ACT English : Comma Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #225 : Punctuation Errors

The ship was having trouble again. Engineer James Ferguson couldn't figure out why the super-duper drive engine kept breaching. Every time he had fixed it, something seemed to go wrong again. He had a capable crew and he was friendly with all of them: but the aliens who had evolved from deer rather than from apes as humans hadhad some problems when it came to fixing things. Their strong arms ended in tiny predicative hooves that sometimes makes it difficult for them to hold large objects. They were good at problem-solving though and he did like them a lot. The nearest one gave him a dough-eyed look of sympathy—appropriate, given her gender. He looked back at the breaching drive engine and sighed. "Once more into the breach, deer friends" he announced.

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

Possible Answers:

them

NO CHANGE

them, 

them; 

Correct answer:

them, 

Explanation:

Again, there are two complete sentences joined by a conjunction ("but"), so inserting a comma immediately before this conjunction (after "them") would be the grammatically correct choice.

Example Question #226 : Punctuation Errors

The ship was having trouble again. Engineer James Ferguson couldn't figure out why the super-duper drive engine kept breaching. Every time he had fixed it, something seemed to go wrong again. He had a capable crew and he was friendly with all of them: but the aliens who had evolved from deer rather than from apes as humans hadhad some problems when it came to fixing things. Their strong arms ended in tiny predicative hooves that sometimes makes it difficult for them to hold large objects. They were good at problem-solving though and he did like them a lot. The nearest one gave him a dough-eyed look of sympathy—appropriate, given her gender. He looked back at the breaching drive engine and sighed. "Once more into the breach, deer friends" he announced.

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

Possible Answers:

deer: rather than from apes as humans had

deer, rather than from apes as humans had

deer; rather than from apes as humans had

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

deer, rather than from apes as humans had

Explanation:

Here, the comma functions to introduce and set off additional information in the sentence. Anything set apart from the main sentence by commas should be able to be removed without damaging the sentence grammatically or changing its meaning.

Example Question #111 : Comma Errors

The ship was having trouble again. Engineer James Ferguson couldn't figure out why the super-duper drive engine kept breaching. Every time he had fixed it, something seemed to go wrong again. He had a capable crew and he was friendly with all of them: but the aliens who had evolved from deer rather than from apes as humans hadhad some problems when it came to fixing things. Their strong arms ended in tiny predicative hooves that sometimes makes it difficult for them to hold large objects. They were good at problem-solving though and he did like them a lot. The nearest one gave him a dough-eyed look of sympathy—appropriate, given her gender. He looked back at the breaching drive engine and sighed. "Once more into the breach, deer friends" he announced.

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

Possible Answers:

problem-solving, though and

problem-solving, though, and

NO CHANGE

problem-solving though, and

Correct answer:

problem-solving, though, and

Explanation:

The word "though" can easily be removed from the sentence without damaging it grammatically, so it should be set off in commas.

Example Question #112 : Comma Errors

The ship was having trouble again. Engineer James Ferguson couldn't figure out why the super-duper drive engine kept breaching. Every time he had fixed it, something seemed to go wrong again. He had a capable crew and he was friendly with all of them: but the aliens who had evolved from deer rather than from apes as humans hadhad some problems when it came to fixing things. Their strong arms ended in tiny predicative hooves that sometimes makes it difficult for them to hold large objects. They were good at problem-solving though and he did like them a lot. The nearest one gave him a dough-eyed look of sympathy—appropriate, given her gender. He looked back at the breaching drive engine and sighed. "Once more into the breach, deer friends" he announced.

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

Possible Answers:

engine;

engine:

NO CHANGE

engine, 

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "and sighed" is still part of the same verb phrase that begins with "looked back" and thus needs no punctuation to separate it.

Example Question #111 : Comma Errors

The ship was having trouble again. Engineer James Ferguson couldn't figure out why the super-duper drive engine kept breaching. Every time he had fixed it, something seemed to go wrong again. He had a capable crew and he was friendly with all of them: but the aliens who had evolved from deer rather than from apes as humans hadhad some problems when it came to fixing things. Their strong arms ended in tiny predicative hooves that sometimes makes it difficult for them to hold large objects. They were good at problem-solving though and he did like them a lot. The nearest one gave him a dough-eyed look of sympathy—appropriate, given her gender. He looked back at the breaching drive engine and sighed. "Once more into the breach, deer friends" he announced.

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

Possible Answers:

friends."

friends,"

friends",

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

friends,"

Explanation:

The sentence does not end with the end of the quotation, and thus a comma inside the quotation marks is needed to signal the attribution phrase "he announced" that follows it.

Example Question #114 : Comma Errors

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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

Possible Answers:

Mitchell, the writer,

Mitchell the writer,

NO CHANGE

Mitchell, the writer

Correct answer:

Mitchell, the writer,

Explanation:

The phrase "the writer" acts an an appositive, a phrase that gives extra information by renaming the noun that it follows. Here, that noun is "Margaret Mitchell." Appositives that provide non-necessary information in a sentence need to be set off from the sentence by commas, so this phrase should be set off by commas.

Example Question #261 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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

Possible Answers:

dank, dusty,

dank dusty,

NO CHANGE

dank, dusty

Correct answer:

dank, dusty

Explanation:

Since the word "and" could be inserted between "dank" and "dusty" without making the sentence sound awkward, a comma should be used between these two coordinating adjectives.

Example Question #262 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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

Possible Answers:

basement; and

basement, and 

basement: and

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

basement, and 

Explanation:

Compound sentences can be joined by either a semicolon or a comma followed by a conjunction. The conjunction "and" joins the two independent clauses here, so a comma is needed. Note that the option "basement; and" is incorrect because it draws from both of these methods but doesn't use either correctly.

Example Question #263 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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

Possible Answers:

Then, just as suddenly

NO CHANGE

Then, just as suddenly,

Then just as suddenly,

Correct answer:

Then, just as suddenly,

Explanation:

The phrase "just as suddenly" is extra information that can be removed without changing the meaning of the sentence or creating grammatical errors, so "just as suddenly" should be set off in commas.

Example Question #264 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

Margaret Mitchell the writer was having a horrible day. She just completed her latest novel when the tornado sirens went off. Fast, she rushed down into the basement, barricaded the door, and she sat in a corner of the dank dusty room to wait for the storm to pass. The winds howled noisy and increased in intensity until it sounded like the tornado was right above her. Suddenly, a gigantic bang echoed throughout the basement and Margaret dropped to the floor in terror. Then just as suddenly the noise vanished. Margaret got up and dusted her off before moving hesitantly toward the basement door. She opened it, and found the house above her was completely gone. Despite the horror of the site, she sighed and muttered, "Oh, well." A neighbor came running up to her and said, "Margaret! Thank goodness your alive! But what happened to your house, and what about your new book?" Margaret gave a rueful smile and replied, "Oh, that's Gone With The Wind."

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

Possible Answers:

it: and

NO CHANGE

it and

it; and

Correct answer:

it and

Explanation:

Since what follows the conjunction "and" is not a complete sentence, neither a comma nor any other form of punctuation is needed.

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