ACT English : Inserting Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Inserting Content

Paul stood waiting, for the meeting with James. He had arrived early at the little alleyway in northern Bramville, waiting to meet the other man at a pub named the “Pick and the Shovel.” The whole situation was extremely strange, for Paul had never met James. Indeed, nobody whom Paul knew had met him. Hitherto, the mysterious man had been nothing more than a voice on the phone and a conversationalist via e-mail.

The making, of the trip to Bramville, was utterly unexpected, and his companions had encouraged him to reconnoiter the situation, record his thoughts, and communicate them within the coming week. Many peoples’ fates rode on the character of this mysterious man, this James. By stroke of luck, Paul was about to meet him.

Although Paul was quite certain that this was the appropriate course of action, he was still quite unnerved. Thousands of miles from his home, far from any friends, and without a cell phone, he could well be the target of a dangerous man. For this reason, he watched very intently as every person passed by, particularly those men who were alone. Many times, he asked himself, “Is that him”?

Thus, Paul watched and waited, somewhat overcome with fear yet also anxious to meet this mysterious man. It was time for a meeting with this man, upon whose mysterious persona were placed so many hopes. Though Paul was nervous to be the person to meet James, he knew that he was the man to whom this task had been appointed by fate.

Which of the following options for an opening sentence for the third paragraph best matches the style of describing Paul’s internal state in that paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Above all, Paul showed great bravery in his trip.

Still, Paul knew that he must meet this mysterious James.

Paul knew he would have to be crafty and careful on the trip.

Still, Paul travelled onward into the new lands.

Correct answer:

Still, Paul knew that he must meet this mysterious James.

Explanation:

The last two sentences of the second paragraph help to give us a sense of Paul's internal state. He is aware of the many fates that are linked to the mysterious man he is soon to meet. Likewise, it is by a stroke of luck that this meeting is going to occur. Thus, he likely has some inner determination that this is the correct (and, indeed, necessary) thing to do.

Example Question #1 : Inserting Content

Paul stood waiting, for the meeting with James. He had arrived early at the little alleyway in northern Bramville, waiting to meet the other man at a pub named the “Pick and the Shovel.” The whole situation was extremely strange, for Paul had never met James. Indeed, nobody whom Paul knew had met him. Hitherto, the mysterious man had been nothing more than a voice on the phone and a conversationalist via e-mail.

The making, of the trip to Bramville, was utterly unexpected, and his companions had encouraged him to reconnoiter the situation, record his thoughts, and communicate them within the coming week. Many peoples’ fates rode on the character of this mysterious man, this James. By stroke of luck, Paul was about to meet him.

Although Paul was quite certain that this was the appropriate course of action, he was still quite unnerved. Thousands of miles from his home, far from any friends, and without a cell phone, he could well be the target of a dangerous man. For this reason, he watched very intently as every person passed by, particularly those men who were alone. Many times, he asked himself, “Is that him”?

Thus, Paul watched and waited, somewhat overcome with fear yet also anxious to meet this mysterious man. It was time for a meeting with this man, upon whose mysterious persona were placed so many hopes. Though Paul was nervous to be the person to meet James, he knew that he was the man to whom this task had been appointed by fate.

Which of the following options would end the third paragraph by indicating that James had not yet arrived?

Possible Answers:

While asking this question, he silently stared down the street.

The question was permitted to be spoken, although it seemed quite strange to see a man speaking to himself.

The silence itself was the answer, "No, it is not him."

The question was not answered by those who passed by.

Correct answer:

The silence itself was the answer, "No, it is not him."

Explanation:

The correct answer not only indicates the silence or lack of response; it likewise expresses (in a semi-explicit, though still metaphoric way) that the silence indicated that James had not yet arrived.

Example Question #1 : Inserting Content

Read the following passage and choose the correct response.

When I was a child, my father would take me to our local amusement park every other weekend. He would always wake me up early so we could spend all day at the park. A wave of excitement always hit me as we walked through the gate into the park. Getting to the top of the roller coaster, I my entire body tensed up.I wasn't ready for a ride like this, but there was no turning back now.I felt the cart move forward and braced for the impending drop.

