ACT English : Modifier-Word Modified Countability Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

Adapted from The Life of Christopher Columbus by Edward Everett Hale (1891 G. L. Howe and Co. ed.)

Santa Fe was half camp, half city. It had been built in what is called the Vega, the great fruitful plain which extends for much miles to the westward of Grenada. The court and army were here as they pressed their attack on that city. Perez de Marchena had ready access to Queen Isabella, and pressed his suit well. He was supported by one of her favorites, the Marquesa de Moya. In reply to their solicitations, she asked that Columbus should return to her, and ordered that twenty thousand maravedis should be sent to him for his traveling expenses.This sum was immediately sent by Perez to his friend. Columbus bought a mule, exchanged his worn clothes for better ones, and started, as he was bidden, for the camp.

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:

NO CHANGE.

a great deal of 

many

mostly

a large amount of

Correct answer:

many

Explanation:

This question requires the reader to fix the modifier of the noun "miles." Miles are countable; therefore, the quantifying modifier must also be appropriate for countable nouns. The only quantifier that can be used with countable nouns here is "many."  "Mostly" is an adverb and is ungrammatical.

Example Question #2 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

Joana attributed any of her interest in animals to a free-wheeling childhood spent on her grandparents' farm.

Possible Answers:

few

NO CHANGE

several

much

many 

Correct answer:

much

Explanation:

This question requires the reader to choose the modifier of the word "interest." Interest is NOT a countable noun, therefore we must use a quantifying modifier that is appropriate for uncountable nouns. From the option choices, "much" is the only appropriate uncountable modifier. 

Example Question #3 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

Without a great number of guidance, Michael was able to put the crib together himself. 

Possible Answers:

numerous

many

NO CHANGE

much

fewer

Correct answer:

much

Explanation:

This question requires the reader to find a quantifying modifier that correctly quantifies the noun "guidance." "Guidance" is uncountable, therefore the countable modifier a "a great number of" is incorrect, and should be replaced with the countable modifier "much."

Example Question #4 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

I ordered four coffee at the counter before picking out a muffin. 

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

I ordered many coffee

I ordered a few cups coffee

I ordered several coffee

I ordered four cups of coffee

Correct answer:

I ordered four cups of coffee

Explanation:

"Coffee" is a substance, which is usually considered uncountable ("coffee keeps me up all night"), but "coffee" can also be used countably if paired with a measurement. In this case,"cups" works to make coffee countable.

Example Question #5 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

The farmer's market attracts all sorts of customers every week, including regulars as well as newcomers. By now, I know a great deal of their faces, but I'm terrible at recalling their names.

Possible Answers:

many of

a little of

none of

NO CHANGE. 

a great amount of

Correct answer:

many of

Explanation:

This questions requires the reader decide whether the quantifying modifier "a great deal of" is properly used to modify "faces." Faces can be counted, therefore we must choose an alternative that is a countable modifier. The only possible options would be "many of" or "none of" for that reason. "None of" can be used for countable or uncountable nouns. Between these two, only "many of" works in the context of this passage. 

Example Question #6 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

Are there a bit of cupcakes on the counter for the birthday party? We are expecting 35 guests and I want to make sure everyone gets one.

Possible Answers:

enough

more of

little

NO CHANGE

much

Correct answer:

enough

Explanation:

"Cupcakes" are countable, therefore an uncountable modifier (i.e. a little, a bit, a great amount of, a great deal of) cannot be used. "Enough" can be used with both countable and uncountable nouns, and is the most appropriate option to replace the underlined portion.

Example Question #7 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

There are a large amount of theories that try to explain both the history and the fate of the universe. However, they will remain as theories until technology allows for the collection of more data.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

a little bit of

a huge amount of

a great deal of

several

Correct answer:

several

Explanation:

"Theories" are countable, therefore "several" is the best answer. "A large amount of" is used for uncountable nouns, and therefore is not an acceptable alternative. 

Example Question #8 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

Dr. Brown spent many hours hunched over bee hives, watching the insects leave and return to their nest.

Possible Answers:

little

large 

plenty

NO CHANGE

much

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

This question requires the reader to choose the modifier of the word "hours." "Hours" is a plural, countable noun, therefore we must use a quantifying modifier that is appropriate for countable nouns. From the option choices, "many" is the only appropriate countable modifier. "Plenty" can also be used to modify countable nouns; however, it must be paired with the word "of" to be appropriate. 

Example Question #9 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

I can think of much reasons to bake this afternoon, although I am out of flour. 

Possible Answers:

some

greater

less

often

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

some

Explanation:

"Reasons" is countable, but the example sentence uses the uncountable modifier "much." The only countable modifier provided is "some."

Example Question #10 : Modifier Word Modified Countability Errors

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

Abruptly, Mrs. Soble addressed her class, "Everyone, please take out a bit of pieces of paper for the impromptu dictation."

Possible Answers:

few

some

NO CHANGE

less

more

Correct answer:

some

Explanation:

This question requires the reader to find an countable modifier that correctly quantifies the noun "pieces," since "pieces" is, indeed, a countable noun. "Some" can be used for countable and uncountable nouns, and is the correct answer in this case. 

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