Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

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Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test


Be sure comparisons are clear.

When making comparisons, clearly indicate what items you are comparing.

ILLOGICAL Deciding after the auditions that Julia’s characterization of Lady Macbeth was more compelling than Rita, the director offered Julia the role. [The sentence makes an illogical comparison between a characterization and Rita.] 

LOGICAL Deciding after the auditions that Julia’s characterization of Lady Macbeth was more compelling than Rita’s [characterization], the director offered Julia the role. [The sentence logically compares Julia’s characterization with Rita’s characterization.] 


ILLOGICAL The wingspread of the wandering albatross is greater than any other bird. [The sentence makes an illogical comparison between a wingspread and a bird.] 

LOGICAL The wingspread of the wandering albatross is greater than that of any other bird. [By including that, which stands for wingspread, the sentence logically compares the wingspread of the wandering albatross with the wingspread of any other bird. Notice that using that instead of wingspread prevents unnecessary repetition.]

Use a complete comparison if there is any chance that an incomplete, or elliptical, one could be misunderstood.

UNCLEAR We have known Chen a great deal longer than Anzu. [The comparison is unclear because the elliptical construction than Anzu may be completed in more than one way.] 

CLEAR We have known Chen a great deal longer than we have known Anzu. 

CLEAR We have known Chen a great deal longer than Anzu has known her.


UNCLEAR Ms. Vasquez offered me a better job than anyone else. 

CLEAR Ms. Vasquez offered me a better job than she offered anyone else. 

CLEAR Ms. Vasquez offered me a better job than anyone else offered me.


Include all of the words necessary to complete a compound comparison, which uses both the positive and the comparative degrees of a modifier. Avoid the common error of omitting the second as in the positive degree.

NONSTANDARD This year’s soccer team is playing as well, if not better than, last year’s team. 

STANDARD This year’s soccer team is playing as well as, if not better than, last year’s team.


Correcting Unclear and Illogical Comparisons Excercise

Most of the following sentences contain unclear or illogical comparisons. Rewrite each sentence, following the rules of formal, standard usage and making sure the comparisons are clear. If a sentence is already correct, write C.

1. Sarah’s test scores arrived by mail two weeks sooner than Jesse. 
2. Which one of these is more complete? 
3. Bryan amazed even himself by swimming as far, if not farther than, anyone at the school had ever swum before. 
4. Some historians say that Lincoln’s accomplishments in such a relatively short time far exceed any other president. 
5. Shirley’s design for the set of the next musical was obviously more practical than Ruben. 
6. Luisa sees movies much more often than her friend Sandra. 
7. Ernesto enjoyed the literature of the Romantic Period as much as, if not more than, the literature of the Renaissance. 
8. Hercules had to perform twelve labors, each of which was more impossible than the previous one. 
9. Katherine agrees with the literary critics who call Sonnet 18 Shakespeare’s most perfect poem. 
10. Jason’s bike is even lighter than Daniel’s.

Correcting Unclear and Illogical Comparisons Excercise Possible Answers 

1. Sarah’s test scores arrived by mail two weeks sooner than Jesse’s. 2. Which one of these is more nearly complete? 
3. Bryan amazed even himself by swimming as far as, if not farther than, anyone else at the school had ever swum before. 
4. Some historians say that Lincoln’s accomplishments in such a relatively short time far exceed those of any other president. 
5. Shirley’s design for the set of the next musical was obviously more practical than Ruben’s. 
6. Luisa sees movies much more often than her friend Sandra does. 7. C 
8. Hercules had to perform twelve labors, each of which was more difficult than the previous one. 
9. Katherine agrees with the literary critics who call Sonnet 18 Shakespeare’s best poem. 
10. C

Samples from Real ACT Tests

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test

Logical Comparisons on the ACT English Test


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Mr. ‏El-Sayed Ramadan ‎ ‎

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