ACT English : Appositive Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

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Example Question #11 : Appositive Errors

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

This is what the CEO of Tiny i Appetizers William Montegue had to say to his investors.

Possible Answers:

This is what CEO William Montegue's Tiny i Apps had to say to his investors.

This is what William Montegue, CEO of Tiny i Appetizers, had to say to his investors.

NO CHANGE

This is what CEO of William Montegue's Tiny i Apps had to say to his investors.

This is what the CEO of William Montegue and Tiny i Apps had to say to his investors.

Correct answer:

This is what William Montegue, CEO of Tiny i Appetizers, had to say to his investors.

Explanation:

The descriptive information in the original sentence is best set off as an appositive describing the agent of action, namely William Montegue. Placing his title, etc., between commas as an appositive allows for greater clarity. Appositives are words or phrases (often proper nouns) that modify or rename the subject of a sentence.

Example Question #11 : Appositive And Interrupting Phrase Errors

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

Rachel mustered up the courage to ask Davis, the most popular boy in school, to prom.

Possible Answers:

Rachel mustered up the courage to ask Davis the most popular boy in school to prom.

Rachel mustered up the courage to ask Davis: the most popular boy in school, to prom.

NO CHANGE

Rachel mustered up the courage to ask Davis, the most popular boy in school to prom.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

This sentence is correct as written. Appositives follow the noun they describe and are separated out by commas. There is no reason the other nouns cannot have appositives, though it is not necessary and will likely lead to the sentence being clunky and awkward.

Example Question #11 : Appositive And Interrupting Phrase Errors

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

The boy, a new addition to the classroom proved to be quite the disruption to the class that had previously sailed smoothly.

Possible Answers:

The boy, who was a new addition to the classroom proved to be quite the disruption

NO CHANGE

The boy, a new addition to the classroom, proved to be quite the disruption

The boy a new addition to the classroom proved to be quite the disruption

The boy a new addition to the classroom, proved to be quite the disruption

Correct answer:

The boy, a new addition to the classroom, proved to be quite the disruption

Explanation:

Appositives, which rename a noun, should usually be offset by two commas when in the middle of a sentence. Here, "a new addition to the classroom" renames "the boy" and should be enclosed within commas.

Example Question #12 : Appositive And Interrupting Phrase Errors

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

Sandra chose mint chocolate chip ice cream, the restaurant's newest flavor for dessert.

Possible Answers:

mint chocolate chip ice cream the restaurant's newest flavor for dessert.

mint chocolate chip, ice cream the restaurant's newest flavor for dessert.

NO CHANGE

mint chocolate chip ice cream, the restaurant's newest flavor, for dessert.

mint chocolate chip ice cream the restaurant's newest flavor, for dessert.

Correct answer:

mint chocolate chip ice cream, the restaurant's newest flavor, for dessert.

Explanation:

This question asks you to correct the punctuation surrounding an appositive phrase. An appositive phrase is a phrase that describes something already introduced in the sentence. In this case, the appositive phrase "the restaurant's newest flavor" describes the "mint chocolate chip ice cream" that has been previously introduced. Appositive phrases should almost always be surrounded by commas on either side.

Example Question #14 : Appositive Errors

The senator who was more popular in other states gave a rousing speech to a nearly empty auditorium in Ohio. It was truly a depressing spectacle, and one that spoke to the factious, partisan nature of party politics in this century. In the corner of the room, a small, sharp-eyed woman made a discrete check mark in a notebook, then she quietly exited the room. One had to wonder, not what she wrote, but what she knew.

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

senator, who was more popular in other states, gave

senator who was more popular in other states, gave

senator, who was more popular in other states gave

senator who was more popular, in other states, gave

Correct answer:

senator, who was more popular in other states, gave

Explanation:

This sentence asks you to correctly punctuate an interrupting clause. The clause "who was more popular in other states" is a parenthetical element, which means it could be removed from the sentence without changing its meaning. A parenthetical element should be surrounded on either side by commas. 

Example Question #13 : Appositive And Interrupting Phrase Errors

“John Adams—A Forgotten American Founder”

Sadly, the great exploits of important [46] men and women is often forgotten in the mists of history. The myths and historical tales of a nation can lead the people to forget [47] some of their most important founders and national heroes. In the United States of America, this kind of forgetfulness has occurred in the case of the Founding Father, John Adams. For a number of reasons, President Adams [48] had been forgotten. Recounting the [49] tales of the nations’ founding, many remember figures like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin. [50] However, during those early years of the republic, Adams was a pivotal figure in assuring independence to the burgeoning nation.

[51] During the debates concerning the Declaration of Independence, Adams was something of a “chief orator,” tirelessly attempting to convince the gathered parties of the importance of declaring independence from England. [52] Adams a temperamental and passionate man, was the perfect person to fill such a role. In contrast to the judicious Franklin and the controlled and quiet Jefferson, he was fit for performing such oratorical shows and bombasts. [53] Although he joined Jefferson and Franklin on the drafting committee for the declaration, his most important work during this time was arguably this long project of oratory.

[54] In addition, many forget the lonely years Adams spent as a minister to France and as the first minister to England. What a difficult affair such posts would have been at the time. [55] As the minister to France, what weight could he have had with the court of such an old European nation? Furthermore, Adams [56] was not temperamentally [57] suited for French courtly customs being a stern and somewhat moralistic man. [58] Then, to be sent to England—how difficult that must have been. As the minister on behalf of a once-rebel nation, how could he stand before the Court of King James? Nevertheless, Adams served his [59] post nobly and deserves great recognition for this devoted service to his young nation.

Choose the answer that best corrects section [52].

Possible Answers:

Adams a temperamental and passionate man was the perfect person to fill such a role.

Adams, a temperamental and passionate man, was the perfect person to fill such a role.

Adams a temperamental and passionate man, had been the perfect person to fill such a role.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

Adams, a temperamental and passionate man, was the perfect person to fill such a role.

Explanation:

In this sentence, "Adams" is in apposition to "a temperamental and passionate man." These two words refer to the same "thing" (to the same person, that is—John Adams). Whenever you have an apposition like this, you need to surround the second expression (or word if it is only a word) with commas. As written, the first comma (directly after Adams) is missing.

Example Question #15 : Appositive Errors

Adapted from Westward Ho! by Charles Kingsley (1855)

Not that Lucy ever proceeded to any such fearful extremities. On the contrary, her boast, and her belief too, was, that she was sent into the world to make poor souls as happy as she could, by lawful means, of course, if possible, but if not—why, unlawful ones were better than none; for she "couldn't a-bear to see the poor creatures taking on; she was too, too tender-hearted." And so she was, to everyone but her husband, a tall, rabbit-faced man, a good deal older than herself.

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:

And so she was, to everyone except for her husband; a tall rabbit-faced man a good deal older than herself.

And so she was, to everyone but her husband being a tall rabbit-faced man a good deal older than herself.

And so she was, to everyone but her husband, a tall, rabbit-faced man, a good deal older than herself.

And so she was, to everyone except for her husband, a good deal older than herself, a tall rabbit-faced man.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

And so she was, to everyone but her husband, a tall, rabbit-faced man, a good deal older than herself.

Explanation:

The phrase "a tall, rabbit-faced man" is an appositive phrase, which contains an appositive (a noun that explains or identifies a previous noun) as well as a few modifiers (the adjectives). The appositive must always appear after the word that it identifies. Also, the appositive phrase must be surrounded by two commas. Also, a comma must be placed between the coordinate adjectives "tall" and "rabbit-faced." A colon is inappropriate here. 

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