ACT English : Preposition Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : Correcting Preposition 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 night grew so cold that all the campers were shivering although a raging fire.

Possible Answers:

even though a raging fire.

from a raging fire.

although a raging fire.

through a raging fire.

despite a raging fire.

Correct answer:

despite a raging fire.

Explanation:

The use of "although" in the last part of the sentence is confusing and awkward. A different preposition can more clearly indicate the fact the campers "were shivering" while a fire was "raging," which should warm them. The best answer choice to do this is "despite a raging fire."

Example Question #3 : Correcting Preposition 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 repeats the underlined portion as it is written.

That author's most recent novel is based on the Civil War in Spain, but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Possible Answers:

but on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions. 

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

but, on a deeper level many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

but on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest on Spanish social conventions.

Correct answer:

but, on a deeper level, many perceive the book as a protest against Spanish social conventions.

Explanation:

The fragment “on a deeper level” must have a comma before and after it because it interrupts the second clause of the sentence. Also, the word “protest” must be paired with the preposition “against.” 

Example Question #1 : Preposition Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined section of the sentence below:

The dog was above his owners, sitting in the roof of the car.  

Possible Answers:

sitting for the

sitting on the

no change

sitting by the

sitting under

Correct answer:

sitting on the

Explanation:

The best answer is sitting on the roof of the car, because one does not sit in a roof, one sits on it. The other answers either fail to correct the error, or change the meaning of the sentence unnecessarily.

Example Question #2 : Preposition Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence below:

 

I lived in Chicago during 2008–2012

Possible Answers:

during 2008 to 2012

no change

between 2008 and 2012

between 2008 to 2012

during 2008 and 2012

Correct answer:

between 2008 and 2012

Explanation:

When two specific dates are used, the proper construction is to use the word between, followed by the conjunction, "and," between the particular years; therefore, the best way to phrase the bolded section of the sentence is "between 2008 and 2012."

Example Question #3 : Preposition Errors

Choose the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence below:

The weapons of the German soldiers were superior than the weapons of their enemies.

Possible Answers:

superior to 

superior of

no change

superior from

inferior than

Correct answer:

superior to 

Explanation:

For comparative adjectives like superior and inferior, you always need to follow the adjective with the preposition to; therefore, the best answer to this question is "superior to." 

Example Question #4 : Preposition Errors

I know that Marcella cares with me; she's always kind and aware of what I need.

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

Possible Answers:

on

over

NO CHANGE

for

Correct answer:

for

Explanation:

In this sentence, the correct preposition to use is "for" or "about." "About" is not a possible answer; therefore, "for" is the best possible choice.

Example Question #5 : Preposition Errors

You must travel by boat or by plane to reach the island—the bridge is out.

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

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

for

in

by the

on

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

If there is no article, (i.e. "a," "an," or "the"), you may say that you travel "by" a particular mode of transportation. As there is no article preceding the modes of transportation listed in the sentence, the correct preposition here is "by." Therefore, the best answer is "NO CHANGE."

Example Question #6 : Preposition Errors

After the car nearly struck him, Jimmy trembled for fear.

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

Possible Answers:

on

under

with

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

with

Explanation:

"Trembled for fear" is perhaps technically correct, but it is a touch archaic, and not the best way to phrase the idea being expressed. "Trembled with fear," on the other hand, is a common expression still in regular use. "With" is therefore the best correct preposition to use in this instance, and is the best answer to this question.

Example Question #7 : Preposition Errors

Alex came in last; his total time raced was just over fifteen minutes.

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

Possible Answers:

on

NO CHANGE

with

in

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Here, the author of the sentence is clearly trying to express that the runner in question ran the race in a time that is slightly longer than fifteen minutes. The optimal way to express this in context is to say, "his total time raced was just over fifteen minutes," because the word "over" is a preposition that conveys this fact clearly. The best answer is "NO CHANGE."

Example Question #8 : Preposition Errors

Claire had to wash her clothes very carefully on a special solution to get all of the stains out.

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

Possible Answers:

with

NO CHANGE

under

through

Correct answer:

with

Explanation:

"With" is the correct preposition to use whenever an instrument with which something is being done is in the sentence. In this case, "special solution" is just such an instrument; therefore, the best answer for this sentence is "with."

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