ACT English : Comma Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #151 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

When I retired I took up sprinting.  I ran for my university track team a D3 team don’t get too excited and performed as a top athlete in our conference.  I fell in love with running so much that I even signed up to run cross country in the fall.  Endurance is not my thing and that is part of why I am lazy.  I played soccer one season because the team needed an extra body.  I was an awful terrible soccer player but it was so much fun!  

What would make the underlined portion of the sentence correct?

Possible Answers:

 soccer player, but it was so much fun! 

 soccer player (but) it was so much fun! 

 soccer player but it was so, much fun! 

 soccer player!  But it was so much fun! 

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

 soccer player, but it was so much fun! 

Explanation:

Commas are placed before conjunctions to separate two complete thoughts in a compound sentence.  Generally, it is not a good idea to begin a sentence with a conjunction: and, but, for, or.

Example Question #11 : Comma Errors

I now ride horses and run for fun.  I am lazy however because as I mentioned before I don’t have much endurance.  I’m a sprinter through and through!  I like the pain to be over in less than 60 seconds.  I’ll run longer but I’m not usually happy about it.  For as much as I love sports I also love to sit on my couch with potato chips and watch tv too!  Generally I love athletics but I am a lazy relaxer also!

What would make the underlined portion of the passage correct?

Possible Answers:

I now ride horses and even though I run for fun

NO CHANGE

I now ride horses, and run for fun

I now ride horses and—run for fun

I now ride horses and also running for fun.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Commas are only necessary in front of conjunctions when they join two complete sentences or when they end a list of three or more words.  This sentence is short and the and only separates two things: ride and run.

Example Question #11 : Comma Errors

I now ride horses and run for fun.  I am lazy however because as I mentioned before I don’t have much endurance.  I’m a sprinter through and through!  I like the pain to be over in less than 60 seconds.  I’ll run longer but I’m not usually happy about it.  For as much as I love sports I also love to sit on my couch with potato chips and watch tv too!  Generally I love athletics but I am a lazy relaxer also!

What would make the underlined portion of the text grammatically correct?

Possible Answers:

I am lazy however because as I was mentioning

NO CHANGE

I am lazy, however - because as I mentioned 

I am lazy however because, as I mentioned 

I am lazy, however, because as I mentioned 

Correct answer:

I am lazy, however, because as I mentioned 

Explanation:

When there are additives to a sentence, they must be surrounded by commas and separated from the main sentence. "However" here is an effective transition from one idea to the next, but it is not essential to the sentence itself; therefore, it must be surrounded on both sides by commas.

Example Question #11 : Comma Errors

I now ride horses and run for fun.  I am lazy however because as I mentioned before I don’t have much endurance.  I’m a sprinter through and through!  I like the pain to be over in less than 60 seconds.  I’ll run longer but I’m not usually happy about it.  For as much as I love sports I also love to sit on my couch with potato chips and watch tv too!  Generally I love athletics but I am a lazy relaxer also!

What would make the underlined portion of the text grammatically correct?

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

For, as much as I love sports I also

For as much as I love sports, I also

For, as much as, I love sports I also

none of the other answers

Correct answer:

For as much as I love sports, I also

Explanation:

"For as much as I love sports" is a dependent clause that begins the sentence. It cannot stand alone as a sentence, but the rest of the sentence can stand alone.  Dependent clauses must be separated from other parts of the sentence by one comma.

Example Question #11 : Comma Errors

Make any necessary changes to the underlined word or phrase in the sentence.

When I finished writing the essay I packed my bag and headed home.

Possible Answers:

essay, I

essay, then I

essay and I

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

essay, I

Explanation:

There needs to be a comma after the first clause, “When I finished writing the essay,” to separate it from the second action (which comprises the second clause), “I packed my bag and headed home.”

Example Question #12 : Comma Errors

Make any necessary changes to the underlined word or phrase in the sentence.

Our dance teacher finally arrived; and she told us we were learning a new hip-hop number that day.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

arrived, and

arrive however

arrived, next

Correct answer:

arrived, and

Explanation:

The first clause requires a comma before the conjunction “and” in order to be grammatically correct. 

Example Question #11 : Comma Errors

The Channel Tunnel, commonly known as the Chunnel, is an underwater tunnel that connects England and France.

Possible Answers:

Tunnel commonly

 

 

NO CHANGE

Tunnel; commonly

Tunnel. Commonly

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

The phrase "commonly known as the Chunnel" is a nonrestrictive clause because it is not required for the sentence to make sense grammatically. Nonrestrictive clauses usually appear between commas or dashes.

Example Question #12 : Comma Errors

In 1990, the two sides of the service tunnel met; one year later, the northern and southern tunnels met. And in 1993, the first test run was completed. Finally, in 1994, the tunnel opened.

Possible Answers:

met up and

met, and

met and

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

met, and

Explanation:

When two independent clauses are connected using a coordinating conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so), a comma must precede the conjunction. Independent clauses are clauses that have a subject and predicate and can therefore stand on their own. Although informal writing may begin a sentence with a coordinating conjunction, this is not acceptable in formal writing such as the essays found on the ACT. Thus, the original version of the underlined portion is not acceptable.

Example Question #13 : Comma Errors

After the discovery of gold in California settlers began traveling west in search of fortune.

Possible Answers:

California; settlers

NO CHANGE

California: settlers

California, settlers

Correct answer:

California, settlers

Explanation:

"After the discovery of gold in California" is a dependent clause because it cannot stand on its own. Dependent clauses need to be connected to independent clauses with a comma. "Settlers began traveling west in search of fortune" is an independent clause because it can stand on its own. Dependent clauses cannot be connected to independent clauses with a colon or semicolon.

Example Question #13 : Comma Errors

Then, during the winter of 1860, William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell, and Alexander Majors designed the Pony Express.

Possible Answers:

William H. Russell William Bradford Waddell, and Alexander Majors

NO CHANGE

William H. Russell.  William Bradford Waddell. And Alexander Majors

William H. Russell William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Items in a list must be separated by commas. In this case, the list contains three names.

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