ACT English : Other Conjunction Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Question #1 : Other Conjunction Errors

Adapted from “The Fisherman and His Wife" in German Fairy Tales and Popular Stories by Jacob Grimm and Wilhelm Grimm (trans. Taylor, ed. 1864)

The next morning, when Dame Ilsabill had awoke, it was broad daylight, and she jogged her husband, the fisherman, with her elbow, and said, "Get up husband and bestir yourself, for we must be king of all the land."

"Wife, wife," said the man, “why should we wish to be king? I will not be king."

"Then I will," said she.

"But, wife," said the fisherman, "how can you be king? The fish cannot make you a king."

“Husband," said she, "say no more about it; instead, go and try! I will be king." So the man went away quite sorrowful to think that his wife should want to be king. This time, the sea looked a dark gray color, and was overspread with curling waves and ridges of foam as he cried out, “O man of the sea! Hearken to me! My wife Ilsabill will have her own will, and hath sent me to beg a boon of thee!"

"Well, what would she have now," said the fish?

"Alas!" said the poor man, 'my wife wants to be king."

"Go home," said the fish, “for she is king already."

Then, the fisherman had went home. As he came close to the palace he saw a troop of soldiers, and heard the sound of drums and trumpets. When he went in, he saw his wife sitting on a high throne of gold and diamonds, with a golden crown upon her head. On each side of she stood six fair maidens, each a head taller than the other. 

Which is the best form of the underlined selection?

Possible Answers:

king," so, 

king." Therefore, 

NO CHANGE

king." Next, 

Correct answer:

king." Therefore, 

Explanation:

Since "so" is better used as an explicit conjunction (at least in the usage here), it would be better to clarify the relationship between the two sentences by introducing the latter with the meaning implied by the "so." The idea is that that the man's later actions were a consequence of his wife's words. However, this action is somewhat independent from his wife's remarks. It is not akin to saying: "She said these things so that he would leave . . ." To make this clear, it is best to leave these in two separate sentences, replacing "so" with "therefore." It was for that reason that the husband chose to leave. This keeps the thoughts separate and remedies the somewhat ambiguous use of "so."

Example Question #2 : Other Conjunction Errors

Adapted from "The Weakness, Unrest, and Defects of Man," from The Thoughts of Blaise Pascal (ed. 1901)

We care nothing for the present. We anticipate the future as too slow in coming, as if we could make it move faster; or we call back the past, to stop its rapid flight. So imprudent are we that we wander through the times in which we have no part, unthinking of that which alone is ours; so frivolous are we that we dream of the days which are not and pass by without reflection those which alone exist. For the days of the present generally gives us pain; we conceal it from our sight because it afflicts us, and if it be pleasant, we regret to see it vanish away. We endeavor to sustain the present by the future, and think of arranging things not in our power, for a time at which we have no certainty of arriving.

If we examine our thoughts, we shall find them always occupied with the past or the future. We scarcely think of the present, and if we do so, it is only that we may borrow light from it to direct the future. The present is never our end; the past and the present are our means, the future alone is our end. Thus we never live, but hope to live, and while we always lay ourselves out to be happy, it is inevitable that we can never be so.

Which of the following is the best form of the bolded selection, “not in our power. . .”?

Possible Answers:

not in our power for a time at which

not in our power, for a time at which

not in our power—for a time at which

not in our power; for a time at which

Correct answer:

not in our power for a time at which

Explanation:

The word "for" is being used as a preposition in this sentence, not as a conjunction. The comma might confuse the reader into thinking this is "for" is a conjunction. (This is doubly distracting, as it would also mean that the sentence is just a long string of compounded independent clauses. This would likely make the reader "stumble" in confusion as well.)

Example Question #3 : Other Conjunction Errors

Select the correct form of the underlined portion of the sentence. If it is correct as it is, select "NO CHANGE."

At the grocery store, I bought kale, salsa, strawberries, and then I impulsively added chocolate bars.

Possible Answers:

salsa, strawberries, impulsively added chocolate bars.

NO CHANGE

salsa, and strawberries, I impulsively added chocolate bars.

salsa, strawberries, chocolate bars.

salsa, and strawberries, and then I impulsively added chocolate bars.

Correct answer:

salsa, and strawberries, and then I impulsively added chocolate bars.

Explanation:

"I impulsively added chocolate bars" is an independent clause introduced by "and then," which correctly follows a comma; however, the first independent clause is not correctly formatted in the original sentence. Consider it alone: "At the grocery store, I bought kale, salsa, strawberries." An "and" needs to follow the comma after "salsa" for the sentence to be grammatically correct.

Example Question #4 : Other Conjunction Errors

Select the correct form of the underlined portion of the sentence. If it is correct as it is, select "NO CHANGE."

