CLEP College Composition Exam Answer Key

1. C is the best answer. Certain verbs must take a gerund as an object while others must take an infinitive. While the rules are somewhat arbitrary, verbs that imply a future act like want, hope, and intend are traditionally followed by an infinitive. In this case,” intend” is followed by an infinitive. B makes a concise and grammatically correct sentence, but implies that the plan is set and so lacks the nuance of the coach’s intention.

2. A is the best answer. The underlined passage is a noun clause so the subject and verb that follow the relative pronoun are in the correct order instead of the inverted order of example C. The relative pronoun must be “what,” not “that,” because the content of the Professor’s speech is given after the colon.

3. C is the best answer. It is better to use “Mrs. Emmanuel” as the subject and avoid the passive voice as in the original example. The sentence is easier to understand and the active agent is associated more fully with the verb. Using “if” would make the situation hypothetical and the main clause would not fit.

4. E is the best answer. Starting a sentence with an infinitive is stylistically difficult. Gerunds are easier to grasp as subjects. Answer C, however, misplaces the adverb “enough.” If an infinitive is appropriate, it is customary to place a false subject, in this case “it,” at the beginning of the sentence. Answer B uses the passive unnecessarily to try and solve the problem.

5. B is the best answer. A reflexive pronoun is necessary in this position because the subject has already been introduced. The participants are speaking under their breath to themselves. “Oneself” is the reflexive pronoun for the subject “one.” D and E both attempt to use an object pronoun when a reflexive pronoun is needed. C simply lacks grammatical concision or clarity.

6. B is the best answer. This is the main clause of the sentence and needs a subject and a verb. B is the only one with one subject and one verb. A uses a reduced adjective clause that could be rewritten as “The foal which has finally stood.” There is no verb for the subject. Answer B is the only one that meets this criterion.

7. E is the best answer. The most parsimonious solution to this clause is to use “need” as a verb instead of as a noun. It uses the least amount of words to express the entire idea. A, B, C, and D all attempt to use “need” as the subject of the clause when the Environmental Protection Agency could serve as a simple and traditional subject.

8. E is the best answer. It removes an unnecessary component from the verbal phrase. The first part of the sentence serves as an untraditional subject. It acts upon the object, which is the behavior of migrating species.

9. D is the best answer. D is the concise choice, using the least amount of words while keeping all of the antecedents exact. A introduces an unnecessary component in “us” the listeners. C uses an awkward subject that leaves an antecedent hanging. E uses the passive incorrectly and unnecessarily.

10. A is the best answer. “Few people” is equivalent to “not many people.” The scarcity of such people is clearly what the writer means to emphasize. A few people means “several people” and implies their presence rather than their scarcity. Since “people” is a countable noun, “few” is the appropriate quantifier, not “less.” Comparatives and superlatives are not usable here as no comparison is being made.