SAT Writing Prep Test 3

Carefully read the passage and select the answer to each question that is most effective in improving the quality of the writing or in making the passage conform to the standard conventions of English.

The History of Blue Laws

(1) The first occurrence of the phrase “blue law” is in the New-York Mercury of March 3, 1755, where the writer imagines a future newspaper praising the revival of “our Connecticut’s old Blue Laws”. In his 1781 book General History of (2) Connecticut — the Reverend Samuel Peters used it to describe various laws first enacted by Puritan colonies in the seventeenth century that prohibited various (3) activities, recreational, as well as commercial, on Sunday. Sometimes the sale of certain types of merchandise was prohibited, and in some cases all retail and business activity.

(4) Not all Americans greeted these developments with enthusiasm; numerous shopkeepers and tavern-owners blatantly stayed open on Sundays and ignored the blue laws. Rather, the word blue was used in the seventeenth century as a disparaging reference to rigid moral codes and those who observed them. This is also the origin of the word, “blue-stocking,” meaning an individual with a strict personal code. (5)

Southern and mid-western states also passed numerous laws to protect Sunday during the mid to late nineteenth (6) century. Laws targeted numerous (7) groups including saloon owners, Jews, Seventh-day Adventists, as well as non-religious people. These laws enacted at the state and local levels (8) would sometimes carry penalties for doing non-religious activities on Sunday as part of an effort to enforce religious observance and church attendance. Numerous people were arrested for playing cards, baseball, and even fixing wagon wheels on Sunday. In Texas, for example, blue laws prohibited selling housewares such as pots, pans, and washing machines on Sunday until 1985.

In the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court (9) have held blue laws as constitutional numerous times due to secular rationales, even though the original rationales for the blue laws were religious in nature. The Supreme Court of the United States held in its landmark case, McGowan v. Maryland (1961), that Maryland’s blue laws violated neither the Free Exercise Clause nor the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. It approved the state’s blue law restricting commercial activities on Sunday, noting that while such laws originated to encourage attendance at Christian churches, the contemporary Maryland laws were intended “to serve as a uniform day of rest for all citizens” on a secular (10) basis and promoting the secular values of “health, safety, recreation, and general well-being” through a common day of rest. (11)

Adapted from “Blue law.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.

1. Check underlined words and phrases (7) in the passage above.


2. Which choice most effectively combines the sentences at the underlined portion (6)?


3. Check underlined words and phrases (10) in the passage above.


4. Check underlined words and phrases (8) in the passage above.


5. The writer wants to add a sentence with additional information on the origin of the word “blue” to this paragraph numbered (5). Which choice best accomplishes this goal?


6. The writer wants to conclude the passage with a sentence that emphasizes the enduring legacy of the blue laws(11). Which choice would best accomplish this goal?


7. To make this paragraph most logical, sentence 1 should be placed (1).


8. Check underlined words and phrases (9) in the passage above.


9. Which of the following sentences would most effectively establish the main topic of the paragraph numbered (4)?


10. Check underlined words and phrases (2) in the passage above.


11. Check underlined words and phrases (3) in the passage above.


Question 1 of 11

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