Possible Answers:

There is no proper transition between getting to the top of the roller coaster and the narrator's apprehension about being on the ride

The narrator does not properly establish the history of the amusement parks

There's no transition between entering the park and getting to the top of the roller coaster

The narrator does not properly establish the history of roller coasters

Correct answer:

There's no transition between entering the park and getting to the top of the roller coaster

Explanation:

The change from entering the park to being at the top of the roller coaster is abrupt and not properly established by the sentences before it. It would be best for these two ideas to be in two separate paragraphs.

Example Question #4 : Inserting Content

“Intellectual Virtues”

Whenever someone talks about being “virtuous,” we immediately think of someone whose very moral.  Perhaps we even think of people who are a bit boring for virtuous people can appear to have no fun at least in the popular imagination.  Whatever the case might be, almost any reader would be surprised to see the expression “intellectual virtues.”  What could this expression mean to designate!  At best, most people would say, “Such virtues must describe people for who knowledge is combined with devotion and rigorous discipline.”  That is; they would seem to describe the person who has a disciplined character in addition to being intelligent.

However, in ancient and medieval philosophy, certain intellectual capacities were considered virtues.  These character traits were not quite the same as moral character traits or virtues.  To understand this idea, it can be helpul to consider two example people, one whose skills are the fruit of a so-called intellectual virtue and the other whose skills are not.

It is easier to start with the person who does not have a given intellectual virtue.  We all know someone who is not very good at math, that is, someone for who math is difficult even though he or she might be quite skilled at many other tasks   It makes sense to say that this person doesn’t have an intellectual virtue.  Likewise, think of the person who is only able to memorize formulas.  Such a person is often very good at working through many problems with deft skill.  This person seems to be a “wiz” at geometry and algebra, quickly solving equations and proofs. 

However, this latter person might suddenly be presented with a difficult, new problem.  When we notice that he or she does not have the creative skill and insight to solve the problem, we realize that he or she does’nt have a so-called “intellectual virtue.”  This person merely has a habit—a particular skill that is helpful but does not indicate true and complete mathematical knowledge.  The person who is able to understand the mathematics and creatively apply this knowledge to solve new problems.  This person has a true intellectual virtue.  They have a particular ability for intellectual insight, able to probe the difficult domain of this topic.  This is much more noble as the mere habit of being able to balance equations and repeat facts about geometric figures!

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the passage. If the underlined portion is correct as written, choose "NO CHANGE."

Possible Answers:

not an fruit

not an intellectual virtue

not such a fruit

NO CHANGE

not an intellectual fruit

Correct answer:

not such a fruit

Explanation:

Clearly there is a parallel contrast in this sentence. There are some activities that are the fruit of intellectual virtues and there are ones that are not such a fruit. Now, you might well choose the longer version "not the fruit of a so-called intellectual virtue." This is, however, a bit wordy. The sentence is clear enough if you replace not with "not such a fruit."

Example Question #5 : Inserting Content

Ray Charles was one of the first major musical sessions artists of the 20th Century to assert total control over his recording sessions;

At this point, the writer is considering adding the following information:

"he selected musicians, arranged charts for each song, and supervised the mixing and mastering of each of his records."

Should the writer add this to the passage here?

Possible Answers:

Yes, because it explains why Ray Charles' music was so popular.

Yes, because it adds important details that support the claim made in the sentence.

No, because it makes claims that cannot be verified.

No, the added clause is grammatically incorrect.

No, because it introduces irrelevant details.

Correct answer:

Yes, because it adds important details that support the claim made in the sentence.

Explanation:

The answer choice provides three specific examples of how Ray Charles controlled the recording of his music.

No connection is made to the popularity of Ray Charles' records.

The information is relevant.

The information is factual and can be verified.

Example Question #2 : Inserting Content

The writer is considering adding the following phrase to the end of the sentence: "he appeared as the Little Tramp in over 300 films during his long career." Should the writer make this addition?

Charlie Chaplin was one of the most prolific filmmakers of the 20th Century

Possible Answers:

No, because it contradicts the claim made in the sentence.

No, because it introduces a detail that is largely irrelevant.

Yes, because it provides a specific detail that supports the claim made in the sentence.

Yes, because it explains why the Little Tramp character was so popular.

No, because the sentence given is a complete thought, not in need of support of addition.

Correct answer:

Yes, because it provides a specific detail that supports the claim made in the sentence.

Explanation:

The sentence claims that Chaplin was "prolific", thus the large number of films he made is a very relevant detail in the context of the sentence.

