ACT English : Comparative and Superlative Adjective and Adverb Errors

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT English

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Example Questions

Example Question #9 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

During his lifetime, few people knew about the fuller extent of his condition.

Possible Answers:

about the full extent of his condition.

about the fuller extents of his condition.

about the fuller extent of his condition.

about the fuller extent for his condition.

around the fuller extent of his condition.

Correct answer:

about the full extent of his condition.

Explanation:

The use of "fuller" is incorrect in this sentence, as "fuller" implies a comparison, but is not comparing anything in the sentence. The use of the simple adjective "full" is perfectly appropriate in the sentence, making the correct answer choice "about the full extent of his condition."

Example Question #1 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

Carbohydrates and proteins both have less calories per gram than fats do.

Possible Answers:

Carbohydrates and proteins both have less calories per gram than fats do.

Carbohydrates and proteins both have less calories per gram than fats were to have.

Carbohydrates and proteins have less calories per gram than fats.    

Carbohydrates and proteins both have less calories per gram than fats. 

Carbohydrates and proteins both have fewer calories per gram than fats do. 

Correct answer:

Carbohydrates and proteins both have fewer calories per gram than fats do. 

Explanation:

Calories can be counted, and so we use the word "fewer." "Less" is for quantities that cannot be counted, such as water.  

Example Question #31 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb 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.

Amy drinks lesser water than Johnny, which is why Johnny refills his water bottle more often than Amy does.

Possible Answers:

fewer

few

less

least

fewest

Correct answer:

less

Explanation:

As the question compares two people, a comparative form of the adjective in question must be used, meaning that "few," the regular form of the adjective, and "least" and "fewest," which are each superlative forms, are incorrect. While "fewer" and "less" might each look like a potentially correct answer, "fewer" is used to distinguish between countable nouns, while "less" is used to distinguish between uncountable nouns, like "water." (You can tell if a noun is countable or not if you could precede it with a number, and "seven water" doesn't make sense, given how "water" is used here.) So, "less" is the correct answer.

Example Question #32 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb 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.

Why do you look at me like I am so much lesser intelligently than you are?

Possible Answers:

much fewer intelligent

lessly intelligently

much lesser in intelligent

much less intelligent

much lessly intelligently

Correct answer:

much less intelligent

Explanation:

"Intelligently" is an adverb and adverbs are not used comparatively, so we need to change "intelligently" to "intelligent," an adjective. Also, "lesser," an adjective, needs to be changed to a determiner, "less." So, "less intelligent" is the correct answer.

Example Question #33 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb 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 teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worst musician; both were practically tone deaf.

Possible Answers:

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worst of the musicians;

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worse of the two musicians; 

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worst musician; 

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worsest musician; 

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worse musician; 

Correct answer:

The teacher was reluctant to say which of the twin brothers was the worse musician; 

Explanation:

If only two things are being compared, the comparative form ("better," "bigger," "smarter," etc.) is correct. If three or more things are being compared, the superlative form ("best," "biggest," "smartest," etc.) is correct. Because there are only the two brothers here, we use the comparative form: “worse” and not “worst.” In addition, because “worse musician” is more concise than “worse of the two musicians,” it is the better answer.

Example Question #34 : Correcting Adjective And Adverb 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.

I’m not sure whose garden is of the prettiest: Leah’s, David’s, or Juanita’s.

Possible Answers:

I’m not sure whose garden is prettiest: 

I’m not sure whose garden is prettier: 

I’m not sure whose garden is the most pretty: 

I’m not sure whose garden is the most prettiest: 

I’m not sure whose garden is of the prettiest: 

Correct answer:

I’m not sure whose garden is prettiest: 

Explanation:

If only two things are being compared, the comparative form ("better," "bigger," "smarter," etc.) is correct. If three or more things are being compared, the superlative form ("best," "biggest," "smartest," etc.) is correct. Because there are three gardens here, we use the concise superlative form: “prettiest” and not “prettier,” “most pretty,” or “most prettiest.”

Example Question #651 : Improving Sentences

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.

I've heard that all vitamins are good for you, but of all the different kinds, are there any that are better?

Possible Answers:

are better

is the better

is the most

are best

is better

Correct answer:

are best

Explanation:

When comparing more than two items, you should use superlative adjectives. So, in this case, you should use the word "best."

Example Question #21 : Correcting Comparative And Superlative 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.

Less people threw they're support behind the politician as more of his personal issues were revealed.

Possible Answers:

Less people threw there support

Less peoples threw they're support

Fewer people threw their support

Fewer people threw they're support

Less people through they're support

Correct answer:

Fewer people threw their support

Explanation:

The use of "they're" is incorrect in the sentence. "They're" is a contraction for "they are," while the sentence needs the third person plural possessive pronoun, "their." "Fewer people threw their support" is the correct answer choice.

Example Question #451 : Usage Errors

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

Erin was the taller of all the girls on the basketball team.

Possible Answers:

NO CHANGE

was most tallest

was the tallest

was taller

was more tall

Correct answer:

was the tallest

Explanation:

When you are comparing more than two things you need the superlative (tallest) instead of comparative (taller) adjective. Taller would be correct if Erin was one of only two basketball players.

Example Question #452 : Usage Errors

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

Anne is the better cellist in the entire symphony.

Possible Answers:

the good cellist

NO CHANGE

the most good cellist

the best cellist

the better of all the cellists

Correct answer:

the best cellist

Explanation:

Because Anna is being compared to all the cellists in the entire symphony, the superlative adjective "best" is used ("better" would be used for a comparison of two people-if more than two, use the superlative).

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