ACT English Practice Test 87: Early Communication

DIRECTIONS: In the passages that follow, certain words and phrases are underlined and numbered. In the right-hand column, you will find alternatives for the underlined part. In most cases, you are to choose the one that best expresses the idea, makes the statement appropriate for standard written English, or is worded most consistently with the style and tone of the passage as a whole. If you think the original version is best, choose “NO CHANGE.” In some cases, you will find in the right-hand column a question about the underlined part. You are to choose the best answer to the question.

You will also find questions about a section of the passage, or about the passage as a whole. These questions do not refer to an underlined portion of the passage, but rather are identified by a number or numbers in a box.

For each question, choose the alternative you consider best and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. Read each passage through once before you begin to answer the questions that accompany it. For many of the questions, you must read several sentences beyond the question to determine the answer. Be sure that you have read far enough ahead each time you choose an alternative.

Early Communication

Most new parents find that their biggest problem is determining what their mean. Sometimes the cries seem to sound alike, and other times they are as different as night and day. Yet, what do they mean? Recent studies have shown that babies do have unique cries to identify their interpreting a baby's vocalizations is not as difficult as it may seem.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle in making sense of an infant's sounds is the parents' own anxiety and With a little study and patience, parents can fine-tune their listening skills and sidestep their frustrations.

Movement is another way that infants communicate. For many years, scientists have been able to interpret various messages by filming a sequence of movements and then playing back in slow motion. Three-month-olds who appear to be flailing their arms around randomly are often reaching for something specific, perhaps a toy or a familiar face. Even the youngest infants will move their heads toward a familiar voice, often producing the first glimmer of a smile, clearly communicating

As the baby grows, new utterances emerge that often random and nonsensical.

More than likely, however, these noises actually mean something to the baby. An acute observer can often quickly interpret the child's utterances and reinforce the development of a parent who does not pay attention could miss an attempt at communication from her baby. It is easy to imagine how much faster language development will come when a one-year-old feels success and positive reinforcement in his attempts to communicate. not being understood can easily create frustration and reactive responses, perhaps partially explaining the onset of the "terrible twos."

Many parents find that sign language can be a valuable tool for the emerging orator . A nine-month-old seems to have an easier time mimicking less precise hand movements that she observes than vocalizing the complexities of consonants and vowel sounds. A small repertoire of such hand movements can greatly diminish the anxiety-producing challenge of communicating Often, as parents demonstrate a sign to their baby, they will vocalize the word for that sign over and over. Eventually, as the child uses the sign successfully, she will begin to mimic the word that seems to go with it, and eventually drop the use of her hands. 71

Long before a young child is able to speak words, his ability to understand the speech of others is developing. Before a child can say "mama" or "dada," he may easily be able a command such as "Give me the ball" or "Get your blanket." As the toddler learns the names of objects, people, and actions, a vocabulary explosion begins to occur. 74 Most people believe communication begins when the child is able to use language to express an idea or feeling. communication has been going on for much longer. Language development will come sooner and easier if parents respond more consistently to their infant's communication efforts from day one.


B. babies cries
C. baby's cries
D. babys cry's

2. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

F. needs. Interpreting
G. needs; interpreting
H. needs, so
J. needs, interpreting


B. confusion.
C. to be confused.
D. for confusing.


G. them
H. the film
J. that


B. happiness, and comfort.
C. happiness and, comfort.
D. happiness and comfort.


G. sound
H. sounding
J. sounded

7. Which of the following alternatives to the underlined portion would NOT be acceptable?

A. language, while
B. language;
C. language, but
D. language, being


G. Therefore,
H. Consequently,
J. Likewise,


B. whose speech is just developing
C. who is on the verge of speaking
D. DELETE the underlined portion

10. Given that all the choices are true, which one most specifically and vividly describes the needs of the child?

G. his needs.
H. what he wants.
J. his desires to his parents.

11. The writer is considering deleting the following phrase from the preceding sentence (and revising the capitalization accordingly):

Eventually, as the child uses the sign successfully,

Should this phrase be kept or deleted?

A. Kept, because it clarifies how the proper use of signs can reinforce language development.
B. Kept, because it provides specific details about the signs that parents use to teach their children to speak.
C. Deleted, because it contradicts the preceding paragraph, which makes it clear that children do not use movement to communicate.
D. Deleted, because this information is provided later in the paragraph.

12. The best placement for the underlined portion would be:

F. where it is now.
G. after the word speak.
H. after the word speech.
J. after the word developing.


B. by following
C. to follow
D. following

14. The writer is considering deleting the following clause from the preceding sentence (revising the capitalization accordingly):

As the toddler learns the names of objects, people, and actions,

Should this clause be kept or deleted?

F. Kept, because it clarifies for the readers that toddlers can only learn to speak if they are given commands.
G. Kept, because it makes the connection between understanding what others are saying and learning how to speak.
H. Deleted, because it contradicts the essay's main point by implying that toddlers cannot communicate effectively with their parents.
J. Deleted, because it misleads the readers into thinking that the paragraph is about baby names rather than language development.


B. In truth,
C. On the other hand,
D. Despite this,