New SAT Writing and Language Practice Test 20

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The precise causes of stuttering are not understood. Recent research indicates that genetic components play a part. Some theorists propose that many stutterers have inherited certain traits that increase the likelihood that they will develop this disorder in their speech. The exact nature of these traits is presently unclear, [1] except that stuttering is more common among males than females. What is known, of course, is that stuttering is the repetition of sounds, prolonged vowels, and complete stops—verbal blocks. A stutterer’s speech is often uncontrollable. Compared [2] to nonstutterers, it is sometimes faster than average but usually more slower. Sometimes, too, the voice changes in pitch, loudness, and inflection.

[3] Observation of young children during the early stages of stuttering have led to a list of warning signs that can help identify a child who is developing a speech problem. Most children use “um’s” and “ah’s,” and will repeat words or syllables as they learn to speak. It is not a serious concern if a child says, “I like to go and and and play games,” unless such repetitions occur often, more than once every twenty words or so.

Repeating whole words is not necessarily a sign of stuttering; however, repeating speech sounds or syllables such as in the song “K-K-K-Katy” is.

Sometimes a stutterer will exhibit tension while prolonging a sound [4]meanwhile, the 8-year-old who says “Annnnnnd—and th-th-th-then I-I drank it” with lips trembling at the same time. Children who experience such a stuttering tremor usually become frightened, angry, and [5] feeling frustration from the inability to speak. A further danger sign is a rise in pitch as the child draws out the syllable.

The appearance of people experiencing the most severe signs of stuttering is dramatic. As they struggle to get a word out, their whole face may contort and the jaw may jerk the mouth [6] open. Tension can spread through the whole body. A moment of overwhelming struggle occurs during the speech blockage.

While the symptoms of stuttering are easy to recognize, [7] it’s underlying causes remains [8] a mystery. Hippocrates thought that stuttering was due to a dry tongue, and he prescribed blistering substances to drain away the black bile responsible. [9] The brilliant English scientist Sir Isaac Newton, who developed the law of gravity, also suffered a lifelong stuttering condition. A Roman physician recommended gargling and massages to strengthen a weak tongue. Seventeenth-century scientist Francis Bacon suggested hot wine to thaw a “refrigerated” tongue. Too large a tongue was the fault, according to a 19th-century Prussian physician, so he snipped pieces off stutterers’ tongues. Alexander Melville Bell, father of the telephone inventor, insisted stuttering was simply a bad habit that [10] could be remedied, overcome, and eliminated by reeducation.

Some theorists today attribute stuttering to problems in the control of the muscles of speech. Decades ago, however, [11] stuttering was thought to arise from deep-rooted personality problems and recommended psychotherapy.


  • B. in part, because not everyone predisposed to stutter will develop the disorder.
  • C. because some people who have stuttered for many years suddenly stop stuttering.
  • D. since those who have experienced unfavorable responses from listeners may develop emotional problems that worsen their conditions.


  • B. to nonstutterers’ speech, if not faster sometimes, then usually slower.
  • C. to that of nonstutterers, it is as fast, but usually slower.
  • D. to the speech of nonstutterers, it is sometimes faster but usually slower.


  • B. Observations of young children during the early stages of stuttering
  • C. Observations of young children, which during the early stages of stuttering
  • D. Observation of young children, during the early stages of stuttering


  • B. —consequently
  • C. —for example
  • D. —to sum up


  • B. frustrated from the
  • C. frustrated by their
  • D. a frustrating feeling because of the

6. The writer wants to add examples of stutterers’ physical reactions. Which choice most effectively accomplishes this goal?

  • A. open, the tongue protrudes, and an eyeroll takes place.
  • B. open, along with a protruding tongue and rolling eyes.
  • C. open; their tongues may protrude and their eyes may roll.
  • D. open; tongue protrudes, eyes roll.


  • B. its underlying cause
  • C. the underlying causes
  • D. their underlying cause


  • B. a riddle
  • C. in the closet
  • D. a dilemma

9. The writer is considering deleting the underlined sentence. Should it be kept or deleted?

  • A. Kept, because it adds evidence to the claim that stuttering has long been a subject of study and research.
  • B. Kept, because it provides still another example of a historical figure concerned about stuttering.
  • C. Deleted, because it blurs the paragraph’s focus on various theories about how stuttering can be cured.
  • D. Deleted, because it fails to provide a specific example of a widely known symptom of stuttering and a possible cure.


  • B. reeducation was needed to overcome it.
  • C. could be overcome by reeducation.
  • D. the elimination of which is being by reeducation.


  • B. experts believed that stuttering arose from
  • C. theories insist that stuttering came from
  • D. claims were made that stuttering’s origins were