragments, misplaced modifiers, shifts in verb tense or voice, and shifts in pronoun person or number

18 questions

Rhetorical Skills Questions (total of 35 questions)

Skills/Content Tested


# of Questions


Adding, revising, or deleting sentences; how a sentence fits with the purpose, audience, and focus of a paragraph or the essay as a whole

12 questions


Opening, transitional, and closing phrases or statements; order and focus of sentences or paragraphs

11 questions


Writing style, tone, clarity, and effectiveness; eliminating ambiguity, wordiness, and redundant material; clarifying vague or awkward material

12 questions

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