ACT English : Comma Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #865 : Act English

Passage adapted from Around the World in Eighty Days (1873) by Jules Verne

At half-past eleven, then, Passepartout found himself alone in the house in Saville Row. He begun its inspection without delay, scouring it from cellar to garret. So clean well-arranged solemn a mansion pleased him; it seemed to him like a snail's shell, lighted and warmed by gas, which sufficed for both these purposes. When Passepartout reached the second story he recognised at once the room which he was to inhabit, and he was well satisfied with it. Electric bells and speaking-tubes afforded communication with the lower stories; while on the mantel stood an electric clock, precisely like that in Mr. Fogg's bedchamber, both beating the same second at the same instant. "That's good, that'll do," said Passepartout to himself.

He suddenly observed, hung over the clock, a card which, upon inspection, proved to be a programme of the daily routine of the house. It comprised all that was required of the servant, from eight in the morning, exactly at which hour Phileas Fogg rose, till half-past eleven, when he left the house for the Reform Club--all the details of service, the tea and toast at twenty-three minutes past eight, the shaving-water at thirty-seven minutes past nine, and the toilet at twenty minutes before ten. Everything was regulated and foreseen that was to be done from half-past eleven a.m. till midnight, the hour at which the methodical gentleman retired.

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:

So clean, well-arranged solemn a mansion pleased him;

So clean well-arranged, solemn a mansion pleased him;

So clean, and well-arranged, and solemn a mansion pleased him;

NO CHANGE

So clean, well-arranged, solemn a mansion pleased him;

Correct answer:

So clean, well-arranged, solemn a mansion pleased him;

Explanation:

"So clean, well-arranged, solemn a mansion pleased him;" is the best answer.

Commas are needed between the words "clean," "well-arranged," and "solemn" because these are coordinate adjectives for the noun "mansion."

Example Question #866 : Act English

Passage adapted from Around the World in Eighty Days (1876) by Jules Verne

Mr. Fogg's wardrobe was amply supplied and in the best taste. Each pair of trousers, coat, and vest bore a number, indicating the time of year and season at which they were in turn to be laid out for wearing; and the same system was applied to the master's shoes. In short, the house in Saville Row, which must have been a very temple of disorder and unrest under the illustrious but dissipated Sheridan, was cosiness comfort and method idealised. There was no study, nor were there books, which would have been quite useless to Mr. Fogg; for at the Reform two libraries, one of general literature and the other of law and politics, were at his service. A moderate-sized safe stood in his bedroom, constructed so as to defy fire as well as burglars; but Passepartout found neither arms nor hunting weapons anywhere; everything betrayed the most tranquil and peaceable habits.

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:

NO CHANGE

cosiness: comfort: and method

cosiness, comfort and, method idealised.

cosiness, comfort, and method idealised.

cosiness, comfort and method, idealised.

Correct answer:

cosiness, comfort, and method idealised.

Explanation:

The best answer is, "cosiness, comfort, and method idealised."

This is the best answer because commas are needed to separate words in a series/list. The final comma should be placed before the word "and."

Example Question #381 : Comma Errors

The athlete, a respected team leader was always the first person in the locker room before a game.

Possible Answers:

The athlete, a respected team leader was

The athlete, a respected team leader, was

The athlete, a respected team leader having been

The athlete, the respected team leader was

The athlete a respected team leader was

Correct answer:

The athlete, a respected team leader, was

Explanation:

The phrase "a respected team leader" is what is known as an interrupting phrase, or a phrase that provides information but is unnecessary for the structure of the sentence. All interrupting phrases must be set apart from the rest of the sentence by commas; therefore, the correct answer is "The athlete, a respected team leader, was."

Example Question #382 : Comma Errors

Select that answer that best corrects the underlined portion. If the underlined portion is already correct, select NO CHANGE.

Anna knew that blaming her sister, for breaking the dish, was wrong. 

Possible Answers:

sister, for breaking the dish was wrong.

sister for breaking the dish, was wrong.

NO CHANGE

sister for breaking the dish was wrong.

sister for breaking, the dish was wrong.

Correct answer:

sister for breaking the dish was wrong.

Explanation:

The sentence does not need any commas-it is all part of the same clause. There is not a part of the sentence you can remove without changing the meaning (so you don't need to offset it with commas).

Example Question #383 : Comma Errors

Select the answer that best corrects the underlined portion of the sentence. If the sentence is correct as is, select "NO CHANGE."

This year, I visited Singapore, Brazil Italy and Malaysia.

Possible Answers:

Singapore, Brazil Italy, and Malaysia.

Singapore; Brazil, Italy, and Malaysia.

Singapore; Brazil; Italy; and Malaysia.

NO CHANGE

Singapore, Brazil, Italy, and Malaysia.

Correct answer:

Singapore, Brazil, Italy, and Malaysia.

Explanation:

Each item in the list should be separated by a comma. Any time there is a series (three or more elements) each element, including the last two, should be separated with a comma.

Example Question #870 : Act English

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

Our apartment is in an old, crumbling building built in the 20th century.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

Our apartment is in an old, crumbling, building built in the 20th century.

Our apartment is in an old crumbling, building built in the 20th century.

Our apartment is in an old crumbling building built in the 20th century.

Our apartment is an old, crumbling, building built in the 20th century.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

In this case, the order of the adjectives ("old" and "crumbling") are interchangeable, so a comma is necessary between the two words. They are describing the building, so no comma is necessary after the second adjective.

Example Question #531 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

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

Monday the day of the test, arrived with great anticipation.

Possible Answers:

Monday, the day of the test, arrived, with great anticipation.

Monday, the day of the test arrived with great anticipation.

Monday, the day of the test, arrived with great anticipation.

NO CHANGE

Monday the day of the test arrived with great anticipation.

Correct answer:

Monday, the day of the test, arrived with great anticipation.

Explanation:

In this case, "the day of the test" is a nonessential phrase providing additional details about Monday. Nonessential phrases or clauses that occur in the middle of the sentence should be set off by commas.

Example Question #532 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

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

If you can't come to the party please let us know immediately.

Possible Answers:

If, you can't come to the party please let us know immediately.

If you can't come to the party please let us know, immediately.

If you can't come to the party, please let us know immediately.

If you can't come, to the party please let us know immediately.

NO CHANGE

Correct answer:

If you can't come to the party, please let us know immediately.

Explanation:

When a sentence begins with a dependent clause, the dependent clause must be followed by a comma. This is not necessary when the sentence begins with an independent clause.

Example Question #533 : Correcting Grammatical Errors

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

At the party, we were served coffee, cake, and pie.

Possible Answers:

At the party we were served, coffee, cake, and pie.

At the, party we were served, coffee, cake, and pie.

NO CHANGE

At the party, we were served coffee, cake and pie.

At the party we were served coffee, cake, and pie.

Correct answer:

NO CHANGE

Explanation:

Commas should be used to separate words in a series of three or more items ("coffee, cake, and pie"). A comma is also necessary after a prepositional phrase ("At the party").

Example Question #384 : Comma Errors

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

When I went to Oaxaca I took a cooking class.

Possible Answers:

When I went to Oaxaca,

When I go to Oaxaca

When I went to go to Oaxaca,

NO CHANGE

When I go to Oaxaca,

Correct answer:

When I went to Oaxaca,

Explanation:

"When I went to Oaxaca" is a dependent clause (it cannot stand alone as a sentence) and thus needs a comma when it is at the beginning of the sentence. Dependent clauses providing context at the beginning of the sentence are called introductory clauses.

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