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ACCUPLACER Preparation Guide - Reading and Writing Skills

Reading & Writing Glossary

Adjective
Describes a noun or pronoun (words that name a person place or thing), for example, a running dog.

Adverb
Modifies or explains a verb, adjective or another adverb: running rapidly.

Agreement - Subject/Verb
A subject and verb within a sentence must agree in number: for example, a single subject must have a singular verb.

Audience
The group of people whom an author believes will read their writing.

Clause
Part of a sentence that includes a subject and verb but cannot stand by itself. It is often connected to the rest of the sentence with a comma.

Comma Usage
Usually denotes a pause within a sentence; most often used to separate items in a series, two sentences joined together, also used to set off introductory material, direct quotes, and interrupting words such as nevertheless or however.

Conjunction
A word that connects words or thoughts within a sentence; some examples are...

Editing
Examining a writing passage critically to correct any grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors.

Essay Organization
An introductory paragraph to get attention, to provide background and to state the thesis of the essay followed by central paragraphs with strong topic sentences and specific support; concluding paragraph summarizes and creates closure.

Fragment
An incomplete thought punctuated as though it were a sentence.

Interjection
A word that is used by itself and shows emotion. Interjections are often punctuated with an exclamation point. For example, Wow! An interjection can also be placed within a sentence using a comma, such as Whoa, that was loud.

Modifiers
Words that describe or explain other words.

Noun
A word that names a person, place or thing.

Possessive
A word that shows ownership of another word in the sentence. Nouns usually use apostrophes - for example: Mary’s bike. A pronoun is also used to show ownership but does not use apostrophes: her bike.

Pronoun
A word that replaces a noun, often used to prevent repetition. For example, John ate some pizza. He enjoyed it.

Relevancy
Determining whether words, phrases or sections of writing support the main idea.

Redundancy
Determining whether words, phrases or sections of writing are unnecessary or unwanted so that they can be eliminated; usually unnecessary repetition.

Revising
Examining a writing passage carefully in order to make changes that will make the writing stronger, for example: making sentences stronger, inserting more powerful language, clarifying the order of ideas.

Run on
An error where two sentences joined together without necessary punctuation to separate them.

Sentence
An effective sentence begins with a capital letter and ends with a period.

Supporting Material
Specific support for the thesis of an essay used to prove the main point of the writing.

Tense
Verb forms that indicate the time a word is referring to: present, past or future.

Thesis
A thesis is a statement that tells the reader what the writing passage will prove. It is usually found in the introductory paragraph of an essay/article. All paragraphs following the introduction/thesis will provide specific evidence to support the thesis.

Tone
The way that writing sounds to a reader—the writer’s attitude to a subject as reflected in the language used.

Transition
A word or phrase used to connect the ideas presented in a written passage or to help the reader move from one major support to the next major support in a writing passage.

Verb
A word that shows action or state of being in a sentence. Some action verb examples are run, jump, dance; examples of state of being verbs — John (was, is, will be) at school.