Alyssa and Jordan returned from their travels abroad with a new pen pal, a friend who they met shortly after arriving at their hostel.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

whom met them

whom they met

they met him

which they met

Correct answer:

whom they met

Explanation:

The personal pronoun "who" is an object of the verb "met," so it needs to be in its objective form, "whom," not its subjective form, "who." You would say "they met him," ("him" being an objective personal pronoun) not "they met he," ("he" being a subjective personal pronoun), so use "whom" instead of "who."

Example Question #1811 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English. One of the answer choices reproduces the underlined portion as it is written in the sentence.

The last time it snowed, that was in February, my dad lost control of his car and hit a tree.

Possible Answers:

snowed, February was the month,

was snowing, that was in February,

snowed, it was in February,

snowed, which was in February,

snows, that was in February,

Correct answer:

snowed, which was in February,

Explanation:

This is a case in which we need to decide whether to use the word "which" or "that" to introduce the clause set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. "That" is used to introduce information absolutely necessary to the sentence's meaning, whereas "which" is used to introduce information that would not change the sentence's meaning if it were removed from the sentence. Information that is not crucial to the sentence's meaning is usually set apart by commas.

In this case, the sentence "The last time it snowed, my dad lost control of his car and hit a tree" still makes sense, so we know that the information included between the commas isn't absolutely necessary to the sentence's meaning. Plus, the information in question is being set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas. So, we should use "which," and not "that."

Example Question #5 : Other Conjunction Errors

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

She always brought multiple items when she went shopping, but it was rare for her to come home without bags full of dresses, blouses, pants, and shoes.

Possible Answers:

so

nor

since

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

so

Explanation:

"But" doesn't make sense in this sentence, because it implies that the second part of the sentence contradicts the first, which it does not. "Nor" cannot be used as a conjunction by itself without the corresponding word "neither," and does not make grammatical sense in this context. "Since" implies that the second statement explains the first one, which isn't the case here. The best answer is "so," which implies that the second statement is explained by the first, which it is: since she always bought many things, it would be rare for her to come home without many things.

Example Question #6 : Other Conjunction 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 will graduate in May, and I have already started working at a company; since, I do not know if I will still be working at the same company in May.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

however

next

therefore

Correct answer:

however

Explanation:

"Since" does not make any sense in the sentence as it is written, but "however" makes sense, because it emphasizes a point that disrupts what was stated in the first clause, in this case, an assumption that the speaker would still be working at the company at which they are currently working.

Example Question #918 : Improving Sentences

Replace the underlined portion with the answer choice that results in a sentence that is clear, precise, and meets the requirements of standard written English.

The weather forecast predicted snow for today, and it is raining.

Possible Answers:

predicted snow for today, and it is

predicted snow, for today and it is

predicted snow around today, and it is 

predicted snow for today, but it is

predicted it to be snowing today, and it is

Correct answer:

predicted snow for today, but it is

Explanation:

Because the second independent clause contradicts the first in this compound sentence it is more correct to separate the two with the conjunction "but," not "and."

Example Question #7 : Other Conjunction Errors

For decades large American corporations have outsourced (1) its workers, (2) especially in the manufacturing realm, in order to save money that could be spent paying American workers for the same job. Workers in foreign countries, especially those that contain a highly populated urban population as in Eastern Asia, are willing to work much longer hours for far less money than American workers. In addition,these foreign workers are not protected by as many labor laws.  If a company’s primary desire is to maximize profit, (3) so outsourcing jobs is the most obvious and convenient solution. That is, until stories of unfair labor practices (4) begin circulating. Technological advancements in mass media communication (5) having been able to facilitate the process of raising awareness of important issues, including violation of basic human rights in the workplace.

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

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

it's workers

America's workers

their workers

Correct answer:

their workers

Explanation:

The subject of this sentence is "corporations," which is plural; therefore, "their" is the only possible answer that maintains possession while still indicating that the subject is plural, not singular.

Example Question #8 : Other Conjunction Errors

Second language acquisition has already been positively correlated to increased cognitive flexibility (1): what has yet to be investigated is the correlation between cultural literacy—as a potential result of second language acquisition—and the facilitation of social relationships on the individual and community levels, academic and career success, and personal cultural enrichment. Cultural literacy may be (2) viewed as a deepest sense of foreign language study, as it encompasses all facets of culture rather than just language. If these positive correlations are accurately established (3) , the United State's education system and (4) its lack of priority given to foreign language studies must be reevaluated. Vastly extending foreign language requirements would allow individuals not only the obvious benefit of communicating in more than one language, (5) but also from greater academic success in high school, college, and the workplace, as well as less multicultural tension in social and professional arenas. (6) As the global market continues to be vital to the economic prosperity of nations, and immigration trends change their cultural make-up, (7) both linguistic and cultural understanding and awareness is essential.

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

Possible Answers:

and also

but also 

but also of

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

but also of

Explanation:

Parallelism between "not only" and "but also" is required. One cannot say "not only...and." Additionally, the preposition in "the benefit OF communicating" must be parallel to the benefit "OF greater academic success."

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