Example Question #7 : Inserting Content

"Lincoln as a Child" by Caleb Zimmerman (2013)

 Abraham Lincoln's forefathers were pioneers. People that left their homes to open up the wilderness and make the way clear for others to follow them. For one hundred and seventy years, ever since the first Lincoln came from England to Massachusetts in 1638, he had been moving slowly westward as new settlements were made in the forest. They faced solitude, privation, and all the dangers and hardships that beset those who take up their homes where only beasts and wild men have had homes before; but they continued to press steadily forward, though they lost fortune and sometimes even life itself in their westward progress.

Back in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, some of the Lincolns had been people of wealth and influence. In Kentucky, where the future President was born on February 12, 1809, his parents live in deep poverty. Their home was a small log cabin of the rudest kind, and nothing seemed more unlikely than that their child, coming into the world in such humble surroundings, was destined to be the greatest man of his time and true to his heritage, he also was to be a pioneer—not into new woods and unexplored fields like his ancestors, but a pioneer of a nobler and grander sort, directing the thoughts of people ever toward the right, and leading the American people, through difficulties and dangers and a mighty war, to peace and freedom.

The author wants to insert a sentence highlighting a contrast between what are currently the first and second sentences of paragraph two. Which of the following sentences best accomplishes this?

Possible Answers:

"For the parents of young Abraham, this would not be the case."

"This propensity toward wealth and power only grew as the Lincolns moved west."

"This also characterized the early life of Abraham Lincoln."

Leave the passage as it is.

Correct answer:

"For the parents of young Abraham, this would not be the case."

Explanation:

"This also characterized the early life of Abraham Lincoln and "This propensity toward wealth and power only grew as the Lincolns moved west" suggest that Abraham Lincoln’s parents were wealthy and powerful, which is incorrect and invalidated by the following sentence.

Leaving the passage as it is leaves a contrast unintroduced.

Example Question #8 : Inserting Content

“What is Leisure?”

It would likely surprise modern readers if he or she were told that the meaning of life is leisure. This seems to be the same thing as saying that the meaning of life is nothing more than relaxing by the side of the pool. One can imagine almost anyone thinking to himself, “What a preposterous idea.” This idea is not as foreign as it might appear at first glance. Indeed, it could be considered the classic Western position about the very meaning of life. 

Of course, we need to understand what is meant by the word leisure if we are going to understand this assertion. The best way to understand this is to consider a contrast between two different kinds of activity. On the one hand, there are many activities that are for the sake of something else. On the other hand, there are those activities that are done for their own sake. These latter kinds of activities are those that are properly understood as being leisurely. For example, when someone cuts onions for a meal, the cutting of the onions is not done for their own sake. The easiest way to figure out if something is being done for the sake of another end is to ask, “Why are you doing that.” The onion cutter will answer, “I am doing it so that I can make dinner.” This helps us to see that the cutting of the onions is for the sake of something else. Indeed, even the eating of dinner is for the sake of something else, namely attaining adequate nutrition.

In contrast to these examples, leisurely activities are those that are done for they’re own sake. For example, ask someone who enjoys organ music why he is listening to an organ concert. The answer will almost certainly be, “For the sake of listening to organ music. It is that important and beautiful!” Many things can be considered leisurely, including forms of games that are played merely for their own enjoyment; however, it is important to bear in mind that there is a hierarchy of goods. Some types of leisure are better than others and likely are more preferable.

After which sentence is the best place for more examples to be offered for the reader?

Possible Answers:

Indeed, even the eating of dinner is for the sake of something else, namely attaining adequate nutrition.

The answer will almost certainly be, “For the sake of listening to organ music.

These latter kinds of activities are those that are properly understood as being leisurely.

Indeed, it could be considered the classic Western position about the very meaning of life. 

Some types of leisure are better than others and likely are more preferable.

Correct answer:

Some types of leisure are better than others and likely are more preferable.

Explanation:

This whole passage ends on something of an "open note." It doesn't really close out well, explaining what the author means by "more preferable" leisure. Therefore, it would greatly help the clarity of the passage to express what is meant by this point.

Example Question #9 : Inserting Content

“Bach and German Hymnody” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

The great German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a prodigiously talented musical family. A significant number of Johann Sebastians ancestors and descendants were musicians of various levels of talent. Although he was known for music of a variety of forms, one of his most enduring legacies is the repertoire of chorale music by which he improved and solidified the world of German congregational singing.

