HSPT Language Skills : Clarity of Expression

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HSPT Language Skills

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Clarity Of Expression: Sentence Selection

Which of the following sentences expresses its ideas most clearly?

Possible Answers:

Hawks are amazing predators that can survive in cities by catching and eating small birds and rodents.

By catching and eating small birds and rodents, hawks can survive in cities, and they are also amazing predators.

Hawks can catch and eat small birds and rodents and this makes them amazing predators. They can also survive in cities because of this.

By catching and eating small birds and rodents, hawks are amazing predators that can survive in cities.

Correct answer:

Hawks are amazing predators that can survive in cities by catching and eating small birds and rodents.

Explanation:

The clearest option is "Hawks are amazing predators that can survive in cities by catching and eating small birds and rodents." This answer choice avoids the use of the passive voice and connects the idea of catching and eating small birds and rodents to hawks being amazing predators and their ability to survive in cities in a single sentence.

Example Question #1 : Clarity Of Expression: Sentence Completion

Which of the following completes the sentence shown below so that it expresses its ideas most clearly?

When baking cookies in the oven, __________.

Possible Answers:

thoroughly cooked is what they should be

it is important to make sure they are cooked thoroughly

their being cooked thoroughly is something it is important to make sure of

cooking them thoroughly is something it is important to make sure of

Correct answer:

it is important to make sure they are cooked thoroughly

Explanation:

The correct answer choice is "it is important to make sure they are cooked thoroughly." The correct complete sentence is "When baking cookies in the oven, it is important to make sure they are cooked thoroughly." This answer choice uses the phrase "it is important" in a location that avoids wordiness and confusion. It also avoids unnecessary complex verb forms (e.g. "their being cooked thoroughly") and wordiness combined with ending the sentence with the preposition "of."

Example Question #1 : Ordering Sentences Logically

[1] Of all the different types, black teas usually contain the most caffeine. [2] There are many different varieties of tea. [3] So, if you’re drinking tea late at night, you might want to choose a red or herbal tea instead of a black tea if you don’t want to be kept awake by caffeine. [4] Teas can be grouped into a few major categories: black, green, white, red, and herbal teas. [5] On the other hand, red teas and herbal teas can be almost entirely caffeine-free.

Choose the order in which the sentences shown above create a paragraph that as a whole is clearest and makes the most sense.

Possible Answers:

2 - 4 - 5 - 1 - 3

4 - 1 - 5 - 3 - 2

4 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 5

2 - 4 - 1 - 5 - 3

Correct answer:

2 - 4 - 1 - 5 - 3

Explanation:

   

Example Question #2 : Ordering Sentences Logically

[1] Of all the different types, black teas usually contain the most caffeine. [2] There are many different varieties of tea. [3] So, if you’re drinking tea late at night, you might want to choose a red or herbal tea instead of a black tea if you don’t want to be kept awake by caffeine. [4] Teas can be grouped into a few major categories: black, green, white, red, and herbal teas. [5] On the other hand, red teas and herbal teas can be almost entirely caffeine-free.

Choose the order in which the sentences shown above create a paragraph that as a whole is clearest and makes the most sense.

Possible Answers:

2 - 4 - 1 - 5 - 3

4 - 2 - 3 - 1 - 5

4 - 1 - 5 - 3 - 2

2 - 4 - 5 - 1 - 3

Correct answer:

2 - 4 - 1 - 5 - 3

Explanation:

To answer this question correctly, we need to figure out how the sentences most logically relate to one another. Since we're not given any sentence that is already in place, it makes the most sense to work from general to specific, introducing a topic in a general sense before following up with more details about it. The most general sentence in the paragraph is Sentence 2, "There are many different varieties of tea." This sentence logically needs to precede Sentence 4, which lists the different varieties of tea. It wouldn't make much sense to list the many different types of tea and then say "There are many different varieties of tea." This would be providing the reader with information that has already been conveyed. It would be extraneous.

If our paragraph starts with 2 - 4, this narrows down our answer choices from four options to two. To pick out the correct answer, we need to figure out if the logical order of the remaining sentences is 5 - 1 - 3, or 1 - 5 - 3. 

Let's take a look at these two options:

5 - 1 - 3:

[5] On the other hand, red teas and herbal teas can be almost entirely caffeine-free. [1] Of all the different types, black teas usually contain the most caffeine. [3] So, if you’re drinking tea late at night, you might want to choose a red or herbal tea instead of a black tea if you don’t want to be kept awake by caffeine.

1 - 5 - 3: 

[1] Of all the different types, black teas usually contain the most caffeine. [5] On the other hand, red teas and herbal teas can be almost entirely caffeine-free. [3] So, if you’re drinking tea late at night, you might want to choose a red or herbal tea instead of a black tea if you don’t want to be kept awake by caffeine.

1 - 5 - 3 is the best option. In 5 - 1 - 3, the introductory phrase "On the other hand" in Sentence 5 doesn't make sense; the transition is unclear and confusing. In 1 - 5 - 3, this transition relates Sentence 5 to Sentence 1 in a logical way, comparing the vastly different amounts of caffeine in black and red teas. The correct answer is "2 - 4 - 1 - 5 - 3."

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