ACT English: Passage Drill 1, Problem 13. Proper flow of sentences in a paragraph.
|ACT English||Passage Drill|
|Expository Texts||Organizing Structure|
|Parts of Speech||Restrictive and Nonrestrictive Relative Clauses|
|Product Type||ACT English|
|Rhetorical Skills||Organization: Sentences and Paragraphs|
As writers, we need to take our readers on a smooth ride from one point to the next.
If the ride gets too bumpy or jarring, readers might get confused and lost.
And well, go elsewhere.
And when readers get lost, they stop reading, and everything we’ve written becomes a waste of time.
As it is, the paragraph in question definitely takes readers on a bumpy ride.
Choice (A) suggests leaving it as it is, but we can’t in good conscience do that since we know readers
will be lost without a map.
This is because Sentence 4 inserts a topic kinda randomly. Sentence 3 tell us about the
shoots that emerge from the pores of a coconut, and sentence 5 continues the thought by informing
us that the “shoots eventually make a new fruit.” Sentence 4, however, is focused
on defining what a seed is in general.
Since Sentence 4 has nothing specifically to do with “shoots,” it interrupts the flow of logic.
It’s clear then that this sentence needs to relocate.
Choice (D) claims that we should make Sentence 4 the final sentence of the paragraph.
Just like choice (A), however, this puts a major bump in the road.
As we said earlier, Sentence 5 is about how shoots turn into fruit.
Placing a definition for seeds after it makes no more sense than placing such a definition before it.
Thus, we can nix choice (D) for the good of the paragraph
and all those readers who are desperate for a clear understanding of how coconuts reproduce.
Choice (B) also interrupts the train of logic.
It doesn’t work to place Sentence 4 between Sentences 2 and 3.
Sentence 2 fills us in on coconut pores, and Sentence 3 carries on the thought.
Breaking up the flow with Sentence 4 would only cause confusion.
The correct answer is (C).
The topic of Sentence 4 is the "seed" of the coconut, an idea that
is introduced in the first sentence of the paragraph, but not discussed in any of the
following sentences. This tells us that the best place for Sentence 4 is after Sentence 1.
Disturbing thought: if we eat coconut seeds, will baby coconuts grow in our bellies?