During the period after the Protestant Reformation, a number of hymns were written for use in the common worship of the Christians of the time. The structured form of these compositions were well suited for congregational singing although they would sound strange to our contemporary ears. The harmonies and meters of these hymns are very close in character to the music with which we are familiar. However, they lack some of the standard structural elements that we take for granted in this form of organized Western music. These small differences would stand out to our sensibilities.

It was the great glory of Johann Sebastian to have harmonized a great number of these hymns, often penning multiple such harmonies. One single melody might be made by Bach into three, four, or even five different harmonic compositions. This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren. Many of these harmonies remain to this day as classic renditions of these songs. They are sung not only in the German world but in Protestant and Catholic services. Indeed they are even sung in wholly secular concerts thanks to their great beauty!

This great diffusion of one mans’ work is a testament to his prodigious talent. It also stands as a testament to the fact that Bach’s work came at a pivotal time when the Protestant hymnody was crystalizing, as well as when Western harmonies were coming into a particular expression that is known as the Baroque.

Which of the following would help to transition from the underlined and bolded sentence to the next paragraph in the text?

Possible Answers:

These works were the outcome of Protestant sensibilities and would remain the primary repertoire for Protestant hymnals for years to come.

These works were of unparalleled beauty and would stand the test of time in musical culture.

None of the other answers

These works were some of the grandest pieces written by an ecclesiastical composer during the Baroque period.

These works organically developed the existing culture of music and created a kind of universal "harmonic ear" for Western culture after Bach's time.

Correct answer:

These works organically developed the existing culture of music and created a kind of universal "harmonic ear" for Western culture after Bach's time.

Explanation:

The second paragraph of this text discusses how Bach's chorales helped to develop existing forms of music. Yes, they were different from contemporary harmony structures, but the idea is that his work did not occur "in a vacuum." The passage then goes on to discuss how these works have found universal acclaim, including outside of even religious circles. Thus, the best option is the sentence that transitions by stating, "These works organically developed the existing culture of music and created a kind of universal 'harmonic ear' for Western culture after Bach's time."

Example Question #10 : Inserting Content

“Bach and German Hymnody” by Matthew Minerd (2016)

The great German composer, Johann Sebastian Bach was a member of a prodigiously talented musical family. A significant number of Johann Sebastians ancestors and descendants were musicians of various levels of talent. Although he was known for music of a variety of forms, one of his most enduring legacies is the repertoire of chorale music by which he improved and solidified the world of German congregational singing.

During the period after the Protestant Reformation, a number of hymns were written for use in the common worship of the Christians of the time. The structured form of these compositions were well suited for congregational singing although they would sound strange to our contemporary ears. The harmonies and meters of these hymns are very close in character to the music with which we are familiar. However, they lack some of the standard structural elements that we take for granted in this form of organized Western music. These small differences would stand out to our sensibilities.

It was the great glory of Johann Sebastian to have harmonized a great number of these hymns, often penning multiple such harmonies. One single melody might be made by Bach into three, four, or even five different harmonic compositions. This amazing feat of musical prowess is no small addition to the original behest of Lutheran hymns that Bach had inherited from his fellow religious brethren. Many of these harmonies remain to this day as classic renditions of these songs. They are sung not only in the German world but in Protestant and Catholic services. Indeed they are even sung in wholly secular concerts thanks to their great beauty!

This great diffusion of one mans’ work is a testament to his prodigious talent. It also stands as a testament to the fact that Bach’s work came at a pivotal time when the Protestant hymnody was crystalizing, as well as when Western harmonies were coming into a particular expression that is known as the Baroque.

Which of the following expressions could be added at the end of the underlined and bolded selection to help clarify the sentence's meaning?

Possible Answers:

NO ADDITION NECESSARY

and in concerts

throughout the world

in German congregations

as well

Correct answer:

throughout the world

Explanation:

As written, the sentence implies that these chorales are not only used in the German-speaking world, but that they are also are used throughout the whole world, outside of German-speaking areas. The expression "as well" does not completely express this idea that they are used outside of German-speaking areas; however, "throughout the world" does. Really the sentence describes two phenomena. First of all, they are used throughout the world. In addition, they are used even in Catholic services in addition to Protestant ones. As the options stand, it is best to add "throughout the world."

(Note: there is also an error in this sentence with regard to its conjunction structure; however, that is not being discussed in this question.)

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