ACT English 2.5 Style
ACT English: Style Drill 2, Problem 5. How would you correct the underlined portion if at all?
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As our hunt for redundancy, repeating things, saying the same thing over and over again continues, your eyes are immediately drawn to choices (B)
and (C). Well, ours are, anyway.
Both choices clarify the fact that the speaker's cousin is also his or her relative.
This is redundant because every person's cousin is also his or her relative. In some states,
a cousin can even be a spouse, though we wouldn't recommend it.
This shared redundancy allows us to eliminate (B) and (C) in one fell shmoop. Uh, swoop.
We've now narrowed down our choices to (A) and (D). (D) suggests that we omit the underlined
While this would make the sentence shorter, it would also change the meaning.
If the speaker said, "My cousin graduated from high school," he or she would leave out
the fact that the cousin is a fave relative.
While it's important to keep things concise, it's also important to not trim away the essential
meaning of a sentence.
This means that our original sentence is free of redundancy, and we can mark choice (A)
as the correct answer.
However, (D) may be the best choice if the narrator doesn't want to insult everybody
else in his family.